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Guadalcanal the little known island that allowed the U.S. to turn the tide of the Pacific War and stop the advance of Imperial Japan in WWII. MHT returns to commemorate the soldiers, sailors, and Marines who won on the ground and water for the 75th Anniversary of this decisive battle.
Guadalcanal. For the Marines of the First and Second Marine Divisions, this battle, remain as the landmark of their history, the first combatant actions for both in WWII plus the U.S. Army’s 23rd & 25th Infantry Divisions participated in the liberation of “The Canal.” This year we return to this epic struggle as part of our 75th Anniversaries Pacific Battlefields for Guadalcanal’s 75th Anniversary Tour. Fly through Fiji to Guadalcanal where we spend the next ten days, before we start we offer a pre-tour to Tarawa to commemorate this bloody campaign a precursor to costly future landings against entrenched fanatical Japanese resistance.
The unique Military Historical Tours in-depth approach includes extensive pre-departure research, utilizing a vast resource of maps and other source material, ensuring the finest possible experience. Our Tour Leaders for this program are among the most knowledgeable on this subject. In-depth, but easily understood, briefings are conducted on each battle and other historic sites. For those wanting to go into more detail, the onsite staff is always available. We will visit interesting sites unseen and unknown to the vast majority of battlefield tourists.
Participants are invited to contribute by sharing their personal knowledge and expertise as we walk the battlefields. Ample time is allowed for personal exploration and sightseeing.
All of these things, along with the most experienced staff of Tour Leaders, Battlefield Guides, and Historians will combine to make your trip the most enjoyable, relaxing, entertaining and educational experience possible. We welcome your phone calls, letters or e-mails to discuss this expedition with one of our Battlefield Specialists. Call us toll free at 800-722-9501, M-F 9:30AM-5:30PM, write or e-mail us. We look forward to hearing from you.
Guadalcanal Tour Price: $ 2,295
Based on Double Occupancy (BoDO)
Single Room Supplement: $ 595
Tarawa Pre-Tour (BoDO) $ 2,495
Pre-Tour Single Supplement $ 395
Post-Tour Ground (BoDO) $ 795
Post-Tour Ground Single Sup. $ 255
Post-Tour Dive Adventure – Call Office
Main Tour Price Includes:
* All breakfasts, departure taxes, & tips are included (not hidden costs)
* 3-Star (Pacific Island) Hotel Accommodations
* Air-conditioned motorcoach
* Emergency Medical, Evacuation, Repatriation, and baggage insurance included
* Trip Kit: tour ball cap, bag tags & name badge
* MHT “FieldBook” information map packet
* All Admission fees to all sites, museums, and special attractions listed
* Services of experienced MHT Tour Leaders & English--speaking local guides.
Pre-Tour Tarawa 29 Jul – 5 Aug
The Japanese occupied Tarawa just two days after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Following an August 1942 raid by U.S. Marines on Makin to deflect attention from the invasion of Guadalcanal, Japanese Imperial forces fortified the tiny islet of Betio with big guns, bunkers, pillboxes, mines and barbed wire. In November 1943, U.S. Army troops took the island of Makin, while the Marines engaged an entrenched and determined enemy on Betio. The brutal, 76-hour struggle for Tarawa resulted in more than 3,000 Marine casualties and some 5,000 Japanese dead. The hard-fought battle was the first full-scale amphibious assault against a fortified target and taught valuable lessons for the rest of the American island-hopping campaign to defeat Japan.
We are pleased to bring you this in-depth approach that includes extensive pre-departure research, utilizing a vast resource of maps and other source material, ensuring the finest possible experience. The Tour Leader for this program is among the most knowledgeable on this subject. In-depth, but easily understood, briefings are conducted on each battle and other historic sites. For those wanting to go into more detail, the onsite staff is always available.
Extended Exploration of Guadalcanal Battlefields 12-15 Aug
Join Colonel Joe to see more of the battlefields.
Iron Bottom Sound Dive Adventure 12–19 Aug
Extend an extra week on the Canal to dive the Japanese “Tokyo Express” wrecks and U.S. Navy ships lost in “The Slot”
Optional Stopover at Fiji
Nadi, Fiji Islands
Fiji Airways now flies daily from Nadi to Los Angeles, so a stopover for any length of time is possible.
$150 per night single occupancy or
$100 per night per person for twin share occupancy.
Includes round trip airport/hotel transfers; hotel accommodations at the Tokatoka Hotel near Nadi Airport or similar; local taxes; Costs are per person, twin share. Cost & a half for single occupancy. Beachfront hotels also available upon request, but quite a bit more expensive.
Does not include airline stop-over fees, about $100 per person.
3 Aug Thur (Day 1) DEPARTURE
Check in at the Fiji Airways counter in the International Terminal, Los Angeles Int’l Airport no later than 8:30pm for your 11:30pm FJ #811. Meet your tour director at the departure gate.
4 Aug Fri (Day 2) ENROUTE
In-flight entertainment, friendly Fiji Airways staff and breakfast pass the time pleasantly on this non-stop flight to Nadi, Fiji Islands. Cross International Dateline lose a day.
