Always Faithful: The 100 Best Photos of U.S. Marines in World War II Combat

by Eric Hammel

A Picture is worth a thousand words

In his Always Faithful, Marine Corps historian Eric Hammel has assembled one hundred combat photos from the Pacific Theater of operations during World War II. Together these tell the story of the Marines’ costly victory over the Japanese.

Over the years, innumerable historians, novelists, film-makers, and artists have attempted in various ways to capture what it was like to fight in the Pacific. In Always Faithful, readers are invited to take in the combat slowly, as it unfolds, image by image.

Arranged by theme—from dramatic images of beach assaults to heartbreaking photographs of the injured and killed-in-action—Always Faithful seeks to capture the essence of the War in the Pacific and the core of what it means to be a Marine.

Hammel has carefully selected each image in these pages, shown with only the barest of explanation: a short caption to describe the time and place. But even with so few words, each photograph is a complete message unto itself, a picture of truth showing a moment of humanity. Together, these images reveal what it means to be always faithful.

ERIC HAMMEL is a critically acclaimed military historian and author of nearly seventy narrative and pictorial histories, including Chosin: Heroic Ordeal of the Korean War, Fire in the Streets: The Battle for Hue, and Six Days in June. He has also written many titles on U.S. military operations in World War II, such as Guadalcanal: Starvation Island, Guadalcanal: Decision at Sea, 76 Hours: The Invasion of Tarawa, and The Road to Big Week. His thirteen-volume series of Marine Corps combat pictorials includes Marines on Guadalcanal, Bloody Tarawa, and Marines in Hue City.

Critical Acclaim for Always Faithful . . .

“Eric Hammel is one of our most interesting and dedicated military writers.”
—Tom Ricks, author of The Making of the Corps

"Hammel's magnificent compilation is a "best of breed" that captures—like no other work—the sweat, grime, misery and terror that was combat in the Pacific.  This is an effort that underscores Hammel's position as one of the subject's leading historians.  Simply put, Always Faithful is the must-have pictorial of Marine Corps operations in the Pacific."
—LtCol. Jay A. Stout, USMC (Ret), Author of The Men Who Killed the Luftwaffe    
 
“While some readers may already be familiar with many of the photos collected here by Eric Hammel, all will find his selection and arrangement uniquely encapsulates the fighting in the Pacific. In Always Faithful, there are solitary moments where a Marine faces an unseen enemy and moments where brothers-in-arms stand shoulder to shoulder. It is instants like these that remind me of what it means to be a Marine.”
—Col. William J. Davis, USMC (Ret), Executive Director of the MacArthur Memorial, Norfolk, Virginia

“An inspirational and graphical account of Marines doing what they have always done when the Nation calls.  Hammel’s selection of images peeks into the individual’s  gut-level experience of combat in the Pacific through the eyes of those who “closed with the enemy”, from the assault on the beach through the ebb and flow of the fighting to eventual victory. A must for any military historian’s reference library.”
—R.J. Sullivan, LtCol, U. S. Marine Corps (Ret)
 
“Military writer Eric Hammel has used his broad research background to capture the essential essence of the Marine Corps Pacific War experience during World War II.  The focus on the individual Marines pictured makes as strong an impact as any narrative would.  This visual legacy is preserved and presented in a memorable manner and style.  Semper Fi!”
—Charles D. Melson, Chief Historian, U.S. Marine Corps History Division
Author of Marine Recon, Vietnam Marines, and U.S. Marine Rifleman in Vietnam

“A powerful and evocative visual portrayal of Marines in close combat during the climatic battles of World War II. The images and illustrations are emotional, soul searing reminders of the human cost of the Pacifc Campaign. For anyone looking for a viceral understanding of battle, this book is not to be missed.”
—John R. Bruning author of The Devil's Sandbox, Bomb's Away, The Battle of the Bulge, Jungle Ace, Ship Strike Pacific, and Crimson Sky

“Eric Hammel has captured the true character of war in the Pacific, a fight to the finish, with no holds barred.  The images in Always Faithful are far from the glorified portrayals of home front propaganda.  They portray the gutsiness of combat—the filth, the stress, the pain of a lost comrade—in such a way as to be indelibly etched in the viewer's mind.  Hammel’s selection of photos is spot on…I highly recommend Always Faithful." 
—Colonel Dick Camp USMC (Ret), Vice President of Museum Operations, Marine Corps Heritage Foundation