ND National Guard unit marks Battle of Guadalcanal anniversary

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BISMARCK Today marks the 75 anniversary of a North Dakota National Guard Unit landing on Guadalcanal.

In the midst of the forties, shortly after the sucker punch at Pearl Harbor, a unit of North Dakota's National Guard were the first Army unit to punch back at the Japanese.

"We were under fire all day long, one way or another. Air raids morning and afternoon. The threat of artillery from the Japanese on the hill, then at night a two battleship bombardment trying to knock out our airfield," said Retired Col. Richard Stevens, a veteran of Guadalcanal.

They were reinforcing the marines that had already captured a corner of an island called Guadalcanal. Young men that had joined in the years before the day of infamy, joining the guard to protect their country.

"Many North Dakotan young men were joining the 164th. Jobs were scarce, it was late in the depression," said Col. Stevens.

After the war ended many of these men went on to have families. We asked the daughter of a veteran what it was like growing up.

"They never talked about it much until the more recent years. Probably about twenty years ago most of the veterans started opening up and talking about they're experiences. So growing up as a child I never knew any different," said Barb Conley, the daughter of a Guadalcanal Veteran.

The reunion ended with the 188th guard band playing the music of World War Two.