nurses in world war 1:
First Lieutenant Merril F. McLane, Corporal Howard L. Cox, and “Motobu”, Okinawa, 1945
Image by Jared Enos
From left to right: Marine First Lieutenant Merril F. McLane (6th Marine Division), Japanese war dog Motobu, Corporal Howard L. Cox (6th Marine Division).
Motobu, the German Shepherd pictured, was a Japanese war dog stationed in Motobu, Okinawa, upon which one of the bloodiest battles in the Pacific Theater was to be waged.
On April 1st, 1945, XXIV corps and III Amphibious Corps were the first to land on the Hagushi beaches. The 6th Marine Division’s (part of III Amphibious Corps) initial objective was the capture of Yontan Airfield and the protection of the north flank. These objectives were met with surprising ease, as the Japanese battalion that occupied the area gave little resistance.Twelve days ahead of schedule, the 6th Marine Division was already approaching Ishikawa, and only a few days later the division swept through the northern Ishikawa Isthmus.
Already, the 6th Marine Division was approaching Motobu, but their stroke of luck inevitably came to an end when the division discovered the majority of the Udo Force dug in at Yae-Take. Yet, after some of the hardest fighting yet to be seen on the Pacific island, US forces succeeded in pushing through.
The fighting at Motobu was savage; three battalions attacks from the west, and two from the east. Every man, be him private or general, who traveled to the front lines carried either five gallons of water or a case of ammunition. Anyone who left the front lines was tasked with bearing stretchers. One April 15 alone, one company of the 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines suffered 65 casualties, three of which were company commanders.
After five more days of relentless fighting, General Shepherd declared the Motobu Peninsula secured. 207 Marines were killed and 757 wounded in battle.
The German Shepherd in the photo, Motobu, was found shortly after the battle. He was suffering from severe shell shock; lying nearly unconscious under a rock, the dog was unable to stand and find his way to a nearby stream to drink. Lieutenant McLane, who found Motobu, fetched some water and, with the help of Corporal Howard L. Cox, nursed the dog back to an acceptable condition.
I have no information pertaining to the fate of McLane, Cox, or Motobu, unfortunately.