Maurice "Moe" Vail, 90, of Bay Village, served with the 6th Marine Division during the invasion of Okinawa in World War II. He was awarded two Purple Hearts.
The Marines were cruising into their own corner of hell for the invasion of Okinawa, a battle that would ultimately cost 82,000 casualties on both sides.
Vail's regiment started the campaign with 3,512 Marines. Some 2,812 would be killed or wounded, including Vail, who was awarded two Purple Hearts.
The Japanese allowed the Marines and U.S. Army forces to land with little opposition, waiting for them to approach their inland fortifications.
Vail was wounded twice. The first time he didn't even notice that a bit of shrapnel, or a bullet, had nicked his ear until a buddy pointed out that the side of his head was covered in blood.
The second time was at a small rise the Marines named "Sugar Loaf Hill." The elevation was heavily defended. (For this action and others on Okinawa, the division would be awarded a Presidential Unit Citation.)
It's a sense of pride and patriotism that Vail said could found on Okinawa, where he never had any doubts as to the outcome of the battle or the war, as Brian Albrecht, Cleveland.com's journalist, reported in his feature story.