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Cherokee County WWII War Stories

CECIL AKIN

WOUNDED ON GUADAL CANAL - P.F.C. Cecil Akin, 22, former Cherokee amateur boxer, won his first round with the Japs and is waiting for the gong to start the second round.  He took a lot of punishment in that first session but the Japs got worse.

In the hot, wet jungles of Guadal Canal the Nipponese knocked P.F.C. Akin out of action twice...once with a mortar shell fragment and again with a piece of shrapnel from an aerial bomb.

Though the enemy put him out of service for awhile, P.F.C. Akin put a number of them out permanently.  He told the Times reporter when interviewed "I killed two of them with my rifle.  One was a corpsman and the other a regular Jap Army private.  I couldn't say how many I got with my machine gun, but it was a plenty."

"Getting hit by a chunk of shrapnel isn't pleasant, " P.F.C. Akin said.  "The ugly, jagged pieces of metal are red hot when they strike the flesh and they burn unmercifully."  Five stitches were required to close one of his two shrapnel wounds.

Cecil was with the first American troops invading the Solomons.  The assault on Guadalcanal was an attempt to turn the tide in the southwest Pacific early in 1942 and put the United States on the offensive in that area.

The fighting on the Canal was one of unspeakable hardships calling for the best in every man.  "But I'm glad I had the experience," Akin declared, "because I learned things there that will be invaluable to me wherever I'm sent next.  We learned every trick of the Japs and we've got lots more confidence now than we ever had before."

Before going into the service, the Cherokee Marine was a brakeman for the Illinois Central Railroad, working out of Waterloo.  He joined the Marine Corps May 11, 1942 and took his training at San Diego, Calif. He left the States July 15 and landed at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and shortly afterward "shoved off" for the southwest Pacific.  He was on Guadal Canal six months and two days.  He was also on Tulagi, but was in no fighting there.

Guadal Canal, in the Solomons, was the first major allied offensive in the Pacific, Japanese had swept through the Philippines and the Dutch East Indies.  They were posed for an assault upon Australia and New Zealand, the last major allied possessions in the S.W. Pacific.  The Battle of Guadal Canal blunted their attack and halted their advance.  Guadal Canal was to serve as a spring board for the allied attack in the Pacific.

 Source: Cherokee County Historical Society Newsletter, Vol 15, Num 1, Jan 1980, Sec V, Pg 7.  From the Cherokee Daily Times of Jan. 3, 1944.

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