Over at Bronx Banter, Peter Richmond remembers his father:
It’s a terrifying patrol, psychologically: Single file through torrential-rain jungle, holding your M-1 dating back to the previous war because the Department of the Navy , in the marines’ first Pacific battle, had yet to provide the First Division on Guadalacanal with a modern rifle. Spiderwebs – and huge spiders — snagging your face, snakes underfoot. Now a shot rings out from above, from the impenetrable jungle cover, and the man two yards in front of you, maybe the buddy you were singing with as he played the guitar the night before back in camp, drops like a stone, dead, shot right through the heart.
The rest of the platoon shoots up at the tree cover, blindly, but no sniper plummets, because the shooter had strapped himself in up there for that very reason, knowing that the marines, even if they’ve killed him, wouldn’t know it, and would keep wasting ammunition.
The file then stops shooting, and starts moving again.
When my father landed on Guadalcanal, commander of G company, 2d battalion, 5th Regiment, First Marine Division, he had 151 men. When they left 4 months later, 60 were able to walk off under their own power.
[Photo Via: The Courier-Journal]