|Cherokee County WWII War Stories
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
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
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.
Cherokee County Historical Society Newsletter, Vol 15, Num 1, Jan 1980,
Sec V, Pg 7. From the Cherokee Daily Times of Jan. 3, 1944.
Return to War Stories Index
Return to Home Page