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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