Captain Dye's Blog
These are all the Blogs posted on Friday, 5 October, 2007.
Week 8: Combat Ops On Two Fronts
Operational Tempo has kicked up a significant notch. We are now fighting as two separate and distinct Battalion Landing Teams with BLT 2/1(-) at Cape Gloucester in 1943 and BLT 1/7 on Guadalcanal in 1942. We've all surveyed our watches and calendars for recalibration as we go from the southern Solomons to New Britain in the space of a couple of hundred meters of jungle terrain. This situation, driven by a tight production schedule, puts our Marines in a regular OpCon/AdCon quandary. For instance, the Guadalcanal unit is focusing on Chesty Puller and Manila John Basilone at the battle of Bloody Ridge, but we begin the episode with PFC Robert Leckie and his 2/1 machinegunners getting hammered by Japanese naval gunfire during the infamous "night of the barrage" when a flotilla of battlewagons and heavy cruisers soaked the Marine positions around Henderson Field with high explosive. When Leckie and his buddies from 2/1 dig themselves out of the rubble, they hustle over to Cape Gloucester where torrential tropical rain pelts them almost as hard as the Japanese Navy did. Meanwhile on Guadalcanal, LtCol. Puller and his 1/7 Marines are stretched dangerously thin along the high ground overlooking Henderson Field and wondering when the opposing Sendai Division will launch their all-out attempt to re-take the vital air base. I'm particularly impressed with our plans to demonstrate Platoon Sergeant Basilone's heroics in the fighting on 23-25 October 1942. There will be no doubt in anyone's mind why he was awarded the Medal Of Honor as a result of that action. The real assets in bringing that fight to the screen are the young performers playing Basilone and his buddies in the heavy weapons company of 1st Battalion, 7th Marines. They are as motivated and aggressive as any I've seen so far. Once again, training pays&and just watching them fix, fire and maneuver those old M1917 water-cooled machineguns is a real treat. I've spent a lot of time lately wondering how Manila John and his machinegunners did what the record says they did given the unwieldy and overly complicated nature of those weapons. Over on Cape Gloucester, my XO Mike Stokey is living in his rain gear and guiding BLT 2/1 through the mud and slime of the fighting on that island. With equipment rusting before their eyes and uniforms rotting right off their backs, the Marines are pushing the Japanese defenders back into pockets of stiff resistance where they will be destroyed in detail. Frankly, I'm glad the XO is fighting that battle. I know from first-hand experience in later wars how miserable the combination of monsoon rain and tropical mud can be. We continue the attack...on two fronts. Semper Fidelis.

Posted By Captain Dale A. Dye at 9:24 PM in Category:The Pacific War
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