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Photographer's Note

A testiment and haunting reminder of war; a rusted American Amphibious Tank lays sitting in the lagoon just off of Kilili Beach in Susupe, Saipan. There are several of them that for 60+ years have waged their own battles with salt water, changing tides and fierce typhoons, yet still solid as ever.

Twenty-eight U. S. tanks were destroyed the first day alone. The Japanese positioned colored flags in the lagoon to mark the range of the landing force and then turned their howitzers on the invaders. By nightfall of the first day, the Second Marine Division had sustained 2,000 casualties. The fighting continued until July 9th, when organized resistance on Saipan ceased.

When wading out, I had little opportunity to compose anything other then random shots as I was neck deep for most of the way (high tide). So with camera high above my head trying to gain a closer inspection, I fired off and hoped for the best. Also, thoughts went through my head as to how or why the tank stopped where it did when I was making my little journey. Was it stopped by a land mine of sorts, was I to suffer a similar fate. That may be a little dramatic, but it was truly a thought at the forefront of my mind. The lagoon is littered with all types of army memorabilia: several tanks, guns and ammunitions, helmets all lie in silent testimony to mankinds destruction. I suspect there is still a very real danger to the unwary diver or souvenir hunter today.

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Additional Photos by Brendon Hicks (Brendon) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 81 W: 9 N: 61] (289)
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