About the author
Arthur W. Wells enlisted as a Marine July 1940 and attended boot camp in San Diego. He was sent to "C" Company, 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, Second Marine Brigade, an infantry regiment. A company senior non-commissioned officer encouraged him to enroll at the U.S. Naval Academy.
To attend the academy, an enlisted Marine was required to serve nine months of sea duty in a capital ship of the U.S. Navy. Capital ships were battleships, aircraft carriers and cruisers. But, before ship duty, enlisted Marines had to attend sea school. Wells graduated and boarded the battleship USS Pennsylvania, flagship of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, in April 1941. The ship’s home port was Pearl Harbor.
Wells was wounded when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. He transferred to the USS New Mexico, also a battleship, as the senior non-commissioned officer with Vice-Admiral William Pye’s Marine Flag Detachment.
After a tour of the South Pacific, his next unit was the Marine Barracks Navy Yard, Pearl Harbor. It was followed by the First Defense Battalion on tiny Palmyra Island which, along with Johnston, Midway and Wake Islands, was used by the U.S. to aid its defense.
The Marine Corps created the first and second Marine amphibian truck (DUKW) companies in December 1943. Wells joined Second Company pioneering the watercraft nicknamed "ducks." The novel craft operated on land and sea.
Encountering battle with their ducks, Second DUKW was the first WWII Marine company to land on Japanese soil -- Saipan -- June 15, 1944. The DUKWs invaded Tinian July 24, and Okinawa April 1, 1945. Wells gives first-hand accounts of the DUKWs in his book, The Quack Corps.
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