1st to Fight: A Marine’s Story in the Pacific, a film focusing on the Americans of the famed 1st Marine Division who took part in the United States’ first major land/air offensive of World War II on the Pacific island of Guadalcanal and then went on to fight in bloody battles in places named Cape Gloucester and Peleliu.
Narrtated by Jon Seda ( HBO’s The Pacific and NBC’s Chicago P.D.)
There are only a handful of 1st Marine Division veterans alive who took part in the fighting in the Solomon Islands and onward in WWII. Guadalcanal was one of the turning points of World War II for the United States, as the Americans faced and defeated the Japanese for the first time in a land battle. The fight was one of the most brutal of the war.
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This documentary will feature amazing drone footage of Guadalcanal and the Solomon Islands, as well as Peleliu to give viewers a feel for what the battle sites look like today and some of the daunting terrain the Marines faced in 1942-1944.
The focus of the film is veteran Oliver Marcelli, a 1st Marine who served in C Company. Marcelli fought on Guadalcanal, Cape Gloucester and was wounded on Peleliu. 2019 marks the 75th anniversary of the battle of Peleliu, a fight that many historians agree should not have occurred at all and cost the 1st Marine Division thousands of casualties.
Marcelli talks openly about his time in the Pacific and the battles he was involved in. Woven in are the stories of other 1st Marine Division veterans who also battled not only an aggressive and unforgiving enemy, but also some of the most difficult fighting conditions in the world, from dense jungles to islands made of hardened coral.
Guadalcanal, in particular, is one of the most famous battles in the history of the United States Marine Corps and determined who controlled the key shipping and air lanes between the United States and Australia.
The Japanese lost a total of 24,000 men killed in the Battle of Guadalcanal, while the Americans sustained 1,600 killed, 4,200 wounded, and several thousand dead from malaria and other tropical diseases. The various naval battles cost each side 24 warships: the Japanese lost 2 battleships, 4 cruisers, 1 light carrier, 11 destroyers, and 6 submarines, while the Americans lost 8 cruisers, 2 heavy carriers, and 14 destroyers (Encyclopædia Britannica)
The battle of Peleliu remains one of the war’s most controversial, due to its high death toll, but questionable strategic value. Considering the number of men involved, Peleliu had the highest casualty rate of any battle in the Pacific War.
The 1st Marine Division took so many casualties during the Battle of Peleliu that they would remain off the front lines until the Battle of Okinawa on April 1st, 1945. The division suffered more than 6,500 casualties during their 30 days spent on the island (more than 30% of the entire division). The 81st Infantry Division would see more than 3,250 casualties during their time on the island.
Read more about Guadalcanal by Clicking Here.
Read More about the battle for Peleliu by Clicking Here
-Rarely seen & extensive drone video of Guadalcanal and surrounding islands, as well as rare drone footage taken in 2019 of Peleliu.
-Rare interviews with several veterans of the 1st Marine Division who landed on August 7, 1942 (only a few are still alive) and fought in many of the major battles on the island and in other brutal fights on Cape Gloucester and Peleliu.
-Low angle video and animated photos of Guadalcanal and Peleliu.
-Incredible archival video from August of 1942 and the following months of the savage fight on Guadalcanal, Cape Gloucester and Peleliu.
The above video courtesy of Aussie Mick Holmesby