LVTs landing on Peleliu beach
Battle of Peleliu, D-Day
Part Five is the 5th episode of the HBO series, The Pacific. This is the first time we get to see Eugene Sledge in a major role, and the episode largely centers around him and Robert Leckie, as both of their respective units land on Peleliu.
While the episode largely centers around Sledge and Leckie, there is also an extra scene where we see Basilone in his war bonds tour.
Eugene Sledge, along with his fellow replacements Robert Oswalt and Bill Leyden arrive at Pavuvu. Leyden grins at the island saying it looks like Hawaii, but Sledge disagrees. They get off the boat and try to find a place to stay.
They are placed in the 1st Marine Division, and try to find a tent. Along the way, they see a shirtless Gunnery Sergeant Elmo "Gunny" Haney fighting an imaginary Japanese with his M1 Garand rifle. They come to a tent that belongs to Corporal Merriel "Snafu" Shelton, Corporal Romus Valton "R.V." "Burgie" Burgin and Private First Class Jay De L'Eau, members of 60 mortars Platoon, K (King) Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division. They ask them what company they're in, and Sledge replies King Company. Burgie introduces him and the other two. They ask them if they're Mortarmen, where Sledge and Oswalt reply yes that they are in the #2 gun Sqaud, but Leyden says he's a Rifleman, of 3rd Platoon. Burgin says they'll just ignore him then. Burgin lets them find a bunk, but Snafu rejects them saying each one is taken. De L'Eau shows the replacements around the camp.
While Sledge is taking a stroll outside, Sid Phillips jumps out and tackles him. They are stopped when Captain Andrew "Ack Ack" Haldane. and 1st Lieutenant Edward "Hillbily" Jones comes and asks what this is all about. Sledge and Phillips say they are old friends from Mobile. Ack Ack dismisses them, but tells them not to dislocate a shoulder. After that the two friends travel around the camp. Phillips tells Sledge that he's leaving. Suddenly it rains. Gunny Haney and another officer strip naked and bathe in the rain. Haney explains the proper way of doing it, until suddenly it stops, much to Haney and the other officers chagrin.
Sledge and the other two replacements find a tent in H company that belongs to Robert Leckie, Chuckler Juerguns, Hoosier Smith and Bud Conley. They allow them to stay, even though they belong in a different company.
Next day, the men are seen at the mess hall eating. Sid explains to Sledge and his friends the effectiveness of each weapon. Snafu comes over and takes Sledge, Oswalt, and Leyden to clean drums. During the cleaning, Sledge requests a break, which Snafu replies he doesn't care, since it's not his drift, revealing that he doesn't have to be here, and the reason why he's here, is because he "likes to watch the new boys sweat". Sledge, Oswalt and Leyden share an annoyed look.
Next day, Sledge is seen lying on the beach staring at a land crab, when Sid Phillips comes and asks Sledge if "they are the most butt-ugly things you've ever seen. He tries burning it with his lighter, but Sledge exclaims and pushes his hand away. Phillips says you won't be too soft to them after a while. Sledge asks Sid "what's it like?" Sid, whose skipping stones says he slept with a woman at Melbourne, and goes on about other things, and finally says, "like nothing you can ever imagine", answering Sledge's recent question.
Later in the night, they show the Marines watching a sappy love movie. They make outrageous remarks about the movie.
While training for target practice under Sergeant Haney, Sledge sees him attacking a Lieutenant who has his pistol pointed away. He threatens the officer before going back to training the men, much to Sledges surprise. Later Sledge asks Hoosier if he's seen Sid. He tells Sledge he's leaving on one of the boats, and Slege better hurry. Sledge arrives too late though.
Later that night, Sledge and Leckie have a talk about the Bible. Leckie calls Sledge a believer and is skeptical about gods existence, because of the state they're in. He asks Sledge that "God created everything right? The Heavens, the Earth, the Marine corps, Sleeping beauty over there" he gestures to a snoozing Conley. Sledge grins and says, "Yeah, even him". Leckie then says that God created Japs too. He says they are here for "the Old Man's" entertainment. Sledge says that it's because God can't deal with these things. Leckie contemplates these things.
It then moves on to Peleliu, the island the Marines are going to attack. Haldane briefs them, and they then head out on their LVT. Onboard, Snafu hands Sledge a cigarette, but Sledge says he doesn't smoke. Snafu grins and says "yeah?" As they get closer to the island, Mortars are exploding around the water. One hits the LVT in front of them, destroying it. Sledge grimaces as water from explosions splashes into the landing craft. The LVT's machine guns start firing. As they land, Sledge gets out, but stumbles on his back. He looks over and sees a bloodied Marine lying dead, blown open by a Mortar. As Sledge crawls on the beach, men are shot, or hit by Mortar fire. Many are crying out in pain as dirt, shrapnel, bullets, blood, limbs and body parts go flying. This is not what Sledge expected. Sledge takes great pains heading closer to the beach. An explosion blows up near Sledge. He is lying on the ground with his mouth open having trouble breathing. One Marine comes over and tells him to get up, before being hit by a bullet. Sledge takes his chances, and heads closer to the island pass a pile of dead Marines. He regroups with his squad, and get away from a Japanese Tank, which explodes. They meet Haldane and Hillbilly in a foxhole. One Marine comes asks if this is Baker 2-7. Haldane tells him that the 7th Marines are on Orange Beach I. The Marine runs off, cussing, realizing he's in the wrong Regiment. They get out of the foxhole, but a Mortar explodes nearby, and Sledge cowers in the Foxhole. Haldane yells at Sledge to "get his ass outta there." Sledge gets out and meets with Gunny Haney with the rest of his Platoon, and is put under his command, while Haldane and Hillbilly looks for the rest of his Company. They trek across the area when Hillbily comes with Bill Leyden and the 3rd Platoon. They get out of the tree are and head in open space. Snafu spots some Japanese tanks, and exclaims "Son of a bitch, those are Jap tanks." Hillbily orders them to take one tank out with the mortars. They set it up and fire so many rounds, but keep missing, but do hit the soldiers around the tank. Leyden shoots the last soldier, who is standing on the tank, and De L'Eau hits the tank with a bazooka, but doesn't take out the tank. To their horror, the tank points it's gun at the 2 platoons. They run for it as the tank nearly hits them with a shot. They hide behind a rock, and as the tank takes aim again, the tank explodes, and bursts into flames. The marines look and see that it was a Sherman tank that destroyed the other one. The Sherman blows up two Japanese soldiers on a building.
