With a little witty repartee over the radio, the Allies first major offensive in the Pacific during World War II came to a close as American forces secured Guadalcanal on Feb. 9, 1943.
"Total and complete defeat of Japanese forces on Guadalcanal effected 1625 today . . . Am happy to report this kind of compliance with your orders . . . because Tokyo Express no longer has terminus on Guadalcanal,” read the radio dispatch from Maj. Gen. Alexander McCarrell Patch to Adm. William Halsey, according to the Army.
The response from South Pacific Headquarters was fittingly optimistic:
"When I sent a Patch to act as tailor for Guadalcanal, I did not expect him to remove the enemy's pants and sew it on so quickly . . . Thanks and congratulations.''
Guadalcanal, the largest of the Solomon Islands, had incredible strategic value to both the Empire of Japan and the Allies.
The Japanese were rapidly building an air strip, and if they maintained control of the island, they would have unfettered access to the sea route between the U.S. and Australia. If the Americans controlled the island, they would be better positioned to support Australia, which could be used as a springboard for an invasion of mainland Japan.
According to History.com, on Aug. 7, 1942, U.S. Marines launched a major offensive to take the island, immediately encountering fierce and sustained resistance. Facing an entrenched and determined enemy, the ensuing battle was brutal, made worse by the sweltering jungle heat, rugged terrain, and shortage of supplies.
Both sides suffered heavy casualties: Roughly 1,600 U.S. troops were killed, more than 4,000 wounded, and several thousand more killed by disease.
By the battle’s end, the Japanese lost 24,000 soldiers.
As Japanese and American forces engaged in unforgiving jungle warfare on the largest of the Solomon Islands, their navies fought six major engagements between Aug. 24 and Nov. 24 of that year, resulting in the loss of numerous warships, aircraft, and of course, lives on both sides.
On Dec. 31, 1942, Emperor Hirohito told Japanese troops they could withdraw from the area, and U.S. forces took control of the island five weeks later.
Out of the victory at Guadalcanal came two of the Marine Corps most renowned figures, John Basilone, who received the Medal of Honor for running ammunition through contested lines to his beleaguered machine gun section, and Chesty Puller, who aside from being a cultural icon of modern-day Marines, is also the only one to have been awarded five Navy Crosses.
U.S. Air Force Col. Jeannie Leavitt, the outgoing commander of the 4th Fighter Wing, pilots an F-15E Strike Eagle aircraft over North Carolina May 29, 2014. (U.S. Air Force/Senior Airman John Nieves Camacho)
WASHINGTON — Former Air Force and Navy fighter pilots are calling on the military to begin cancer screenings for aviators as young as 30 because of an increase in deaths from the disease that they suspect may be tied to radiation emitted in the cockpit.
"We are dropping like flies in our 50s from aggressive cancers," said retired Air Force Col. Eric Nelson, a former F-15E Strike Eagle weapons officer. He cited prostate and esophageal cancers, lymphoma, and glioblastomas that have struck fellow pilots he knew, commanded or flew with.
Army and Air Force Exchange Service officials are warning soldiers and military families to be aware of scammers using the Exchange's logo.
In a news release Wednesday, Exchange officials said scammers using the name "Exchange Inc." have "fooled" soldiers and airmen to broker the sale of used cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats and boat engines.
KABUL (Reuters) - The Islamic State (IS) militant group claimed responsibility on Sunday for a suicide blast at a wedding reception in Afghanistan that killed 63 people, underlining the dangers the country faces even if the Taliban agrees a pact with the United States.
The Saturday night attack came as the Taliban and the United States try to negotiate an agreement on the withdrawal of U.S. forces in exchange for a Taliban commitment on security and peace talks with Afghanistan's U.S.-backed government.
Islamic State fighters, who first appeared in Afghanistan in 2014 and have since made inroads in the east and north, are not involved in the talks. They are battling government and U.S.-led international forces and the Taliban.
The group, in a statement on the messaging website Telegram, claimed responsibility for the attack at a west Kabul wedding hall in a minority Shi'ite neighborhood, saying its bomber had been able to infiltrate the reception and detonate his explosives in the crowd of "infidels".
Calling aviation geeks in New York City: The British are coming.
In their first visit to the United States since 2008, the Royal Air Force "Red Arrows" will perform an aerial demonstration next week over the Hudson River, according to an Air Force news release. F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, the Air Force Thunderbirds and Navy Blue Angels demonstration teams will also be part of the show.