Of all the scores of war movies I’ve seen over the decades, not one has had a scene in which combat troops pass a bottle around before the shooting starts. To punch up their courage. You’d think at least one war film would attempt a scene in this vein, but nope. Martin Sheen drinks in his Saigon hotel room at the beginning of Apocalypse Now but not during the journey upriver. Charlie Sheen and Willem Dafoe get ripped on pot in Platoon, but not just prior to battle.
In ‘04 James Wells, a Marine lieutenant who fought Japanese troops during the battles of Guadalcanal and Iwo Jima, was interviewed at Rutgers University, his alma mater, about…well, his whole life but mainly his college and wartime experiences.
A day or two ago Jett found a transcript of the interview. Here’s one of my dad’s recollections. It happened just before his division was about to land on the beaches of Iwo Jima: