On Feb. 8, 1943, Japanese troops evacuated Guadalcanal, leaving the island in Allied possession after a prolonged campaign. In August of 1942, U.S. Marines landed on the island as the Allies’ first major offensive against Japanese-held positions in the Pacific. A series of bloody battles ensued in the tropical heat as Marines engaged Japanese troops on land and the Navy has seven major battles in the waters surrounding Guadalcanal. American casualty estimates were 1,600 combat dead, 2,000 died of disease and 4,000 wounded, while roughly 24,000 Japanese perished. The American victory paved the way for other wins in the Solomon Islands.