American GI Recalls: Imperial Japanese Soldier Asked Me for Hot Chocolate

December 8, 2019 Topic: Security Region: Asia Blog Brand: The Buzz Tags: World War IIImperial JapanU.S. MarinesWarIwo Jima

American GI Recalls: Imperial Japanese Soldier Asked Me for Hot Chocolate

A perfect Christmas vignette. 

Key point: Even in the midst of batlte, there can be some levity.

The Battle of Iwo Jima, which began Feb. 19, 1945, was one of the bloodiest battles in Marine Corps history, as former Cpl. Don Graves knows firsthand and will never forget.

He'll also never forget the time a Japanese soldier smelled hot chocolate being brewed near him and called out for him to bring him some. The moment, as he recounted in a video posted to the Marine Corps Facebook page Tuesday, was almost like the Christmas truce that wasn't.

Sitting in a fox hole with two other Marines on the fifth week of the battle, he said, Graves decided to make himself some hot chocolate. "So my other two buddies, they said, 'make enough for three of us.'"

So there he was, slicing up his chocolate ration with a Ka-Bar and chopping it into a powder. Then he cut off a piece of his Composition C2 demolition charge and used it to light a flame.

"Just a nice little fire going, and we sat there and we watched it," he said. "And then all of sudden I could smell hot chocolate."

Of course, so could everyone else, including enemy soldiers.

A few minutes later, he heard a Japanese voice calling out to him, "hey Marine, very good chocoletto. You bring chocoletto here."

"If you want chocoletto, you come here and get it," he said back. "He says, 'oh no, you bring here,'" Graves said, laughing.

"There's humor in combat. Every man that's been in combat knows that sometimes funny things happen."

This article originally appeared at Task & Purpose. Follow Task & Purpose on Twitter. This article first appeared earlier in 2019 and is being republished due to reader's interest.

Media: Wikipedia