Original Japanese WWII Battle of Guadalcanal Captured USGI Signed Flag

Item Description

Original Item: One-of-a-kind. The Guadalcanal Campaign, also known as the Battle of Guadalcanal and codenamed Operation Watchtower was a military campaign fought between 7 August 1942 and 9 February 1943 on and around the island of Guadalcanal in the Pacific theater of World War II. It was the first major offensive by Allied forces against the Empire of Japan.

This incredible flag measures 43 x 60 with the sewed on red sun and is marked on the hanging side:

FEB. 10. 1943
Co. I 161

It is subsequently signed with over 100 soldiers names. The writing is all in the same hand and the same ink, meaning this flag was made up by one solider as a trophy after the battle, most likely on a ship as the time would have allowed for the extent of work required to complete such an undertaking.

161st Infantry Regiment, Washington National Guard
The 161st Regimental Combat Team arrived at Guadalcanal in early January 1943 and took up defensive positions around the airfield. The 161st entered the attack phase on February 6, 1943, with an assault on Japanese forces in a jungle redoubt called the Matanikau River Pocket. Here Japanese troops employed skilled camouflage and well-defended positions to take a heavy toll on the attackers. The assault lasted from January 10 to January 21, when the resistance was overcome. Next the 161st attacked Japanese forces at river crossings and moved on to Doma Cove on February 8, 1943, seizing the cove and linking up with the Americal Division at Tenario village.

That action ended the battle for Guadalcanal, and the 161st and other 25th Infantry Division units went into training, recuperation, and reorganization.

From the book United States Army In WWII - The Pacific - Guadalcanal: The First Offensive CHAPTER XI, XIV Corps' First January Offensive: The West Front pages 253-280, the 161st infantry, and specifically I company actions are outlined over the course of 8 days. Capt. Paul. K. Mellichamp who’s name appears on the flag is mentioned in the book as well as is.

An excerpt about I company reads:

While Lt. Robert M. Exton was firing a machine gun on this ridge, an enemy mortar shell blew off his legs. Soldiers attempted to give him first aid, but, dying, he ordered them not to waste time. Capt. Paul K. Mellichamp and Lt. Weldon Sims crawled down the east side of the ridge behind a waist-high shelf, a natural approach. When Lieutenant Sims exposed himself above the shelf, a Japanese machine gunner shot him fatally through the chest. His companions then pulled his body down and returned to the 2d Battalion lines.

Colonel Bush's plan for 11 January called for two companies to attack abreast after artillery bombardment. On the left I Company was to deploy on the ridge along the top of the gorge and attack southwest over the first ridge (Exton Ridge) west of Hill 52, to the next ridge (Sims Ridge) 200 yards away, while it secured its rear and left flank with one platoon. K Company, following, was to pass through I on Sims Ridge to take Hill 53 which lay 850 yards beyond Hill 52. On the right, L Company was to advance northwest from Hill 52 to that part of Hill 57 which lay in the 3d Battalion zone, make contact with the 1st Battalion, drive south to clear the woods between Hills 57 and 53, and make contact with K and I Companies. One machine gun platoon from M Company was to accompany each assault company; the 81-mm. mortars were to remain on Hill 54. Colonel Bush assigned eleven men from Headquarters and M Companies to carry water to the advancing troops.

Both assault companies moved off the right (north) end of Hill 52 after the artillery preparation. The security platoon of I Company reached a narrow bottleneck west of Hill 52 between two ridges. The rest of the company followed. When fire from Japanese mortars, machine guns; and rifles began to hit them, the soldiers halted. I Company requested that mortars and artillery put fire on the enemy but did not move forward nor maneuver to the enemy flanks.34 Squeezed in the narrow gap, the company was hit repeatedly by mortar fire. Many spent and thirsty men collapsed. In one platoon only ten men were still conscious at noon.35 Mortar fragments wounded Captain Johnson about 1300, and he was evacuated.

Also unsuccessful was L Company's attack. The lead platoon and one attached machine gun platoon cut through the ravine north of Hill 52 to secure the right flank. They turned west, and advanced to Hill 57, then turned left to climb the southeast slopes. When heavy machine-gun fire from the flanks and rear halted them, they dug in to await the main body, which did not arrive. When dusk fell the two platoons, out of communication with the battalion, returned to Hill 52.36 The main body of L Company had not advanced, but had deployed behind I Company to hunt down scattered enemy riflemen.

By mid afternoon Colonel Bush felt certain that the 3d Battalion could not take its objective that day. Since the position reached by I Company was untenable, I and L Companies returned to Hill 52 for the night. After dusk the force which had been halted on Hill 57 also returned. Between 1500 and 1600 accurate, heavy Japanese mortar fire forced the 3d Battalion to take cover, and delayed defensive preparations for the expected night attack. The enemy did make a slight effort to infiltrate the lines that night, but was repulsed by L Company.

Colonel McCulloch ordered the exhausted 3d Battalion to go back to Hills 55 and 54 into regimental reserve on the morning of 12 January, and Colonel Mitchell's 2d Battalion took over the assault against the ridges and Hill 53. Up to this time the 2d Battalion had held the rear areas taken by the 3d Battalion and had helped to carry supplies forward. The 1st Battalion of the 161st Infantry then took over the Hill 50-51 area.

