Guadalcanal trip

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donkenall
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Guadalcanal trip

Post by donkenall » Mon Apr 17, 2006 3:26 pm

I'm signed up for a trip to Guadalcanal July 30 - Aug 15 (side trip to Tarawa). Part to see the place and part for research for a book. Now writing to 36 Raiders/Paras/Pioneers who may have fought on Edson's Ridge Sept. 12-14, 1942, for their stories. Need to contact a Japanese veteran(s) as well who might be willing to recall that battle - I Battalion, 124th Infantry; III Battalion, 124th Inf.; II Battalion, 4th Inf. Would appreciate anyone with contacts in Japan to help link me up. Will travel to Japan if necessary, or can communicate via e-mail/snail mail.
Plan to spend one entire night on the Ridge alone to experience the feeling(s) without the gunfire.

clutchfan
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Post by clutchfan » Mon Apr 17, 2006 10:38 pm

Wow, sounds like a great trip! I wish I could do it, I have the time, just not the funds, oh well. Please post here, with a link to pics if you can, when you get back.

donkenall
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Guadalcanal trip

Post by donkenall » Tue Apr 18, 2006 11:35 am

Thanks! Yes, I will be taking tons of photos and so will my friend. I'll put together an album for Sony's Imagestation and post a link.

Dan King
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Guadalcanal

Post by Dan King » Tue May 30, 2006 2:35 pm

I went to the Canal in '03 with the MEDAL OF HONOR development team. We took a 3 week trip to Guadalcanal, Singapore, Thailand and Pearl Harbor. I went along as the team's WWII historian/nerd.

The Canal was the best part of the whole trip! Edson's Ridge is untouched and you can even find stuff in the jungle! I am planning on going again in '07 and staying for more than a few days. There is a great war museum on the island but you'll need a driver/bodyguard to see it, but it is well worth it!!They have wildcat, Japanese artillery, a Type 97 tank turrett etc..etc.. - Dan

donkenall
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Post by donkenall » Tue May 30, 2006 4:30 pm

Hi Dan,
I'm really looking forward to it. My friend really wanted to go to Tarawa, and since I've been there twice, he asked me to go along on this trip. Now it looks like Tarawa is out due to lack of air service, but this could change. That's the way it is in the Pacific. Nevertheless, I'm more excited about the Canal than anything. Plan to take a metal detector along, too. Was useful on Tarawa. In fact, I sold it to John Brown there before I returned.
Don

Dan King
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Guadalcanal

Post by Dan King » Wed May 31, 2006 9:41 am

Hi Don,
I thought about taking the July-August "Valor Tours" trip to Guadalcanal with the side-trip to Tarawa. But since you say the Tarawa trip is out due to airservice problems...hmm..I might wait until next year. If I go to Guadalcanal I want to hop over to Tarawa; having not been there yet.

You've been to Tarawa twice already, right? Is there much to see? Is it worth it? I've heard it's trashy and unsanitary, is that true?

When I went to Guadalcanal in '02 there was a villager kid on Edson's ridge who had dug up a pyramid of 60mm HE mortar rounds and was proud of it! He had one in his hands and was showing it off to us! The shells had been buried in a perfect pyramid with the metal lids to the cardboard shipping tubes on both ends of the pile! I brought one of the lids home because it was still marked wtih the stencil. Amazing that it was still preserved. The little kid also had a handful of shattered bones which he claimed were Japanese; he wanted us to buy them for a dollar. No thanks!!

As a sidenote regarding the metal detector; I was told not to remove anything from Guadalcanal so just keep that in mind if you find something and want to bring it home. The Cutoms people will check your luggage.

Dan King
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Guadalcanal

Post by Dan King » Wed May 31, 2006 8:08 pm

Don,
Is the trip you are taking to Guadalcanal with Valor Tours?

donkenall
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Guadalcanal

Post by donkenall » Wed Jun 21, 2006 11:11 am

Hi Dan,
Sorry for the dry spell. Yes, I'm going with Valor Tours. There are 20 in the group with four WWII vets from 1st and 2nd MarDivs, Navy, and Air Corps. Arrive Henderson Field Tuesday Aug. 1 and leave there Tuesday Aug. 8.
Whatever I dig up I'll give to the museum, unless it is something really special, then I'll try to bring it home. I'll take photos of everything. Plan to spend most of my night on the ridge walking with the detector. Will go down into the jungle a bit, too. Will be recording sound, too.
Valor is a good tour company. Vicky helped me set up my two solo trips to Tarawa. Only problem was a 40-lb luggage limit. I took 60 with me and made it through Fiji to Tarawa, but when it was time to come home, they said I was 20 lbs overweight. I had to pay $120, or miss my flight (Hell No!), or throw stuff out. I paid the graft. When I looked at the carbon ticket copy, I could barely read where it did say 20 "kg."
Don

Dan King
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Canal

Post by Dan King » Wed Jun 21, 2006 4:01 pm

Good luck in trying to get stuff off the island! They can be strict. I tried to get a spent .50 cal shell casing off the island, in '02, and it was taken away from me during luggage inspection. I did manage to get a few other things squirreled away, go figure.

There are local villagers who will offer up stuff for sale such as messkits, helmets, canteens etc..and it is not known if they are aware of the customs and laws preventing these things from leaving the country. One little kid offered us a handful of shattered bones he had dug from a foxhole!!

You'll most likely meet a Kiwi named John Ihnnes (great guy!) and he can help you out regarding that stuff.

Guadalcanal is a fantastic place, and you'll have a great time.

QUESTION: You've been to Tarawa twice. What is your impression of the place? I've heard nothing but negative reports about it.

DAN

donkenall
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Tarawa

Post by donkenall » Thu Jun 22, 2006 10:08 am

Hi Dan,
Tarawa is still very interesting, even though the beaches of Betio are toilets for the population there. Everyone says Betio may be the most densely populated Pacific island, but it didn' seem that bad to me. The people don't bother you, but are curious. I was able to go through the Japanese admiral's two-story blockhouse, climb all over the three remaining 8" guns, explore the other blockhouses and do some metal detecting. John Brown gave me a Japanese helmet on my '99 trip and it still has some areas of tan paint on it. He and his wife, Molly, give WWII tours of the atoll and he is the best contact if you plan to go there. No trouble getting souvenirs out.
The scuba diving on the north end of the atoll is fantastic. At the time, there was too much silt in the water of the landing beaches due to construction of a container dock facility. Never got sick, just was careful with water and food.
Plan on two weeks to go to Tarawa. It will take you three or four days to get there and three or four to return, leaving you a week on the atoll.
Don

Dan King
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Guadalcanal

Post by Dan King » Sat Jun 24, 2006 9:38 pm

Thanks for all the information, Don. I can't wait to hear about your trip to Guadalcanal.

I'm going to Peleliu, Yap and Truk in the late summer.

Does anyone have any feedback regarding Yap or Truk?

Dk

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