On this day 68 years ago, the American Army and Marine Corps in 66 vessels lay off the shore of the small Japanese Island of Okinawa. For days Okinawa had suffered bombardment and airstrikes from American Naval vessels.
The American command wanted to soften up Japanese resistance since this would be the first American landing on an island considered by Japan as part of its homeland. For days minesweepers cleared the waters near the Hagushi Beaches where the landing was planned.
The American command considered Okinawa to be the last stepping-stone before hitting the Japanese Home Islands. They anticipated huge numbers of casualties.
My dad was aboard the USS Gage, an Army major attached to the Sixth Marine Division, which was created specifically for the invasion of Okinawa and was disbanded after Okinawa was declared secure.
Dad carried a “secret Marine serial number” to use after the landing in his intelligence work.
On L-Day, Landing Day, 60,000 American troops waded ashore before nightfall, with few shots fired. When our troops realized this wasn’t going to be another terrible battle for the beaches, some wit renamed the day to Love Day.