Gilbert Islands, Kiribati
Pvt. Eugene Fouts was killed in the Pacific Theater of World War II during the Battle of Tarawa in the Gilbert Islands. Fought from November 20 to November 23, 1943 nearly 6,400 Japanese, Koreans, and Americans died in the fighting.
The Battle of Tarawa was the first American offensive in the critical central Pacific region. It was also the first time in the war that the United States faced serious Japanese opposition to an amphibious landing. The 2nd Marine Division suffered 894 killed in action [that's more Americans dead in 76 hours than in almost nine years of fighting in Afghanistan], 48 officers and 846 enlisted men, while an additional 84 of the wounded survivors later succumbed to what proved to be fatal wounds. Of these, 8 were officers and 76 were enlisted men. A further 2,188 men were wounded in the battle, 102 officers and 2,086 men. Of the roughly 12,000 2nd Marine Division marines on Tarawa, 3,166 officers and men became casualties.
The heavy casualties suffered at Tarawa sparked public protest in the United States, where headline reports of the high losses were difficult to accept for such a small and seemingly unimportant island. General Holland M. Smith, commander of the V Amphibious Corps who had toured the beaches after the battle, likened the losses to Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg.
The horrors of battle that Gene and the other Marines faced is captured in “With the Marines at Tarawa”, a 1945 Academy Award-winning documentary film that used authentic footage taken at the Battle of Tarawa to tell the story of the American servicemen from the time they get the news that they are to participate in the invasion to the final taking of the island and raising of the Stars and Stripes. The film not only captured authentic battle scenes but the scores of dead Marines whose bodies were strewn about the beaches, many washing out to sea. Since the pictures were so graphic permission for the films release was sought from President Franklin Roosevelt. FDR consulted the only man who was present at the Battle of Tarawa that he personally knew and trusted, Time-Life photographer Robert Sherrod. As Sherrod remembered, "I tell the President the truth. Our soldiers on the front want people back home to know that they don't knock the hell out of them every day of every battle. They want people to understand that war is a horrible, nasty business, and to say otherwise is to do a disservice to those who died."
This cemetery marker is a cenotaph, as Pvt. Fouts’ remains were never returned.
Per contributor Starfishin
Helen L. Tritten Crawshaw (1906 - 1992)
Created by: Mrs. Peterson
Record added: Jun 05, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 91369264
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Added: Apr. 12, 2013