As the Marines prepare to attack the airfield they grow dehydrated and suffer severe casualties while crossing the airfield; Leckie is evacuated; Sledge confesses his fear and begins writing about his experience.
Basilone's fame grows on his war bond tour with starlet Virginia Grey; veteran soldiers warn Sledge that war isn't glamorous and he soon sees his first fighting, as the Japanese inflict heavy casualties.
Sledge has a moment of respite before getting entangled in a vicious battle, as a loss rattles their company and Sledge almost crosses an ethical line; Basilone grows increasingly unhappy on his war bond tour.
Restless at home, Basilone pushes for a more active role and is put in charge of training new recruits, where he falls for Sgt Lena Riggi. After their training, Basilone leads his men to Iwo Jima.
The Marines encounter civilians during battle for the first time; a death proves devastating for the soldiers; Sledge is again faced with morally difficult situations; upon securing Okinawa, the men hear a new type of bomb has been dropped.
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