DOVER, Del. -- Marine veterans gathered to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the invasion of Okinawa during World War II in Dover Wednesday afternoon.
On April 1, 1945, retired marine Lt. Col. Marvin Skeath, 93, and the 6th Marine Division invaded the Japanese island to fight in what became known as the Battle of Okinawa, one of bloodiest in the pacific.
"When you go ashore or on the way to shore, you don't know what's going to happen," said Skeath. "You're a bit concerned. And then as times goes on, you just do it."
At least 12,000 Americans and about 110,000 Japanese died in the battle. Skeath remembers one of his saddest moments on the island.
"There were five, two and a half ton trucks. And they were carrying dead marines," said Skeath. "It really made you aware of the sacrifices."
Although he was never wounded in combat, Skeath recalls a midnight ambush that other marines did not survive.
"They just lobbed hand grenades in on us and shot a lot of people. That was a scary moment," the retired veteran said.
Today Skeath and three other marines have formed a tight bond over their combat days in the Dover retirement community they all live in.
"We've got a fellowship with us four guys it's unbelievable," said retired Korean War marine, Cpl. Harry L. Morrow. "We respect one another. We love one another. Once a marine always a marine."
For the next generation of marines, Skeath offers parting advice.
"I'd like to see people that are in [the marines] stay in if they can, because it's a good system, good retirement," said Skeath, the war hero who survived the front lines in one of the world's deadliest battles.