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On This Day…October 25th.

John Basilone. On 25th October (and the hours before and after) in Guadalcanal Basilone transcended the human condition when he held a gun placement with his small team against 3.000 Japanese. His heroics in holding a crucial position have passed into legend, and I wont recount them here – but the sentiment below tells the story from a fellow marine. Pfc. Nash W. Phillips, who was visited by Basilone on Guadalcanal while recovering in field hospital after losing a hand in the fight recalls…

“Basilone had a machine gun on the go for three days and nights without sleep, rest or food,”

“He was barefooted and his eyes were red as fire,” he said. “His face was dirty black from gunfire and lack of sleep. His shirt sleeves were rolled up to his shoulders. He had a .45 tucked into the waistband of his trousers. He’d just dropped by to see how I was making out; me and the others in the section. I’ll never forget him. He’ll never be dead in my mind!”

The carrier below is the stricken Japanese Zuiho, taken on 25th October, 1944. The camouflage is particularly interesting, trying to pass the ship off as a battle cruiser.

P-66 Vanguard fighters at an airfield in Karachi, India, 25 Oct 1942.

Lastly, this photo is of the carrier Zuikaku, seconds before sinking on October 25th, 1944.. The image captures the sailors saluting the Ensign flag as it was lowered. More that 840 drowned. The Zuikaku was the last surviving carrier from the Pearl Harbour attacks.


14 responses to On This Day…October 25th.

  1. Wow, I have seen two A/C types that I did not know existed in less than a week. The North American P-64 at the Airshow last week end and now a Vultee P-66. Very cool.
    @dirtylittlefokker

  2. I’m glad we’ve been able to throw something new into the mix. The Vultee was a bit of a strange bird, especially when they changed the cowl to a pointed shape to increase the aerodynamics…

    @jamesb

    1 additional image. Click to enlarge.

  3. Great stuff, David. Sgt. Basilone (for those who don’t already know) is featured in the series, entitled “Band of Brothers: The Pacific.” It is the companion to the original “Band of Brothers” mini-series, and precedes the upcoming mini-series about the 8th Air Force.

    Great photos, David!

    • “The Mighty Eighth” has been in the making for quite some time now – I hope it’s still being released – I’m looking forward to it….especially if it’s anything like the others you mentioned.

    • Thanks, Jeff. I’m a real fan of Band of Brothers – watch the while series every other Winter (no other season to watch it) but not so keen on Pacific. I’m not sure they could ever do what happened at Guadalcanal justice, and I feel similarly with Basilone – I think the reality is something a dramatisation could never capture, so maybe they shouldn’t try.

      @mikegolf

      • It’s amazing that the exact same team that did “Band of Brothers” could have done “The Pacific.” Being familiar with both Bob Leckie’s “Helmet For My Pillow” and Eugene Sledge’s “With The Old Breed,” it is remarkable that the exact wrong decisions were made in each episode in adapting the material. One hopes they learned their lesson with “Master of the Air.”

        Most likely rumor on the Masters of the Air project is that it’s centered on the career of Robert Rosenstein, a 36-year old NYC corporate lawyer who argued his way into the USAAF and into flight training, brought his B-17 “Rosie’s Riveters” to the “Bloody Hundredth” bomb group the week of Second Schweinfurt, flew two complete tours and rose to become Deputy Group Commander in February 1945. Then put his lawyer background to work as Chief Deputy to Mr. Justice Jackson, Chief American Prosecutor at the Nuremburg War Crimes Trials, where he made the final argument that sent the Nazi scum to the hangman. an unknown real American hero, much like Richard Winters. So there’s hope if this rumor is true.

        • This is great information, Tom. I suspect I like “The Pacific” better than you, but even to me it isn’t as good as the original BOB mini-series. I’m reading Eugene Sledge’s book right now, but I’ve only just started.

          I really look forward to the release of “Masters of the Air.” Then I’ll have to buy the set on BluRay so I can wear it out … I mean, watch it frequently like I have the others.

      • David @dirtylittlefokker I feel the same although I don’t limit my viewing to winter.

        As modern war movies go, I actually like “Hacksaw Ridge” better than the “Pacific” series. But Hollyweird CAN’T just tell the story as it is … they have to change things around “for effect,” Sad.

  4. Zuikaku and Zuiho – both sunk by Air Group 15. As he flew back to the Essex after sinking Zuiho, 24 year old LCDR John Bridgers, recently promoted XO of VB-15, thought to himself that “the Navy’s investment in me had been repaid.”

    • McCampbell and Mini, Lambert and Rigg, and a lot of very brave men.

  5. Thanks for sharing the brief story about John Basilone. . .

  6. Looks like the markings on that flight deck makes it a better target rather than to deter a hit.

  7. Hello David,
    Some very interesting pictures.
    Especially the one with the saluting sailors.
    You would think that there are other more pressing problems at that moment.
    Regards, Dirk / The Netherlands.

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