Introduction

This site is dedicated to those men who helped defend the skies over the island of Guadalcanal during the period August 1942 through November 1942.

You might wonder why a website has been made just for this subject. It started merely as an exercise in web page development, but soon became a labor of love. I had just finished reading the book "Fighter Squadron over Guadalcanal" by Max Brand, and I found myself thinking the same thoughts that I had had when I had read "The Cactus Air Force" so many years ago.

What the men on Guadalcanal went through is hard to imagine for those who were not there. Thousands of miles from home, the Americans on Guadalcanal were under near constant attack from the land, sea, and air, with few supplies or support from the outside. During their time on the island  they endured all of the hardships of the jungle (the weather, insects, and  numerous tropical diseases to name a few.... virtually every man suffered from malaria to some degree).  And yet despite all the hardships, they exhibited incredible heroism, dedication, perseverance, and fighting ability.

From a purely historical point of view, the campaign for Guadalcanal was an important turning point in World War II. It was the first offensive move for the U.S. in the Pacific, and the Japanese threw massive forces against the American invasion to make sure it wouldn't succeed. When the smoke had cleared some four months later, the U.S. held the island (with it's important airstrip), and the Japanese military had lost many of their most skilled aviators.

The Marines on the ground were able to hold the island because they had air superiority. They were not overrun by enemy infantry because many of the Japanese reinforcements headed for Guadalcanal were sunk or driven off by the "The Cactus Air Force" (the name for the pilots of the fighters, dive bombers, and torpedo bombers who endeavored to protect the 1st Marine Division).   Despite bad conditions, heavy losses, and always being outnumbered, the Cactus Air Force literally saved the day; in the process they made their mark on history.

I urge all of you to read "The Cactus Air Force" by Thomas G. Miller, Jr.  
I would be amazed if you were not deeply impressed by the feats of the men who fought in this campaign. It should be read by everyone who needs to be  taught (or reminded) that victory and freedom do not come easily. Reading that book made me proud to be an American; and proud of the accomplishments of our armed forces. It is to their memory that I dedicate this site.

David Hanson, webmaster

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