The Legend of Suicide Charley

COMPANY C, 1ST BATTALION, 7TH MARINES, AND THE BATTLE FOR HENDERSON FIELD, 24–25 OCTOBER 1942

By: Major Gary Gozzens, USMCR (Retired)

The 1st Marine Division (1st MarDiv) landed on Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, on 7 August 1942, and during the next four months, the division participated in an ongoing fight to prevent the Japanese from recapturing the island and Henderson Field. Yet, the official historian of the 1st MarDiv
wrote, “There are two Guadalcanals: the battle and the legend.”

One of those legends was born on the night of 24 October when the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, occupied defensive positions south of Henderson Field in a sector normally held by two infantry battalions. The under strength Company C anchored the center of the line and bore the brunt of at least six separate attacks by the Japanese that night.

Although the fighting was desperate, Company C Marines held the line. Later, on the morning of 25 October, a handmade flag appeared over the Company C line that had been made from white Japanese parachute material and showed a skull-and-crossbones crudely inscribed with “Suicide Charley, 1st Battalion, 7th Marines.

To continue reading, click below.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *