18 November, 2017

Dakin, Bill

Service: MarinesUnit: 1st Raider Battalion

Bill enlisted in the Marine Corps in February of 1942.  Bill went into what was called the Marine Raiders which were groups of Battalion sized infantry.  There were four Raider Battalions.  Bill was in the 1st Raider Battalion named after its leader Col. Merritt A. Edson or Edson’s Raiders.  Col. Edson received the Medal of Honor for his leadership during the battle of Guadalcanal.

The battle of Guadalcanal was America’s first land offensive of WW II.  Bill hit the island of Talagi on Aug. 7th where he encountered vicious fighting with a lot of death and hard fighting while the Marines that went to Guadalcanal did not encounter much resistance in the beginning.  About three weeks later Bill was sent from Talagi to Guadalcanal which was only a few miles away.

While on Guadalcanal Bill was involve in many Banzai attacks but one of the battles that he was involved in was at what was called Henderson Field.  The two airfields on Guadalcanal was what all of the fighting was about.  If the Japanese could take control of  the island they could cut the lines of communication to Australia which is what they wanted so that they could invade them.

In mid September the Japanese launched many attacks on Bill’s position of what is called Edson’s Ridge or Bloody Ridge which were repulsed with great loss of life by both the American and Japanese soldiers.

Bill also fought on the Island of New Georgia  which is in the British Solomon Island chain in the summer of 1943.  He was involved in more fighting which was less well known.  In January of 1944 the Marine Corps did away with the Raider’s because they though that the Marine Corps did not want a “Elite” group of men in the Corps since the Marine Corps was already a “Elite fighting force”  Bill was assigned to the 4th Marine Division and on 19 February 1945 he fought his last and most horrific fight of World War II on the the Island of Iwo Jima.  Bill told me that you could not dig a fox hole because the volcanic ash would just fall back into the hole. He said it would be like going into a silo full of corn and digging a hole in it you just could not do it.

The 4th Marine Division went onto the beach and immediately turn to the north and had very heavy fighting all the way to the north end of the Island which is where the Japanese General Kuribayshi committed hari-kari which is the ceremonial form of suicide by stabbing yourself in the stomach then a aid to the General either shoots him in the back of the head or cuts of his head with a Samurai Sword.

Bill said that of all of his battles during WW II that Iwo Jima was by far the worst, because of the ash and that you never saw a live Japanese soldier because they were dug into the island and if you had killed everything front of you they could move around under ground and pop up behind you.

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