Price for Peace (2002) Movie Script

When people think about war,
they quite often think
about D-Day as being Normandy,
and Utah Beach, 'cause they got
the most play in the media,
but there were at least 40 in the Pacific,
some just as bad, if not worse, than
the casualties on D-Day in Normandy.
The beaches were calm,
and there were palm trees.
I remember looking down
at the palm trees and wondering
if I was about to die
in this peaceful place.
At Pearl Harbor on the morning
of December 7, it was Sunday morning,
a lot of men had had liberty
the night before.
Some were having breakfast,
some going to church, some asleep.
The Zeros coming off the Japanese
carriers began to appear in Hawaii.
They found us completely unprepared.
We couldn't believe
what was happening. It was so fast.
I was getting mad because they were
knocking not only our ships out,
but they were knocking out
a major part of our air power.
We were looking towards the USS
Arizona and there was a huge explosion.
I'd never seen anything like it.
It was just one big ball of fire.
I never thought about dying
or anything like that.
I was only focused on my target.
Everything was on fire.
Everything looked like it was exploding.
I knew I was supposed to knock
this plane down in front of me,
to get on his tail and shoot him down,
and I managed to do that.
You see all of that,
then this hate starts to come in.
And, damn it, this is war, this is war.
The Imperial army and navy,
before daybreak on December 8th,
went into battle against the US
and British forces in the West Pacific.
The precision of the attack
was perfect in every way.
We lost 2400 people in Pearl
Harbor, December 7th 1941.
Everybody wanted revenge,
total revenge. I know I did.
I wanted to destroy the whole nation
of Japan. I hated 'em. Everybody did.
They made the American people so mad,
there would never be
any compromise in this war.
We're going for
unconditional surrender.
The American people
in their righteous might
will win through to absolute victory.
We just knew that we were the enemy.
We were considered the enemy because
Japan had bombed Pearl Harbor.
I didn't even know
where Pearl Harbor was.
My father was born on 4 July,
and he made sure we put the flag out
and everything.
We were brought up to be Americans.
There was a feeling in Pearl Harbor
that the Japanese Americans in Hawaii
had been giving information
to the Japanese forces in Tokyo.
We were afraid they'd do this
on the West Coast.
But there had been not a single incident
of sabotage or spying.
None of that happened.
Japanese Americans
from the West Coast were interned
into ten internment camps
across the US.
We were told we could only bring
what we could carry.
And so most of our things
we had to leave behind.
They were rounded up and put
into camps that they were guarded in.
When we arrived and saw the buildings,
it was very, very depressing.
How would you like to be taken away,
to know that people
are watching you all the time,
that your letters are being read,
that you can't communicate with people?
My brother used to put it this way:
It's like you've been raped
by somebody you trusted.
And so you can't talk about it.
It was your country that did this to you.
And you couldn't talk about it for years.
Young Japanese Americans
volunteered for the US Armed Services,
even as their families were held
in these camps.
My uppermost thought was,
they've stripped me of my citizenship,
which was most valuable to me.
Therefore, when they gave me
a chance to join the military,
that was my liberation,
that restored my citizenship.
It was one of the happiest moments
of my life.
The little town I was in,
they went en masse to sign up.
The guys who hung around the filling
station were now in the service.
There was no problem getting
volunteers. Everybody was willing to go.
They had recruiting lines
three blocks long.
All of the services were taking in
thousands of recruits a day.
Most people who volunteered
could choose navy, marines, army.
I liked the army.
I didn't feel like a sailor,
didn't feel like a flyer.
Even the marines didn't appeal to me,
too much PR.
The marines had great public relations.
Every time somebody said,
"You in the Pacific?" "Yeah."
"Marine?" "No." "Navy?"
"No. Army."
"Oh, were you in the Pacific?"
"Yeah. Damn right I was in the Pacific!"
I went into the US navy.
The navy was segregated.
At that time, blacks could only be
stewards' mates.
You waited on the officers and cleaned
their rooms. Things of that nature.
I cannot think of anybody
that did not have just one objective.
"Let's pay them back for this little job
and get it over with."
There was no question
what we had to do.
We'd seen signs saying,
"Uncle Sam needs you."
America was 16th in the world
in the size of its armed forces,
right behind Romania.
Now we were in the war.
And within a couple of years,
the American armed forces
were number one in the world.
All the services were going full tilt.
The coastguard
had expanded tremendously
because they had to guard
the whole US coast and the rivers.
The navy had to worry about two wars.
Well, the war in Europe
had been going on for several years,
but things were happening
in the Pacific with the Japanese
saying they didn't have any resources,
and had to enlarge their empire
to gain the resources
necessary to support their people.
They were already involved
in a war in China
that was a big drain
on the Japanese army.
Korea was already a colony.
They were taking on
the whole of the Pacific world.
As long as the US navy had a
large presence in the South Pacific,
Japan's military
was not able to succeed.
That's why the decision was made
to attack America.
Who's gonna command
in the Pacific was a big question.
They decided to divide it.
Douglas MacArthur would command
in the South-West Pacific,
Chester Nimitz would be in command
in the Central Pacific.
The Americans
were now beginning to build.
We had carriers being built
at the shipyards.