After the fight, Sledge and Snafu look around at the carnage everywhere. He is recovering from the shock of the fight. Later Sledge takes off his sweaty boots. Snafu asks if Sledge is Asiatic. Sledge says his socks are soaked. Snafu tells Sledge "what if the Japs come and attack, and you don't have time to put them on, then you'll hafta run on the sharp rocks. He tells Sledge to put them back on, and Sledge does. Later the men are given a password for the night. While eating, Snafu spots something. A dead Japanese with gold teeth. He heads over, pulls out his Bayonet, and to Sledge's horror, twists out the dead mans teeth. Later the night, Oswalt tells Sledge that his dad told him pictures don't show everything. He makes an example by telling of how his dad took him to the Grand Canyon when he was ten. It was the most amazing thing he saw, nothing that photos of it showed. Snafu tells him to shut up. Sledge looks at where the airfield is. It is covered in explosions as bombers and Artillery are pounding it. It looks like a fiery hell hole. Sledge says "we have to go out there tomorrow?" His question is met with a strange look from Oswalt. Sledge takes one last look at it nervously.
Robert Leckie's friends are still on Pavuvu when he arrives. When he enters the tent, his friends Chuckler, Hoosier, and Bud say he looks familier in a sarcastic way. Lucky merely replies, "F*** you all". He then hands out "Christmas presents". Chuckler tells Leckie that it's June. Leckie reminds Chuckler that in the south Pacific, Christmas comes in June. He gives them books.
He and his friends eventually let Sledge and his friends stay in the tent.
Later in the night, they show the Marines watching a sappy love movie. They make outrageous remarks about the movie.
Later that night, Sledge and Leckie have a talk about the Bible. Leckie calls Sledge a believer and is skepticle about gods existence, because of the state they're in. He asks Sledge that "god created everything right? The Heavens, the Earth, the Marine corps, Sleeping beauty over there" he gestures to a snoozing Conley. Sledge grins and says "yeah even him". Leckie then says that god created Japs too. He says they're are here for "the old mans" entertainment. Sledge says that it's because god can't deal with these things. Leckie contemplates these things.
It then moves on to Peleliu. Leckie is in a LVT as one of the two Machine gunners. As it lands, men are seen on the coral beach running amid Machine gun fire and Mortars, cutting most of them down. An Amtrack is seen battling a Bunker. As the LVT lands, the other Machine Gunner is killed. After everyone gets out, he gets out and joins Hoosier. Chuckler and Runner are nowhere to be seen. The run amid the jungle. While Leckie shoots into a vent of a Bunker, Hoosier is firing his rifle at Japanese in the open. As Hoosier runs ahead, A mortar explodes near him, blowing open his leg. Leckie tries to tend to him, while screaming for a Corpsman. A Corpsman comes over and carries Hooser away, who passes out from blood loss before saying he's sorry. Leckie then mistakes a Marine for Chuckler, then realizing it isn't so, asks if he's seen Jeurgens or Conley H-2-1. The man says he's never heard of them. Conley does come over. Leckie tells him that Hoosier got hit, and asks if he's seen Chuckler. Runner hasn't seen him though. When Leckie and his Company head over to the same spot where Sledge and his Platoon fought the Japanese tank. While walking over, Leckie steps on a hand. He stares at it. Suddenly a Machine gun opens up on them, and they run off. Later the night, Leckie is staring out over the battlefield.
John Basilone continues his war bonds tour. He is seen in front of a helicopter with the famous actress Virginia Grey. Captain Burns Lee and a couple of marines host a photo shoot. They then head to a room in a hotel as they have fallen in love with each other. Along the way, a cook stops them saying his surprise out loud at John Basilone being there. He tells him he just enlisted in the marines. Basilone gives him advice on boot camp, and to listen to your NCO's. As they head down the elevator, the young man asks, "what's an NCO?".
It then moves on to Basilone and Virginia passionately making love in a bed. It immediatly moves on to Virginia now robed saying Basilone handles it well.
Later that day, Basilone is walking down the stairs of a hotel, where he meets his brother George, saying playfully how he was surprised at how George made it through Boot camp. He then asks a waiter to get them a drink and some food. At the table George asks John not to slug him if he asks him this. "How scary was it? Guadalcanal?" Basilone tells is brother that he shouldn't think he has nothing to prove.
- This is the first time we get to see Eugene Sledge in a major role.
- Sledge's unit makes its debut in this episode.
- Bill "Hoosier" Smith is wounded in this episode, and was evacuated from Peleliu.