A Soldier's Story: Sergeant Joseph Barnard Adkison

A Marine's Story: Corporal Eugene Bondurant Sledge

 



Corporal Eugene Bondurant Sledge was born on November 4, 1923, in Mobile, Alabama. He graduated from Murphy High School in 1942.  e attended the Marion Military Institute that autumn before he left school to enlist in the US Marine Corps in December 1942, despite having had rheumatic fever as a child. 

Corporal Sledge was assigned to the Officer's Training program and sent to Georgia Institute of Technology, but afraid he would spend the entirety of World War II in training, Corporal Eugene Bondurant Sledge deliberately washed out of Officer's Training and transferred to the 5th Marines as a 60 MM Mortarman.

He deployed to the Pacific Theater and spent most of the war fighting in Peleliu and Okinawa. After fighting ceased, Corporal Eugene Bondurant Sledge was assigned to Bejing to assist the Chiang Kai-shek government after the occupation of the Japanese army. He finished his service in February 1946.

After World War II, Corporal Eugene B. Sledge enrolled at Auburn University, graduating in 1946 with a bachelor's in Business Administration and as a member of Phi Delta Theta. He also took up the hobby of bird watching, finding it challenging to hunt after the war. 

In 1956, Corporal Eugene Bondurant Sledge enrolled in the University of Flordia for graduate studies in Biology, earning his doctorate in 1960. He worked for the Florida State Department of Agriculture, Division of Plant Industry until 1962 when he returned to Alabama.

After his return to Alabama, he taught Zoology and Ornithology at the University of Montevallo (formerly Alabama College) until his retirement in 1996.

Corporal Eugene Bondurant Sledge struggled a bit with his World War II experiences throughout his life and, at the urging of his wife, began writing about his experiences, using the notes he had written during the war in the margins of a pocket-sized bible. "With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa" was published in 1981, a book featured in the 1992 PBS documentary "Peleliu 1944: Horror in the Pacific". The book was also the inspiration for HBO's series the Pacific. Corporal Eugene Bondurant Sledge was played by the actor Joseph Mazzello.  

In 2002, a posthumous memoir, "China Marine: An Infantryman's Life After WWII," was published, which detailed his service in Bejing and his struggle with PTSD.

Corporal Eugene Bondurant Sledge died on March 3, 2001, and rests at the Pine Crest Cemetery in Mobile, Alabama.



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