The Last Great Battle

Today is December 7th, in 1941 the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor brought the United States into World War Two. The Battle for Sugar Loaf Hill, the last great battle of the last great campaign of World War Two, began the end of the war.

Photo: Courtesy Japan Times

Taking Okinawa would bring U.S. military might within striking distance of Japan. Sugar Loaf Hill was an important advantage point to the land battle on Okinawa. The hill was so vital Admiral Chester Nimitz held the Fifth Fleet (the fleet that came to stay) in place to support the 6th Marine Division despite lethal and soul sucking strikes by Japanese kamikaze pilots.

Photo: Kamikaze attack. Courtesy US National Archive

The Battle for Sugar Loaf Hill took seven days. Marines sent wave after wave of brave young men up the hill, each knowing not everyone would make it to the top. Like so many before and after they went anyway.

Photo: 6th Division Marines. Courtesy US National Archive

Over the seven day battle 2,662 Marines were killed or wounded. On the anniversary of the start of the battle, May 12, 2020, the United States lost 1,652 Americans; on May 18, 2020, the anniversary of victory at Sugar Loaf Hill, the United States lost 846. During the anniversary period of seven days Covid-19 killed 8,822 Americans. Think about that.

Photo: US Marine Casualties. Courtesy US National Archive

I served as an Intelligence Analyst for twenty-three years in the U.S. Air Force alongside Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines, I was in Fallujah with the Marines in 2005, and I provided intelligence planning to Special Operations Forces for the majority of my career. These brave warriors would have all charged up Sugar Loaf Hill without question for their country, for their brothers and sisters-in-arms. They feared no weapon, no person. What they did fear, however, was the threat they could not see; bacteria and viruses.

Photo: Covid-19. Courtesy Center for Disease Control

As intelligence support to operations I would research Area of Operations medical threats such as dengue fever, malaria, and yellow fever. I would brief special forces on numbers of opposition, tactics, and weapon types but it was almost always “yeah, yeah, what shots do I need?” The tiny bugs scared them the most. Today our most special of forces are our frontline medical staff equally fearful of a tiny little virus.

Photo: Courtesy ABC News

On Dec 5, 2020 the United States lost 2,256 Americans to Covid-19 and is on pace to match or increase that total for Dec 6th and Dec 7th, the date that will live in infamy.

Photo: Courtesy US National Archive

Covid-19 is a battle our nation is fighting and right now we are losing that battle. In total, as of writing this article, we have lost 280,135 Americans according to the Center for Disease Control and still counting. To place this number in perspective that is more than the United States lost to combat in World War One (116,516), Korea (36,574), Vietnam (58,209), Iraq (4,576), and Afghanistan (2,420) combined.

Photo: Courtesy Arlington National Cemetery

Throughout our glorious history our nation has sacrificed on the battlefield for liberty and freedom for all; the Battle of the Bulge, Chosen Reservoir, Hue, Fallujah, Sangin, and Sugar Hill but Covid-19 may likely be our nation’s last great battle.

Photo: Courtesy Yahoo News



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J. Lee Graves

J. Lee Graves

Writer. Retired Air Force Senior NCO & Intelligence Analyst. Combat veteran 🎖 I write Science Fiction, Horror, Westerns, and a bit about life & stuff.