Small triangular peninsula on the south coast of Mono Island bordering Blanche Harbor, across from Stirling Island. Located near the Saveke
River. A prewar native village was built at this location.
Occupied by the Japanese. At dawn on October 27, 1943, warships of US Navy Task Force 31 bombarded the village area, prior to the Allied landing by
the New Zealand Army and US Navy 87th Construction Battalion "Seabees", Company A under the command of Carl J. Mitchell landed at "Purple Two Beach". Japanese opposed the landing from coconut log bunkers and with mortar fire from two hills inland from the beach, and with snipers in the village.
A mortar shell hit an ammunition dump on the beach, causing a large explosion and wounded Seabee Herb Bodine, who was evacuated. Other mortars his food dump and another hit one of the LSTs. After the area was secured, the village huts were bulldozed, and road construction began. That night, Japanese aircraft attempted to bomb the landing force, but were ineffective.
Bulldozer over pillbox
To the east of the village was a Japanese pillbox made of logs with a twin "50mm" gun was firing on the landing area. U. S. Navy Seabee Aurelio "Ray" Tassone drove his D-8 bulldozer with the blade raised as a shield over the pillbox, burying its 12 defenders and silencing it. For this action, he later earned the Silver Star.
Herbert Bodine 87th Navy Construction Battalion recalls:
participated in the invasion of Mono Island in the Treasury Group on
October 27, 1943. I was wounded by Japanese
mortar fire while unloading supplies from an LST. I was evacuated back
to Guadalcanal for treatment of my wounds. While
on the beach I witnessed Aurilio "Ray" Tassone of Milford, MA destroy
a Japanese twin barrel 50mm gun emplacement which was firing at landing
troops. He drove his D9 bulldozer toward the emplacement using the
as a shield and when close he lowered the blade and destroyed the gun
and the 12 Japanese manning it. He received the Silver Star for his
heroism. A Hollywood movie, The Fighting Seabees with John Wayne
was based on that episode"
Allied War Cemetery (Mono)
Located at Falamai. New Zealand and American dead were buried here during 1943-1944. Later the graves were exhumed and transported elsewhere for final burial.
Known burials include five Americans buried on January 13, 1944: Roy Goldberg (KIA January 13, 1944)
Eddie Burns, Blake Musselman, Art Nappen and Don Fitzgerald (KIA January 11, 1944). During 1945, this cemetery was exhumed and remains repatriated.
Earthmovers 1943-1945 page 55 - 60
NEITC Chapter 11 - Story of Soanotalu
Do you have photos or additional information to add?
January 11, 2018