World War II Veteran: Al Rolfes

After landing on Saipan in June of 1944, First Lieutenant Al Rolfes had dug in above Tannipeg harbor.


In November of 1943, Second Lieutenant Al Rolfes of La Mars was approaching Makin Island with his platoon. Now 24 years-old, he had been drafted in February of 1942 and assigned to Company E of the 165 Infantry Regiment of the 27th Infantry Division.

(Rolfes) We didn't know what was going to happen. We had never been in combat. We had too much naval gunfire. They pre shelled and strafed it with aircraft beach area that we were landing on. And, I didn't think there could be a mosquito left out there, you know.

As his landing craft approached the beach, the boat's commander yelled final instructions to Rolfes.

(Rolfes)Then all of a sudden he yelled at me, said. "Lieutenant, you are going to be on your own." And we were starting to slow down. We were touching reef, you know. We had heave loads a tank and. . . He dropped the ramp and I went head-over-heels in the water. Well any way, we came up spitting water. And it was wavable. They were shooting at us out in the water, two or three, as we were heading in.

Iowa PBS