News: We did it again! Parris Island Living History Detachment beats Japanese Forces in Reading, Pa.
Story by Cpl. Isaac Lamberth
MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT PARRIS ISLAND, S.C. -- More than 24,000 spectators from across the country descended upon the town of Reading, Pa., to visit the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum and see history up close during World War II Weekend.
Among the hundreds of authentically dressed re-enactors representing World War II service members, the Parris Island Living History Detachment of the Parris Island Museum and Historical Society showcased the Corps and shared its story.
“World War II Weekend is by far the best place to come and show the public what the Marine Corps did during World War II,” said Eric Junger, the officer in charge of the LHD.
The group traveled more than 650 miles and brought with them various World-War-II-era weapons, equipment and clothing that allowed spectators an up-close view.
“This is such a treat to come up here and see all this,” said Melody Payne, a spectator at the event.
“You get to see this stuff in the movies and on TV, but to see it up close and personal is a real treat for me,” she said. “I’ve learned a lot about World War II that I didn’t know before I came here.”
Payne said the ability to pick up the weapons, feel the uniforms and see the living conditions of the encampments the LHD set up, gave her a newfound appreciation for what Marines went through during World War II.
“It’s absolutely unbelievable that they had to lug around some of this stuff,” Payne said. “I had no idea that some of the weapons weighed that much. I knew it was heavy, but now I’ve got an even greater respect for the guys that had to carry those into battle.”
Saturday and Sunday afternoons brought thousands to the LHD encampment, many of whom were eager to glimpse into the Corps’ past by seeing LHD members dressed in period clothing, living in World War II field tents and carrying weapons.
Each afternoon a live demonstration was held for visitors, allowing them to witness various weapons being fired by members of the LHD.
Assisted by members of the Northeastern United States Marine Corps Living History Detachment, who provided flamethrower support, the re-enactors showed spectators how Marines assaulted enemy positions using M1 Garands, M1 Carbines, Browning Automatic Rifles, a bazooka, flamethrowers and explosive charges to destroy simulated Japanese fortifications.
“The battle was awesome,” said Christopher Suszi, a spectator of World War II Weekend.
“I really enjoyed watching the flamethrowers and actually being able to see how destructive they were,” he said. “I can see why they were used during the war.”
Concluding the battle, LHD members raised a 48-star flag on a platform symbolizing the iconic flag raising photograph, in which five Marines and one Navy corpsman raised the stars and stripes on top of Mount Suribachi on the island of Iwo Jima.
The image was photographed by Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal and became one of the most recognizable Marine Corps symbols in history.
The flag raising done by LHD members at World War II Weekend allowed visitors their own opportunity to photograph a piece of history and feel gratitude toward the Marines who fought in the Pacific theater during World War II.
“The flag raising really gets the blood pumping,” Suszi said. “After seeing some stuff on TV and now seeing the re-enactment in front of me with that flag raising, there’s no way you can’t have pride in your country and a deep respect for those men who fought in the Marines during the war.”
Junger said the trip to World War II Weekend was a success because the unit’s mission was accomplished.
“We came out here to tell these folks the history of the Marine Corps and I think we did a great job this year,” he said. “I’m definitely looking forward to coming back next year.”
This work, We did it again! Parris Island Living History Detachment beats Japanese Forces in Reading, Pa., by Sgt Isaac Lamberth, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.