Ishmael's brief war experience is outlined in Chapter 16. His childhood and high school romance with Hatsue ends abruptly when her family is sent with the other Japanese Americans to an internment camp. He joins the Marines just a few months later in the summer of 1942. He first trains as a rifleman in South Carolina then later becomes a radio operator in New Zealand. He is part of the group aboard the USS Heywood which stormed the island of Betio in Southeast Asia. While many men around him are attacking and quickly dying, Ishmael waits behind a seawall for night to fall. When he does emerge, with a small group of unharmed soldiers, his left arm is immediately shot. He goes in and out of consciousness, but ultimately wakes aboard a ship and knows his left arm has been amputated. His final thought and statement is one of confused rage and hatred against Hatsue.