Pacific Theater Challenges: Fighting in the Tropics

Road to Tokyo: Pacific Theater Galleries
Pacific Theater Challenges gallery, Road to Tokyo

Inside a replica of a captured Japanese rice hut, exhibits describe the daily challenges of life on the islands. US troops were faced with non-existent infrastructure and a fanatical, merciless enemy capable of horrific Banzai charges and human wave attacks. They also found their numbers decimated by diseases that were unfamiliar and seemingly unstoppable—and that would ultimately kill as many Pacific-theater servicemembers as gunfire. Under assault to body and mind, Americans would need superior engineering and ingenuity just to survive. This gallery tells the story of those who answered that call: Seabees who built roads and airfields with stunning speed, literally paving the way for American troops to advance; nurses and medics who treated new diseases with new vaccines, limiting the casualties to this unforeseen biological challenge; and chaplains who helped lift spirits wearied by the relentlessly brutal nature of the Pacific war.

Made possible through a gift from the Estate of Patrick F. Taylor

Additional funding provided by Jones Walker LLP; In Memory of Dr. Vito Joseph Canizaro