Remembering Edson’s Ridge and the Heroes That Turned the Tide at Guadalcanal

There are those battles from World War II that get a lot of attention and are remembered time and time again like Iwo Jima and the many photos of the famous flag raising there. There are also those battles that were just as important, or even more so, that are mostly remembered only by those who fought and lost brothers in arms there. Such is the case of Edson’s Ridge; one of the most significant early victories by American troops in the battle of the Pacific in World War II.

There was not a lot that went right in the Solomon Islands campaign in WWII. The planning was good but the troops were rushed together and did not have enough air and naval support. The mission was noble and it had to be done because if the Japanese had advanced any further south they would have cut off the American-Australian supply line. One of the few things that went right in the Solomon’s was the amphibious landing that took the Japanese airfield that was under construction on Guadalcanal Island.

With the lack of naval power in the area and no ability for the American fighter aircraft to fight in the dark, the Japanese were heavily reinforcing the island to get ready for a counterattack on the airfield. The Americans knew if the airfield was retaken by the Japanese it would further weaken their position in the area and it would take a long time for the Allies to recover from the loss. As the Americans made preparations in advance of an attack that was sure to come, the Japanese were busy getting ready at the same time.

Merritt A Edson
Merritt A Edson

Henderson Field was the new name for the captured Japanese airfield. Overlooking the airfield were a series of high ridges that were strategically important. The Marines knew this and Colonel Merritt ‘Red’ Mike Edson ordered his men to dig in and get ready (yes the same ‘Edson’ that the ridge eventually got its name from – also to be nicknamed ‘bloody ridge’ after the battle). After aerial and naval bombings on the 11th and 12th of September, the Japanese probed the defenses along the ridge on September 12th. The next few days would feature some of the bloodiest and most exhausting fighting of the war in the Pacific. After days of hand to hand fighting and bayonet charge after bayonet charge, the Marines and other troops defending the ridge were able to emerge victorious, but with a great loss of life on both sides. It was a turning point in the war against Japan.

We are reminded of this epic battle each time one of the brave men who fought there passes on. Such was the case with Lt. Edward “Cam” Farmer, Jr.; one of the true heroes of those historic few days that no man should ever have to endure. He kept fighting despite being shot in the arm and grazed in the head and inspired those around them to keep taking the fight to the Japanese. He would end up receiving 3 purple hearts, a bronze star and a silver star for his efforts over those few days and the course of the war.

Sadly, on August 16, 2015, we lost the former Lieutenant Farmer three days shy of his 97th birthday. Let’s not forget him and the other brave souls who gave so selflessly in the lesser known battles if WWII, or any war for that matter. Your fellow Americans salute you and hold you in the highest respect for your efforts.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Craig Smith

Craig Smith

Craig has been writing for several years but just recently made freelance writing a full time profession after leaving behind 26 years working in the swimming pool construction industry. He served four years in the US Air Force as an Imagery Interpreter Specialist in Okinawa, Japan and at SAC Headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska. As a staunch supporter of law enforcement personnel, emergency medical technicians, firemen, search and rescue personnel and those who serve in the military, Craig is proud to contribute to the US Patriot blog on their behalf.
Craig Smith
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