Mike Klein Online

My Father, USMC Sgt. Charles F. Klein: “I Didn’t Do Too Well at Iwo Jima”

November 3, 1941 is the date that changed my father’s life.  With Germany sweeping across Europe and Japan prepared to attack, my father enlisted in the United States Marine Corps.  He was 24 years old, somewhat older than many recruits and draftees.  But he was a scared young man nonetheless.

My father’s World War II Marine Corps service was seldom discussed at home.  I learned bits and pieces from my aunts and one uncle but from my father, almost nothing.  As a youngster, I wanted to hear my father talk about war and how he beat Japan.  John Wayne won wars in the movies so it must have been something like movies.  He didn’t want to talk about it.  The less he said the better.

A few years ago I read James Bradley’s brilliant history “Flags of Our Fathers,” the story of the U.S. Marines on Iwo Jima.  I knew for years that my father was part of the Iwo Jima invasion.  Once when he was well into his early 80’s, my father said he didn’t do very well at Iwo Jima.  I remember telling him that he got off the island alive; to me, that was doing pretty well. Continue reading

November 11, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

HBO’s “The Pacific” Takes You to Hell and Back

Sixty-nine years ago Sidney Phillips was a Mobile, Alabama teenager who could not imagine he would spend his next birthday on the tiny Pacific Ocean island of Guadalcanal, trying to kill Japs who were trying to kill him.  Then Pearl Harbor happened.

One day later, on December 8, 1941, the young man found himself standing in a U.S. Navy enlistment line when another military recruiter asked, “Did he want to get eye-to-eye with some Japs?”  Hell, yes, everyone wanted to get eyeball-to-eyeball with Japs.  Sidney Phillips enlisted in the United States Marine Corps.  He is profiled in HBO’s new miniseries “The Pacific,” which was co-produced by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg. Continue reading

March 7, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment