The View from My Foxhole: A Marine Private’s Firsthand World War II Combat Experience from Guadalcanal to Iwo Jima


After the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, millions of young American men were eager to join up and defend their country. William Swanson was among them.

The View from My Foxhole tells William Swanson’s story of fighting in the jungles of Bougainville and Guam and the ash heap of Iwo Jima. Through it he maintains his sense of humor and thanks his lucky stars for every day he survives.


We move past the torn bodies of our buddies, hoping and praying that we will be spared, yet knowing in our hearts that many will not. Fear is on me again—fear of death, of course—but I have found that it is relatively easy to resign oneself to death and, on occasion, even welcome the thing. It is really the violence, the pain, the suddenness, and unpredictability of events that tear our insides. We cannot be sure of anything—not the next step or the next second—and that is the real terror.