They called us Landing Force, Air Support
Control Unit One:
Marines who knew the difference 'tween
A rifle and a gun.
We specialized in radio,
Some radar business too.
To dig ourselves in better,
Had our own construction crew

We could build our team a CIC;
That's done in no time flat.
Our pilots on the ground with us
Advised those in the air
Just how to hit their targets best;
They were so good at that.

At Miramar we trained,
And went ashore at Coronado,
To practice beach-head landings,
Where United States Marines go.

From there, eight score of us
Proceeded west by ocean trips,
To land on far off islands
From nine oceangoing ships.

We hit the beach at Saipan as
Our first encounter then,
And on that tragic island we
Would lose two of our men.

We gave air warning to our troops,
As fighting raged around.
We shed our blood, we mourned our dead,
Amid the battle sound.

In four weeks we secoured Saipan;
Our unit first to leave,
With fifteen hundred prisoners
Hawaii would receive.

Because the need for 'quick air warning'
Now was overcome,
Four dozen of us went to
'Air Support, ' as 'Unit One.'

As Landing Force, Air Support
Control Unit One,
We got to Honolulu, where
We had a bit of fun.

The next place we assaulted
Was for 'aviation' sake,
Where three Marine divisions had
Those three airfields to take.

'Twas living hell on Iwo Jima's
Black, volcanic sand;
But 'ere that battle finished
We received a new command.
We joined a huge armada
That was headed westerly:
Twelve hundred ships, the greatest
Ocean fleet in history.

On Okinawa we were met with
Hide-and-seeker tactics,
While Navy guns were shooting down
Young Japanese fanatics.
As kamikazes struck our fleet,
And sunk three dozen ships,
We 'grunts' ashore were searching out
A hundred thousand Nips.

That slaughter lasted eighty days,
And would you still believe:
The Forty Eight of Unit One,
Again, the first to leave?

We made it home for Christmas, yes,
For all we had been through.
To say our unit was unique,
I don't mind telling you.

So, what's the point in all of this?
What's this telling for at all?
Well, those three island battles were
The bloodiest of all.

Not any other landing force
Could claim what we had done:
Hit Saipan.... Iwo.... Okinawa:
We, the only one!

Saipan: June and July - 1944
Iwo Jima: February and March - 1945
Okinawa: April, May, and June - 1945

(Written during July 1985, in Falls Church, Virginia,20 years after the war ended.)

About Frank V. Gardner

Frank, born in Washington, lived his early years in the small community of Glencarlyn, across the Potomac River from the Nation's Capital, in Arlington County, Virginia. After his father, Francis I. V. Gardner, died in a construction accident. his mother, Marie Gardner, moved with Frank, age four, and his two sisters, back to Washington, where she went to work as a clerk-typist for the U. S. Government. Frank attended elementary and high school in Washington. After completing two years of college in 1942, Frank enlisted in the U. S. Marine Corps to fight in World War Two. After boot camp... Read more...

Poet of the day

Born in 1714 in Halesowen (now Worcestershire) England living at the family home 'The Leasowes'. Halesowen, which, up to the early years of the 18th century was in part of Shropshire. He was educated at Solihull Grammar School, where he met and became firm friends with the future poet Richard...

Poem of the day

Jeg saae kun tilbage. Mig Livets Lyst bortklang;
Da toned mig i Sjælen saa trøstelig en Sang;
See frem, men ei tilbage! Hvad Hjertet attraaer,
Maaskee dog engang under Solen du naaer.

Lad Bølger bortrulle! lad Løvet flagre hen!
Rask bruser dog Strømmen, frisk Skoven staaer...