Saturday, June 22, 2013

June 19, 1945; Okinawa's Capture Is At Hand



Dies in Watching
Campaign Windup

GUAM, Tuesday, June 19—(AP)—Lt. Gen. Simon Bolivar Buckncr Jr., brusque 58-year-old white-haired commander of the U. S. Tenth Army, was killed instantly on Okinawa yesterday afternoon. He was in the front lines watching Marines doggedly battle fanatically resisting Japanese in a final phase of the then 79-day old campaign. Buckncr was hit while observing a spearheading attack by the reinforced eighth regimental combat team from the Second Marine division. The combat team, under command of Brig. Gen. L. 0. Hunt—veteran of Guadalcanal and other Pacific campaigns—had made a predawn assault in the Marine sector of southwestern Okinawa. This was the first disclosure that the Eighth Marines were on Okinawa.

The general, one of the Army's most colorful officers, could see the end of the campaign from his observation point in the battle lines. Ahead, Japanese were breaking and troops were fleeing in the open toward cliffs at the southern end of the peninsula.


Nimitz Says-
Capture Is
'At Hand



GUAM, Tuesday, June 19

— (AP)—Fleet Adm. Chester W. Nimitz in effect reported the capture of Okinawa today as he announced the death in action there yesterday of the Tenth Army commander, Lt. Gen. Simon Bolivar Buckner Jr., "on the day of victory on which he gallantly met a soldier's death."

Nimitz's communique, however, carefully omitted announcing that Okinawa, last rung of a ladder reaching across the Pacific from the United States to Japan's doorstep,, had been "secured" in a military sense.

Buckner, colorful general who spent many months planning the Okinawa campaign at Nimitz’s Pearl Harbor headquarters last year, was killed by a Japanese shellburst as he stood in the Marine sector's front lines. Ahead, he could see broken Japanese forces fleeing across open ground toward cliffs
at the southwestern tip of Okinawa,

Marine Maj. Gen. Roy S. Geiger, commander of the marine third amphibious corps on Okinawa, was given commander of the Tenth Army immediately upon Buckner's death. Geiger, currently – nominated for Lieutenant-General, was co;amender of all Allied aircraft In the Solomons  In the Guadalcanal campaign.






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