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Guadalcanal Marine

Kerry L. Lane

Publication Year: 2004

In Guadalcanal Marine, Kerry L. Lane recounts the dark reality of combat experienced by the men of the 1st Marine Division fighting on Guadalcanal and Cape Gloucester. With eighty gripping photographs and his text, he brings to life the struggles of his companions as they achieve these two astonishing victories.

Lane, a sixteen-year-old farm boy from North Carolina, battled the Japanese and rose to heroism powering a bulldozer to bridge "Suicide Creek" in the swamps on Cape Gloucester. There he led his Marine comrades to victory.

Lane describes the trials of the common Marine serving in the first grueling island campaign. In vivid prose he tells of joining the service before the war and of training. Soon after the shocking news of Pearl Harbor, he and his trusted comrades fight the Japanese in one of the bloodiest battles of the Pacific.

In the tropics, Lane and his companions suffer malaria and dysentery, endure jungle rot and oppressive heat, and grapple with an enemy who fights to the death. Throughout the book, Lane bares the experience of the average Marine and his historic World War II journey, revealing how one teenager became a Corps hero and ultimately finished his military career as a lieutenant colonel.

Kerry L. Lane retired from the Marines and is now the owner and operator of Post Oak Farm in Spotsylvania, Virginia.

Published by: University Press of Mississippi


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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-7


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pp. 8-9

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pp. ix-xii

On August 7, 1942, the 1st Marines Division took a momentous step in World War II by landing on Japanese-held soil. The island was Guadalcanal...

Abbreviations and Terms

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pp. xiii-xiv

Key to Military Map Symbols

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p. xv-xv

Part I. Guadalcanal

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1.Making of a Marine

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pp. 3-14

Like so many young men of my generation who were raised during the Great Depression of the 19308,I joined the military to see the world and to fight...

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2. Preparing for Combat

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pp. 15-32

After basic training at Parris Island, I was transferred to Quantico, Virginia, for duty with the ist Marine Brigade. Upon reporting to my new command...

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3. Wartime Expansion

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pp. 33-39

After four months of war, the 1st Marine Division was alerted to its first prospect of action. The Japanese had already pushed the Americans off Corregidor...

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4. Shoving off to Make History

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pp. 40-70

Everyone was in high spirits, as though we were headed for a picnic instead of war. We were gung-ho kids at that time. We had lots of guts and were ready...

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5. Guadalcanal, Their Finest Hour

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pp. 71-105

At 0740 hours, August 7, the eager men of Gen. Alexander A. Vandegrift's ist Marine Division went ashore on the north coast of Guadalcanal and onto...

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6. Stranded

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pp. 106-132

As we watched our ships sail eastward, we knew that there would be no reinforcements. We were very much on our own. Any amphibious operation...

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7. The Battle of the Tenaru

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pp. 133-161

The Japanese high command, incensed at reverses ashore, began assembling troops to reinforce their scattered units, which had been routed from...

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8. The Battle of Bloody Ridge

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pp. 162-174

At the ridge overlooking the airfield, Col. Edson prepared his men for the impending payoff battle. Bald, but for its kunai grass, nameless, and bumpy, the ridge...

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9. After the Ridge

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pp. 175-210

After the Japanese were stopped at Bloody Ridge, Gen. Vandegrift decided to reorganize the defensive perimeter into new sectors for better control...

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10. September Matanikau Action

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pp. 211-218

The Second Matanikau was the first of such probing operations. This move was designed to break up an increasingly threatening concentration...

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11. October Matanikau Battle

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pp. 219-243

October was the month of the dreadful rains, the month of decisions, change, unending battle between men, ships, and airplanes, the month of the...

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12. Second Assault on Bloody Ridge

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pp. 244-250

Like all Marines, the pioneers were first and foremost riflemen. They were rushed up to the line during skirmishes when every man and every rifle was...

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13. The Final Phase of the Campaign

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pp. 251-258

Although the Marines had won their battle on land, it would be meaningless unless the U.S. Navy could figure out a way to stop losing night battles in the slot...

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14. Guadalcanal in Perspective

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pp. 259-265

Four things are mentioned in all accounts of Marine troops on Guadalcanal: heat, mud, mosquitoes, and bombs. Each day around noon an air-raid warning was sounded and everyone ran for foxholes and dugout...

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15. Departing for the Land Down Under

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pp. 266-271

Finally, the time had come for us to leave. The day before we starting embarking, we had a memorial service at the cemetery situated among the tall coconut...

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16. Australia Remembered

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pp. 272-284

We were brought to Melbourne on a converted hospital ship, the USS Tryon, a naval vessel that served alternately as an evacuation hospital ship and as a troop carrier...

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17. Going Back to War

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pp. 285-290

On August 19, 1943, the first contingent of Marines sailed toward Goodenough Island and Oro Bay, some 2000 miles to the north. Here in the remote jungle boondocks of New Guinea, the men would put the finishing...

Part II. Cape Gloucester

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18. Cape Gloucester, the Green Inferno

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pp. 293-302

It was Christmas Day in the States, but out on the damp waters of Dampier Straights it was the morning of December 26, and once again the men...

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19. The Battle of Suicide Creek

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pp. 303-319

Marines who fought at Guadalcanal thought they had seen every imaginable horror of war. But we watched the Battle of Suicide Creek unfold...

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20. Cape Gloucester in Perspective

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pp. 320-327

The brutal struggle for the island of New Britain, lying 400 miles south of the equator off the eastern New Guinea coast, offered its own unique brand of torment to both Japanese and American combatants who fought...

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21. Pavuvu

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pp. 328-330

The ist Marine Division departed Cape Gloucester in two echelons on April 6 and May 4,1944. My unit, the 17th Marines, sailed in the second echelon. Left behind was the 12th Defense Battalion, which continued to...

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22. Homeward Bound

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pp. 331-336

Almost everyone came down to the pier to see us off, including the division band. As we went aboard ship they played "Mairzy Doats," "The Moori Song," and a tune appropriate for the occasion, "California, Here I Come...

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23. The Last Post

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pp. 337-342

After I returned from the Pacific, the ist Marine Division went on to participate in the Peleliu and Okinawa campaigns. Most of the officers and men had been in the South Pacific more than twenty-four months before the assault...


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pp. 343-344


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pp. 345-350


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pp. 351-352


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pp. 353-358

E-ISBN-13: 9781604730555
E-ISBN-10: 1578066646
Print-ISBN-13: 9781578066643

Publication Year: 2004

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Lane, Kerry.
  • United States. Marine Corps. Marine Regiment, 1st.
  • United States. Marine Corps -- Non-commissioned officers -- Biography.
  • World War, 1939-1945 -- Regimental histories -- United States.
  • World War, 1939-1945 -- Personal narratives, American.
  • World War, 1939-1945 -- Campaigns -- Pacific Area.
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