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The Pacific: Showcasing "the bravery, patriotism, and determination of these Marines"

Christian Toto:

Japanese forces were pummeling U.S. troops for a spell, and it looked like the attack's momentum would carry the Asian nation to even more military victories.

Each one-hour installment starts with a brief background on the action to follow. World War II veterans reminisce about their Pacific-based combat missions in interviews interconnected by The Pacific co-producer Tom Hanks' stoic narration.

The series leans on a series of books for inspiration, including Helmet for My Pillow, With the Old Breed, Red Blood, Black Sand, and China Marine. But it's clear the interviews with the aged Marines also impacted the finished product.

And each time we see those old soldiers on screen, still vital, still able to recall the minute details of their heroism, we marvel at the sacrifices they made on the country's behalf.

If it's a storytelling gimmick to kickstart each episode in documentary fashion, it's a darn good one.

The connective thread involves three Marines -- poet warrior Robert Leckie (James Badge Dale), John Basilone (Jon Seda, one of the few "name" actors in the solid ensemble), and Eugene B. Sledge (Joe Mazzello).

The latter's character proves to be the most involving, as he overcomes a heart murmur diagnosis to enlist against the wishes of his father. Once the bullets start flying, it's hard to blame his dad for wishing his son were anywhere else but crawling through these nightmarish jungles.

Modern war movies don't hold back on the bloodier aspects of combat, a trend unofficially cemented with Steven Spielberg's 1998 epic Saving Private Ryan.

The Pacific continues in that vein without feeling exploitative or cheap. The carnage underscores the constant danger Marines faced as they poured onto battlefields already teeming with enemy soldiers.

Viewers will feel the concussive force of every mortar shell and sniper round, a visceral torrent nearly unmatched in modern war pictures.


The miniseries showcases the bravery, patriotism, and determination of these Marines, men left to fight -- and die -- with limited resources.

I watched the opening episode last night on HBO and look forward to the rest of the series.  Yet again, we are exposed to the heroics of a generation for which we owe our freedoms.  At the close of last night's opening, I wondered emotionally at the courage of those who served then and who serve now.   We are in their debt and to state it so succinctly is to not say enough.

I encourage all to watch the series.  As I encourage all to then ponder the sacrifices made.  We take those sacrifices for granted. 

We do so at our peril.



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Comments (29)

I'm saddened that you're wa... (Below threshold)

I'm saddened that you're watching the show after Tom Hanks insulted the whole nation with his preposterous statement that we fought the war to annihilate "yellow dog" Japanese people.

He's using those brave men -- that included two of my brothers -- to advance Hollywood's meme that America has always been, and still is, bad for the world.

Viewers should watch HBO's ... (Below threshold)
Stephen H.:

Viewers should watch HBO's Band of Brothers as well. The story of Americans fighting in Europe during WWII against the Nazis. The Bravery shown by our men & women during these times is nothing less than heroic.

Telling is the series' begi... (Below threshold)

Telling is the series' beginning after Pearl Harbor.

Why do you need Hanks' comp-gen Fake But (skewed) Accurate when there is Actual Footage?

I suggest the History Channel's "World War II in HD": http://www.history.com/shows/wwii-in-hd

Slow start, slower than the... (Below threshold)

Slow start, slower than the first episode of B of B. And to continue to nit-pick, Marines did not have M1903A3 rifles on Guadalcanal. They did show a Reising submachine gun, but oddly enough, no BAR's.

Garand, you're incorrect...... (Below threshold)
"The U.S. Marines were init... (Below threshold)

"The U.S. Marines were initially armed with M1903 rifles in early battles in the Pacific, such as the Battle of Guadalcanal, but the jungle battle environment generally favourted self-loading rifles, later Army units arriving to the island were armed with the M1 Garand."

Im looking forward to the r... (Below threshold)

Im looking forward to the rest of the series as well.

FTR, while all M1903A3's ar... (Below threshold)

FTR, while all M1903A3's are M1903s, not all M1903s are M1903A3s.

Hate to rain on your parade... (Below threshold)

Hate to rain on your parade D-Hoggs, but every picture on that website:


Shows a US Rifle, Cal. 30 Model of 1903. The Marines landed on Guadalcanal in Aug '42. The first A3's were not manufactured/shipped by Remington until Dec '42.

Like I said earlier, I like to nit-pick. Band Of Brothers showed them with M1's equipped with the T105E rear sight, instead of the 'lock-bar' rear sight. The T105E wasn't developed until the closing months of WWII and was not put on new issue rifles until the Korean War.

I like to nitpick to garand... (Below threshold)

I like to nitpick to garand, and you clearly stated, "Marines did not have M1903A3 rifles on Guadalcanal". So were the Marines not on Guadalcanal in the months after the A3 was manufactured and shipped? I was simply stating that your claim is false, not stating any timeline, and it is.

If you want to argue that P... (Below threshold)

If you want to argue that Pacific shows them too early, or that they weren't used during the main fighting, thats a different story.

I think it's been establish... (Below threshold)

I think it's been established, the 1st MarDiv DID NOT HAVE M1903A3's. They were relieved in EARLY December by the 2nd MarDiv and other US Army units. (See comment 9). You go to war with what you have.

Now, would you like to debate how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

somebody call?just kidding.... (Below threshold)

somebody call?just kidding.Garand,they did in fact have M1903's at The Canal.You can tell the diff between a 03 and 03A3 by looking at the fore stock.the early 03's had a finger groove runnig down the side while the later 03A3's did not. plus there a few other things,like the rear sight,front sight w/cover(which really only was supposed to be a protector).A few others,but to fond them I'd have to take a closer look.After the M1 Garand came onto the battlefeild,they made the M1903A3 into the M1903A4 sniper rifle. just sayin.

sp...fond should read find.... (Below threshold)

sp...fond should read find.

