While on Peleliu in 2002 I obtained two WWII Marine Corps Canteen cups. In 2006 I obtained a third canteen cup. One of them I found, and the other two were given to me by Mr. Sachio Kageyama, the son of a Japanese Officer killed during the battle. Mr. Kageyama is also the president of the "2nd Infantry Regiment's Comrade Assoc." He and other volunteers visit Peleliu regulalry to search for and collect the bones of their war dead for proper Buddhist burial. I was able to facilitate the return of all three canteen cups.
This is the story of the first cup:
In March 2002 I went to Peleliu with "Military Historical Tours" and met, by chance, a group of Japanese who had found an old WWII US Marine rusty canteen cup in the jungle. Mr. Kageyama (whose father was killed on Peleliu) gave me the cup asking me to find the original owner's next of kin and return it. The cup had a name and unit designation scratched into it, " "Moore, W.T." and "E-2-7" . Mr. Kageyama has no such mementos of his father whose body has never been recovered from the battle. He stated that if he were to receive such a memento how happy he would be, and can easily understand the joy that this cup would
bring to the American next of kin.
A team effort to research the national archives and Marine Corps records showed that Pfc. William T. Moore served with 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines and was killed in action on Peleliu Sept. 27, 1944.
One of the members of the group from Peleliu, retired Master Gunnery Sgt. John Edward, and I presented the canteen cup to the Marine's two sisters at an emotional reunion in the lobby of the Airtel motel in Sunland on Jan. 9, 2004.
The emotional presentation was a simple gathering in the lobby of a hotel where we
presented Dorothy Saraga and Betty Birch with their brother's canteen
cup along with some tokens of appreciation that included a Marine Corps
flag for each of them and a small bag of sand from the place where their
brother made the ultimate sacrifice.
The photos held
by the sisters are of their brother Bill Moore, and of his temporary grave on Peleliu. The sisters now
had evidence of their brother after 60 years and were very emotional
as they held it close.
"We're a total Marine Corps family," said
Dorothy Saraga. Their father was a Devil Dog veteran of Belleau
Wood in WWI, and Betty Birch herself is a WWII Marine Corps
veteran. Their nephew, Bill Moore, the namesake of the Peleliu
veteran was a crew chief in Vietnam.
This is a Japanese type 92, 70mm Howitzer. It was capable of firing 10 rounds/minute and was used with great effect against the 1at Marine Division at Peleliu. This particular gun was found with ammunition scattered at the ready, along with the partial bones of the gun crew all around the gun. There were bullet scars on the bullet plate shield as well as on the ammunition as well. (Dan is on the left)
1944 photo of what is believed to be the same tank knocked out on the airfield.
introducing Mr. Kiyokazu Tsuchida to rest of the group. (Mr.
Tsuchida is one of a handful of survivors of the 11,000 man
defense unit that was wiped out on Peleliu. He survived in
the jungle for nearly 3 years after the war was over.) WIth
back to camera is John Edward. Behind Mr. Tsuchida is Mr.
Kageyama the man who found PFC Bill Moore's cup.
|Me at the location
where PFC Bill Moore's canteen cup was found by Mr. Kageyama;
the old military Peleliu power station. (I am dressed in WWII
period Marine HBT utilities)