We'd started a draft that brought
millions into the armed forces.
They had to be trained and equipped.
America was gearing up for war.
Over the training periods,
we developed a lot of camaraderie
with each other.
The training first of all put emphasis
on your physical conditioning.
It was hard physically.
They'd just drill you constantly.
Here's people,
when you say, "Rear march,"
you got one going one way
and one going the other.
They took us to firing ranges,
they took us tank training,
they even gave us tank training.
We were taught how to use
every weapon the infantry has:
Everything from machine guns,
mortars, rifles, carbines, pistols.
We in hospital school learned the basic
physiology and anatomy of the body.
We learned the number of bones
and where they were located.
"The knee bone's
connected to the thigh bone."
Our forces were adequately trained.
There's no question about that.
They were physically fit,
knew how to use their weapons,
teamwork had been
built into them very well.
So, I think they were
very well-trained troops.
The training did prepare me
to do, professionally, my job,
but it didn't train me to do the
biggest job, and that's not be afraid.
I was scared to death, I tell you.
Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto was
the top admiral in the Japanese navy,
responsible for laying out
the strategy of how to win the war.
Yamamoto thought the Americans
would be disheartened and negotiate.
And it all came crashing down
as the American people went to work.
The whole country went to war.
They rolled Red Cross bandages,
sorted buttons.
You wanted to be a part of the war effort
because they had attacked us.
The force at home turned out ships,
planes and bullets in record numbers.
This is the first time women
had left their homes and gone to work.
My wife was a welder. She worked
in the bottom of the ship, 40 feet down.
We built 741 ships.
We built one every four days
and sent them out to sea.
We felt like we was building ships
to bring our husbands home in.
We wanted to go to work.
We wanted to help win the war.
One of the most important things
was the building of the landing craft.
You could run it right onto the beach,
drop that ramp,
a platoon of men come out
and they're right there on the beach,
firing immediately when they get off
that Higgins boat, as it was called.
They made nothing except war stuff.
Whatever you had,
that's it until the war was over.
You can't get butter.
You can't get sugar.
It was very difficult getting new shoes.
Tyres were rationed, gas was rationed
to only so much a month,
and we all worked with it.
Everybody was sacrificing,
to make this a military that could
fight in both theatres, and we did.
The Philippines
was a complete loss to us
because this was one of the chain of
islands that was key to us in the Pacific.
We lost the Philippines,
they overran Bataan,
then they took Corregidor,
then the Bataan death march.
We lost Guam. Everything was loss.
Then came the Doolittle raid
that bombed Tokyo.
Jimmy Doolittle was appointed to head
the raid, and he was the man for it.
We took off about 8.
We were over the target about 12.30.
We hedge-hopped in
right on top of the water
and pulled up to our bombing altitude
of 1800 feet.
If you're dropping bombs at 1800 feet,
you just can't miss, period.
It was the first raid on Japan
and gave the US a shot in the arm.
It didn't do much damage,
it wasn't a big operation,
but it lifted spirits across America.
Perhaps the biggest decision
in the Pacific war was island-hopping.
We weren't strong enough yet
to go directly to Japan and leave
all these islands out in the Pacific.
So the islands in the Pacific,
we island-hopped.
Just as you would cross a stream,
and you jump from rock to rock to rock
to get to the other side.
And eventually get close enough to
launch our aircraft to bomb Japan.
It was the strategic decision that
guided the whole war in the Pacific.
It was one of the best decisions
ever made.
Aboard ship there was a lot of hours
where there was not much to do.
It was a long time on ship.
You'd lay on the deck in daytime.
We had some fun and games.
It mostly was boredom. You got up,
ate, worked and went to bed.
There are problems keeping troops
aboard ship who don't have room to run.
So you run in place.
Then you give 'em physical exercises.
We didn't know where we were going
until maybe two weeks at sea.
After we got out at sea,
they start to brief us as to what our
mission was and where we were going.
People had all kinds of thoughts
about what might happen.
There was a great deal of praying,
a lot of soul-searching,
and the anticipation of a battle,
never having been in it before,
and wondering
what they were getting into.
In order to make an invasion work, the
navy's job is to go in before the invasion
and soften up the beach.
You destroy all of the enemy
on that beach.
The planes are bombing and
everybody is doing the best they can
to make sure there's not a soldier alive
of the enemy when we get there.
The night before D-Day
we were very nervous.
And we'd go up
and watch the bombardment.
I looked around and said,
"Are you scared?"
He said, "You're damn right I'm scared."
I said, "Who isn't scared?" He said,
"If you're not scared, you're not human."
I remember waking at dawn
and all of a sudden, this is for real.
About five in the morning,
after little sleep, if any,
we had chow call
and we had steak and eggs.
That's the only time ever,
of all the time I spent overseas,
that I got steak and eggs for breakfast.
It was a very eerie experience
having breakfast in civilised fashion
and realising that day we were
going ashore and might all be killed.
We began at about 6 a. m.
Getting ready for the assault.
We clambered down these cargo nets
and I was nervous with all this gear.
One thing they did not tell us, that boat
can come up under you very quickly.
You gotta hit that just right
or you'll knock your knees out.
