A musician and former Los Angeles Times proofreader returned to Saipan on Feb. 4, 2014, and was honored for his service in the Battle of Saipan.
Lloyd Coulson Glick served on the USS North Carolina that bombarded Saipan along with the Fifth Fleet during WWII.
He arrived aboard the cruise ship Crystal Serenity that pulled into Saipan harbor for a daylong stopover.
It was his first time ever to set foot on Saipan.
Overwhelmed by the warm reception led by the local Veterans and Military Office, Glick said, “It’s overwhelming to start with. And it probably embarrasses me because I think it really belongs to troops that came ashore and faced much more hardship than I ever did.”
For Glick, he did not do anything “exceptional” or anything that could be qualified as “bravery.”
He added, “I was there because the Navy wanted me there. I had no choice.”
In his opinion, the true honor should be accorded to the Marines who came ashore and took the island in 1944.
His wife, Judy, disagreed. “But you were there for support.”
Although he saw action in the Marianas, Glick clarified that he had never set foot on the island until Feb. 4, 2014. “I never got off the battle ship. Our function as a battleship was not to come ashore. We participated for several days of intense bombardment of the islands from about 12 miles out with our 16-inch guns.”
He said their ship went with several other battleships that tried to remove any obstruction for the Marines. As part of their bombardment efforts, Saipan was stripped of vegetation.
The ships bombarded Saipan for several days. Days before the actual invasion on June 15, 1944, the Fifth Fleet was bombarding Saipan’s western shore. In an 85-minute period, he said, they bombarded targets ashore at an average range of 15,000 yards.
“We fired 360-rounds from our 16-inch guns and 2,096 rounds from our 5-inch guns,” said he.
All the time they were on board the USS North Carolina, there was no opportunity to play music; instead, they manned the battle stations.
From Saipan, Glick also said that their ship took part in the Battle of the Philippine Sea — Marianas Turkey Shoot — a battle that Glick described as “significant.”
They also bombarded the shores of Tinian in support of the invasion there.
But when the campaign shifted to Okinawa, Glick said they ran into ‘kamikazes” which for Glick “changed completely our lives board the ship.”
He observed that after Saipan, war had completely shifted gears, and took on a different pace.
Moreover, Glick also shared that he was also in Tarawa where they made amphibious landings — first ones in the islands. “The Navy learned a lot from Tarawa. They put it to better use in the landings here by using a different type landing craft that could deal with the coral. The coral would rip the bottoms right out of the some of the landing craft.”
Glick was born on Dec. 28, 1923 in Berkeley, California. His father also served in the U.S. Navy during WWI, while his mother was a teacher.
He learned to play the trumpet at an early age. “I had taken up studying the trumpet at a very early age. And by the time I finished high school, I was fairly accomplished with the horn and had earned the second trumpet chair with the University of California symphony even though I did not attend the college.”
When Pearl Harbor was attacked, Glick had just finished practicing for an hour and was going to the movies in Berkeley when the movie was stopped.
He enlisted on April 24, 1942. Glick had wanted to join the prestigious U.S. Navy School Music. He finished the program in June 1943 which was shortened from 18 months to 12 months. After graduation, he was assigned along with 19 others to form a band for assignment in the USS North Carolina.
They participated in all major battles, from one island to another until 1945.
After the war, Glick worked as a proofreader for the Los Angeles Times for six years, and then served as a police officer for 20 years.
He decided to work in an insurance firm where he rose through the ranks, from an insurance investigator to management level for 35 years.
When asked for an advice he could give to those in military service, Glick offered: “Do everything to the best of your ability. That will be the key.”