The entire list of names is as follows:
1. Charles Miles
2. Harold Rogers
3. John Sawyer
4. David Stewart
5. Richard Sibert
6. Ray Sundby
7. Jin Sinclair
8. Lt. Tymniak
9. Lt. Miller
10. William J Ingram
11. Earl Addington
12. Bill Teague
13. Douglas Beutel
14. Armand Pearson (1st Sgt.)
15. Robert Brown (S/Sgt.)
16. Ervin Bonow
17. Cecil Bromley
18. Jack Brinson
19. Gilbert Brynildsen
20. Richard Scritchfield
21. Capt. Paul K. Mellichamp
22. John A. Clark
23. Lloyd Newsham
24. George Harrison
25. Frank Lange
26. Bob Chambers
27. Neil J. Cameron
28. Willard Edelman
29. LeRoy Norton (S/Sgt.)
30. John W. Chase
31. Richard Colville
32. Larry Gassner
33. Leland Lamb
34. Nolan Bussell
35. Eugene W. Pray (S/Sgt.)
36. Boyd N. Phipps
37. Jim Gunder
38. James Bates
39. Bob Foster
40. William Calkin
41. Walter Caldwell
42. Jess Sage
43. Jose Cervantez
44. Charles Dick
45. Ronald Dewitt
46. Dan Cameron
47. Alvin H. Schmitt
48. Edward Doeren
49. Vincent Baginski
50. Riley Cummings
51. Armond Connery
52. Robert Crawford
53. James E. Frasier
54. Eddie Weil
55. Jim Farrar
56. Roy DeHaan
57. Ralph Gregory
58. Mike Accurso
59. Glen Clarey
60. Victor Edminster
61. William E. Park
62. Capt. Charles E. LaMont
63. Arva W. Barrett
64. David E. Cripps
65. Lt. Hastings
66. Amos Bridges
67. Herbert Anderson
68. Floyd Lee Lindsey
69. Hugh Bean
70. Rudolph Yudnich
71. Charles Allen
72. Delbert Barnett
73. Melvin Shaw
74. Jack Toedtemeir
75. Ray J. Chandlier
76. Charles Sonkari
77. Robert Russell
78. John B. Goerge-Killed in action-Jan. 18,1943
79. Herbert Hansen
80. Leon Hensley
81. Lewis R. Jarrell Tex
82. Leonard Fryar
83. Johnny Gist
84. James Everitt
85. Owen Rushton
86. Jesse Lanning
87. William Leach
88. Monroe Ivie
89. Lawrence Massone
90. Bob Fritz
91. Almous Higginbotham
92. Julius Farnsworth
93. John Caha
94. Carl Eugh
95. Roy Brooks
96. Lee Cameron
97. Manuel Rivas
98. Margarito Trujllo
99. Joseph Wontulok
100. Francis Wagner
101. Eugene Williams
102. Leslie Arends
103. Joseph Altgilbers
104. Arthur Armstrong
105. James Babb
106. Frank Giovanni
107. Merle Harvey
108. Arva Barrett
109. Arthur Henwood
110. Clifford Gibson
111. Laddie Brolick
112. Cecil Bashaw
113. Mitchell Burson
114. John DeFazio
115. Frank Matthews
116. Samuel Garner
117. Luther Gentry
118. Charles Osborn
119. Leon Gharst
120. Richard. H Keehn
121. Marshall Hunt
122. Vernon McCullough
123. John York
124. Sgt. James P. Simone
125. Cpl. Rommie W. Jordan
126. Gifford Jordan
127. Selmer Jacobson
128. Horace Kemper
129. Roy Lawson
130. Harvey Nulliner
131. Robert Schwartz
132. Alec Reidinger
133. John Sams
134. Francis palmer
135. George Renfrow
136. Wheeler Reynolds
137. William White
138. Lawrence Amundson
139. Joe Schupe
140. Arthur Dickson
141. Ed Murray
142. Clarence Frazier
143. James Douglas
144. Horrace Sorrells
145. Vaden Sciffert
146. Melbourne Christenson
147. Salvatore Caruso
148. Roland Frost
149. Joseph Exley
150. Ted Spera
151. Marvin Perry
152. Richard Blumberg
153. Elmer Booth
154. Raymond Fechner
155. Deacon Gardner
156. Lloyd Boatman
157. Manuel Borba
158. Arch Whiteley
159. Walter Spink
160. Lester Strickler
161. Walter Sienkiewicz
162. Russell Smith
163. Jack Riddle
164. Cyril Thomas
165. Alfred Tognarelli
166. Arthur Nichols
167. Dominick Serzo
168. Frederick Seigle
169. Frank Rapue
170. Irving Widerker
171. Samuel Mundie
172. George Worland
173. Tony Martinez
174. Donald Larsen
175. Penley Wold
176. John Kemper
177. Raymond Puente
178. Boyd Phillips
179. George Ray
180. George Schenck
181. Benjamin Gammel
182. Benedict Schwebach

We do not know which member of I Company created this flag but we do not doubt its authenticity due to the number of names we have been able to verify, the age of the flag, and the ink used. This is amazing flag from one of the most famous battles of the Pacific theatre during WW2.

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