The Wright Road was constructed by the U. S. Army to provide acess from the coast inland to The Gifu near Mount Austen (Mt. Austen, Grassy Knoll) on Guadalcanal.
The Wright Road was built to support the U. S. Army advance inland to The Gifu. Named in honor of LTC William Curtiss
Bill Wright adds:
am the son of LTC William Curtiss Wright, and the
nephew of CPT (Later COL Howard Wright and MSGT (later Major) Donald
R. Wright all of the 132nd Infantry Regiment. The 164th Infantry,
Americal Division anchored the Eastern end of the Marine defensive
line during the major battles to retake Henderson Field. Later, the
164th and the 184th ran combat patrols in force to the East and ran
into strong opposition. The HQ, Americal Division and the 132 Infantry
Regiment with division engineer and artillery landed on about 7 December
1942 and the same convoy took the 1st MARDIV off the island. The
132 Inf Regt was the first to take the offensive in the time frame
17-19 December against Mt. Austen. The Gifu area of Mt. Austen was
one of the most heavily defended sites of the War in the Pacific.
There were many well fortified machine gun nests and snipers in a
U-shaped defensive perimeter as you first go up Wright Road from Henderson
Field. General Patch and the Americal Staff had no idea how well Mt
Austen was defended. The marines thought there were just a few soldiers
up there. General Patch initially sent a company up there. They could
make no progress, were pinned down by fire, and could find no machine
guns or snipers. On 17 December, the 3/132 (3rd Bn, 132nd Inf. Regt)
was sent up with the same results. The Bn Commander, LTC William C.
Wright, pulled the Bn back and on 19 December, accompanied only by his bodyguards,
his radioman (Johnny DiCicco), and two FO's (Forward Observers, Arty) they made
contact, identifying one machine gun nest. The body guards and the radioman were
wounded. In trying to lift the fire by wiping out the machine gun nest and save
his men, LTC Wright was mortally wounded and later was brought back by members
of his Bn.
The entire regiment was later thrown at the defensive site with the 1st and 3rd
Bns taking a frontal assault and the 2nd Bn scaling up the extremely steep back
slopes using ropes established by expert climbers. This maneuver finished that
portion of the defense. The regiment took heavy loses and the only records after
that indicate that the 2nd Bn was part of the force which landed on the West
side of the island and helped push the Japanese off the island at Cape Esperance."
The present day road goes past Hill 31 and
turns off to the right down a 600 yard dirt road to Barana village.
Wright Road Memorial Plaque
A small while pillar and plaque was placed on the right side of the road.
Bill Wright (son of LTC William C. Wright) and John
Innes for additional information.
Do you have photos or additional information to add?
June 15, 2019