In Loving Memory:
My father, (who passed away in 1986), landed at Guadalcanal as a U.S. Marine Corporal and “made it” through the first month basically unscathed. Over the years, he would say little to his family about this landing or the battles that ensued. Later in life, my uncle told me he had lost his best friend shortly after the initial landing and witnessed many of his fellow Marines never getting off the beach and the jungle fighting was intense.
“Japanese troops landed on Guadalcanal on July 6, 1942, and began constructing an airfield there. On August 7, in the Allies’ first major offensive in the Pacific, 6,000 U.S. Marines landed on Guadalcanal and seized the airfield, surprising the island’s 2,000 Japanese defenders. Both sides then began landing reinforcements by sea, and bitter fighting ensued in the island’s jungles.”
In six separate Naval battles around the island, the Japanese had deployed 36,000 reinforcements, while the U.S. Navy managed to deploy 44,000 and eventually overwhelmed their enemies. The Japanese exited the island in February of 1943 with only 12,000 remaining troops “while the Americans sustained 1,600 killed, 4,200 wounded, and several thousand dead from malaria and other tropical diseases.”
Not long after this initial landing, my father caught a severe case of malaria and was transferred/hospitalized in Sidney, Australia for a long bout of recovery/rehabilitation. He would later speak about the kindness and admiration the Aussie’s had for the American soldier.
Shortly after the war in the Pacific was coming to an end, my father was offered $5000 to re-up and report to Korea in that conflict. He turned down that offer, came home, and began courting my mother. They married in (insert date), and produced six wonderful children, (including one handsome Spartan). At 91, mom is still with us, and you can’t get her off the dance floor at weddings or parties.
I am proud, grateful, and thankful for my father’s service to our country, and that he made it home in one piece, while many of his fellow jarheads made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of this great Nation. They are, and forever will be my heroes.