In fact, we had one boy break a leg.
We rendezvoused in the ocean
about four miles off of the beach.
The circles broke
and formed parallel lines.
We were moving in and D-Day
and H-Hour was there with us.
There were over a hundred D-Days
in the Pacific on big and small islands.
But always the objective was to begin
the process of taking that island.
As we approached the beach,
I could feel a real tenseness
in everyone aboard that craft.
It was complete quiet.
While you're going towards the beach,
you're doing an awful lot of praying.
And some of the guys got a little sick.
I watched the guys around me.
They were scared, I was scared.
We had no reason not to be.
You don't know what's waiting for you.
They could wait
until you got on the beach,
or start firing right away.
You don't know.
When we were getting close
to the beach,
then you begin to feel,
"My God, this is real."
And then as soon as they drop
that ramp and you're exposed,
you feel like you're the nakedest person
in the world.
And you knew that they're gonna
start to shoot, which they did.
Very soon after that, all hell broke loose.
There was a tremendous volume of fire
coming from the defences.
I had never seen anything like this
in my life. Absolute hell.
There were 600-800 ships out here.
I was on one of them.
We took landing craft to the reef.
On the other side of the reef,
we changed to amphibious tractors.
The reason for that was,
here in the lagoon,
as you can see, the water's too shallow
for landing craft.
We went over the side
in about three feet of water.
I had 100 Ibs on my back.
A flame-thrower,
a bedroll and my ammunition.
I remember sinking into the sand 4
or 5 inches as I crossed the beach.
It was a bloody mess.
People were getting blown to pieces.
The beach was full of bodies,
just full of bodies.
Chaos. It looked like
the biggest junkyard in the world.
Bombs being dropped.
Shells being fired.
It was chaos. There were hundreds
of people moving.
One reason we had to
get off the beach was because
people behind us were coming
one after the other, group after group.
Boats from the landing turned upside
down. Bodies floating into the water.
I'd never seen a dead person,
even at a funeral.
As I hit the beach,
I saw bodies and body parts all over.
We started to go up the sand.
We'd go up two feet and fall back one.
We were laying on the beach
and there were bodies all over.
Everywhere you could see,
somebody was dying.
We crossed the beach
as quickly as we could.
It was being raked with 88s,
machine guns and sniper fire.
The only way to deal with it
is look for some cover for your body
by jumping into a hole or digging one.
That's hard because that sand
flows back in as soon as you shovel it.
A young marine, maybe 17 years old,
he was running by and a sniper shot him
in the head right above his left eye.
He was dead and I looked at him.
He had blood running down
and it come down...
I didn't know this kid and
I still remember him... today.
Once we got in combat,
I don't believe we had difficulty
in doing what we had to. I certainly didn't.
The only thing we wanted
was to see the Japanese dead.
I was anxious to see the first Jap
I was gonna kill. That's why I was there.
It was very easy to shoot a Jap,
believe me.
I don't care if it had been
a woman, child, baby, I could shoot.
I wanted to destroy
the whole nation of Japan.
We were immediately up against
these reinforced blockhouse bunkers
that were reinforced concrete.
They were extremely formidable
defensive positions.
This was for an anti-tank,
anti-boat 47 mm.
It's obviously been hit quite a bit.
Against this kind of blockhouse
a flame-thrower was most effective.
The flame-thrower
not only burned them up,
but if it didn't, it sucked all the
oxygen out and they died of suffocation.
It was used directly on the enemy
as well, at times,
because they'd run out
of there partly afire,
and if you had any more left
you'd certainly use the charge.
It was a very brutal way to go,
believe me.
This looked altogether different
than it is now.
Most everything was scorched earth.
We'd used so much napalm
and burnt the grass and the trees.
- You volunteered to be a flame-thrower?
- Yes, that's the only way you could be.
- How old were you? 22?
- I was 22 years old, yes.
To avoid the constant attacks,
we hid in underground tunnels.
The caves were dug about
30 metres deep, so it was very hot.
It was around 104 degrees Fahrenheit.
So it was not a comfortable position
for them.
Water was in great demand,
but they had very little.
A number of the defenders died of thirst.
We had to lick each other's sweat.
When there was no more sweat,
there was urine.
But then we began to urinate blood.
The engineers would come up
to seal the cave.
Put a big charge on top
and shoot it down.
And cause it to completely close off.
If there was anybody in there,
they were trapped.
The branch of the military I was in
is the MIS, Military Intelligence Service.
The main thing was to translate military
orders or diaries or what have you,
and interrogate prisoners.
They were very careful
not to put us in harm's way
because we could've been shot
by our own men.
Some people have asked me
how we felt fighting the Japanese.
I'm not sure what I would've done
if I'd come face to face with my uncle,
whom I loved dearly.
But, to me, I was not fighting
the Japanese people,
I was fighting the Japanese military
government which started the war.
During the assault,
the tanks were able to roam at will
and not really be in danger,
unless a Jap got a charge on the back.
We had nothing else, so we came up
with the Nikaku attack plan
which was to put explosives
underneath the tanks and destroy them.
They'd do anything to destroy a tank,
including putting the demolitions on
their body and crawling under the tank.
