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Tom Mcleod
Curator of Museum Pacific & Author

Curator of the Museum of the Pacific in Texas, the son of a Pacific veteran, traveler and collector of many rare Pacific artifacts on display in his museum.

Click For EnlargementTell a little about yourself & your interests
I'm 55 years old. Dad fought on Guadalcanal, I'm a Vietnam submarine vet, always loved history began reading at age 6, writing at 47. Been traveling to the Pacific since 1995 - Fiji, Tonga New Zealand, New Hebrides, Guadalcanal, New Guinea and Rabaul.

Click For EnlargementMy interest in WWII history began at a very early age. In the mid-1980's, focus developed to the Southwest Pacific Area, especially the Guadalcanal campaign. Began studying the 146th Infantry in 1990 and wrote the official history. My father, Captain Prentiss R. McLeod was with the 147th Infantry (37th Division) on Guadalcanal. He landed 4 November 1942 with Carlson's Raiders at Aola Bay. Dad was severely wounded by Japanese artillery fire on 30 January 1943 at the Bonegi River engagement. Dad died in 1968.

Tell about your book & honors
Read ReviewI wrote Always Ready, The Story of the 147th Infantry in 1995. Most of the book concerns the US Army's pre-war development, early deployment into the South Pacific and the Guadalcanal campaign. The main chapter, which details the final battle on Guadalcanal is an in-depth story from both sides. We acquired the diary of former Japanese Lt. Toraji Matsumoto. Toraji was the officer which directly opposed my father's company at the Bonegi River. Toraji's story begins with leaving japan and ends with his return to Rabaul. He was one of a handful of survivors from the 'Yano' battalion.

Also, wrote the official history of the U.S. Involvement in Tonga during WWII for the Tongan government in 1997. I was appointed assistant historian for the 1st Marine Division Association in 2001.

What is the Legacy of the 147th Infantry Regiment
The 147th seporated from the 37th Division before going overseas in April, 1942.  Only rejoining them for a short period on Guadalcanal, then separated again for the rest of the war.

The 4th Marines on Emirau was relived by the 147th Infantry Regiment on 11 April 1944.  They were there to build and guard an airfield with the Seabees.  The 147th was the only infantry regiment who had ever built an airfield before (Tonga 1942). They served on Saipan, Tinian, Okinawa and Iwo Jima, where fighting continued after the USMC left the island, until July 1945. Companies, groups and individuals of the 147th fought on all these battlefields.  Company D transported and guarded the 'Little Boy' atomic bomb.

The 37th had several Medal of Honors awarded among their officer corps. The 147th sent 4 officers and 60 enlisted men to CBI / Merrils Marauders as jungle fighting specialists.  The 3rd Bn. commander of the 147th became the 3rd BN. commander of the Marauders.  He won a Silver Star on Guadalcanal and two more in Burma.   Many other 147th Guadalcanal veterans became instructors to the Army and Marines on jungle warfare.

Talk about your overseas trips, and their purpose
Rabaul is by far my favorite. Have many close friends there, great fishing, food and drink. Always something new to see or do. I help on M.I.A. research, and work with Ronnie Day of E.T.S.U. on history projects. Started making annual research trips to the South Pacific in 1995. Have visited: Guadalcanal, Tulagi, Gavatu, Tanambogo, Florida Island, Vanuatu, Fiji, Tonga, New Zealand, Australia, New Guinea, Rabaul. Many of these are multiple visits.

Although Rabaul is my favorite 'go-see' place, Guadalcanal is my area of research and writing. Currently working on a new book about the Battle of the Tenaru. This will start with the development of the 1st Marine Division in 1940, continue through the landings at Guadalcanal; Tulagi; Gavatu; Tanamboro and conclude with the Tenaru battle of 21 August 1942. If there is interest, will probably write a very detailed study of the land battles on guadalcanal. They will include both US Army and USMC participation.

What were your feelings about "The Thin Red Line"
One must remember that James Jones wrote it in the 60s and used the language of the 1960's. The scenes, ships, weapons, etc. Were very incorrect. I counted 280+ technical error on my first viewing. I think it portrayed the Japanese as cowards and defeated foes. They definitely were neither.

Speak about your relationship with Shoichi Morii
Click For EnlargementShoichi and I met at Bloody Ridge, Guadalcanal on 7 Aug 1997. He was the first Japanese vet I ever made. My father was severely wounded on Guadalcanal thus I was somewhat Anti-Japanese. As we spoke, through a translator, I saw the pain in his eyes. Somehow I finally understood that all vets of WWII shared the same loss (friends and family). His pain took away the anger in my heart.

Read ReviewShoichi and i have become very close friends. We write and share our thoughts constantly. I greatly respect him as a man and veteran. He has become like as a surrogate dad to me. Shoichi was in China prior to being posted to Rabaul in 1943. He was in a 75mm gun company. They were in the hills near the barge tunnels. His book, is roughly translated, "Guadalcanal and Tom Mcleod, son of veteran" . It deals with forgiving, understanding and honoring former enemy veterans. Also, he donated some of his artifacts to the museum.

Talk about "Museum of the Pacific"
I began collecting militaria items in 1995, this has grown into the Museum of the Pacific We have friends worldwide who look for things for us. We use Ebay, vet donations, gun shows and estate sales.

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