In the Philippines and Okinawa: A Memoir, 1945-1948

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In the Philippines and Okinawa, the third volume of Colonel William S. Triplet's memoirs, tells of Triplet's experiences during the American occupations in the early years after World War II. Continuing the story from the preceding books of his memoirs, A Youth in the Meuse-Argonne and A Colonel in the Armored Divisions, Triplet takes us to the Philippines, where his duties included rounding up isolated groups of Japanese holdouts, men who refused to believe or admit that their nation had lost the war, and holding them until the time came to transport them back to Japan.

Triplet also had to reorganize his battalions and companies to raise morale, which had plummeted with the end of the war and the seemingly dull tasks of occupation. When he took over his assignment of commanding a regiment in a division, he was dismayed to discover the unmilitary habits of almost everyone, regardless of rank. A strict disciplinarian himself, Colonel Triplet, who had served in both world wars, at one time commanding a four-thousand-man combat group, brought his regiment of garrison troops back into shape in a short time.

Okinawa presented the new challenge of bringing order to an island that had seen the deaths of one hundred thousand civilians. Virtually every building on the island had been leveled, and tens of thousands of Japanese defenders had been killed. Triplet was also obliged to oversee the temporary burial of thirteen thousand U.S. servicemen, both soldiers and sailors.

In the Philippines and Okinawa portrays the ever-changing, very human, and frequently dangerous occupation of two East Asian regions that are still important to American foreign policy. Any reader interested in military history or American history will find this memoir engaging.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Triplet's observations of the Filipinos and their culture make this book fascinating. He is opinionated, curmudgeonly, politically incorrect, and anthropologically crude, but sharp, insightful, and consistently friendly and sympathetic."—Russell Weigley
Library Journal
Like A Youth in the Meuse-Argonne (LJ 8/00) and A Colonel in the Armored Divisions (2001), this third and final volume of Triplet's memoirs is an edited presentation of the author's diaries of his service. The text does not convey the immediacy of combat, instead covering army life in the Philippines directly after World War II. There is much detail about the training of the Philippine army, life in the Philippines in general, and what it was like in an army where everyone simply wanted to go home. Triplet relates his experiences in narrative form and has a strong command of language. Much that was unpleasant is undoubtedly glossed over, and there is a certain amount of self-justification, but this reads like the faithful report of a professional soldier doing the best with what he had. This volume and its two predecessors will be good purchases for libraries with readers interested in this century's world wars. Edward Gibson, Langston Hughes Memorial Lib., Lincoln Univ., PA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780826213358
  • Publisher: University of Missouri Press
  • Publication date: 7/16/2001
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert H. Ferrell is Professor Emeritus of History at Indiana University, Bloomington, and the author or editor of over fifty books, including Collapse at Meuse-Argonne: The Failure of the Missouri-Kansas Division and Five Days in October: The Lost Battalion of World War I (both by the University of Missouri Press). He lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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Table of Contents

Preface vii
Acknowledgments xi
A Note on the Editing xiii
1. The 342d Infantry Regiment 1
2. Morale Building 14
3. Settling In 28
4. Thieves 43
5. Japanese 53
6. Guerrillas 72
7. Twenty-first Replacement Depot 86
8. The New Army and the Old 104
9. Philippine Scouts 118
10. The FFFFFT 136
11. Cultural Differences 148
12. Gardner, Mertel, and MacLaughlin 160
13. Housekeeping 178
14. To Okinawa 197
15. Acquaintance 204
16. Accommodations 214
17. Deputy Commander and Chief of Staff 229
18. Murder in the Forty-fourth 245
19. Atkinson-Jones 256
20. Miscellany 266
21. Departure 275
Notes 281
Bibliographical Essay 293
Index 295
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