Navigate / search

This month in Alabama History: June 23, 1945

Eugene Sledge on Okinawa, 1945.

Cpl. Eugene B. Sledge helped secure the island of Okinawa on this date after 82 consecutive days of combat during World War II. A native of Mobile, Sledge is internationally renowned for his 1981 memoir With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa, which graphically portrays combat in the Pacific Theater. The memoir was used as source material for Ken Burns’ 2007 PBS documentary “The War” and HBO’s 2010 miniseries “The Pacific.” He joined the biology faculty at the University of Montevallo in 1970 and taught for 20 years. As an avid lifelong ornithologist, he led bird-watching expeditions in Montevallo and other parts of the state. His second memoir, China Marine: An Infantryman’s Life after World War II, was published posthumously in 2002, and he was inducted into the Alabama Men’s Hall of Fame in 2013.