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Bloody fight for Guadalcanal continues

Fresh troops from the 2d Marine Division during a halt on Guadalcanal, circa November, 1942. Most of these Marines are armed with M1903 bolt-action rifles and carry M1905 bayonets and USMC 1941 type packs. Two men high on the hill at right wear mortar vests and one in center has a World War I type grenade vest. The Marine seated at far right has a Browning Automatic Rifle.
A U.S. Marine patrol crosses the Matanikau River on Guadalcanal in September, 1942. It was near this location that Anthony Casamento’s machine gun team made their stand – every single one of them was killed or seriously wounded.

On Guadalcanal [permalink id=24062 text=”the Marines continued”] to hold out in the defence of the base at Henderson Field. The Japanese strategy was to throw men into the fight to seek to overwhelm the Marines positions, resulting in wholesale carnage. The Marines clung on but not without sustaining many casualties, it took extraordinary tenacity to hold up against the onslaught. One man was to distinguish himself on 1st November, although it was to take a long time before he was recognised for what he did:


For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with Company “D”, First Battalion, Fifth Marines, First Marine Division on Guadalcanal, British Solomon Islands, in action against the enemy Japanese forces on November 1, 1942.

Serving as a leader of a machine gun section, Corporal Casamento directed his unit to advance along a ridge near the Matanikau River where they engaged the enemy. He positioned his section to provide covering fire for two flanking units and to provide direct support for the main force of his company which was behind him.

During the course of this engagement, all members of his section were either killed or severely wounded and he himself suffered multiple, grievous wounds. Nonetheless, Corporal Casamento continued to provide critical supporting fire for the attack and in defense of his position.

Following the loss of all effective personnel, he set up, loaded, and manned his unit’s machine gun, tenaciously holding the enemy forces at bay. Corporal Casamento single-handedly engaged and destroyed one machine gun emplacement to his front and took under fire the other emplacement on the flank.

Despite the heat and ferocity of the engagement, he continued to man his own weapon and repeatedly repulsed multiple assaults by the enemy forces, thereby protecting the flanks of the adjoining companies and holding his position until the arrival of his main attacking force.

Corporal Casamento’s courageous fighting spirit, heroic conduct, and unwavering dedication to duty reflected great credit upon himself and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.

Anthony Casamento’s actions were not officially recognised until 1980, which must be unique amongst Medal of Honor recipients. The process of making the award only began in 1964 when two eyewitnesses to his actions were found.

In a White House ceremony, former Cpl Anthony Casamento, a machine gun squad leader in the 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, was decorated by President Jimmy Carter on 22 August 1980, 38 years after the battle for Guadalcanal. Looking on are Casamento’s wife and daughters and Gen Robert H. Barrow, Marine Commandant.

7 thoughts on “Bloody fight for Guadalcanal continues”

  1. My grandfather was the one who gave his testimony that gave Anthony his metal that he was trying for 38 years Newsday did a interview with PVT Michael Sebastian ciaverelli as hell broke out Anthony was shot up as my grand father looked over and my grandfather was Alive the first half half of onslaught er as he,was wound in the leg and he fought he never got his metal got the purple heart but never asked because of his health because of hand to hand combat Congressional metal of honor should have been giving to Michael ciaverelli too he was a,war hero a one of the best fighter marine that God put on this,earth every time every family member looks at the American flag we never forget about family members who gave there life’s for are freedom rest in Peace never for get marine pvt Michael Sebastian Ciaverelli

  2. How come my grandfather PVt michael S ciaverelli came back from the war as a killer and lived a short life he passed away in 1981 I heard story’s from my father mike ciaverelli and old timers they never saw a Marine that bad as he used to say deal with it when it happens Yes america he was wounded in leg Besides what Hand To Hand Combat action he did and seen over there he came back as Rambo face valve what really happen over there? Because things don’t make sense

  3. Its too bad Tony’s daughter is a complete con artist. you should do your homework; Mary Casamento is all over the dance scene on the internet for her fraud and claims of brain cancer and lupus that have lasted decades. She won’t die because she isn’t sick. Its all documented in her bankruptcy of 2002 in Woodland Hills, and her fraud charges at Van Nuys superior court for stealing tens of thousands of dollars from men claiming she needed brain surgery………..this was in 2001 and 2002.

  4. Hello, I just wanted to say that my grandfather Michael Ciaverelli was one of the two Marines who served with Casemento and survived the battle. He is standing between both Marine Generals in the photo above. He also testified for him at the hearings. I hope someone remembers him as he was wounded in the battle.

  5. Hi Mary,
    Mt name is Vincent Mannino, my mother maiden name is Providenza Casamento. My mother was born in Sicily and although I have created a family tree, after much research, I do not have all the information about the family history. I was also born in Sicily, three of my uncles arrived in NY from Sicily in 1908 (Joseph Casamento, Filippo Casamento, and Giovanni Casamento. I also served in the USMC. I served in Vietnam as a Platoon Seargent with the First Marine Div. We lived in LÌ for over thirty years and we have many friends in the Sons of Italy. I do not know if we are related, but I would like to hear from you. Vincent Mannino

  6. Mary

    Thank you so much for leaving that additional information. It is an inspiring story about the importance of remembrance.

    best regards


  7. My father, Anthony Casamento, was an amazing man and hero. His entire life, he fought to have the true story told about what happened to his men, and what happened that day during battle. When he received the Congressional Medal of Honor, he stated it was for his men. His Medal of Honor is now on display at the West Islip Public Library in Long Island New York. I gave it to the library as a permanent gift so that they would display it and allow people who have never seen one to have the opportunity. I thought it might be comforting to service people and their families. I donated it because that is what my father would have wanted. It is meant to be shared with all of our brave military persons and their families. God Bless.

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