Segment 2


When they landed on New Caledonia they were told they were going to march off their sea legs with a thirty mile hike. Deen was always on the front left rank for marches. He helped to lead the hike. Sometimes they would double time but they would always get a ten minute break. Their destination was a place called Camp St. Louis on New Caledonia.Some of the Marine Raiders had trained there. Deen recalls training in a pool that was on fire. They had to dive under the water in full pack and make it to the other side. All the while the surface of the water was on fire. The Raider camp gave Deen some of the toughest training he received. He was sent to Japanese weapons school. He learned everything about them, including how to take them apart and put them back together. This was done in case the situation arose where they had to use Japanese weapons. Deen also picked up a little bit of the Japanese language. They had hand grenade practice, and bayonet practice as well. They had to learn how to drink water out of water bags. After about thirty days on New Caledonia, they got on a ship and wound up on Guadalcanal. It was the first effort by the United States to fight back. Japan was rapidly expanding their empire. Deen got to Guadalcanal in 1944. Deen became a part of the First Marine Division. After two or three days on Guadalcanal, Deen ended up on an island called Pavuvu. He would end up leaving and coming back to Pavavu twice.First man Deen saw on Pavavu was Bill O'Reily. His squad leader was Joe Daly. Doug Foley was in the tent. Pavuvu was a French island. There were a lot of coconut groves on Pavuvu. No shower facilities existed on the island. They would have to soap up when it rained. They would soap up and pray that it did not stop raining. Inside of the tent they had eight little cots. There was a piece of wood in each of the three corners that had mosquito netting strung up on it. There were a lot of land crabs on Pavavu. Sometimes there would be rats and land crabs in their tents. A rumor went around one time that people had been getting cut at night and killed on account of Jack the Ripper. It turned out to be a hoax but a good example of humor. 


All oral histories featured on this site are available to license. The videos will be delivered via mail as Hi Definition video on DVD/DVDs or via file transfer. You will be purchasing the oral history in its entirety but will be free to use only specific clips. Please contact the Museum at if you are interested in licensing this content. Please allow up to two weeks for file delivery or delivery of the DVD to your postal address. See more information at