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    Wright Road Guadalcanal Province Solomon Islands
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US Army 1943

Location
The Wright Road was constructed by the U. S. Army to provide acess from the coast inland to The Gifu near Mount Austen (Mt. Austen, Grassy Knoll) on Guadalcanal.

Wartime History
The Wright Road was built to support the U. S. Army advance inland to The Gifu. Named in honor of LTC William Curtiss Wright.

Bill Wright adds:
"I am the son of LTC William Curtiss Wright, and the nephew of CPT (Later COL Howard Wright and MSGT (later Major) Donald R. Wright all of the 132nd Infantry Regiment. The 164th Infantry, Americal Division anchored the Eastern end of the Marine defensive line during the major battles to retake Henderson Field. Later, the 164th and the 184th ran combat patrols in force to the East and ran into strong opposition. The HQ, Americal Division and the 132 Infantry Regiment with division engineer and artillery landed on about 7 December 1942 and the same convoy took the 1st MARDIV off the island. The 132 Inf Regt was the first to take the offensive in the time frame 17-19 December against Mt. Austen. The Gifu area of Mt. Austen was one of the most heavily defended sites of the War in the Pacific.

There were many well fortified machine gun nests and snipers in a U-shaped defensive perimeter as you first go up Wright Road from Henderson Field. General Patch and the Americal Staff had no idea how well Mt Austen was defended. The marines thought there were just a few soldiers up there. General Patch initially sent a company up there. They could make no progress, were pinned down by fire, and could find no machine guns or snipers. On 17 December, the 3/132 (3rd Bn, 132nd Inf. Regt) was sent up with the same results. The Bn Commander, LTC William C. Wright, pulled the Bn back and on 19 December, accompanied only by his bodyguards, his radioman (Johnny DiCicco), and two FO's (Forward Observers, Arty) they made contact, identifying one machine gun nest. The body guards and the radioman were wounded. In trying to lift the fire by wiping out the machine gun nest and save his men, LTC Wright was mortally wounded and later was brought back by members of his Bn.

The entire regiment was later thrown at the defensive site with the 1st and 3rd Bns taking a frontal assault and the 2nd Bn scaling up the extremely steep back slopes using ropes established by expert climbers. This maneuver finished that portion of the defense. The regiment took heavy loses and the only records after that indicate that the 2nd Bn was part of the force which landed on the West side of the island and helped push the Japanese off the island at Cape Esperance."

Today
The present day road goes past Hill 31 and turns off to the right down a 600 yard dirt road to Barana village.

Wright Road Memorial Plaque
A small while pillar and plaque was placed on the right side of the road.

References
Thanks to Bill Wright (son of LTC William C. Wright) and John Innes for additional information.

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Last Updated
October 20, 2018

 

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