Eight months after being attacked at Pearl Harbor, the U.S. finally sent ground forces up against the enemy. The site was a steaming, disease-ridden equatorial island northeast of Australia called Guadalcanal.
The U.S. Navy had already engaged the Japanese at the Battle of Midway and inflicted heavy damage on their navy. Now the Marines and Army troops, along with the Navy, would confront the ground forces of Japan at Guadalcanal.
The Japanese had seized the Solomon Islands in the summer of 1942 and begun building a key airfield on the island. When completed, it would give the Japanese air force control over the shipping lanes between the U.S. and its Australian ally.