They had a lot of mines and booby traps
set up, Bouncing Bettys.
You had to watch where you stepped.
The wires on the booby trap,
you can't see it. Looks like grass.
When you kick it, it pulls the pin...
You have a casualty or two.
The wounds themselves were horrid.
People blown all to pieces,
arms and legs all over the place.
My speciality in the Pacific was being
a corpsman to wounded marines.
Corpsmen were the navy individuals
who were trained to apply first aid.
They were the greatest guys
you ever saw.
Talk about bravery. If it weren't for them,
a lot of us wouldn't have come back.
They were like a priest or a minister,
they consoled you.
"I know it hurts, but, goddamn,
think if it was worse."
Part of our duty was to keep the guys
alive for as long as possible,
and get 'em back as quick as possible.
I was called in
by my lieutenant commander.
She said, "From 24 naval bases
in the US, they're choosing 24 girls,
"one from each base,
to form the Navy Flight Nurses.
"Would you consider being chosen?"
And I said I'd have to call my mother.
We were to fly on the aeroplane
and bring back the badly wounded.
I had no idea
what I was getting myself into.
I had no idea I would see what I saw.
It was an eye-opener. The ground
was shaking from bombs going off.
It was just a mess.
All I can say is, you saw blood.
And the odour.
There was a smell of war, really.
When I looked over
and saw the boys on the ground,
I figured, "Never mind all these
side effects, pay attention to these boys."
And I couldn't wait to get them out
of there 'cause I wanted to get out too.
We were always talking to them,
holding their hand.
Some had their eyes closed
because they had a lot of pain.
Some were just praying
they were gonna get out of there.
There was a patient from Iwo Jima
I had on my aeroplane.
He asked me if I would take a
small bottle of sand from Iwo Jima.
I said, "You keep it."
He said, "I'm not gonna make it.
"I want you to tell the people
never to forget what we did here,
"and what we went through."
And he didn't make it.
I was checking one boy
and saw tears coming down his face.
I said, "Am I hurting you?" He said, "No."
"I'm just thinking about
all the people I killed."
That's what he said to me.
I wrote my mother practically every day.
I'd tell her the everyday things I did.
"I took a shower today. We did this.
We did that." And so forth.
They had to walk a long ways
to get to the mail box.
I didn't want them to go to the mail box
and not get anything.
Everybody was glad for the mail, but
yet there was a fear of the telegram.
My sister received a telegram
that her husband was killed.
They had a little boy ride a bicycle
and bring the telegram to her.
And my sister just passed out
from shock.
But when we got a letter that they
were alive and well, what a great joy.
Back home, you kept up with the war
through the newsreels preceding
the main feature at the theatre.
...the first offensive drive to hurl
the Jap enemy from conquered lands.
We'd go to the Sunday movies to see
what was going on overseas.
I'd always look to see
if I could find him on the battlefield.
You saw cartoons,
and the racial hatred against
the Japanese had no bounds to it.
The buck teeth and the slant eyes
were a common feature
of all these propaganda films.
The American people
were propagandised
into hating everything
that was Japanese.
We were taught that the Americans
and the British were animals.
We were afraid
of the big American soldiers.
The Japanese told the Okinawans
that we'd rape and murder them all.
So they committed mass suicide
off the cliffs.
Just as at Saipan the Japanese civilians
threw themselves off the cliff.
Women took their infants
and threw them into the sea.
We thought that we would be
subjected to horrific deaths
in the hands
of the evil Americans and British.
We thought that men
would have their ears and noses cut off.
Women would be raped.
We thought that
we would be run over by tanks.
Therefore, we would rather
be killed by our own families.
We didn't know where our father was.
My older brother and I had to
assume the role of killing our family.
The first family member
we had to kill was our mother.
At first we tried
to strangle her with rope.
But finally, we had to use
a more dependable method.
We bashed our mother's head
with a rock.
I made sure that our mother was dead.
Then we had to kill
our younger brother and sister.
Afterwards, it was time
for me and my brother to die.
We realised that the Americans
were near, so we hid.
When we came out,
we were found by the Americans.
The Okinawans fared a lot worse
from the Japanese, really,
than from us, because
we weren't out to rape and murder.
All we were out to do
was get the Japanese soldiers.
I felt honoured to fight
against the Americans,
such a great military force.
I think the Japanese soldier was mean,
treacherous, tricky...
And according to American standards,
he wasn't a real good person.
He might have been a tough soldier,
but he did things Americans wouldn't do,
at first, but we learned to.
We learned to be
as tricky and dirty as him.
Many Japanese were shot
running away from us.
Because we didn't mind
shooting them in the back, either.
At that point in time, it was dog eat dog.
The Americans were better equipped.
But the Japanese
were courageous and strong.
As their number one weapon,
the Japanese relied on
the willingness of the men
in the armed forces of Japan.
Every one of them was willing
to give up his life for the emperor.
At that time, Japan
was fighting against the A, B, C, Ds.
A for Americans, B for British,
C for Chinese and D for Dutch.
We could not win man for man.
One of our kamikaze pilots
had to crash into
a ship full of a thousand men
to equalise the war.
A kamikaze suicide squad
was a special attack corps.
