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The view across the northern coast of Guadalcanal are magnificent. Located inland from Honiara, overlooking the entire area including Henderson Field and the Lunga Point. Today, a surfaced road goes to the summit of Mt. Austen, over top the original "East-West Trail".
Japanese Observation Post at the summit of Mount Austen
October 7, 1942 a patrol of eight Marines from G-2-1 was the first patrol that reached Grassy Knoll to observe the Marine offensive at the Matanikau River. While atop, the patrol's radio operator Sam Philps interference from a nearby transmitter, likely from the Japanese Observation Post. A few minutes later, they came under attack and withdrew as their mission was compromised.
On December 2, 1942 Marine Raiders led by Col. Carlson during his "Long Trek Patrol" patrol crossed the Lunga River, got a report that the summit was unoccupied and got permission to explore the southernmost east-west trail. On December 3, 1942 they encountered Japanese positions at the summit and suffered four casualties: Jack Miller, was WIA in the chest by a fire from a captured Thomspon sub-machine gun and was carried out, but died the next day. Killed during the patrol were: Cpl Albert L. Hermiston, 276542 (KIA, BNR, MIA), Richard C. Farrar (KIA, BR) and Cyrill A. Matelski, Glenn Mitchell. Seriously wounded and later died were Lt. Jack Miller and Pvt Stuveysant Van Buren. All three were buried near the summit. During 1947, their remains were recovered by AGRS. Carlson's raiders inflicted at least eight Japanese casualties. They observed a trail leading inland towards The Gifu (Barana) before withdrawing towards the Matanikau River.
Around December 17-18, 1942 the remaining Japanese atop Mount Austen withdrew from the summit towards The Gifu (Barana).
On December 29-31, 1942 a patrol from the U.S. Army 16th Infantry Regmient, 1st Battalion patrolled Mount Austen and observed eight dead Japanese and postions atop the summit, plus the field burials of three Marines and made a more accurate map of the summit area.
References: Patrol of 1st Bn. 164th Infantry -- December 29, 30 and 31st. 1942 page 1-2, map 104 overlays
On January 1, 1943 the 132nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Battalion made a flanking attack towards Mount Auten, captured Hill 27 placing Mount Austen within the American lines.
US Memorial Pillar on Mount Austen
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