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It's November 1943, and these are two Douglas SBD-5's from Squadron VB-12 of the USS Saratoga. They are starting Operation Cherryblossom - a maneuver which signaled the beginning of the end of the war in the Pacific. Vice Admiral William F. Bull Halsey was the commander, and Cherryblossom caught the Japanese forces at Bougainville, in the Solomon Islands, off guard. On November 1, the U.S. 3rd Marine Division landed on Bougainville at a point where they were least expected, forcing the enemy to struggle across jungle terrain in an attempt to dislodge the Americans. Within two months, the Allies had established a defensive perimeter and had turned Bougainville's Empress Augusta Bay into a naval base. Although the fighting continued for six months, the Allies were victorious, paving the way for General Douglas MacArthur's return to the Philippines. It was a masterful attack plan. While the Marines raided Choiseul, a nearby island, American bombers softened the defenses at Bougainville in preparation for Operation Cherryblossom. I purposely painted the light dawning over their efforts to give the impression of hope and accomplishment which followed months of difficult fighting. - Craig Kodera
This Piece has been Signed by Craig Kodera