In the next two segments of the miniseries we see the results of riding the roller coaster of wartime emotions…from joy and life to horror and death…it is a tough life for young soldiers, some are able to handle the ride though they are forever changed…and some never recover or come home…
Part 3…After four months of harrowing combat on the jungle island of Guadalcanal, the First Marine Division is sent to Melbourne, Australia, to rest up and refit for future combat operations. The young Marines are looked upon as the saviors of Australia from Japanese invasion and with many of Australia’s young men overseas in combat…the Australian women are naturally enthralled with the Marines. Leckie finds himself in a deep relationship with a young Aussie named Stella.
He meets her on a streetcar when in a slightly inebriated state he slips and falls (literally) at her feet. Stella quips, “Proposing already Yank!” “I’m proposing that we take a walk,” replies Leckie, “You never know what the future may bring.”
As is true in wartime, folks tend to grab whatever happiness they can…but Stella thinks to the future and can’t quite see one in which Leckie returns to her (either his death or return to America). She breaks off their relationship and Leckie is devastated and heart broken. He goes on a larger knee-bender and finds himself in the brig after an altercation with an officer.
John Basilone finds himself receiving the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions on Guadalcanal and is told he is being sent back to the States for a war bond tour…He is not happy, but orders are orders…the rest of the First Marine Division now prepares to embark for more serious adventures…
Part Four…Eugene Sledge finally enlists in the Marines after telling his father, “I’m enlisting tomorrow. I’d do it tonight if they were open…I don’t need your permission father.” He heads to Marine training and soon finds himself learning to fire mortars.
Leckie finds himself back in combat on the island of New Britain, but his battle is about to take a different slant as he writes, “Dear Vera, We haven’t seen a Jap for two weeks now…they got smart and got out of this God forsaken spot. Now our enemy is the jungle itself…the jungle and the rain…” The horrors and stress of war, weather and disease began to impact the young Marines significantly.
Leckie finds himself sent to a hospital for observation and then is put into the psych ward. He asks to be sent back to his combat unit, as he sees it as the only way to fight the madness that is attempting to overcome him.