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Guadalcanal Veterans Return
Frank Teague & Paul Moore
by John Innes 2002

I have just returned from Guadalcanal after a visit accompanied by two remarkable veterans of that campaign. These were two Marines revisiting that unique time in their lives. I traveled there with Frank Teague a Marine who was on board the USS Portland, and Bishop Paul Moore who was a Marine in G/2/5 in 1942.

Frank Teague was a Marine, in 1942 was stationed on the heavy cruiser, USS Portland. My other guest was Bishop Paul Moore, a Lieutenant in G company 2nd Battalion 5th Marines in 1942. Anyone who participated in that campaign would have stories to tell that forever would be etched in their memories. Frank and Paul were no exception to that rule.

Frank Teague
Knowing Frank had been on the Portland, I mentioned to him how lucky the ship must have been. I had read that on the 26th October at the Battle of Santa Cruz, three torpedoes had hit the Portland and all three failed to explode!

When I mentioned this Frank looked at his wife, Karin, and said "John I will tell you a story about that incident."

"About a week before that Battle I had a dream. It was such a vivid dream that I told my shipmates about it. In my dream I saw the ship being hit by three torpedoes (that didn't explode) and then I had an image of the ship being covered by trees. I certainly had the attention of my shipmates after the torpedoes hit us. However none off us had any thoughts about what the trees could mean, after all we were a heavy cruiser!

The USS Portland was the seventh ship in line. Capt Dubose graduated from Annapolis in 1913, so 13 was his lucky number. The battle of Savo started on the morning of Nov 13, 1942. Thirteen wasn't necessarily a lucky number for us this time because we were hit by a torpedo that did explode. The order was given to abandon ship but was canceled.

At daylight although crippled we saw the Japanese destroyer Yudachi also crippled. Our Captain sank the Yudachi after signaling to her of our intentions and for them to abandon ship. We then limped into Tulagi Harbor where we were tied up alongside Palm trees and covered with camouflage netting and trees! We spent a month there before going to Sydney for more effective repairs. John I have never had a premonition or a dream like that before or since."

During our week-long stay in Guadalcanal we took a boat across Iron Bottom Sound crossing the battle spots of that naval engagement and visited the spot were the Portland had been tied up. Frank said that the visit was a 'completion' for him.

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Paul Moore
Was for twenty years the Episcopalian Bishop of New York. On August 7th 1942 the then Lt. Paul Moore G/2/5 landed on Blue Beach on Tulagi. On that site where he came ashore, much to Bishop Moore's surprise and delight, now stands the Anglican (Episcopalian) Cathedral for the Central Province.

On Guadalcanal we visited many of the famous Battlefields. Of particular interest to The Bishop was the sand spit at the mouth of the Matanikau River. On the 27th September 1942 Lt Moore tried unsuccessfully to cross the sand spit Attacking Japanese positions on the Western bank he was unable to make the crossing losing several men in the attempt. A further attempt slightly upstream was made to ford the river, when he noticed that one of his men had had his jaw shot away after reaching the Japanese side.

Lt Moore and his sergeant rescued that man who lives today. After checking his Marines who had been killed on the sand spit the attempted crossing was called off. Lt Moore was awarded the Silver Star for that action.

On the 1st November, the 1st and 2nd Company 5th Marines along with the Whaling Group, were involved in action where they did cross the Matanikau. The objective being to sweep around the Japanese positions west of the Matanikau and cut them off west of Point Cruz.

On the morning of 3rd November Lt Moore's G Company coming down from Hill 84 had almost reached the beach line. Kneeling up to throw a grenade at a Japanese machine gun position. Moore was shot through the chest. Doctors still marvel at how the bullet missed his heart. "It must have been on the downbeat when went through you" they say. Lapsing into unconsciousness that was the last action Moore saw on Guadalcanal. For performances during this sweep he was awarded the Navy Cross.

We visited the location where he almost lost his life. Whilst there I reflected that in 1942 General Vandergrift had pulled back to the other side of the Matanikau only a week later. In a surprised voice he kept saying to me "are you sure?" He never knew that he nearly gave up his life for ground that was given back.

He spent a month in Hospital having nightmares about a Japanese 37mm gun at the end of his bed. I enclose a photo taken of the Bishop and a Japanese 37mm taken during our trip.

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