Australia: ATTACK SIX Tours Guadalcanal Battlefields
Eight personnel from ATTACK SIX and HQ NORCOM have conducted a Battlefield tour of the Solomon Islands as part of the Armidale Class Patrol Boat Crews team building program. The group conducted tours of the legendary Guadalcanal battlefields with renowned historian and expert tour guide Mr John Innes.
The tour took the officers and sailors to key WWII sites on Guadalcanal and neighbouring islands such as Henderson Airfield, Alligator Creek, Tulagi Island, Mt Austen and Bloody Ridge. These battlefields saw intense action during the campaign that would become the turning point of the War in the Pacific. The RAN personnel also took time to attend the US and Japanese War Memorials, as well as holding a ceremony at the memorial to HMAS Canberra (I) which was sunk in Iron Bottom Sound during the Battle of Savo Island in August 1942, with the loss of 84 personnel.
Trip supervising officer, CO ATTACK SIX, LCDR Mark Daly said that “the trip was a highlight of my naval service in terms of learning more about the historical and strategic importance of the Pacific Campaign in World War II. It also provided an excellent opportunity to develop a close rapport and individual resilience amongst RAN participants. The HMAS Canberra (I) Memorial Service proved to be a particularly moving experience.”
ABBM Kea Spafford said her highlight was diving on wrecks in Iron Bottom Sound and experiencing the unique culture of the Solomon Islands.
All personnel who participated in the battlefield tour said it was a very interesting and rewarding experience and would highly recommend it to other ADF personnel interested in the history of this decisive WWII campaign.
Press Release, August 6, 2013; Image: Australian Navy