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Medford notes Guadalcanal anniversary

Medford City Council will note the 60th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Guadalcanal Wednesday by proclaiming it Guadalcanal Remembrance Day.

The First Marine Division invaded the South Pacific island Aug. 7, 1942, and endured three months of sea battles and battlefield action until the U.S. Army arrived Oct. 13, 1942, according to the proclamation.

The United States lost 1,600 men in battle and several thousand more to malaria and other tropical diseases. The American and Japanese navies together lost 40 ships.

In February 1943, the U.S. Armed Forces successfully conquered the Soloman Islands.

The significance is this was the first land offensive of World War II, the first time America struck back on a land invasion of Japan, said councilman Bill Moore.

He was a First Marine Division rifleman who arrived at Guadalcanal a year after the battle.

During a council meeting last week, he remembered childhood friends who died during the invasion.

Moore was shot through the hip and took shrapnel in his legs on Okinawa, earning a Purple Heart.

I'm not a hero ' I just happened to be there, said Moore, who served from May 1941 to April 1947.