Tanks and pups
Private Bruce Rutherford and Puppies, Okinawa, 1 June 1945.
The caption on this photograph reads “Housing Problem-On hand to greet their master when he returned from the front lines on Okinawa were these puppies, Nansi, Shoto, Sake, Zero, Banzai, and Okinawa. They present a housing problem to Marine tankman Private Bruce Rutherford, of Bristol, Tenn.” From the Photograph Collection (COLL/3948), Marine Corps Archives & Special Collections
OFFICIAL USMC PHOTOGRAPH.
Rutherford was likely a member of the 1st Marine Tank Battalion, which saw horrible losses on the assault on Okinawa. Beginning on 1 April 1945, the battalion was actively engaged in wresting control of the island fortress from the Japanese. The ferocity of the fighting is witnessed by the fact that the unit suffered 28 tanks destroyed and 163 damaged. When you consider these were M4A2s and the Japanese had little effective armor, you can see the problem– and why Rutherford wanted to keep that beautiful Thompson M1 submachine gun as clean as possible.