Soldiers who were prepared to die
would throw themselves with bombs
at the enemy ships and planes.
The pilots were trained to fly planes
and hit their target,
but they never learned how to land.
The training was short.
Kamikaze pilots are unique to Japan's
spiritual beliefs in "Kami" or God,
where they believed
the emperor was God.
It was an extreme concept.
To give your life for this God
was the most noble thing to do.
A suicide plane hit my gun turret
and exploded, killing 10 of the 20.
We had shot his wing and his tail off
and he was just like a bomb coming.
My buddy was trapped in the third gun
burning to death.
I tried to get him out.
Then there was an explosion. I fell
into the fire and they came and got me.
To the Americans,
a kamikaze was unbelievable.
They were willing to give up their lives.
The Americans were, too, and many did.
The American soldier would go
on patrols that were clearly suicidal.
But they weren't anything remotely like
those kamikaze attacks.
The conditions varied
because the islands were so varied.
Some of them jungly,
and some almost desert-like.
With all these mosquitoes
bringing malaria.
With floods. The rain came and it came.
We didn't get no bath or anything,
but the monsoon rains were a blessing.
We could bathe a little and catch water
in the helmet and so on.
Where we were was very inhospitable
because of the vines and the brush.
The coconut trees
were planted row on row.
That was very pretty to see that.
Bob Hope and the USO
would come into these islands.
- Where are you going?
- Fishing.
- What you got in your mouth?
- Worms.
What it meant to the men was, "They
do remember us back in the States."
We weren't forgotten.
The marines had war dogs.
Every one of them was a hero.
I wouldn't go back into combat
if I didn't have one.
Our dogs didn't come from kennels,
they had no police training.
They were just from families
that wanted to help
by enlisting their dog
into the marine corps.
They have senses we don't.
They can hear and smell things
we never knew existed.
You could watch that dog when
he was working, his tail, his head,
he'd pick up the scent and go after 'em.
The dogs and the men
were together all the time.
Particularly in combat,
they were together 24 hours a day.
They ate together,
he'd drink from his canteen.
They ate out of the same mess kit.
I've seen men when their dogs got killed.
They'd take the dog in their arms, rock
'em back and forth, tears would come.
They'd lost a dear friend, and perhaps
someone who'd saved their lives.
Attacking at night
was a traditional Japanese tactic.
We stayed at our post during the day.
In the evenings, we attacked.
The Japanese were very crafty
about crawling around
and slitting your throat at night.
Just the idea that somebody's out there
that can do this to you. You can't rest.
You could hear a guy, "I'm hit!"
And you couldn't do nothing.
We had a password on the island,
and it was usually a word the
Japanese could not pronounce properly.
Like "clear weather" or "clear day".
That would be the password for the
night. Every night a different password.
When we shouted "Kesshi"
and if they didn't reply "Kanto",
whoever threw the grenade first
would live.
One tried to trick us, 'cause
they'd learn a little English, saying,
"How'd you make out, Joe?"
Of course, our sergeant
knew it wasn't one of us
and he mowed him down
with a Tommy gun.
Come the very earliest glimmer
of daylight,
the island was littered
with dead from the day before,
with a hand sticking up here
and a foot there.
One that hit me the most
that I remember
was a friend of mine, buried
with most of his face sticking up,
his body was buried
and this shoulder was sticking up,
with the waves coming in
at the water's edge,
and an arm moving with the water
like this.
I remember thinking, "He's beckoning me
to join him in death."
I found one of my sergeants
with a leg so badly wounded,
I thought he'd lose it.
He said to me,
"Captain, please help me."
I said, "I'll give you a shot of morphine,
then I got to go."
'Cause I'd been trained,
as all marine officers,
that when you have a single casualty
like that, give him quick attention,
call for somebody else and then you go.
I had another 220 marines
to worry about.
Oh, my God, I'm facing Japs
three or four foot away,
and I can't fire any more.
As I'm looking at my rifle
to see about unjamming it,
I see grenades to my right.
So I dove for them,
covered them with my body,
shoving the grenades
into the volcanic ash
to try to save the lives
of the three buddies that are with me.
And it blew me over on my back.
My guys left me.
They thought I was dead.
Another outfit
moving up discovered me.
They picked me up
and took me back to this place
where a lot of others were lying on cots.
I woke up when they were moving me
to a hospital ship headed to Honolulu.
My radio man
was a six-foot-two cowboy, Avery.
We went out on patrol and a Japanese
shell landed right next to us.
It cut Avery's leg off at the groin.
He did not pass out. There was
nowhere to put a tourniquet on it.
He cradled his own leg and he kept
saying to me, "Do something."
I sat with him until he died.
You soon learn that...
you're going to lose your buddies.
The question is which ones,
when, and when's it your turn?
When it was your buddy,
you'd sit down and cry.
It really was tough.
You hated to have to leave his body.
If your buddy gets killed,
you've got to have detachment and say,
"It's just a thing of the war.
"I really had nothing to do with it."
'Cause if you let it eat your guts out
then you're endangering your own life.
You've got to be practical about it.
It was our duty to fight the enemy.
It was war.
If we didn't kill them,
they would have killed us.
There was no time to regret our actions.
