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(by Wright)

Dear Editor.

Attached is my first report on the battle of Guadacanal. There's still a few stories left in this. I'd like to go out with a marine patrol, perhaps take a tour of the island by air, I'm also thinking of a piece on how our fighting lads live and interact with the locals, another months worth or work at least.. On that note one of the airman was asking about Doolittle, you know that bomber Frank from stars and stripes was talking about? Next time you see him ask if he'll send me the inside scoop, and send a copy of the Stars with our next issue, magazines are good tender round here for when just being a reporter isn't enough, you know?

PS: The native boy wasn't available for interview, perhaps I'll catch him next time.

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It was dark when the carefully laden assault craft steam towards the shore. If you squinted hard enough you could see the first rays of dawn on the western horizon. No one was looking. Every man in those boats, hoping for one thing, the element of surprise. I watched from the railings as the first wave pulled away from the shadow of the transport. I saw them creep onto the beach in silence and move on to their objectives. Then it was my turn, I was bundled into the lumbering craft brim full of praying, waiting men. Still the island was silent.

We were halfway to the beach when the first shots rang out over to the east. A few muffled shouts and then all was quiet again. This happy situation didn't last long. The furry of the small arms fire didn't really begin till we were unloading, but then it went on in earnest. The squad I was attached to wasted no time moving to their objective, I followed to the drum beat of naval artillery shelling some particularly difficult position further inland.

The small arms fire had subsided by the time we reached the trench, but no one had had time to clean the place out. Three bodies lay on the trench floor, all Japanese. I asked about, apparently a Malaysian man saw the landing party and took it for what it was. He forged on ahead of the marines, taking time to guide them to the defensive positions. Without heavy equipment he got their first, and assaulted the trench, armed with nothing more than a rusting machete. So eager was this man to be liberated that he surprised the Japs, distracting them so that the squad of marines could take the trench with relatively few casualties and save the plucky native's life. Such is the oppression of the Japanese that the starving locals rise up against them with such violence as soon as the first light of salvation flickers.

The days work wasn't done though. A navy brawl had begun in the half light. The troops rushed to unload supplies and take them to the newly liberated airfield while the Japanese flung their craft at the destroyer escort. It was a confused battle, even from the safety of the shoreline it was difficult to recognise which cluster of light and sound was friend and which was foe. As dawn broke the damage became clear, two of the floating fires were US navy ships but the Japs had been fended off and the transports were safe. The marines were on Guadalcanal. Though we aren't done yet, it seems most of the enemy has snuck off into the jungle and the next few months our brave boys will be busy rooting them out. We've damn near one this battle, and Emperor Hirohito's nursing a bloody nose.

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