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    Hill 73 (American Memorial / U. S. Memorial) Guadalcanal Solomon Islands
Click For Enlargement
USMC c1942

Click For Enlargement
Click For Enlargement
Justin Taylan 2006

This grass covered feature was designated "Hill 73" by the Americans. Hill 73 is part of Honiara near the north coast of Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands. To the east is the Matanikau River and Chinatown. To the north is Point Cruz. To the south is Galloping Horse and Sea Horse and to the southeast is The Gifu and Mount Austen (Mt. Austen, Grassy Knoll). Today, located in Honiara accessible via the Kukum Highway off Skyline Road.

Wartime History
On August 17, 1942 U. S. Marines (USMC) from L Company 3rd battalion 5th Marines (L/3/5) began their combat patrol that became known as "Matanikau One". During the afternoon of the August 18, 1942 they had reached the crossing point on the Matanikau River River. It was planned that they would bivouac the night there and cross the river the next day. The executive officer, Lt. George Mead Jr., observed this hill on the other side of the river opposite their planned camp. He became concerned that it could threaten L/3/5’s security if the Japanese were occupying the ridge and opted to ford the river and climb the hill.

Atop, Lt. Mead's Marines bivouac there for the night as the position gave fine tactical views and the long grass provided excellent concealment. At dawn on August 19, 1942 the Japanese spotted the Marines and brought mortars and small arms fire onto their position. During this action Sgt John Harold Branic was killed and buried on the hill. Afterwards, the Marines proceeded with their mission keeping to the east of a ridge line out of sight from the Japanese.

Guadalcanal Memorial (Guadalcanal American Memorial / U. S. Memorial)
Hill 73 was selected as the site for the main American memorial on Guadalcanal. This hill was selected because it provides excellent views over the northern coast of Guadalcanal and many of the battlefield area.

During the construction of the U. S. Memorial atop Hill 73, the remains of a Marine were found. A memorial marker for the tomb of the unknown soldier plaque was placed at the memorial. The research of John Innes proved this was Sgt John Harold Branic, later confirmed by DNA tests.

Dedicated in 1992, the "Guadalcanal Memorial" also known as Guadalcanal American Memorial or U. S. Memorial was established by veterans. The memorial includes a U. S. Star mosaic on the ground surrounded by five memorial walls and a obelisk flanked by flagpoles with the U. S. flag to the left and Solomon Islands flag to the right. The entire memorial is enclosed by a white wall with an entry gate. Today, the memorial is maintained by the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) with maintenance performed by Solomon Islanders.

American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Guadalcanal Memorial, Solomon Islands
Guadalcanal American Memorial - American Battle Monuments Commission [PDF]
Thanks to John Innes for additional information

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Last Updated
February 4, 2018


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