The Long Blue Line: The “Gold Dust Twins” and the battle of Guadalcanal (Part 1)

Written by William H. Thiesen, Coast Guard Atlantic Area historian – The Guadalcanal campaign began on Thursday, August 7, 1942, exactly eight months after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. With its lush jungle cover and tropical waters, Guadalcanal was a picturesque contrast of deep green and azure blue. But for all its natural beauty, Guadalcanal was also a fearful place to fight a war. On “the Canal,” the Americans would fight two enemies–the Japanese and the jungle. In late summer and early fall, the island boasted a steamy climate with searing temperatures and daily monsoon-like rains. Man-eating sharks and saltwater crocodiles patrolled the local waters. Top it off with swarms of disease-ridden mosquitoes carrying dengue fever, malaria and yellow fever and it becomes clear why Marines called Guadalcanal “the green hell.” At 2:30 p.m. on August 9, Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Dwight Dexter came ashore to establish the Naval Local Defense Force and Anti-Submarine Patrol, also known as Naval Operating Base (NOB) “Cactus” (Cactus being the code name for Guadalcanal), or NOB Cactus. This would become the first and only known case of a Naval Operating Base manned and run primarily by the Coast Guard. Known as “the Old Man,” Dexter was,, Read the story here 18:24

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