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Charles Tatum

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Charles "Chuck" Tatum
Tatum
Tatum in training

Actor

Ben Esler

Rank

Private First Class

Battles

Battle of Iwo Jima

Status

Deceased as of June 2014

Pfc. Charles "Chuck" Tatum was a machinegunner along with Pfc. Clifford "Steve" Evanson, who was under the command of GySgt. John Basilone

HistoryEdit

Born on July 23, 1926 in Tulsa County, Oklahoma, He is first seen with Evanson as Basilone approaches them, telling them that they will be the first machine gun squad in the company's platoon. When Evanson asks about him moments later, Tatum informs Evanson that the man was John Basilone, with a smile on his face, clearly starstruck.

TrainingEdit

That smile would be wiped off his face shortly after, however, as Basilone was putting Tatum and Evanson through tough training. They were obviously still very green, and they could barely even run with their machine gun. Basilone barks at them until he sees that they are at the breaking point. He softens and talks to them like a concerned brother, "You cannot f**k this up, ever. Lives depend on it. Is that clear?"

At 3:30 in the morning, Basilone storms in their tent and tells them to form in for a 10 mile jog. Evanson complains that he doesn't understand why they're the only ones being run so hard. Tatum respectfully says that Basilone only wants to make them the best. Evanson replies that he wants to "slap a jap". Basilone asks the rest of the guys if thats what they want to do to. They reply "Aye, Gunny", leading a livid Basilone to hotly lecture the marines of what the Japanese were capable of, stunning all the marines in the room.

Eventually, Tatum and Evanson become expert machine gunners, ready for war. At some point, Basilone shows the trainees a tool that can allow them to carry their machine gun that does not offer much accuracy. "I couldn't hit the side of a barn with that thing," Evanson remarks. Basilone manages to hit a piece of plywood with every shot. "Then you'd better start practicing," quipped Tatum.

Iwo JimaEdit

600px-Pac08 002

Tatum and Evanson on Iwo Jima

Tatum and the rest of the squad arrives at Iwo Jima and starts to reach their objective. Tatum and Evanson are with Basilone. He tells them to set up the machine gun and fire in with short bursts. He commands another man to get closer to the side of the opening from where the machine gunner is firing and throw in explosives. He does.

He follows Basilone through trenches where the Japanese are dug in. One of the enemy soldiers plays dead, popping right behind Basilone as he runs past. He almost gets him but Tatum takes him out.

Basilone orders them to hold their positon no matter what until he arrives back. As Basilone runs back to them without looking back, he is shot in the upper torso and arm and then collapses. Evanson and Tatum watch helplessly as their sergeant dies. Unfortunately, Evanson is killed some time later. Tatum manages to survive the battle, and presumably witnesses the Raising of the Flag on Iwo Jima.

Later LifeEdit

Tatum was awarded a Bronze Star for his sevices on Iwo Jima.

After the war, he designed and built race cars. He lived in Stockton, California until the time of his death in June 2014.

TriviaEdit

  • Tatum-Real Life-Younger

    Tatum in Real life

    Tatum-Real Life-Older

    Tatum as he looks today

    Tatum was, until 2014, one of the only surviving characters featured, along with Sid Phillips and R.V Burgin.

See AlsoEdit

Clifford Evanson

John Basilone

5th Marine Division

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