Winding down in Peleliu and the long venture home...

Tuesday, March 28

Day Two in Peleliu….The day began with a tour of the temporary museum. The artifacts, ordnance, rifles, maps, mannequins (with mostly reproduction items) and photos are OK but need a home.

The original location was a massive blockhouse that US forces did their best to destroy and has lots of ordnance hanging around.

We were told day two would be quite strenuous including treacherous steep climbing to cover a significant portion of the Umurbrogol Ridge better known to US Army and Marine troops as "Bloody Nose Ridge." 

He was not kidding as the undergrowth was dense and the leaves and huge vines insured you'd have to be very careful where you stepped. I bet we covered three miles of this terrain, but man was it worth it. 

There were relics everywhere...

and countless caves many with huge guns and sniper pits to protect the flanks.

 We were allowed to explore some of the caves, and you never knew what you are going to run into. 

We were able to climb to the top with one of the few flights of stairs (122 but who is counting).

The observation area at the top gives you a breathtaking view of the invasion beaches and has a significant monument.

On our way to the last set of caves, we stopped by more wrecked LCTs, etc...

Our last lengthy stop was another significant series of caves with room for supplies, ammo and living quarters and a hospital room. This was flanked by nine gun ports pointing at one of the beaches.

What is hard to believe is that such a tranquil location could have been set up as a killing field just a short 78 years ago. 

Getting home was quite a challenge. We got picked up at our hotel in Koror at midnight. We had a 3:10 AM departure and a two hour flight to Guam. There was only one hour until the flight to Honolulu, and we had to go through immigration and customs, etc. I actually had to use a QR scan for the very first time for the embarkation code. I was very nervous that it wouldn't go through but, sure enough, they scanned it and it worked.

 Then, there was a seven hour overnight flight across the International Date Line to Honolulu. 

It was 6PM when we arrived. It was sort of an out of body experience.

I did have almost a full day back in Honolulu and I took advantage of that to visit the US Army Museum of Hawaii at Fort DeRussy. It is extremely well done and very nicely laid out. It traces the history of the Hawaiian Islands and covers all eras of the US military involvement up through Vietnam. I strongly encourage anyone visiting Honolulu to make this a must see stop on your trip. Here are a series of self-explanatory photos. 

Finally, the last two legs of my trip home on March 29th were a 7 hour flight from Honolulu to Dallas/Fort Worth Airport and then on to Boston where my family was anxious to meet me at the airport. I was very glad to see them.

In closing, I can truly say the following:


  • The trip was postponed for three years due to covid but it was certainly worth the wait!


  • The organization and leadership were excellent overall.


  • My travel companions were fantastic people to be with and I made a lot of friends.


  • It's hard to believe but overall, in the 13 days of whirlwind travel, I covered over 20,000 miles and crossed 14 time zones including the International Date Line, but it was worth it.


  • I took ten flights and numerous bus shuttles and four speedboat rides, but it was worth it.


  • The World War II Foundation shot enough footage for more than one film. They are really professional and I encourage you to access their website.


  • I accomplished all of my goals, objectives and dreams.


  • I can cross this off my bucket list!

As I was leaving Iwo Jima, with the sun setting, I felt it a perfect time to take this shot.

This has been a once in a lifetime trip, and I hope you enjoyed joining me on this ride.