By Adam Makos & Marcus Brotherton On August 6, 1942, the men of Maj. Gen. Alexander Vandegrift’s U.S. 1st Marine Division watched from the railings as their troopship, the USS George F. Elliott, steamed into the waters north of Guadalcanal in the South Pacific’s Solomon Islands. They had come to seize the island’s semi-completed airfield at Lunga Point from the Japanese before it became operational. With Guadalcanal’s airfield, the Japanese could bomb the shipping lanes to Australia and choke the continent, putting Australia at risk for Japanese invasion. Among the thousands of troops nervous with anticipation about the battle to come were four Marines from H Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment––Jim Young, Sid Phillips, Roy Gerlach, and Art Pendleton––dressed in their steel helmets and green cotton-twill uniform (the Marines’ familiar, mottled-green camouflage uniforms had not yet been issued). This is their story. "This was the real deal." Jim Young: “We were awakened around three in the morning on August 7, 1942, the day we were to fight the Japs. Breakfast was at 5:00 am. The food was steak and eggs. After eating, which was hard to do, we went up on deck to watch the bombardment of Guadalcanal. It was unbelievable, and the noise was horrendous! Most of us were scared and bewildered. We couldn’t even hear each other without yelling. “We received


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