5 Aug Sat (Day 3) ARRIVE GUADALCANAL
Arrive Nadi, Fiji Islands at 5:50am. Layover until departure on Fiji Airways (FJ269) arriving at historic "Henderson Field" mid-afternoon. We transfer to our hotel for the next week, with time to settle in and refresh. Hotel: Solomon Kitano Mendana
6 Aug Sun (Day 4) GUADALCANAL
After breakfast we departing for our battlefield briefing and orientation of the eastern battle sites from a vantage point atop Mount Austen. Sites pointed out will be "Red Beach," the site of the landing; Henderson Field, the amphibious force objective; Edson's Ridge, the Tenaru River (Alligator Creek); Lunga Point, and other pertinent sites. We continue on for a tour of the "Gifu" area of Mount Austen, one of the best preserved battlefields on the island. We walk the battlefield, seeing the foxholes and remnants of the battle, visit the Japanese War Memorial, as well as a Solomon Island village. We continue our tour with a visit to the east and west banks of the Matanikau River, scene of some of the bloodiest fighting of the battle. Later we will tour the U.S. Memorial on Skyline Ridge for another panoramic view of the island and the western battle sites from this vantage point. Sites pointed out will be Tulagi, Gavutu -Tanambogo, and the Florida Islands. Also, we will orient on Savo Island, "Iron Bottom Sound": as well as key terrain features ashore. We will see Point Cruz, the Matanikau River, Cape Esperance, and other key sites that played significant roles in this landmark battle. (B/Breakfast)
7 Aug Mon - (Day 5) GUADALCANAL
Today we commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Battle as we visit the American War Memorial, site of the wreath laying and remarks by the all the participating countries. Further individual ceremonies will be conducted such as wreath laying at the Solomon Island Coast Watchers Statue. One highlight is the wreath laying for Signalman First Class Douglas Munro, USCG who was the only coast guard recipient of the Medal of Honor for his heroic efforts in evacuating a battalion of Marines trapped near Point Cruz. Lunch to follow after the ceremony. The remainder of the day is at leisure. (B)
8 Aug Tue – (Day 6) GUADALCANAL
This morning we will travel east to Tetere, site of a Japanese bivouac and current home to a massive Amtrac “Boneyard” left behind at the end of the war. We visit Red Beach, site of the initial landing of the 1st Marine Division and explore the area around Henderson Field, see Pagoda Hill, the plane revetments & control tower, and Gen Vandergrift's command post. Crossing the Lunga River we will see “Fighter Two”, the strip where the planes for the "Yamamoto Mission" took off. We will view the site of Carney Airfield & the Army logistics base as we return west. (B)
9 Aug Wed (Day 7) GUADALCANAL
Today we spend time on Bloody Ridge, known from a previous battle as Edson’s Ridge, where the Japanese were halted in their attempts to reach Henderson Field, in one of the pivotal battles of the Pacific War. It is here that we will see the Machinegun Positions used by “Manila John” Basilone to stem the Japanese attacks. From here we view “Fighter One”, the field from which the Cactus Air Force and famous aviators like Joe Foss, Bob Galer, Jeff DeBlanc, John Smith, Marion Carl, and others flew. (B)
10 Aug Thur - (Day 8) GUADALCANAL
Following breakfast we will explore battle sites around the Ilu, Tenaru and Lunga Rivers. Stops will include Pvt Al Schmid’s machine gun position along “Alligator Creek” (Ilu River), which he continued to defend even after being blinded by a Japanese grenade. We will also spend time on Bloody Ridge, known from a previous battle as Edson’s Ridge, where the Japanese were halted in their attempts to reach Henderson Field, in one of the pivotal battles of the Pacific War. It is here that we will see the Machinegun Positions used by “Manila John” Basilone to stem the Japanese attacks. From here we view “Fighter One”, the field from which the Cactus Air Force and famous aviators like Joe Foss, Bob Galer, Jeff DeBlanc, John Smith, Marion Carl, and others flew. (B)
11 Aug Fri - (Day 9) GUADALCANAL
We begin this morning driving west to Cape Esperance to visit the site of the Japanese evacuation of the island. From Honiara west, the battle was prosecuted by the 2nd Marine Division and the 25th Infantry Division of the US Army. We will view these battlefields, as well as the opportunity to visit the Vila War Museum to view relics from the battles, including an F4F Wildcat and an SBD Dauntless dive-bomber. Along the coast are the remains of Japanese freighters, which were beached after coming under attack by U.S. aircraft. Return to Hotel for Farewell Dinner. (B/Dinner)
12 Aug Sat—(Day 10) DEPARTURE
Leisurely morning check-out before our afternoon departure by air from Guadalcanal to Fiji. Transfer to your flight back to the USA. Cross the International Dateline and arrive back in Los Angeles (LAX) on the same afternoon (B & D provided on plane) or…Remain on Guadalcanal for further exploration or experience diving Iron Bottom Sound wrecks!
(Day 1-2, Sat & Sun 29 & 30 Jul) Depart LAX
Depart Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) aboard an Fiji Airways flight (FJ811) at 11:30PM for Fiji. Cross International Dateline and lose a day.
