Eugene Sledge - Video Biography

This video biography about Eugene Sledge - author of With the Old Breed - uses archival war footage (from the U.S. National Archives and the Department of Defense) to tell the story of a Marine known to his buddies as "Sledgehammer."

Move the video forward - to 1:13 - to begin the story of the man who became a spokesman for World War II Marines fighting at Peleliu and Okinawa. 

Move it forward - to 4:31 - to meet his wife, Jeanne Arceneaux Sledge.

For years, Sledge - the son of an Alabama doctor and known to people after the war as a gentle man - suffered wartime nightmares.  He found a way to survive those awful memories by writing With the Old Breed.  Published nearly forty years after the war ended, the book has never been out-of-print since it was released in 1981.  His original outline (from 1946) and some of his notes (made while he was a prof) still exist.

Born in Mobile, Alabama - where he lived during his youth - Sledgehammer (who referred to himself as "Gene") arrived in the Pacific, in 1944, as a mortar man.  He was proud to serve "with the old breed" and counted on people like his buddies Jay de l'Eau and Merriell Shelton (who was known as Snafu).  He was especially fond of his company commander, Captain Haldane.  (6:31)

At Peleliu, Sledge was stunned to watch the bombardment just before he landed on the beach.  He - like many other Marines - "was scared to death."  The island "looked like a sheet of flames."  Sledge thought "none of us would ever get out of that place."

As Sledge describes what he and others endured at Peleliu, his family members describe what their loved one endured after the war. 

See, also:

Video:  Eugene Sledge - Keeping Notes at Peleliu

Video:  Eugene Sledge - End of Battle at Peleliu 

Video:  Eugene Sledge - Battle of Okinawa 

Video:  Eugene Sledge - Life After the War 

Image:  Merriell Snafu Shelton

Image:  Capt. Andrew ("Ack Ack") Haldane - K/3/5 Skipper

Media Credits

Clip from "Sledgehammer:  Old Breed Marine," by Lou Reda Productions.  Online, courtesy National Museum of the Marine Corps.


To cite this story (For MLA citation guidance see easybib or OWL ):

"Eugene Sledge - Video Biography" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 07, 2013. Dec 11, 2019.
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