Guadalcanal - War in the Pacific - John Basilone


It is the Battle for Henderson Field, and Japanese soldiers keep charging at Marine Sgt. John Basilone and his remaining machine gunners. Because of all the firing, the .30-caliber guns are getting hotter and hotter. 

Ignoring his personal safety, Basilone makes a decision to reposition one of the heavy machine guns he has repaired.  Grabbing the exceedingly hot weapon, which weights about ninety pounds, he pulls it out of the dugout and begins firing it on his own.  

For more than ninety minutes, the grenade-throwing Japanese continue to charge the machine gunners' positions.  When they overrun one of the guns, Basilone goes after them - by himself - armed with a Colt .45 and a machete. 

Firing and hacking, at close quarters, Basilone does everything he can to protect his men and  prevent Japanese soldiers from capturing the airfield.  Despite insurmountable odds against him, Basilone survives.

Fifty-three Marines died, at the second battle on the ridge, while an estimated 2,600 Japanese perished. 

Although Japan's soldiers did not mount another attack against Henderson Field, they continued to fight on Guadalcanal for months.  U.S. Army soldiers replaced the Marines on the island, after the airfield was saved.

Fighting at Guadalcanal was fierce, brutal and savage.  Neither side asked for quarter; neither side gave it. By the 9th of February, 1943, the fighting was finally over when the Americans were victorious over the Japanese.

Sgt. Basilone received the Medal of Honor for his heroism in battle.  He returned to the States, a hero, and was able to help the government in the war-bond effort. 


If you are watching "The Pacific" HBO series, and have not yet reached the episode about Iwo Jima, read no further if you want to avoid prior information on the series' three lead characters.

Returning to active duty, John Basilone died during the Battle of Iwo Jima.  For his bravery there, he posthumously received the Navy Cross.  He is the only enlisted U.S. serviceman to receive both the Medal of Honor and the Navy Cross.  His remains are interred at Arlington Cemetery.

Two of the machine gunners survived the war, but one was permanently blinded.  Several of the men, involved in the battle, received Navy Crosses. 

At the end of all the fighting, the Battle of Guadalcanal was a turning point for the War in the Pacific.  Despite that fact, the war there would drag on for another 2 1/2 years.

See, also:

Video Biography of John Basilone - SPOILER ALERT for end of "The Pacific"

Guadalcanal - War in the Pacific, Part 1

Guadalcanal - War in the Pacific, Part 2

Guadalcanal - War in the Pacific, Part 3

Guadalcanal - War in the Pacific, Part 4 - INTRODUCING JOHN BASILONE

Video:  Robert Leckie Historical Footage

Image and Brief Bio:  Robert Leckie

Media Credits

Clip from "Shootout - WWII:  Guadalcanal," online via The History Channel. Copyright A&E, all rights reserved. Clip provided here as fair use for educational purposes and to acquaint new viewers with the series.

Amy Huggins, Arthur Drooker and Darryl Rehr

Series Directors:

Amy Huggins, Brian Coughlin, Douglas Cohen, Laura Verklan and Tony Long

Series originally aired:

Series released on DVD:
A&E Home Video, May 2007


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"Guadalcanal - War in the Pacific - John Basilone" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 07, 2013. Feb 18, 2020.
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