(Day 3, Mon 31 Jul) Arrive FIJI –Transfer to TARAWA
5:50am Arrive Nadi, Fiji Islands. Transfer for your 8:00am departure from Nadi International Airport via FJ 231. We depart this AM for your three hour flight from Fiji to the island of Tarawa. Upon arrival, 11:00am we transfer to our hotel for lunch and a short break. We head south along the causeway road to Betio, for our first view and orientation of the island. Following this first visit, we return to our hotel on Tarawa for a briefing on the battle.
The Restaurant is open air. Nice Bar/Lounge. Each room has individually controlled air-conditioning units, private bathrooms and a refrigerator. Rooms are simple but adequate.
(Day 4, Tue 1 Aug) TARAWA
Following breakfast, we head south along the causeway road to Betio, for our first view and orientation of the island. We have a full day walking tour of the battlefield at Betio. We begin our exploration with a walk out to the site of the main pier - the target for the initial landing by Lieutenants Hawkins and Leslie and their combined assault platoon. After lunch, we continue our walking tour with visits starting on the left flank and Red Beach 3 and the Burns-Philp Wharf, continuing west to Red Beach 1 & 2, and Green Beach. Overnight Hotel: George
(Day 5, Wed 2 Aug) TARAWA
After breakfast we continue with our walking tour making it the most comprehensive exploration of the island you could experience We explore each phase of the battlefield, visiting sites such as Admiral Shibasaki’s headquarters, the well-known 8-inch Vickers Guns on the “Bird’s Beak”, and the remains from the battle all over the island. Overnight. Hotel: George
(Day 6, Thur 3 Aug) Depart TARAWA
After a leisurely morning checkout we transfer to the airport for our 12:00pm departure via FJ 230. Arrive Nadi 3:00pm. Transfer to the Tanoa Hotel near Nadi airport. Day free to enjoy the varied resort activities and relax after our flight. (Friday 4 Aug) is a day of leisure to enjoy Fiji. Hotel: Tanoa Hotel
(Sat 5 Aug) Depart Fiji Arrive Guadalcanal
Depart Fiji on Fiji Airways (FJ269) arriving at historic "Henderson Field" mid-afternoon. We transfer to our hotel for the next week, with time to settle in and meet the main body group. Hotel: Solomon Kitano Mendana
Extended Exploration of Guadalcanal Battlefields 12-15 Aug
Day 1; Sat 12 Aug – Today is a return to Edson’s Ridge to explore further the defensive positions of the 1st Raider and 1st Parachute Battalions on 12—14 Sep ‘42. (B)
Day 2; Sun 13 Aug – Today is a walking tour of the 23rd & 25th Infantry Divisions and 2nd Marine Division’s efforts in the Battle of Mount Austen, the Galloping Horse and the Sea Horse. This battle in the hills near the Matanikau River is famously depicted in James Jone’s book The Thin Red Line and the two subsequent movies. This month long battle was in Dec ‘42—Jan ‘43. (B)
Day 3; Mon 14 Aug – Today we do a detailed study of the Battle of Alligator Creek (also called Tenaru/Ilu River) on 21 Aug ‘42 and the first major probe by the Japanese. (B)
Day 4; Tue 15 Aug - Departure. Leisurely morning check-out before our afternoon departure from Guadalcanal to Fiji. Transfer to your flight back to the USA. Cross International Dateline and arrive back in Los Angeles (LAX) the same afternoon. (B)
Iron Bottom Sound Dive Adventure 12–19 Aug
Day 1; Sat 12 Aug – Dive orientation and First Dive: "Iron Bottom Sound" contains a variety of wrecks including troop carriers, transport ships, submarines and planes.
Day 2; 13 Aug Sun—Day 6; 17 Aug —Some of the popular dive sites “Hirokawa Maru” (Bonegi I) : Japanese transport ship. 6,860 tons, length 155 metres. Dive starts at 3m plunging to 55m. “Kinugawa Maru” (Bonegi II) : Japanese transport ship. Length 132 metres, resting partly above water with the stern in 27m. USS John Penn : An American troop ship covered in black coral lying on the sand at 60 metres. Tulagi: Aaron Ward: Discovered in 1995, is the only dive-able destroyer in the Solomon Islands. Depth 58 - 70m. Sandfly Passage: A beautiful coral garden studded with big red and yellow fans. An amazing diversity of coral and marine life. Depth 3-40m. Kanawha: The 14,500 ton American oil tanker was sunk on 7 April 1943, the same day as the Aaron Ward. Sitting upright on a flat bottom the deck is strewn with artifacts. Depth 40-60m.
Day 7; 18 Aug—Recovery Day
Day 8; 19 Aug Depart on your afternoon departure from Guadalcanal to Fiji. Transfer to your flight back to the USA. Cross the International Dateline and arrive back in Los Angeles (LAX) on the same afternoon. (B)
Guadalcanal 75th Anniversary "Turning the Tide" (3 - 12 Aug 2017)
- Product Code: 17-PAC-GUAD
- Availability: Tour is SOLD OUT