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65th Anniversary of the Marine Landing on Guadalcanal

The following information relevant to the commemoration of the 65th Anniversary of the Marine Landing on Guadalcanal was received from Guadalacanal historian John Innes.

Details of the Commemorations for the 65th Anniversary of the Marine Landing on Guadalcanal

There will be an official ceremony at the US Memorial on the morning of the 7th August.

We do have a tour group of Americans that come over every year (Valor Tours from California). This year they intend to arrive on the 31st July. They stay at one of our hotels, the Kitano Mendana. For the next five days we go on day trips visiting the various battlefields (including a sea trip to Tulagi). There will be other veterans and visitors traveling independently.

The veterans are getting a little thin on the ground now and I expect only about 15 to 20 veterans and friends to be here. However there will be representatives of current serving Marines, Navy and Coastguard joining us.

The daily visits to the battle sites that we travel to by bus include:

Day 1 – Travel to US Memorial for overview of battlefields and review of Battle of Guadalcanal. Then visit Japanese Memorial on Mount Austen. We go on to the top of Mount Austen where the 2nd Raiders clashed with the Japanese on the 3rd December 1942. Then go to the Japanese observation post cave overlooking the Henderson area. We then go to ‘The Gifu’, the Japanese defensive position that held out from attack from 17th December till 23rd January 1943. Then back to Hotel for rest prior to visiting the Point Cruz Yacht Club (PCYC) overlooking Iron Bottom Sound for the evening ‘catch up’.

Day 2 – Travel to Henderson Field area visiting caves built by Sea Bees. Go to site of ‘The Pagoda’ and wartime tower and memorial gardens. Then go to site of Battle of Tenaru where Col. Ichiki and his men were defeated by 1st Marines. We then spend time on Bloody Ridge where the 1st Raiders and 1st Parachutes defeated General Kawaguchi 12th – 14th February 1942. Then back to hotel and PCYC.

Day 3 – Travel by boat to Tulagi. The boat cruises passed Blue Beach where the 1st Raiders landed on the morning of 7th August 1942. Go via the western entrance to Sasapi. We then walk through The Cutting and onto the cricket pitch where the Raiders attacked Hill 281. We then walk around to Blue Beach. We then go by boat to Gavutu – Tanambogo wher the Parachute battalion landed on 7th August. The group then goes to the Japanese destroyer Kikitsuki and the LST 342. Then boat back to the Mendana and PCYC.

Day 4 – We spend time moving around the Matanikau area. We visit where the Raiders fought and lost Ken Bailey 27th September 1942. We visit the mouth of the Matanikau where in October the Raiders were attacked by the Japanese trying to get back to the western side of the River. We then go on to the battlesite where Chesty Puller’s 1/7 surprised and destroyed a battalion of Japanese in The Ravine. We then go to Vilu war museum and Cape Esperance where the Japanese evacuated Guadalcanal. Then back to the Mendana and PCYC.

Day 5 – We travel east to the battle area of Coffin Corner where the Japanese attacked and were defeated on the 25-26th October. Then onto Red Beach the site of the original landings on 7th August. Then travel to Koli Point battle area of November and finally a visit to Sir Jacob Vouza’s Grave at California.
Then back to the Mendana and PCYC.

That outline covers the areas we will visit. However we do try to cover the specific areas of interest for various veterans and visitors. For instance a visit to Tasimboko can be arranged. Anything I can do to help or facilitate a Raiders trip please use me. I would be so pleased if a Raider could be present for the 65th anniversary of what you did.

Solomon Kitano Mendana Hotel & Visit Solomons

Hotel Reservation
John Innes <innes@technisyst.com.sb>