Japanese RAdmiral Keiji Shibasaki was commander of the 3rd Special Base Defense Force, the tokubetsu Konkyochitai, who was responsible for defending the Ocean, the Gilberts and the Nauru Islands. During the US invasion, he gave his orders from a concrete bunker on Betio. He should have stayed there. He was killed when he moved his staff to a secondary headquarters.
In choppy seas and heavy winds, the LVTs (aka Amtraks) moved in. Destroyers Ringgold and Dashiell followed the minesweepers Requiste and Pursuit who went into the shallow waters of the lagoon with Lt. Forbes Webster and Stanley Page (of the RNZ Navy), as their pilots.
Japanese Warrant Officer, Ota recalled, “We could see the American landing craft coming towards us like dozens of spiders over the surface of the water. One of my men exclaimed, ‘The God of Death…
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