As usual on a Marine jump-off, the leathernecks were not losing any time. Corporal Ardrick Hammon of Alton, Ill., radioman for an artillery observer, slogged his way north, so loaded with fighting and communications gear that he could stoop to tie the flapping lace of one combat boot. He felt a tap on his shoulder, looked into a lean face under a pile cap with three stars and a paratrooper's silver badge on it.
"Don't you want your shoe tied.'' asked Lieut. General Matthew Ridgway.
"No, sir," Hammon replied.
Ridgway knelt down...