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.