The Marines on Guadalcanal
TOM LYONS, 1st Parachute BattalionConverted for the Web from "Into The Rising Sun: In Their Own Words, World War II's Pacific Veterans Reveal the Heart of Combat" by Patrick K. O'Donnell
Jump to: The Marines on Guadalcanal | John Sweeney, 1st Raider Battalion
Robert Youngdeer of E-Company | John Sweeney commands B-Company
Dave Taber at Bloody Ridge | Ira Gilliand throwing grenades
John Mielke defends Henderson Field | Tom Lyons, 1st Parachute Battalion
"Horse Collar" James Smith | Frank Guidone and the mortar squad
Dean Winters, 2nd Raider Battalion | Ray Bauml on the Long Patrol
Outnumbered and running out of ammunition, Edson's three hundred defenders faced their gravest threat when a large element of the Japanese III Battalion, 124th Infantry seemed poised to overrun the left side of the knoll. Edson ordered the Marine parachutists holding that side of the knoll to counterattack immediately. But the parachute battalion's commanding officer was nowhere to be found. He was relieved on the spot by Edson, and Captain Harry Torgerson was placed in command. Torgerson assembled two companies of parachutists and launched them in a desperate counterattack, saving the left flank of the line. After the Marines regained the line, the fighting became hand-to-hand, as parachutist Tom Lyons vividly remembers.
When they started raking us with a machine gun, that pissed me off, so I got up and crawled through the grass. The grass was about a foot and a half tall off the side of that hill, and I crawled up and around to the side of the machine gun. Bullets were flying everywhere, but the grass was high enough that it would partially hide you. I got almost to the machine gun before I was detected. They didn't see me until I stood up. There were so many people running around you couldn't shoot anybody. I stood up and threw a hand grenade, and just as I threw the grenade, they swung the gun around and ripped me up through the middle. I took several bullets; most of them went all the way through, and one missed my heart by about a half an inch. It knocked me ass over tin cup down the hill. The first one stung like hell. It really hurt. But the others after that didn't hurt at all. It seemed like I just left my body and was floating up in the air looking down at everything going on.
The Marines on Guadalcanal |
John Sweeney, 1st Raider Battalion
Copyright © 2002 by Patrick O'Donnell. All rights reserved. Converted for the Web with the permission of Simon & Schuster.
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