We went there to kill Japanese.
That's what we did.
And they were trying to kill us.
People were getting
blown to pieces on the beach,
some bodies evaporating
that were direct hits.
Are you going to lie down
on the beach and cry about it?
Back out and swim back to the boat?
You came here to fight.
It's either kill or be killed. It's no joke.
There's no use trying to dress it up.
You didn't worry about who he was
or how many kids he had,
who his granddaddy was.
Just blow him away and save myself.
When I pulled the trigger,
it was a target.
It was afterwards, that the impact
of what I'd done, taken a life, that...
...things started coming back to me
and I thought about them.
The hate in you begins to dissipate
because you realise
you've taken somebody's life
and it affects you.
I had to talk to somebody
and I talked to our sergeant.
And he said,
"Well, you get used to it after a while."
That was an answer, I guess.
"You get used to it."
I never did. Never did get used to it.
4th of July, we had killed 350.
I had three men wounded.
That is 350 dead bodies.
And when the sun comes up,
the gas in the body expands,
and the bodies are covered
with white maggots and black flies.
Then you got your cold ration and tried
to eat with the flies going in your mouth.
And as the gas expanded,
it would pass over the dead vocal cords,
and you'd hear the dead bodies
making weird groans
as the gas went over the cords.
We used to go to the caves with one
of those bullhorns with a speaker on it.
We went to see whether we might
talk any Japanese into surrendering.
Every morning,
the Americans tried to entice us
with chocolates and water to come out.
I don't think any of us had any hope
we could get 'em out alive,
but we thought we'd try.
What have we got to lose?
We'd say...
"Come on out. Don't be afraid.
Take off your uniform."
We would say,
"You fought honourably.
"We'll take good care of you
and your men."
We thought it was honourable
to stay underground.
The Americans
thought the opposite.
There was no food to eat
or water to drink.
So we all decided that, since
we hadn't seen the sun in three months,
we would go outside and get killed.
And when we went out,
we were captured by the Americans.
I was so weak.
I couldn't even hold up my arms
to surrender.
Then I realised
others were captured before me.
When I looked around,
there were other men I knew.
I thought we would all be
machine-gunned to death together.
I was glad I was not alone.
That's how I was captured.
We were out of medical supplies,
so the Americans treated our injured.
Life in the prison camps
was much better than I expected.
The people that got killed, we'd come
back later and pick up the remains.
And they'd be transferred
to the rear area to a temporary cemetery.
Before we loaded ship, they had
a big ceremony at the cemetery.
It was probably the most
heart-wrenching time of all.
We had an opportunity
to go and view all the crosses,
pick out our buddies.
Then a chaplain gave a service,
and it was the most solemn scene
of the whole operation.
We went aboard ship and were told
there'd be a beautiful meal for all of us.
The bakers had baked fresh loaves
of bread the night we got there
and a buddy of mine went and got a loaf,
hot out of the oven.
I'd never had anything as good
in my life.
It was just plain old white bread,
but it was good.
That's when we learned
that President Roosevelt had died.
On April 121945,
President Franklin Roosevelt died.
For most of the fighting men, he was
the only president they'd ever known.
Now Harry S Truman, the vice-president,
became their leader.
And the ending of this war fell to him.
So they took us way back to our base
on the island of Hawaii.
We re-formed and were getting ready
for the next operation,
which would've been landing
on Japan mainland.
The plan was to land a large number
of marine and army divisions
on the west coast of Kyushu, Japan,
on 1 November 1945.
There were going to be millions of people
involved in this
because we knew the Japanese
would use their women,
their children, anybody, to kill us.
In preparation for the arrival
of the US forces,
we made swords, spears
and sickles to fight with.
They were digging out foxholes
all across Japan.
They'd brought their best troops
to defend the home island,
and it was going to be
this horrendous battle.
It never happened.
Of course, the reason it never happened
is the atomic bomb.
The culmination of the American
production process
in the Second World War
was the atomic bomb,
which the Americans
had started working on in 1942,
and had completed by summer 1945.
President Truman ordered it used.
These are the bomb pits where the
atomic bombs were loaded on the B-29s.
This is where Paul Tibbets took off
in the B-29 he named Enola Gay
for the bomb at Hiroshima.
It came up out of the pit right here
and then Tibbets flew that mission.
I put out of my mind anything
that had to do with morality,
religion or anything like that. War is hell.
I wanted to get the killing over
as fast as I could.
The airplane was quiet.
Normally, the crew would be telling
dirty jokes and all that.
There was dead silence
because they were all determined,
just as I was,
to get that bomb on the target,
for what good we thought it might do.
The first day I heard of that weapon,
I thought if we could do that
we'd help the war effort.
I could see over the instrument panel,
it was Hiroshima.
I didn't see it. All I saw
was the sky light up in front of me.
Beautiful pink and red colours.
In the end, there was 3 square miles
of Hiroshima devastated in one blow.
That's how terrific it was.
Rest of the trip going back, everybody
was relaxed, tension was over with.
I told Bob Lewis, my co-pilot,
"You take it over. Let autopilot fly it.
"I'm going to get some sleep."
And that's what I did.
All of a sudden a report came in
about the bomb over Hiroshima
and we just sat in stunned silence.
