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Don’t know if anyone else caught the History Channel program they had on last night about the Battle of Guadalcanal, but it was great to watch. I thought one of the highlights of it was the depiction of a real American hero – I believe it was Mitchell Paige (mentioned in that Wikipedia article, though I could be wrong) – who played a key role in fending off the Japanese from their attack on Henderson Field.
Outnumbered by at least 3 to 1, the U.S. marines slowed and stopped the Japanese at a number of points. At one point, they held them off with two big guns while wave after wave of Japanese soldiers came running forth during a nighttime attack. Mitchell Paige (or whoever it was) had to hop from one gun to the other after its firing had been blocked by corpses. He moved this gun - quite heavy and hot from continuous firing - to a clearing section where he continued to fire. After the other big gun had been overrun by Japanese, he went back to it and single handedly regained control of it using his pistol and machete. At the end, I believe there were something like 50 or 60 Marines killed, and over 2000 Japanese killed. This testifies to the skilled war machine of the Marines, as well as the ridiculousness of the Japanese to mindlessly send in soldiers in waves to be slaughtered.
The hero who saved the day was killed two years later at Iwo Jima - one of the heroes of the South Pacific whose tale should be told.
In the Battle of Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands, on October 26, 1942, while a platoon sergeant in the United States Marine Corps, he held his line against advancing Japanese forces even after all of his comrades had been killed or wounded. After reinforcements arrived, Paige led a counterattack against the Japanese, which successfully repelled the enemy forces and held the American line. For this action, General Alexander Vandegrift presented Paige with the Medal of Honor in a special ceremony in Balcombe, Australia, on May 21, 1943.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitchell_PaigeI would say that medal was well deserved.
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