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Pacific World War II Book Review  
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by Sidney "Sid" Phillips
Valor Studios  2010
216 pages
Plus 14 pages of photos
ISBN: 0615336833
Cover Price: $24.95
Language: English

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You'll Be Sor-ree!
A Guadalcanal Marine Remembers The Pacific War

You might have seen Sidney "Sid" Phillips interviewed in Ken Burns "The War" and most recently in the HBO miniseries The Pacific. He is portrayed by actor Ashton Holmes.

PacificWrecks.comPhillips wrote this book in the late 1990s for his immediate family, who encouraged him to have it published. As he states in the preface, "I have chosen to simply recall certain events that happened to me, with special emphasis on the humorous ones... my promise is that these pages will be without fictional embellishment insofar as my ancient memory can recall them."

On December 7, 1941, Phillips was seventeen and living in Mobile, Alabama. He remembers drinking an ice cream soda when news of the attack on Pearl Harbor was broadcast over the radio. He informed his parents that he wanted to enlist. Although his mother did not approve, his father agreed, knowing he would be drafted regardless. Phillips intended to join the Navy but when a Marine recruiter promised he would be "eyeball to eyeball" with the Japanese, he joined the Marines instead.

The book's title is derived from the taunts from Marines at Parris Island warning recruits them "You'll Be Sor-ree!" for joining the Corps. After training, he is transported aboard a troop train to San Francisco and overseas aboard the USS George F. Elliott to New Zealand.

As a member of the 1st Marine Division he was assigned as a mortarman with H-Company, 2nd Battalion and landed on Guadalcanal and exploring Lunga Point (Henderson Field). He witnesses the Battle of Savo Island from his foxhole.

Phillips and his mortar squad first went into action at dawn August 22 during the Battle of the Tenaru (Ilu, Alligator Creek). He writes, "Lt. Pollack directed us to fire on an abandoned Marine amphibian tank on which the Japs had set up a machine gun on the other side of the river. We corrected range in a couple of rounds and then put one right in the tank. A loud cheer went up like a touchdown at a football stadium."

His 81mm mortar team near the airfield and recalls daily air raids, landings at the airfield by B-17s and coastwatcher Martin Clemens. As fighting on Guadalcanal wore on, the Marines endured poor food and moved to several defensive positions. Once, he explores the crash of a Val dive bomber, and recovers a dataplate that he mailed home to his sister as a souvenir. Finally, on December 22 the Marines departed Guadalcanal too weak to climb the cargo nets.

During leave in Melbourne, Phillips remembers eating steak and eggs and drinking lots of beer, and trading cartons of cigarettes with Australians. He attended the ceremony awarding the Congressional Medal of Honor to Vandegrift, Edson, Paige and Basilone at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) and even met Eleanor Roosevelt.

On December 26, 1943 Phillips landed east of Cape Gloucester. Ashore, the jungle and rain became the worse enemies and using their mortar was a challenging proposition. After several months, the Marines were withdrawn to Pavuvu for recuperation on the island of coconut palms, land crabs and rats. He was unlucky to pull guard duty when Bob Hope performed for the Marines, but was lucky to exchange waves with Jerry Colonna.

Rotated home via San Francisco, many Marines kissed the ground on arrival. Taken by train and bus back to his hometown of Moblie, Alabama he dated then married his sweetheart, Mary. The book ends with a moving "reflections" chapter, where Phillips reflects on his life and service.

For anyone interested in reading another outstanding account from a 1st Marine Division veteran, this book is a must read. Valor Studios sells autographed copies and visit his official website Marine Sid Phillips.

Review by  Justin Taylan

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Last Updated
February 4, 2018

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