The Marines on Guadalcanal
JAMES SMITH, 1st Raider 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
On September 27, the 1st Raider Battalion would help launch an attack near the mouth of the Matanikau River. Poor intelligence greatly underestimated the strength of the Japanese defenses facing them, turning the operation into a disaster. The Japanese halted the Raiders and 5th Marines' advance at the mouth of the river and nearly wiped out the amphibious landings by another Marine battalion at Point Cruz. Jim "Horse Collar" Smith recalls the battle.
We were on this narrow trail along the east side of the Matanikau River, a steep cliff on the other side. As we snaked up the side of the trail, a guy named Ed Mertz had a kidney stone. And here we are plastered alongside the trail with Japs on the other side of the river and this guy Mertz goes down screaming, clutching his gut. I remember thinking, "Oh, God, we are going to get it." It was just a little farther along there that C Company was just a little ahead of us. Ken Bailey [the battalion executive officer and Medal of Honor recipient for his actions on Bloody Ridge], with his runner right behind him, was dashing across a log footbridge, caught a Nambu [machine gun] between the eyes and went down.
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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