Lewis Puller enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 1918 at the age of twenty. That day he and the Corps formed a bond that would forever link them together in history. "Chesty" received his nickname for his barrel chest, but he became a legend in his own time while serving valiantly in Haiti, Nicaragua, the Pacific during WW2, and Korea. His record of earning five Navy Crosses for valor has never been matched, nor has his place in Marine Corps history as one of the finest combat officers ever. Good night, Chesty Puller, wherever you are!


Friday, August 27, 2010

Merriel "Snafu" Shelton -- WW2 Marine

Rami Malek as Merriel "Snafu" Shelton
Merriel "Snafu" Shelton was one of Eugene Sledge's fellow soldiers. He got his nickname from his cocky personality and demeanor. Though he has already had some humanity beaten out of him by his introduction, he slowly loses even more of his humanity as the series goes on.

Snafu was born in Louisiana. He enlisted in the Marines at some point, and served along with Burgin on Cape Gloucester.

Snafu is first seen in a cabin with De L'Eau and Burgin. He is later seen supervising new recruits Eugene Sledge, Bill Leyden, and Robert Oswalt clean oil drums.

Messing with the new replacments

He later participates in the Battle of Peleliu, where he is later seen prying a dead Japanese soldier's jaw right off the skull to get some gold teeth right in front of Eugene Sledge.

Snafu is later part of the Airfield assault, though he pays almost no major role in this episode. He asks Sledge for a smoke, which Sledge obliges. It is here that Snafu gives Sledge the nickname "Sledgehammer".

The real Merriel "Snafu" Shelton

He later becomes part of the marines that fight in the Peleliu hills led by Capt. Haldane. At one time, Snafu throws rocks into the partially destroyed cranium of a dead Japanese soldier. It is here that we see Sledge almost getting reduced to Snafu's level, about to cut off another Japanese corpse's jaw. Snafu stops him, maybe because he doesn't want to let Sledge become like him in a glimpse of humanity, even though all he says is that there are germs that spread diseases in the corpses, so Sledge cuts off a patch instead. Snafu is then seen going back to Pavavu with the rest of his unit, and he is presumably one of the soldiers swimming just off the shores of Pavavu.

Sledge and Snafu attacking the enemy

Snafu's unit is later called upon to assist in the Battle of Okinawa, where Snafu is first seen exchanging his old poncho for replacement Pvt. Peck's poncho which leads to some problems later. He is the same as he always is. Eventually, Snafu watches as Hamm is killed in a botched suicide attempt by Hamm's fellow replacement Pvt. Peck, and in a rare show of emotion, he holds a poncho in remorse. Snafu is later seen with Sledge looking into a house where a crying baby and a dying woman are the sole survivors of a mortar shelling. Snafu leaves without learning of the woman, and Sledge walks out some time later. Snafu is later seen questioning Sledge about his cigarette lighter. Sledge then tells Snafu that it used to belong to GySgt. Haney, slightly surprising Snafu and Burgin. Snafu is last seen leaving in a truck. Snafu is later seen celebrating Victory in Japan Day with his friends, Sledge and Burgin.

Rami Malek and some Real Marines

Snafu, Sledge, and Burgin later return to their respectivie homes in a train. Burgin goes out first, and Snafu soon follows that night. While leaving, he noticeably wanted to talk to Sledge before doing so, but Sledge was fast asleep. Snafu instead then leaves the train holding his tongue and never speaking to his friends again for 35 years until Sledge released his memiors, "With the Old Breed At Peleliu and Okinawa". Snafu stayed in Louisiana and worked in the lumber business, married, and had three sons.

Snafu Shelton, Paul Wright, and Eugene Sledge at a Marine reunion

Snafu died in 1993. Contrary to popular rumor, Eugene Sledge did not serve as one of the pallbearers in his funeral. (source WIKIA )

Rami Malek and Merriel Shelton

God Bless You Snafu!

1 comment:

mail said...

8/28/2010

Hello,

Because of the interest in HBO’s acclaimed series The Pacific and the fact that Eugene Sledge was the featured character in the series, I thought you might be interested in the following.

Kenwood Productions’ award-winning documentary film, Peleliu 1944: Horror in the Pacific, has been released in DVD (produced in 1991, it has been long unavailable). Against a backdrop of rare archival film footage and photographs, the story of the Battle of Peleliu is told as never before by E. B. Sledge (author of With the Old Breed at Peleliu and Okinawa and featured in Ken Burns’ film The War, seen on PBS, and the upcoming HBO mini-series The Pacific), Bill Leyden, R. V. Burgin, and Jay de l’Eau (who are also characterized in The Pacific.) HBO licensed portions of Kenwoods’ exclusive Eugene Sledge interview to support their production of the The Pacific.

Peleliu 1944: Horror in the Pacific tells the true story of the men of Company K, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment and the ferocious Battle of Peleliu, “an island on fire.” In conditions that tested the sanity of each man, 9,000 Marines attacked 10,000 battle-hardened Japanese soldiers dug into hundreds of fortified and reinforced coral and limestone caves. Twenty-eight days of unrelenting battle with no quarter asked or given.

The Battle of Peleliu is as harrowing as any in the history of modern warfare. A battle of total annihilation fought in inhuman conditions.

To see film clips and get more information on this, and other Kenwood Productions’ films, go to www.americanherofilm.com.

After viewing the clips, we hope you’ll agree with the viewers who said the film “should be required viewing by every veteran or enthusiast” and “hearing the veterans speak and tell their stories was so powerful, it was all woven together with excellent narration and footage. Just hearing Eugene Sledge tell his stories is priceless.” Historian Paul Fussel wrote “One of the cassettes [of Peleliu 1944] I’m donating to the Imperial War Museum here so that the British will have some idea of the costs of the Pacific war. The other I’ll treasure forever, and with thanks always to you and to Gene Sledge.”

If you have questions or would like more information contact us at mail@americanherofilm.com or by phone at (612) 812-9489.

Thank you.

Jeff Hohman
Producer
Kenwood Productions, Inc.

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