HONIARA, GUADALCANAL, Solomon Islands -- The Battle of Guadalcanal began with a large-scale amphibious landing Aug. 7, 1942, led by U.S. Marines. As the first offensive land battle of the Allied Pacific island-hopping campaign, the six-month operation set the tone for the Western front of World War II.
U.S. Marines and Sailors with 3rd Marine Logistics Group joined U.S. Coast Guardsmen and the Solomon Island government at a wreath-laying ceremony Aug. 7, 2018 at the Guadalcanal American Memorial in Honiara, Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands. The ceremony commemorated the 76th anniversary of the U.S. Marines landing on the island of Guadalcanal. Brig. Gen. Keith D. Reventlow, commanding general of 3rd Marine Logistics Group, participated in the ceremony by addressing the audience and laying wreaths at the memorials for Marines who were remembered for their valor and sacrifice.
Reventlow reflected on the valor and sacrifice of three Marines who received the medal of honor during the campaign at Guadalcanal; Maj. Gen Alexander Vandegrift, Capt. Joe Foss and Gunnery Sgt. John Basilone.
During the battle, U.S. Marines and soldiers fought alongside Australian and British Allied forces, fighting in harsh jungle combat conditions that characterized the World War II Pacific campaign. Sparse intelligence, rough terrain and newly-developed amphibious doctrine gave an uncertain scope of what awaited fighters on the island shores.
Despite a surprise landing and the swift capture of beaches and an airfield by Allied forces, the following campaign spanned six months and claimed the lives of more than 26,300 personnel from both sides of the conflict. During the ceremony, Reventlow acknowledged the sacrifice of the Japanese soldiers during the Battle of Guadalcanal and the development of the U.S. and Japanese military alliance.
For Sgt. Maj. Kevin Wiss, sergeant major of Combat Logistics Regiment 35, 3rd MLG, the ceremony’s gravity provided Marines a chance to reflect on the legacy left by the Marines of WWII.
“This ceremony was truly eye opening for me,” Wiss said. “Being on the same battlefield where these warriors fought brought forth a great sense of pride. It made me think about the contributions that I bring to the Marine Corps and what I can do to be a better Marine.”
The commemoration is held each year, bringing together the new generations of the U.S. military to remember the battle-hardened legacy of their forbears in the thick, humid jungles of the South Pacific isles.