Of course, we cheered
and had our little rejoicing.
Next day we were training,
like we were gonna keep going,
because nobody said, "It's over."
There was a feeling in Japan,
"The Americans dropped this bomb,
"but we'll continue.
"Hiroshima is not a military target.
They didn't weaken our military strength.
"We'll continue to fight on."
And Truman decided
to go ahead with the second bomb.
I could hear the distant hum of planes.
About 500 metres above, I saw a large
red fireball as large as the sun.
And from this fireball, multicoloured
sparkles flashed everywhere.
And these sparkles
came down like rainfall.
This light pierced my face
and I immediately felt pain and heat.
I touched my face with my left hand
and slid it down my face.
The skin on my face peeled off
and was hanging down to here.
For as far as I could see, houses
and other buildings were destroyed.
The town was in ruins.
And at that point, the Japanese
military just had to give up.
"We can't do anything
against atomic bombs.
"We can meet marines at the beaches.
"We've got an air force that, with the
kamikazes, can sink a lot of ships.
"We can force them to pay a terrible
high price if they want to invade Japan."
But what could they do
about an atomic bomb?
Many have debated
the use of that bomb over the years.
I'd say, probably it was
the best decision ever made
because we would've lost many men,
over a million, probably,
in trying to invade Japan.
The atomic bomb
surely made the war end quicker.
But I think the Japanese
would have surrendered without it.
The treachery that Japan
had thrown upon us...
I had no pity, and still don't,
for the Japanese.
The Americans, I'm sure, felt that
casualties are a result
of a long fought battle, like in Vietnam.
But I wish the Americans
had come up with something different
instead of the atomic bomb.
Tell him if there'd
never been a Pearl Harbor,
there'd never have been
a Hiroshima and a Nagasaki.
We did that to save not only
American lives, but Japanese too.
I think it was a mistake.
I think it could've been demonstrated
without harming people.
A demonstration bombing with
the atomic bomb would've been futile
because I don't believe
the Japanese nature
would've yielded to anything less
than the holocaust we put on Japan.
The pilots of the Enola Gay
should go to Hiroshima and Nagasaki
to apologise for what they did
and never speak of the positive
effects of the atomic bomb.
I've been asked time and again,
"Don't you feel terrible
about killing all those people?"
No. I'm sorry they were there
and had to be killed.
But what had to be done was bigger
than those people, bigger than me.
It ended the war.
And it brought us home.
What was left of us. Yeah.
The surrender took place in Tokyo
harbour on the battleship Missouri.
Let us pray that peace
be now restored to the world...
...and that God will preserve it always.
The end of the war was like a load
taken off your chest.
Everything was going to be OK now.
We'd won the war.
VJ-Day, as it was called, Victory over
Japan Day, when they surrendered,
led to the biggest celebration
America has ever known.
Crowds were filling the skyscrapers
and throwing out confetti.
I was trusting that my husband
would get to come home.
And what a great day
when he did come in.
We pulled into San Diego harbour,
and there was a huge, huge sign
that said, "Welcome home."
For the next seven days,
they fed us like kings.
I'd been injured and when I came home,
Mom grabbed me
and felt me all over
to see if I had any missing parts.
She was so happy
that I was in one piece.
My dad met me at the train station,
and I was brown as a brown paper sack.
I saw my dad and he was
looking around trying to find me
amongst all the other passengers.
I walked up to him
and looked him in the eye,
and he looked around me, you know.
I said, "He don't know me.
He just doesn't know me."
So I walked around behind him
and tapped him on the shoulder.
I said, "It's me."
He grabbed me and gave me a big hug.
My brother came back from the service.
He wanted to see his parents, of course.
So he came to the internment camp
and it was after hours.
And he could only touch my mother
through the barbed wire fence.
My father and mother remained
in camp until the end of the war.
They didn't know where to go,
what to do.
They heard that a few who tried to
get back had a very bad reception.
Their homes were burned down
or they were chased out.
I received the Navy Cross
in San Francisco, California.
That night, they came and
took the document from me
because I was black
and black stewards' mates weren't
supposed to get Navy Crosses.
The Medal of Honor
is the highest decoration
awarded by the US government.
The President of the United States
decorated me at the White House.
I stepped forward to, "Jack Lucas."
Harry Truman
hung that medal around my neck.
He said, "I'd rather have this medal
than be president."
I said, "Sir, I'll swap you."
He just laughed.
So it was great to be
in the United States of America.
And to be welcome.
And for them to tell us, "Job well done."
When the war ended,
I was disappointed
that I hadn't died for my country.
I thought I would have to
live my life in dishonour.
This was my fear.
I was more afraid of living
in dishonour than dying at war.
Japan immediately became part of
the American anti-Communist alliance.
The Americans went into Japan
with Douglas MacArthur as the head
to bring about a democracy in Japan,
to reshape Japan.
I was able to overcome
my feelings of hatred.
I suffered immensely
from radiation poisoning
and was hospitalised many times
with many surgeries.
A few times a year I get the urge
to commit suicide.
I must resist this urge
and continue to live.
I must continue
to fight for my cause,
which is to abolish nuclear weapons.
