The Battle of Tarawa: 'One Square Mile of Hell'

Bud Meador
Military historian Bud Meador of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College discusses the “toughest battle in Marine Corps history,” a three-day fight between American and dug-in Japanese forces in November 1943 for the tiny atoll of Tarawa halfway between Pearl Harbor and the Philippines.
Tuesday, November 13, 2018
Reception: 
6 pm
Program: 
6:30 pm
Event Audio
Few military battles have matched the concentrated ferocity of the three-day fight between U.S. and Japanese forces in November 1943 for a sandy sliver of land halfway between Pearl Harbor and the Philippines.

Tarawa was an essential World War II stepping stone across the Pacific, held and heavily fortified by Japan. In what one combat correspondent called “the toughest battle in Marine Corps history,” U.S. Marines wrestled it away at a cost of more than 1,000 men. All but 17 of the 3,500 dug-in Japanese defenders were killed, along with nearly 1,100 Korean slave laborers. The search for the missing bodies of more than 100 Marines buried on the island continues today.

Bud Meador of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College discusses a hard-earned victory that still reverberates.