Henderson Field
From a new mortar position at the jungle’s edge, Sid watched Henderson Field buzz to life as Marine then Navy planes took up residence. Soon, Navy convoys re-appeared off Guadalcanal’s shores, quickly landing supplies that Sid and his buddies unloaded by hand between air raids. The Japanese Navy still owned the night, well evident when two Japanese battleships
F4F Wildcats at Henderson Field
parked offshore and for hours bombarded Henderson Field with 14-inch shells that sounded like train cars flying overhead matched in ferocity by their explosions. For an hour afterward, Sid and his buddies sat in shocked silence. “Join nothing, not the Girl Scouts, not the Boy Scouts, not the Salvation Army, just stay out of everything,” Sid wrote home to his friend Eugene Sledge upon reading that Eugene wanted to join the Marines. The hellish, five month campaign was breaking down Sid and his comrades; they were ridden with malaria, covered in bleeding sores, and their feet were rotting. Their only respite was an occasional bath in the muddy Lunga River where Sid once snagged a bar of soap that was floating downstream; it belonged to General Vandergift, who was upstream, naked as the rest. Vandergrift waved, thanking Sid for rescuing his soap. On December 22, 1942 Sid and the men of H-2-1 were pulled off the hated island, their clothes in tatters, bodies weakened, but their spirits unbroken. NEXT>>
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