I look at it in a less comp... (Below threshold)

I look at it in a less complicated light. The 1903's rear sight sits over the chamber, forward of the bolt body. The A3's rear sight sits over the bolt handle, to the rear of the bolt body. It's like comparing a Ford Mustang to a Chevy Impala. The difference is not subtle.

Once again Garand, you flat... (Below threshold)

Once again Garand, you flatly stated that, "Marines did not have M1903A3 on Guadalcanal". Not true. And now you're trying to qualify your statement. If you want to say that you MEANT to say, "the 1st MarDiv DID NOT HAVE M1903A3's." like you are now arguing, fine, say it. Otherwise you flatly claimed that Marines, read, all Marines, did not have M1903A3s.

"Otherwise you flatly claim... (Below threshold)

"Otherwise you flatly claimed that Marines, read, all Marines, did not have M1903A3s."

Are you thick? THAT IS WHAT I SAID. Read #4.
"Marines did not have M1903A3 rifles on Guadalcanal."

Or are you going to claim that George Patton air-dropped A3's via Doolittle's Raiders? The 1st Marines landed Aug 42. The 2nd Marines landed early Dec 42. Remington released the first A3's mid Dec 42. Since it took 2 weeks to cross the Pacific at that time, do the math. The Marines DID NOT have A3's during the fight for Guadalcanal.

So you're qualifying it AGA... (Below threshold)

So you're qualifying it AGAIN by changing your argument to the "fight for Guadalcanal" instead of simply ON Guadalcanal as your original post stated. Guadalcanal was turned into a major base for the Allies to advance up the Solomons, as I'm sure you know, so if you think there weren't any A3's ON Guadalcanal, you're thick.

Have a nice day asshole.</p... (Below threshold)

Have a nice day asshole.

And to nitpick some more, t... (Below threshold)

And to nitpick some more, the 2nd Marines executed an assault landing on Guadalcanal November of '42, not december. And elements of the 2nd were there even earlier. But I guess you'll qualify that too.

At EASE... (Below threshold)


come on fellas,play nice.Th... (Below threshold)

come on fellas,play nice.The Marines DID have some M1903A1 and the M1903A2 when they landed.When the 03 came out,most were put in garrison duty or converted to the 04 sniper rifle.It took awhile for the M1Garand to hit full production run even though it had been around since 1939-1940.The differances between the models M1903,03A1,03A2 and 03A3 are there, you just have to know what your looking for,and some are not seen at all unless you look very close,like stamped parts versus machined.I chould go on,but dont want to bore ya.Have a good one!

P.S. while the 03 thru 03A2... (Below threshold)

P.S. while the 03 thru 03A2 had what is called a scant stock,the 03A3 had what is called a "C" stock.However,that being said,SOME 03A3's came with a scant OR a "C" stock.

I thought I was playing nic... (Below threshold)

I thought I was playing nice. I certainly wasn't calling anybody names.

D-Hoggs wins. Fun to watch... (Below threshold)
HBO Sux:

D-Hoggs wins. Fun to watch a know-it-all get his ass handed to him on the internet.

D-Hoggs wins.Yeah,... (Below threshold)

D-Hoggs wins.

Yeah, go look at the M1903A3's on the web site provided by the 'weapons expert', D-Hoggs:


And the Marines did not have A3's AT THE TIME DEPICTED in the 1st episode. Which is what the discussion was about.

Or are you a 'weapons expert' as well HBO Sux?

Oh, D-Hoggs - My error, BOT... (Below threshold)

Oh, D-Hoggs - My error, BOTH sites you quoted are labeled M1903A3 - BOTH sites show pictures of ONLY the M1903.

Don't believe everything you see on the internet or television.

Or to quote weapons expert D-Hoggs cut and paste from:

"The US Marines were initially armed with M1903 rifles in early battles in the Pacific, such as the Battle of Guadalcanal, but the jungle battle environment generally favored self-loading rifles."

You will notice "...were INITIALLY armed with M1903 rifles in early battles in the Pacific, SUCH AS THE BATTLE OF GUADALCANAL...."

As I said, a M1903 is NOT a M1903A3.

Class dismissed children.

D-Hoggs FYI, you are now im... (Below threshold)

D-Hoggs FYI, you are now immortal.

Having collected various US martial long-arms over the last 20 years, and having a collection spanning 1812-WWII; I also frequent several different weapons-related web sites that specialize in particular weapons and their variations. Discussions are wide-ranging; from development, through production and to general usage in the field. Several of the members not only have extensive collections, but we also have four or five published authors who are also recognized experts on particular models. On occasion, a "google-expert" such as yourself suddenly drops into a conversation and begins making statements challenging others. It soon becomes apparent they know nothing of the topic at hand, and are soon set packing, having had their asses handed to them on a platter.

I copy/pasted your earlier comments for the members edification. A good laugh was had by all. This evening another 'google-expert' dropped in. After dealing with him, it was suggested that in future we simply refer to all such individuals as "D-Hoggs".


The Pacific war was hardly ... (Below threshold)

The Pacific war was hardly an exclusive Marine theater. Army units fought in the Gilbert Island campaign, the Marshalls, the Marianas, Peleliu, Okinawa. In fact Soldiers, not Marines, did most of the fighting and dieing for Okinawa.






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