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U.S. Marines kneel in tribute to their fallen comrades after the bloody battle that preceded the American invasion of Tarawa. Father C. C. Riedel, USMC, of Chicago, says mass., November 1943
Vintage ferrotyped gelatin silver print on paper

Creation Place: Oceania
Technique: Photography
Credit Line: Restricted gift of Michael Mattis, Judy Hochberg, Fernando Barnuevo and Gloria Ybarra
Accession Number: P2020.6.24

Provenance
Purchased by the Benton Museum of Art at Pomona College on August 12, 2020 from Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York.

Commentary
Mass on Tarawa: After the smoke of the bloody battle that preceded the American invasion of Tarawa cleared, this photo was taken. Marines kneel in tribute to their fallen comrades. Father C. C. Riedel, USMC, of Chicago, says mass. Father Henry Jolivelm, kneeling, is a French priest who escaped from the Japanese on Tarawa. Father Jolivelm acts as an altar boy. The altar is made up of a gun carriage.

The Battle of Tarawa took place at the Tarawa Atoll in the Gilbert Islands. It was part of Operation Galvanic, the U.S. invasion of the Gilberts. Nearly 6,400 Japanese, Koreans, and Americans died in the fighting, mostly on and around the small island of Betio, in the extreme southwest of Tarawa Atoll. The Battle of Tarawa was the first American offensive in the critical Central Pacific region. It was also the first time in the Pacific War that the United States had faced serious Japanese opposition to an amphibious landing. Previous landings met little or no initial resistance, but on Tarawa, the 4,500 Japanese defenders were well supplied and well prepared. The Japanese fought almost to the last man, exacting a heavy toll on the United States Marine Corps. The losses on Tarawa were incurred within 76 hours.

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