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Old September 25th, 2016, 06:19 PM   #1
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Guadalcanal

When my daughter was in high school , she took a military history class. My daughter showed me a list of famous battles the teacher had given out. The instruction was for my daughter to pick one to write a paper on. I don't recall what the choices were now, but my daughter said she wanted to write about thr Polar Bears. I told her that idea was too obscure, she would gave trouble finding scources. I suggested she ask to write on the battle of Guadalcanal, also not on the list. Her teacher loved the idea.
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Old September 25th, 2016, 06:26 PM   #2
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The reason her teacher liked the idea so much is because the teach was on the board of the local air museum, which includes a room dedicated to the battle of Guadalcanal, set up and maintained by an American veteran of the campaign. The teacher arranged for my daughter to interview the veteran. Since my daughter was still on her learner's permit, I rode with my daughter to the interview.
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Old September 25th, 2016, 07:18 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by webguy4 View Post
When my daughter was in high school , she took a military history class. My daughter showed me a list of famous battles the teacher had given out. The instruction was for my daughter to pick one to write a paper on. I don't recall what the choices were now, but my daughter said she wanted to write about thr Polar Bears. I told her that idea was too obscure, she would gave trouble finding scources. I suggested she ask to write on the battle of Guadalcanal, also not on the list. Her teacher loved the idea.
There was little if any resistance when the Marines landed on Guadalcanal. The Navy pounded the very small island of Tarawa and when the Marines landed met heavy resistance. My uncle was a Marine who landed on Iwo Jima and met heavy resistance. Lee Marvin was a Marine on Saipan and met heavy resistance. Good for you and your suggestion. Young people need to know about the horror of war.
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Old September 26th, 2016, 08:53 AM   #4
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At the interview, the elder marine walked us around the room talking about the displays. I was interested in a photo of some of the island natives and said, " those are some scary looking guys". Gene, the marine told me, "you're right and we were lucky they hated the Japanese more than us".
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Old September 26th, 2016, 09:06 AM   #5
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We came to a section where on the wall were several portraits, some photos, some artists renderings of several servicemen. I forget how many. All of them awarded the Medal of Honor for their actions during the campaign. Without mentioning his name, Gene started talking about one picture in particular, how this man had helped in with displays in the room.
I turned and looked closely at the picture and then turned to look at my daughter as Gene continued to speak. My daughter turned and looked closely at the picture and the name below. My teenage daughter turned back to Gene and with her jaw dropping in awe like she was talking about a pop star said, " You knew Mitchell Paige ! "
I was one proud daddy.
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Old September 26th, 2016, 11:53 AM   #6
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Yes, the marines took the island fairly easily. But, in October of 1942, the Japanese came to take the island back. At this time the American navy had not rearmed since their debacle at Pearl Harbor and were badly outgunned by the Japanese, the US navy was forced to bug out and leave 6,000 us marines to defend the island. At stake was the airfield the Japanese had started to build there. From that airfield the Japanese could have based heavy bombers with range to bomb Hawaii , California, Australia and any ships over most of the South Pacific . It was a war turner. We couldn't let them have it and they couldn't afford to lose it.

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Old September 26th, 2016, 12:21 PM   #7
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6,000 marines defending against over 30,000 Japanese troops plus ships, pilots and sailors. The battle was horrific, with minimal supplies and replacements making it thru the Japanese. In late October , Paige was Sargent over about 20 men placed to defend a hill at one end of the airfield. Here's the picture. The Japanese are attacking from all sides of the base. Over 2,000 Japanese troops were to attack that hill, take out the marines and sweep down onto the airfield. The Japanese take that hill, they take the base, they likely win the war. The Japanese had not been stopped from taking an objective since their war with Russia.

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Old September 26th, 2016, 01:00 PM   #8
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It didn't take too long , that first day, all of Paige's men were dead. As night fell, Paige propped his dead men up behind their guns to make it look like the hill was still defended. Paige spent the night crawling from one foxhole to another firing off a few shots to make it look like the hill was still defended. During that night Paige took shrapnel wounds over much of his body, a bayonet wound thru his hand and Paige thought he was dead after taking a bullet to the neck.
Paige knew when the sun came up the Japanese would see he was alone and sweep over the hill. So in the early dawn, he picked up the last of his working mounted machine guns and attacked. Reinforcements arrived as Paige swept down that hill and stopped the Japanese for the first time in about 40 years. Saving the airport,saving the world.

Paige continued to serve through all of WW2, Korea, and Vietnam. He passed away about a month before my daughter interviewed Gene the marine at the Kalamazoo Air Museum.
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Old September 27th, 2016, 08:08 AM   #9
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That's the story my daughter knew about Mitchell Paige.
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Old September 27th, 2016, 11:52 AM   #10
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I had a few contracts in the Pentagon in 1979 and one in the war room. There were only Women's and Men's restrooms used by officers, enlisted and civilians combined. There were stairwells but there were also giant ramps going from one floor to the next that everybody used. No elevators except for a few freight elevators used only for freight. I forget which floor but it was not the first floor that had an alcove with all of the Medal of Honor winners. The great majority of the Medal of Honor winners were in the Civil War and an emotional experience for me.
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