This is in response to David E. Steinberg’s letter, “WWII end near before bombs dropped on Japan” (AJP, 7/12/13).
I’m a World War II Navy veteran. In late spring 1945, my unit (all 10 of us) was awaiting deployment orders in San Bruno, Calif., when unexpectedly we were transferred to a small area located in San Francisco Bay near Alcatraz known as Tiburon.
We were attached to a Marine unit and introduced to a Marine major, our commanding officer. Non-coms (drill sergeants) told us we were being trained for the invasion of Japan itself.
Frequently we were told by these experienced Marine veterans that the Japanese were fierce fighters and would literally fight to the death to defend their homeland. Some drill sergeants told us casualties would be very high on both sides.
Later the general figure established by military authorities was approximately 1 1/2 to 2 million lives would be lost.
Our barracks erupted in cheers on the evening of Aug. 6, 1945, when Armed Forces Radio announced, “A super bomb exploded on the Japanese city of Hiroshima, with much damage, and many casualties.”
Three days later, the same barracks eruption re Nagasaki.
I truly believe that President Truman’s actions saved countless lives, on all sides.
In later years I became an Honorary Fellow at the Truman Library in Independence, Mo., and all the papers issued by the library confirm that the dropping of the bombs saved millions of lives. Probably mine as well.