340 E Main St, Fredericksburg, TX 78624
That 2,000-Yard Stare, 1944 Oil on canvas, 36" x 28" U.S. Army Center for Military History, Washington, D.C. © James D. Lea
Tom Lea was an artist correspondent during World War II, traveling over 100,000 miles. He was aboard the USS Hornet in the South Pacific and landed on Peleliu with the 7th Marines. There are many videos, artifacts and images presented at this museum and a reproduction of Tom Lea’s That 2,000 Yard Stare introduces visitors to the bloody beaches of Peleliu.
“At sundown I started back toward the now crowded beach, hoping to find a ride to a ship beyond the range of fire offshore, where my fingers could grip a pencil more steadily and I could fulfill the purpose of my own Peleliu landing, shaping pictures and words.
I left my friends in the long shadows on the coral grit by the mangled trees. We gave handshakes and grins, of a meaning that to this day remains ineffable.
On the way to the beach I had to pass by sick bay. It was still in the big shellhole, with the torn men on the stretchers, on the ground. I passed by a tattered marine standing too quietly by a corpsman, staring stiffly at nothing. His mind had crumbled in battle, his jaw hung, and his eyes were like two black empty holes in his head. Down on the beach I walked past the long, long line of dead marines under the tarpaulins. A far flurry of artillery fire and a stutter – burst of high staccato from a Nambu worried the smoky air. A mortar shell hit cracking in the trees. The Coxswain stopped a DUKW to let me climb in and we churned out to catch an LCVP in deeper water beyond the reef,” (A Picture Gallery, Brown and Company, 1968, pp. 94).