To him, as to many thousands of other U.S. Marines, living and dead, our nation and our Corps owe gratitude for the readiness, discipline, and esprit which enabled the Fleet Marine Force to launch and win America's first offensive in World War II.
General, U.S. Marine Corps,
Commandant of the Marine Corps
The preparation of this monograph has been attended by certain problems of a special nature. The campaign was the first great offensive of the war, and it was begun in the greatest urgency. The units engaged were not as fully indoctrinated with the necessity for submitting full and complete reports as were the participants in later operations. The art of combat photography, later developed to such magnificent degree, was ax yet in its infancy. The hectic nature of the first few weeks on Guadalcanal was such as to make difficult, if not impossible, anything that was not closely and unmistakably connected with the business at hand--fighting.
Full assistance and cooperation have been given by all of whom they were requested. Individuals and various Government agencies have lent their aid whenever they were asked for it. The Office of Naval History, Naval Records and Library, and the various activities of the Army Historical Division must be mentioned as having been particularly kind and helpful. Similar acknowledgment must be made to the Marine Corps Schools for cartographic assistance, and to the Photographic Section, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps, for help with pictorial matter. Photographs are U.S. Marine Corps, Navy, or Army official. Lieutenant Colonel Robert D. Heinl, Jr. of the Historical Division, participated extensively in the final editing of this work and supervised its cartographic planning. Captain Samuel E. Morison, USNR, and Commander James Shaw, his assistant, made many valuable suggestions and supplied much helpful material, while Mr. Walton L. Robinson was generous with the invaluable information he has collected concerning the Japanese naval order of battle. Mr. Robert Sherrod, historian of Marine air operations, rendered generous help in many phases, as did Captain Edna L. Smith, USMCR, his assistant.
Finally, thanks must be given those officers and men who, having participated in the actions described, willingly and helpfully gave of their store of knowledge for the sake of allowing an accurate narrative to be written. in all cases their assistance has been invaluable, and in all cases it was cheerfully give.
John T. Selden,
Brigadier General, U.S. Marine Corps,
Director of Marine Corps History.
December 5, 1947
We struck at Guadalcanal to halt the advance of the Japanese. We did not know how strong he was, nor did we know his plans. We knew only that he was moving down the island chain and that he had to be stopped.
We were as well trained and as well armed as time and our peacetime experience allowed us to be. We needed combat to tell us how effective our training, our doctrines, and our weapons had been.
We tested them against the enemy, and we found that they worked. From that moment in 1942, the tide turned, and the Japanese never again advanced.
General U.S. Marine Corps
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