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by Geoffrey W. Roecker
Fonthill Media  2019
288 pages
photos, illustrations, maps
ISBN: 1781557349
Cover Price: $36.95
Language: English

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Leaving Mac Behind
The Lost Marines of Guadalcanal

“My first telegram came Sep. 3 1942 that my son was missing in action. And the next telegram came Aug. 18 1943 that he was Declared Dead. Till this day I do not know what happened to him.” Mrs. Ann M. Lyons, August 7, 1957.

Between 1942 and 1944, nearly four hundred Marines virtually vanished in the jungles, seas, and skies of Guadalcanal. They were the victims of enemy ambushes and friendly fire, hard fighting and poor planning, their deaths witnessed by dozens or not at all. They were buried in field graves, in cemeteries as unknowns, or left where they fell. They were classified as “missing,” as “not recovered,” as “presumed dead.” And in the years that followed, their families wondered at their fates and how an administrative decision could close the book on sons, brothers, and husbands without healing the wounds left by their absence.

‘Leaving Mac Behind’ reconstructs the lives, last moments, and legacies of some of these men. Original records, eyewitness accounts, and recent discoveries shed new light on the lost graves of Guadalcanal’s missing Marines—and the ongoing efforts to bring them home.

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Leaving Mac Behind: The Lost Marines of Guadalcanal by Geoffrey W. Roecker explores the history of U.S. Marines (USMC) that remain listed as Missing In Action (MIA) or Body Not Recovered (BNR) during the pivotal battles on land, sea and air on Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands. The author uses historical records to reconstruct each loss using wartime reports and casualty files. The book also documents the battles where each Marine was lost and is a unique history of the American Cemetery Guadalcanal and other burial locations on the island. For anyone interested in the history of Guadalcanal or the Solomon Islands, this book will be essential reading and should be added to your library. Roecker is a master of this material and also the creator of serves as a free online resource and also an excellent companion to the book. He is also the winner of the 2019 Marine Corps Heritage Foundation General Roy S. Geiger Award for his article on Missing detailing Marine pilot 2nd Lt. Elwood R. Bailey. The first edition is largely sold out with copies still available via Barns & Noble plus the Amazon Kindle version.

Interview with Geoffrey W. Roecker

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Last Updated
November 25, 2022

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