“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 Marinesand the ongoing efforts to bring them home.