This was a tough battle. Even though I was in the air, I was always doing somethingto support the Marines, which was never a good thing. It meant that the ground forces were facing something even stronger than they were. And that's what it was. The Japanese had themselves dug in so well that even the ground forces had trouble finding where they were being fired on from. With 4500 troops on the island, the Japanese were able to kill 1700 of our troops, and wound another 2100. But it was a magnificant show of force. The American invasion force to the Gilberts was the largest yet assembled for a single operation in the Pacific, consisting of 17 aircraft carriers (6 CVs, 5 CVLs, and 6 CVEs), 12 battleships, 8 heavy cruisers, 4 light cruisers, 66 destroyers, and 36 transport ships. On board the transports was the 2nd Marine Division and a part of the Army's 27th Infantry Division, for a total of about 35,000 troops.