August will mark the 70th anniversary of a crucial campaign in the Pacific. On Aug. 7, 1942, Major General Alexander Vandergrift's 1st Marine Division landed on Guadalcanal. Allied planners were concerned of a developing Japanese airfield, which could threaten shipping lanes to Australia. The campaign lasted till February 1943 and involved many branches of the U.S. and other allied militaries.
On land, the Marines (with the Army arriving later) contested and defeated the Imperial Japanese Army in engagements such as the Battle of the Tenaru, Edson's Ridge, and Henderson Field. The airfield itself became home to mixed units dubbed "The Cactus Air Force." At sea, much of the fighting occurred at night, with the U.S. Navy's radar-assisted gunnery contesting the Japanese mastery of night fighting.
While losing the Battle of Savo Island, the Navy came back to hurt the Japanese, such as Cape Esperance. By 1943, the Japanese abandoned Guadalcanal. While both sides suffered, Japan's industry could not replace its attritional losses. After Guadalcanal, the United States (with her Pacific allies) would take the offensive. As Aug. 7 comes and goes, I would ask for a moment of silence, to remember those lost.