Guadalcanal

Guadalcanal

Guadalcanal, an island in the Solomons archipelago in the South Pacific, was the scene of the first U.S. offensive land action against Japan in World War II.  American Marines landed on Guadalcanal in August 1942 and were later supported by U.S. Army troops.  The Japanese defended Guadalcanal tenaciously, and the Americans did not declare the island secure until February 1943, and the victory was a turning point in the Pacific War.  Numerous naval battles occurred off the shores of Guadalcanal as well.

Guadalcanal

The Battle of Iwo Jima: Red Sun, Black Sand

By John Walker

No foreign army in the 5,000-year history of Japan had ever successfully conquered Japanese territory. In late 1944, American war planners were about to challenge that statistic on the tiny Pacific island of Iwo Jima. Read more

U.S. Marines from the 3rd Marine Amphibious Corps consolidate their positions along the shoreline during the Second Battle of Guam, July 21 to August 10, 1944. Whenever there was an enemy-held island in the Pacific that needed to be taken it was usually the U.S. Marine Corps that was called upon to take it.

Guadalcanal

U.S. Marine’s Legacy of Valor

By Dick Camp (Colonel, USMC, Retired)

The war in the Pacific was a bloody, protracted struggle between the Empire of Japan and the United States and her allies. Read more

valor on Guadalcanal

Guadalcanal

Marine Sergeant Mitchell Paige: Valor on Guadalcanal

By William E. Welsh

As the 33 men of his machine-gun platoon set up their four s along the ridge facing south toward a jungle-shrouded ravine on Guadalcanal where the Japanese were massing for an attack on the evening of October 25, 1942, Marine Sergeant Mitchell Paige crawled in front of their position and rigged a makeshift trip wire designed to alert his troops should Japanese forces approach their line. Read more

battle for Bougainville

Guadalcanal

The Fight for Bougainville

By Michael E. Haskew

The bloody fight for Guadalcanal, where the string of Japanese conquests in the Pacific had finally run its course, was a turning point of World War II. Read more

Guadalcanal

Rescue Plane Down

By Kevin M. Hymel

“Awe c’mon, Mom,” Cecil Petty told his emotional mother before leaving Homer, Illinois, in February 1941. “Who knows, I might be a hero.” Read more

Guadalcanal

Guadalcanal: Victory in the Pacific Theater

by Mike Haskew

On August 7, 1942, American Marines landed unopposed on the island of Guadalcanal in the Solomons chain. The island was the key to future offensive operations in the South Pacific for either side, and the Marines were determined to defeat the Japanese in their first significant ground assault of the Pacific War. Read more

Guadalcanal

Bloody Brawl on Guadalcanal

By Mike Phifer

The column of sweaty, exhausted Japanese soldiers trudged single file through the thick, dark jungle. For days they had been pushing inland from the western end of Guadalcanal. Read more

Guadalcanal

The Greatest Disaster

By David H. Lippman

Amid rain, lightning, and dark, the British admiral and American general picked their way through choppy seas to the transport USS McCawley, off the coast of Guadalcanal. Read more

Guadalcanal

Last Letter Home

By Phil Scearce

On December 1, 1942, Lance Corporal Kiyoshi Koto wrote his last letter home. By that time, his unit’s command structure was decimated and the battle strength of his army and its supporting navy was ravaged. Read more

Guadalcanal

LIFE Photographer Ralph Morse’s War

By Susan Zimmerman

In an age before television and instant communications, Americans wanted to see what was going on in the world’s “deadliest conflict in human history,” and LIFE magazine was making a name for itself as THE war magazine during World War II. Read more