This gives me reason to live.
Some of these hills haven't changed,
have they?
The hills didn't change, but there
was no property, nothing left.
The importance of going back
to Okinawa with my family
was to show them
where their uncle was killed,
and to show them where I fought.
Kunishi Ridge is to the right.
There's a road
that goes across the valley there.
You can drive up
on the edge of the ridge.
Can you make it?
My brother was fighting
on Kunishi Ridge.
He was only 200 yards from me
where he was killed.
Standing at Kunishi Ridge,
I can envision the battles
'cause I saw the newsreels.
I can see my husband,
a young man fighting through the war,
and knowing that any moment
he could've been killed.
What courageous young men we had,
to fight and risk their own life.
We went to the memorial gardens
where the granite stones
have everyone's name
that died on Okinawa or off Okinawa.
And my children took a rubbing on
the stones of the name of my brother.
To have my children there,
and to experience that as a family
was the most rewarding part
of the whole trip to Okinawa.
A dead soldier is a basic hero, I think.
A man that died for his country,
he's the one who's the real hero.
It's a great sacrifice
to personally give his life.
And for those young men and women
who had so much to look forward to,
and now are gone,
I just hope people never forget
what they did for freedom.
That's the part that really hurts, the
guys who never had a chance at life.
In olden days,
there were no surprise attacks.
You woke up the enemy before duelling.
That was the way
of the samurai warrior.
Japan's sneak attack against the US
was not a fair fight.
If war had been declared,
I wouldn't mind
having risked my life in battle.
But since it was a sneak attack,
I feel guilty about what I did.
I've carried this guilt for 50 years.
On December 7th 1991,
a group of the Japanese pilots
from various different ships,
I think there was about 24 of them came,
and I met Mr Abe.
And we were drawn to one another
for some unknown reason.
Mr Fiske was a good man.
He was a signal man and a bugler.
He was a bomber pilot
from the aircraft carrier the Akagi.
He bombed our ship.
We were saying our last goodbyes
at the hotel
and he says, "Richard-san,
do me this special favour.
"Please buy two roses,
one for me, one for you.
"Would you please go out to the Arizona
and play taps for me?"
I've been doing that every month
since 1991,
and he keeps replenishing me
with money.
It is my way of expressing
my apologies to the people
who lost their lives
as a result of our sneak attack.
That is why I bow my head and pray,
and dedicate a rose.
What you'll find
if you talk to older veterans,
they don't talk about their
war experiences to their families.
When these fellas get together
on reunions of this kind,
they exchange war stories,
confident that both parties understand
what they're talking about.
Oh, my goodness!
I finally kissed a nurse.
I kissed a nurse first time!
I go to the marine conventions every few
years to stay in touch with old friends.
We like to keep those friendships going
because we did have three years, at
least, together under dire circumstances.
The ones who return to Iwo Jima will
experience a great emotional period
when they get down to an area
that they recognise on the island.
It's an emotional experience to stand
and think about what you did there.
It immediately brings on thoughts
about your friends that you lost.
So it's a matter of revisiting
a difficult period in life
and expressing appreciation of the fact
they're here to do it again.
That's the way you do it!
I'm a walking advertisement
for the corps.
You are the marine corps poster.
I've wanted to go back to Iwo Jima
for a long time.
I decided I had to go now,
if I was ever going.
I'm looking forward to it
like going to the dentist.
I know it's something I must do, but I'm
not that eager to have that tooth pulled.
I know it'll be painful.
Ready? One, two, three...
Forty years from now, you'll be proud
that you were a marine,
if you're not already.
One thing I want to see is the top of
Suribachi where the flag was raised.
Down there's
where I spent most of my first day,
within 20-30 yards of the beach,
of the water's edge.
I want to see the beach.
I understand the beaches
haven't changed.
For over 50 years, I've had nightmares
that I just can't describe.
And I'm hoping to put
these ghosts to rest.
They're ready to go.
One thing I'm going back to Iwo Jima
for is to take my wife back there
to let her see where I fought
for the freedom of this country.
Let's get a picture of this over here.
I want to have my picture taken with you.
You all look gung-ho
and ready to go to war.
You going up?
Now I think...
...maybe I'll be able to spend
a year or two of all-night sleep
without these nightmares.
Before I die. I can die a rested old man.
I kiss you on the beach
where I landed 56 years ago.
Well, isn't that so sweet?
I met a retired US veteran
and he told me he was sorry.
It brought tears to my eyes.
I told him it wasn't his fault or mine.
We were enemies at wartime,
but friends now.
- 17, Iwo Jima.
- 17.
I was 17 too. Yeah.
I was 17.
When I'm asked about the war...'s so intolerable
to think about it even now.
The loss that comes
through those things
changes your attitude
about things forever.
Those of us lucky enough
to be here today
know we're the luckiest
of the lucky.
Those of us who stood
on this island in 1945
find it almost unbelievable
that we stand here together once again
to honour our fallen comrades.
We continue to ask
for the comfort of their souls.
We seek relief
for the sadness of their families.
May they now
and for evermore rest in peace.
Right face!
Right flank, ammunition, load.
Aim. Fire!
Aim. Fire!
Aim. Fire!