Robert M. Neiman, perhaps the most experienced combat commander of the U.S. Marine Corps' tank arm, was one of the rare USMC officers to serve in both Iwo Jima and Okinawa battles. In Tanks on the Beaches, Neiman and his coauthor, Kenneth W. Estes, relay vivid accounts of fighting in the Pacific War, as well as Marine Corps service during the entire World War II period, devoid of idolatry and mythmaking. After the capture of Guadalcanal, Neiman endured Japanese bombardments there to gather information for his assignment as operations officer of a new tank school being formed in California. He eventually led his own tank company through four island battles culminating in the cauldron of Iwo Jima. Later, he finished the war as executive officer and commanding officer of the 1st Tank Battalion on occupation and security duty in North China in 1945-46. Neiman and Estes take the reader from prewar training at Quantico and in North Carolina through the off-duty delights of a New Zealand bereft of men, the horrors of Salpan and Iwo, the peculiar situation in China after the war and then back to the states for Neiman's successful postwar career as a lumber retailer. Through it all, Estes translates Neiman's eye for the interesting and the human into a multifaceted tale of a young marine going to war. This is an adventure story with many novel turns that will attract the Interest of military experts, military history aficionados, Marine Corps members in general, and veterans of armored fighting vehicle units. Neiman is not a USMC icon, just one of the unheralded thousands of officers who did the real fighting. This is their story as much as it is his.
Robert M. Neiman is retired and now lives in Indian Wells, California. Kenneth W. Estes is a historian, defense consultant, and former commissioned officer in the U.S. Marine Corps. He lives in Seattle, Washington.