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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
805 KIDDER BREESE SE -- WASHINGTON NAVY YARD
WASHINGTON DC 20374-5060

Kerr Eby (1889-1946)

 

Bullets and Barbed Wire
Kerr Eby #4
Charcoal, 1944
Gift of Abbot Laboratories
88-159-CN

 

Both constituted tremendous barriers to victory in the bloody battle for Tarawa; but this Marine, rifle swung grimly in one hand, typifies the resurgent spirit of the thinned but indomitable ranks of the conquerors of the Gilberts. Past the brutal wire on which hung the bodies of his comrades, the tattered Marine presses on toward the beach and the redoubts of the hated enemy.

 

Tarawa No. II
Kerr Eby #28
Charcoal & crayon, 1944
Gift of Abbott Laboratories
88-159-DL

This is a view of the famous pier from the end of a branch at the seaward end. During the whole of the battle there was never-ending drama everywhere.

 

The Hard Road to Triumph
Kerr Eby #1
Charcoal, 1944
Gift of Abbot Laboratories
88-159-CK


Bodies angled forward, grim Marines press forward against the entrenched Japanese of Tarawa in the Gilberts in November 1943. In the background, an armored tractor lumbers forward with them prodding the enemy defenses with fingers of fire.

 

March Macabre
Kerr Eby #20
Charcoal, 1944
Gift of Abbot Laboratories
88-159-DD



Shuffling slowly across blood soaked sand, Marines bear a wounded comrade back to the first aid station on embattled Tarawa, their tautened muscles constrained to gentleness. With painful care they hoist the slumped body of the desperately wounded man over the sea wall on the historic battleground.

 

First Aid
Kerr Eby #7
Charcoal, 1944
Gift of Abbott Laboratories
88-159-CQ

This Marine had to be moved to get at his wound.

 

Marines Fall Forward
Kerr Eby #3
Charcoal, 1944
Gift of Abbot Laboratories
88-159-CM


The road to victory in the Pacific is littered with the bodies of gallant fighting men. Like this Marine (right center) who fell in the assault on a Tarawa pillbox, the honored dead fell forward, facing the foe, their feet driving to the last ebb of strength to carry on to the objective.

 

A Wounded Buddy
Kerr Eby #16
Charcoal, 1944
Gift of Abbott Laboratories
88-159-CZ

Faces tight with strain, hospital corpsmen watch breathlessly to see the effect of the blood plasma they have injected into the veins of a Marine casualty at Tarawa. Silence cloaks the onlookers as Destiny balances the delicate scales: Will it be life or death?

 

Helping Wounded
Kerr Eby #15
Charcoal, 1944
Gift of Abbott Laboratories
88-159-CY

Treating a Marine casualty where he fell on the bloody beach at Tarawa, Navy hospital corpsmen bandage his wound while another corpsman opens a bottle of plasma.

Online Exhibits that feature Kerr Eby's work

Amphibious Operations in the Pacific Theater
Marines in Action
Navy Medical Art of the Abbott Collection

 

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6 December 1999