Sprawled bodies of American soldiers on the beach of Tarawa atoll testify to the ferocity of the battle for this stretch of sand during the U.S. invasion of the Gilbert Islands, in late November 1943. During the 3-day Battle of Tarawa, some 1,000 U.S. Marines died, and another 687 U.S. Navy sailors lost their lives when the USS Liscome Bay was sunk by a Japanese torpedo.
LtCmdr. Gerald R. "Jerry" Ford, U.S. Navy 1942-46. He earned the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with nine engagement stars for operations in the Gilbert Islands, Bismarck Archipelago, Marshall Islands, Asiatic and Pacific carrier raids, Hollandia, Marianas, Western Carolines, Western New Guinea, and the Leyte Operation, the Philippine Liberation Medal w/2 bronze stars. 38th U.S. President 1974-77. 40th U.S. Vice President 1973-74. U.S. Rep. (R-MI) 1949-73.