The Adventures of Young Men Chronicled in the Annals of War
Welcome to Guadalcanal. Hell’s just around the bend.
Was it worth me purchasing HBO for the next 3 months? If the first two installments of the new HBO miniseries, “The pacific,” is any indication: Yes. This 10 part miniseries was produced by the same crew: Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg that produced the classic war film / miniseries, “Band of Brothers.”
From that first installment that premiered Sunday night, March 14, 2010, we are provided a short insight into the lives of Marines as they prepare to enlist, and those Marines that are trained and ready take revenge: for the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor and the human atrocities on Wake Island in December 1941. As these brave patriots prepared for war, and as if they needed any further incentive to ready for war, news of the murder, by the soldiers of the Empire of Japan, of over 10,000 U.S. Army and Filipino prisoners from the fall of the Philippines in April, 1942, in the infamous Bataan Death March from Corregidor.
At that time in America, there was no for the conscription of personnel for our armed Services. Patriotic young men were enlisting in droves. From what I can tell, in the first two installments, the second installment aired March 21, 2010, this story is mostly about them.
In the first installment, we learn of the imperial ambitions of the Empire of Japan, when they make war against the United States of America by destroying most of her Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii in their infamous sneak attack. After that attack, we also learn of the patriotism of 18 year old Sidney Phillips from Alabama, played by young actor Ashton Holmes; who enlisted to become a PFC in the Marine Corps. Here in the second episode, like many of these other youngmen, he found his manhood by sacrificing a good chunk of his soul on Guadalcanal, where this hellacious battle began on August 7, 1942.
We also become familiar with Robert Leckie, who leaves home and his dispassionate father to become a Marine PFC (Private First Class), who discovers the earthly Hell that was Guadalcanal; and we find Sgt. John Basilone’s big Italian family supportive as he readies for deployment. Sgt. Basilone, portrayed by John Seda, was an Army Sergeant, stationed in the Philippines, but re-enlists as a Marine so he can get back to the action as fast as the Marines, who were the first to fight in the early stages of the Island Hopping Campaign, would deploy.
The initial installment interweaves the lives of these aforementioned men, who were within the 1st Division of the Corps, along with others, seamlessly told a tale of hardship incurred and the dedication embraced as these true patriots on Guadalcanal, which is located in the Solomon Islands of the south Pacific, who left good lives back home to protect the rare freedoms for that generation, and all succeeding generations that followed. From this first incursion unto the deserted beaches of that Solomon Island to their first bloody encounter with the Japanese at the Battle of Alligator Creek, the first installment of “The Pacific” focuses on the men experiencing a series of firsts to bring them ever closer to becoming the battle hardened Marines that hopped from Pacific island to island north to the Japanese island of Okinawa, which in 1945, would become the embarkation point for the planned invasion of Japan.
The second installment of “The Pacific” deals with these young men, born from the battles on Guadalcanal, becoming the warriors that repelled advance after advance as they fought, under supplied and outnumbered, to hold the airfield, captured from the entrenched Japanese. The airfield was strategic to the U.S. Navy’s need to move within the Solomon Islands, and throughout the South Pacific, with air support.
The Battle of Midway, which was decided in early June, 1942, proved that air cover could win, or save battles, and also proved how vulnerable aircraft carriers were, with the United States losing the USS Yorktown, and the Japanese losing 4 of their 6 aircraft carriers in the great sea battle, which began the turning of the tide for the U.S. Navy in the Pacific Theater.
In this second episode, with all of that terrible battle raging on all fronts encircling that critical airfield, which was later named for Marine Major Lofton Henderson, who died a hero’s death in early June at the Battle of Midway, the 1st Marine Division prevails to defeat the Japanese. Eventually they are relieved by the U.S. Army, and they pull out to repair and prepare in Australia for the future onslaught of the venerable Island Hopping Campaign.
With the first two installments behind me, I plan to review every two episodes, until its conclusion. I invite all commentary that is appropriate.
Not Rated, but would be R rated if a theatrical release. Premiered on HBO March 14, 2010.
This article is provided courtesy of our sister site: Better Angels Now.