Eye Witness Account

Pacific Paratrooper

1stmardiv_marine_carbine.jpgM1, Guad.

“Operation Shoestring”

For more than a week, 82 ships of Task Force-61 steamed toward Guadalcanal.  Radio transmitters were silent.  Planes from 3 aircraft carriers scouted the seas for Japanese submarines.  Admirals and generals expressed satisfaction over the lucky weather: low-scudding clouds and tropical downpours to shield their movements.


Aboard the transports, 19,000 members of the 1st Marine Division, reinforced, played poker and got together for songfests featuring back-home favorites like: Blues in the Night and Chattanooga Choo-Choo.  They listened to the ‘know-your-enemy lectures [from officers who by and large had seen as much combat as their men – meaning, none at all.].

The Marines sharpened their bayonets, blackened the sights on their rifles and worked their machine-gun belts to prevent jamming.  And – they griped about the food, the heat, their mission…  On the eve of their D-Day, the loud speakers on board the USS George F. Eliot sounded: “ALL…

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