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Stan Gajda 2001
Tarawa Lagoon (Betio Lagoon) borders the northern edge of Tarawa Island (Betio) at the western edge of Tarawa Atoll in the Republic of Kiribati (Gilbert Islands).
On the ocean side of Tarawa (Betio) when the US cleaned up the island after the battle, they dumped vast quantities of ammunition just over the reef. From the reef itself and out to the drop off can be found hundreds of complete rounds of 75mm and 127mm ammo. Stan Gaja Reports: "There is a lot of the 8" from the coastal guns and 25mm ammo and fuses etc. Even aircraft bombs and a friend has found complete torpedoes (I have seen engines) Diving around Betio can be a lot of fun for the WWII enthusiast. Lagoon diving is filthy though. Because I used to live there and have a boat and hookah gear I could go out when conditions were perfect and spend hours on the bottom exploring."
Main Jetty (Communications Jetty)
The jetty was a useful place to take cover when the marines had to wade in to the beach but many were hit in this area and a lot of material was lost all around the 'Y' area. Also the boats were coming in to the same place and unloading everything and anything during the battle. In the end the jetty forks were piled high with crates etc. Even conveyor rollers were used to unload quickly but a lot of stuff was dropped or fell over the side into the water and left there.
in about 1988 looked just like an abandoned battlefield
with every kind of war object lying on the bottom. There were many
helmets, many gas masks with eye pieces and canisters, M1 carbines,
M1 Garands, even a 03 Springfield once and another time an Arisaka.
Ammo by the cases, there were thousands of rounds of 30-06 loose,
in charger clips and in Garand clips. There were boxes of 30-06 belted
and un-belted. There were many thousands of .50 cal ammo, much of
it belted, hundreds of 60mm mortars, still in cardboard cylinders
all fused and ready, hundreds of 81mm mortars and occasionally the
long 81mm Brandt rounds. I found three wooden cases of US pine-apple
grenades, each grenade in its own tin can with the peel-off strip
at the top of each, inside the grenades looked just great. I found
a case of 37mm rounds once and another time a triangular wooden box
containing three complete 75mm howitzer rounds, I have the cases
right here still. I picked up a complete 60mm mortar another time
and I have seen unfused land mines in the same area. Of course there
are also hundreds of various Jap beer bottles off the end of the
jetty. Also water bottles, the 1918 models and the stainless two-piece
models. Once I even found a GI boot which was dark red leather and
was dated inside 1943. I have a compass here from that place and
I once picked up a set of headphones from a radio set which I gave
to John Brown in Betio. In fact I gave John a whole pile of stuff when
I was in Tarawa last to clean out my container a bit. Also in amongst
that stuff was a set of unloading rollers, just as described in '72
Hours'. Another time just a little bit further out from the forks I
found three model 1919 Browning 30-06 machine guns with a spare barrel
wrapped in canvas all held together with straps and brass buckles.
Also there was a Garand and a BAR with a wooden stock.
95 Ha Go
B-24J "Miss Bee Haven" 42-72982
B-24J-1-CO "Galloping Gus" 42-72999
Jan 21, 1944
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