Frank V. Gardner

Rookie (2 December 1922 - / Washington, D. C.)

Not Any Other Landing Force - Poem by Frank V. Gardner

They called us Landing Force, Air Support
Control Unit One:
Marines who knew the difference 'tween
A rifle and a gun.
We specialized in radio,
Some radar business too.
To dig ourselves in better,
Had our own construction crew

We could build our team a CIC;
That's done in no time flat.
Our pilots on the ground with us
Advised those in the air
Just how to hit their targets best;
They were so good at that.

At Miramar we trained,
And went ashore at Coronado,
To practice beach-head landings,
Where United States Marines go.

From there, eight score of us
Proceeded west by ocean trips,
To land on far off islands
From nine oceangoing ships.

We hit the beach at Saipan as
Our first encounter then,
And on that tragic island we
Would lose two of our men.

We gave air warning to our troops,
As fighting raged around.
We shed our blood, we mourned our dead,
Amid the battle sound.

In four weeks we secoured Saipan;
Our unit first to leave,
With fifteen hundred prisoners
Hawaii would receive.

Because the need for 'quick air warning'
Now was overcome,
Four dozen of us went to
'Air Support, ' as 'Unit One.'

As Landing Force, Air Support
Control Unit One,
We got to Honolulu, where
We had a bit of fun.

The next place we assaulted
Was for 'aviation' sake,
Where three Marine divisions had
Those three airfields to take.

'Twas living hell on Iwo Jima's
Black, volcanic sand;
But 'ere that battle finished
We received a new command.
We joined a huge armada
That was headed westerly:
Twelve hundred ships, the greatest
Ocean fleet in history.

On Okinawa we were met with
Hide-and-seeker tactics,
While Navy guns were shooting down
Young Japanese fanatics.
As kamikazes struck our fleet,
And sunk three dozen ships,
We 'grunts' ashore were searching out
A hundred thousand Nips.

That slaughter lasted eighty days,
And would you still believe:
The Forty Eight of Unit One,
Again, the first to leave?

We made it home for Christmas, yes,
For all we had been through.
To say our unit was unique,
I don't mind telling you.

So, what's the point in all of this?
What's this telling for at all?
Well, those three island battles were
The bloodiest of all.

Not any other landing force
Could claim what we had done:
Hit Saipan.... Iwo.... Okinawa:
We, the only one!


Saipan: June and July - 1944
Iwo Jima: February and March - 1945
Okinawa: April, May, and June - 1945

(Written during July 1985, in Falls Church, Virginia,20 years after the war ended.)


Comments about Not Any Other Landing Force by Frank V. Gardner

  • (1/8/2006 3:58:00 PM)


    I think it's important to tell your story..........it happened and people need to hear about it from these first-hand accounts. A very good telling here Frank. I found this very interesting. Sincerely, mary (Report) Reply

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  • (1/21/2005 12:20:00 AM)


    Thanks Frank,

    loved the simplicity, the flow and the story! ! ! Look fwd to reading more of you.

    Pls ignore the lefty, trendy, unawarranted comments of some, ; those who never served anything, apart from themselves - pariahs who enjoy the freedoms your mates fought and died for.

    Your sacrifices yesterday, gave us our freedom today. I do not believe you are being racist or war-mongering. You are telling your story - that's what is important.

    Those os us who went to war neither enjoyed it or ever get over it properly. What is insulting, is people who decry your service and your sacrafice, with their 'politoical correctness.'

    If Herbert had ever been to war he would know, but he hasn't and he doesn't know - never will. And the irony of it is - those of who did go to war, did it in the hope his kind never would have to go to war!

    And, these 'armchair commentators, ' - 'the men who come from behind, ' to quote Henry Lawson, will always be with us, , sheltering beind us, cowering in their intellectual hideouts.

    Best Wishes,

    Charles Flesfader
    ret'd CPO, Royal Australian Navy
    Amphibious Forces
    (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Poem Edited: Friday, March 30, 2012


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