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GREEN BEACH: We started rolling tape on Green Beach, which is where the 28th Marines landed February 19th, 1945. The island has risen since the battle, and invasion beaches are wider now than they were at the time of the battle. While crossing Green Beach we came across huge chunks of shrapnel, the size of your hand (and bigger), from exploding Japanese artillery and mortars rounds. Just below the first tier of the beach we found what we think to an ammo dump that was hit during the battle – around this area were hundreds of “burst” .50 rounds.

As we were strapped to cut the show for time (45 minutes + 15 minutes of commercials), we were not able to show you everything that we shot – one example of this was buying an underage Marine his first beer… They called him “Chick” for chicken, Chick Harris F-2-23 (4th Marine Division) lied about his age to get into the Marines (at this time in our history it was not uncommon for underage patriots to leave home and join the military). Chick is mentioned in Bradley’s FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS, he and his buddy Corpsman Daniel B Thomas were called “The Butter Milk Boys” by the Marines they served with as they were not old enough to buy beer. Daniel (Danny) Thomas and I became good friends, and made two trips back to Iwo together (2002 and 2005), where he shared with me the fate of Chick, who was cut down as soon as he began to make his way across the beach.

On THIS trip back to Iwo, I wanted to do something for Chick and his memory, so while crossing the beach, we stopped and I produced a can of beer, that I opened and placed in the black sand. I surrounded the can with rocks, and placed a small American flag inside the circle – this was Chick’s unofficial personal monument. Not a riveting moment in the history of television, but rather a simple act to honor a kid who never got to grow up.

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Military Channel | Wednesday, March 3rd at 10 PM ET check your local listings | TRIO Media Group