74th Anniversary of the Battle for Guadalcanal


Left to right: Chief Johnny JonGordon, USN (Ret.); Michael Madland; William Davidson, USMC; Bill McGee, USN. Marines’ Memorial Club, 9 August 2016

After the event, Sandra and I enjoyed a cocktail at the Club bar.

After the event, Sandra and I enjoyed a cocktail at the Club bar.

On 8 August 1942, the American public, starved for good war news for two months, read in their morning papers that on 7 August 1942, United States Marines landed on Guadalcanal and Tulagi, islands in the South Pacific of which few had ever heard. For the next year, hardly a day passed when Guadalcanal was not in the news.

On 9 August 2016, Sandra and I attended the “74th Anniversary of the Battle for Guadalcanal” at the Marines’ Memorial Club in San Francisco. In an audience of several hundred, only three – including yours truly – were veterans of the bloody six-month campaign—all of us now in our early nineties. Colonel Christopher Starling, USMC (Ret.), the new Director of Military & Veterans Affairs for the Marines Memorial Association,  acknowledged us in his opening remarks and we were honored with a standing ovation. The guest speaker was Chief Johnny JonGordon, USN (Ret.). Chief Johnny had served on the USS San Francisco (CA-38) and is a survivor of both Pearl Harbor and Guadalcanal. Thanks to his efforts, the bell from the San Francisco is on proud display in its namesake city in the Club’s lobby. The second veteran was William Davidson, a Gunner with the Second Marine Division. I was the third veteran and seated next to Michael Madland. Michael’s father was a Corpsman on Guadalcanal with the First Marine Division. Michael donated his father’s .30cal M1 Carbine to the Club.

The Marines’ Memorial Club goes out of its way to honor veterans, and I urge anyone in any branch of the service who is on active duty or a veteran to look into a membership. -Bill McGee



5 thoughts on “74th Anniversary of the Battle for Guadalcanal

  1. Bill & Sandra- Wish my dad could have made that event. Burton Stutz (1922-2012) was on the USS Deimos and described in his art and written word both the Japanese aerial attack on their convoy at Guadalcanal and the subsequent sinking of AK-78. He later was assigned to PT boats in the Solomon’s….

    • Mr. Stutz, Thank you for your comment … Would you be willing to share something of your father’s art and writing about the two attacks on Task Unit 32.4.4: 16 June 1943 from the air and 23 June 1943 by torpedo? I’m assuming you’ve read the detailed account of these attacks in my husband’s book, BLUEJACKET ODYSSEY, 1942-1946, Chapters 7 and 8, “Task Unit 32.4.4, Parts I and II”. Bill would like to put you in phone touch with one of your father’s shipmates, if you like. Please let me know. -Sandra McGee

  2. And the well-deserved accolades go on-and-on! Simply honoring you both for the ‘past experiences’ Bill has experienced … and the ‘gathering up’ of all the materials to present .. share .. & preserve. It’s really so special & an amazing contribution.

    Photos are great! Bill, you still have your high-in-the-saddle height 🙂 … & so nice of the two of you in the cocktail lounge!

    Sent from my iPad


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