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Alligator Marines, the United States Marine Corps' 5th Amphibious Tractor Battalion in WW II (2nd edition) Paperback – October 15, 2013

3.4 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Reading your account brought back memories of a time in our lives which certainly could not be characterized as hum-drum... You had a good story to tell and your told it well. I thought your description of unloading amptracs from the LSTs on D day at Iwo and the picture you painted of the utter chaos on the beach were especially well done. Your account of your experiences on the front lines gives the reader a snapshot of the reality of war. --William S. Clark, former captain 5th Amph Trac Btn USMC

Marshall did a great job. 'Alligator Marines' was the best account I have read describing our time in WWII: unimportant events interrupted only utter chaos and total terror... a great and true story well told. --Lt. Col USMC (Retired), Joseph W. (Spike) Malcolm

The book details Don's marine experiences with the United States Marine Corps' 5th Amphibious Tractor Battalion. One of the marine tools to whip a clever enemy and American lives was the fat, clumsy LVT, "landing vehicle, tracked,' more commonly known as the alligator. Editor Beth Jacobs commented, "I have never enjoyed war stories, but I read this book from cover to cover gaining a whole new appreciation of what servicemen and women go through to ensure our freedom. I was amazed at the numerous times Don narrowly escaped death and the ingenious ideas they used to survive. --Beth from the Mukluk News, Tok, AK

About the Author

Little did the tranquil Belgian couple, Louie and Nettie know about the son, Donald, they produced on a quiet July morning in 1926. As he grew to manhood, it was obvious that Donald would match their tranquil steadfastness with an opposite and equal boisterousness and lust for life known to few but the most auspicious of adventurers. The place, Elmhurst, Illinois. His birth was soon followed by the Great Depression of '29 wherein the family was forced to move. As a precocious child, Donald took readily to the hard life of Al Capone's wild town of Cicero, where they initially landed. A very young Donald worked as a fireman on river steamboats and even learned the mores of Hobo life riding freights around the country. Eventually, though, California seemed to be the preferable place to make a new start and the family once again relocated. About that time WW II beckoned and Marshall successfully coned his way into in the United States Marine Corps, with the aid of a phony birth certificate. He excelled in knife, club, and bayonet fighting and was assigned to the hard hitting, first wave, 5th Amphibious Tractor Battalion. After serving a riotous life in the pacific from age 17 through 19, he returned to join the Los Angeles Police Department working the San Pedro waterfront and eventually advancing to Special Investigator. The Korean War found him enlisting in the U.S. Army once again. Donald served as an M.P. and then returned to the LAPD to eventually retire after twenty years service. Always interested in exciting exploits of any kind, Marshall began prospecting and dabbled in archeology. As a result, he discovered a successful gold claim in the foothills of the High Sierras near Yellow Stones National Park. The success of his gold mines led to the acquisition of the first of six drinking establishments, (bars) for which his main role was that of entertaining the clientele with tales of his wild adventures. For many years, the Marshall family ran a salvage business along the West Coast. Scuba diver and pilot, actor and lecturer with the gift of gab, this modern day Eryl Flynn has prospered through three marriages with four children and three stepchildren. Don Marshall has written several books and numerous historical articles qualifying him to consult on ancient shipwrecks and modern movies about the same. In addition, he created a humorous, fictional character, named Simon Nickolas for the Alfred Hitchcock mystery magazine. Simon was an 1890, not-so-honest undertaker, dentist and legal counselor gallivanting around solving peoples problems while just barely staying ahead of the law. In Marshall's very active life, he has been declared dead, missing or captured on several occasions. The most recent, as stated by the Department of Defense, of having died in 2001, "A slight exaggeration" states Marshall, "but nothing new". Marshall now lives in a log cabin in Alaska near two of his sons. A real Alaskan character, Marshall, along with his notoriously famous canine companion Johnny, regales tourists with antics and stories in the camp grounds and local pubs. It has been noted that with Marshall's sense of humor and flair for embellishing the mundane, he could have fun at an autopsy.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 222 pages
  • Publisher: Day By Day (October 15, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1934569208
  • ISBN-13: 978-1934569207
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,319,077 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By anonymous on September 10, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very interesting read of factual rendition of WWII marine boot camp, hardships, and coping. Told of amphibious landing tanks development and how valuable they were. Had ways soldiers were resourceful, and how at times they became desensitized to death around them. A good read
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Format: Paperback
I want to believe this is a true account but it would not be that hard to make up. I have a copy of "The SPEARHEAD, The 5th Marine Division in World War 11" by Howard M. Conner, 1950, Infantry Journal Press, Washington D. C. It lists the members of the 5th Amphibian Tractor Battalion as well as other participants in the invasion of Iwo Jima including my Dad C A Thompson, PSgt, 5th Amphs. I can't find most of the men or officers referenced in the Mr. Marshall's book in the 1950 reference. Did he change the names to protect them? Mr. Marshall's name is not listed either. My Dad went by "Tommy" . Nicknames could be an issue but not last names. He mentions a driver, Pfc Harry Mullins being killed and my Dad's Division book, the reference above, mentions Pvt John B. Mullins but the later is not listed among the dead. The sad story of "Iggy" is in a video documentary account of a vet that new him. I wish my Dad was still alive to shed some light on it but he would not talk about it and would usually say "people bragging about war are either damn fools or damn liars". My Dad and uncles served during WW2. When they got together at least in front of us kids they traded funny stories from the time. I know those that really saw the worst action like my Dad an one uncle with the 3rd Army in Europe would have one on one conversations about the hell they experienced as I accidentally overheard them one very late night when I was 9. I quickly went back to bed even though I so wanted to listen. I new I had overheard too much.
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It starts rather slowly but then it comes alive mid way through. It is a pretty good read. It is not real exciting like some other books but it is a good read.
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I have through the years read and have a entire book case of true accounts from WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, and Afghanistan. I find it hard to believe this is a actual non fiction war time experience of a marine during this period. Is to me more of a sorry attempt at writing war time humor combined with a attempt to write a story of what he claims to be his experience during WWII. After reading one third of his book I put it in our paper recycle bin.
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