This is not a page from a history book, not an account of a battle. It is the simple narrative of an experience in battle; like combat itself such a narrative is bound to be personal, confused, benumbed and in its deepest sense lonely. D-morning, 15 September, 1944, I landed on Peleliu Island, about fifteen minutes after the first troops hit the beach, with marines under command of Captain Frank Farrell, Headquarters Company, Seventh Regiment. I remained with Farrell and his men under fire for the first thirty-two hours of the assault. As a Life War Artist my purpose in going ashore was to record the United States Marines in combat.
On the beach I found it impossible to do any sketching or writing; my work there consisted of trying to keep from getting killed and trying to memorize what I saw and felt under fire. On the evening of D-plus-one I returned to a naval vessel offshore where I could record in my sketch book the burden of this memory. Before my hand steadied I put down the words and pictures that compose this book. The narrative is printed here as I first wrote it except for minor chronological rearrangement. The sketches are untouched.
Prologue to Peleliu Landing by Tom Lea, El Paso: Carl Hertzog, 1945.