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Saipan, Marianas Islands, June 15, 1944 brought the dawn of a day long to be remembered in the lives of those who belonged to the 4th Marine Division and of course the 121st Naval Construction Battalion, for it was on this day that the second large invasion of Japanese territory was to be executed by these units. The experiences that were encountered in the Marshalls and the extra training just undergone had made us realize that the enemy was no push over. "H" hour was set at 0830 but everyone was up and above deck long before that time watching the bombardment of the coast by our big battle ships and destroyers. As the first waves neared the beach they encountered plenty of fire from shore. After the first wave landed the fire became intense. The following waves of LVT's were hit with many casualties. By 1230 on "D" day most of the battalion had landed on the beach in front of the town of Charan Kanoa. The day was spent in dodging shells and digging foxholes. Many of the men were posted as guards on enemy wrecked boats and others guarded the stockade with its growing population of men, women and children. That night was one of sleeplessness as shells were still falling and there was also a possibility of an attack from the sea. By dawn the next day the shelling had somewhat subsided and plans were being made to bring in badly needed supplies and equipment from floating dumps and ships. At 0900 a report was received that the enemy was attacking through the sugar mill. Defensive positions were taken and everone was on the alert. The 2nd Marine Division had pocketed a large group of Japanese in the sugar mill and while running into our machine-gun fire they retreated inland and were annihilated by the troops in waiting, the 27th Army Division was landed during the night. Now with the 2nd and 4th Marine Division and the 27th Army Division the enemy did have quite a problem on his hands. The following days were similar to our first ones with such excitement as dog fights, air alerts, mortar and sniper fire. The beach work was progressing at great speed and supplies were coming in at an encouraging rate. Our work as beach party ended on D-plus-4 and we headed for a new assignment of clearing the Japanese Aslito airfield and getting it ready for operation. Everyone worked with utmost diligence with what gear was available. With the help of Japanese equipment and improvised brooms made of brush the airfield was ready for planes by nightfall. Great joy went through the camp when the first plane landed on the strip. It was a Navy TBF that landed about 1800 five days after "D" day. Soon after transports, night fighters and B-24's landed. This gave us a feeling of security for the nightly raiders needed to have something like the P-61 or "Black Widows" to keep them at a distance. The work of the battalion was not all air strip work but included railroad and road repair, the reconstruction of Japanese instillations that were to be put in operation. This work was not going on unnoticed by the enemy for snipers were firing on our men while they were working. A roving guard was maintained at all times. The air alerts were getting to be a nightly habit and to our joy planes occasionally would be shot down. After Saipan was declared secured, 9 July 1944, the battalion's major job was to put the railroad in condition and also to get ready for the Tinian invasion. The battalion built ramps for LVT's which played an important part on the beach on Tinian. A special detail of picked men were sent to Tinian to set up these ramps on "J" day which was the day that tinian was invaded. The battalion was alerted on July 24th and moved to the beach above Charan Kanoa for further instructions. Two days later the battalion boarded two LCT's with all equipment and headed toward Tinian. The invasion of tinian was not as difficult as that of Saipan and it can belaid to the fact that the enemy on Tinian had an opportunity to see at close range just what the saipan campaign was like. The following morning about 0800 landings were made on the beach and the march to the airfield was begun. Our advance parties had the situation well in hand and it was nice to get a welcome from some of our own men. work on the airfield and roads kept most of the men busy while others were makin camp conditions a bit better. Salvage crews were bringing in equipment and supplies that could be used in further work of the battalion and also fill in our small stock of supplies. Looking back over this period it can be said that the 121st NCB worked astraditional Seabees during the invasion days and with the scarcity of equipment and supplies did a job to be proud of!!

14 KIA 71 WIA Casualties.