On February 3, 1942, Edward Ahrens joined the U.S. Marine Corps in Cincinnati, Ohio. After he enlisted, he went to training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina.
Heading To Guadalcanal
Once PFC. Ahrens finished boot camp. He was sent to the Marine Barracks Quantico, Virginia. On March 16, 1942, he was placed with Company “A,” 1st Raider Battalion, Fleet Marine Force.
The unit was sent to Tulagi, Guadalcanal, in the British Solomon Islands. The unit from the USS Little was a part of the second wave on August 7, 1942.
Company “C,” 1st Raider Battalion secured the right side of the beach while Company “A” moved into the interior of the island toward the right side of Tulagi’s central ridge. The Marines did not get much push back in the beginning.
Company “A” took up the west side of a cricket ground for the evening. However, the Marines were not unopposed for long. The Japanese attacked them at night, separating Company “A” and Company “C.”
The company on the beachside was completely isolated. The Japanese decided to hit Company “A” with everything they had. The Raider Battalion used an old British government building as their command center, and there they held their ground.
Ahren was a part of a security detachment during the battle. His job was to protect the right flank. During the nighttime attack, Ahrens fought against the Japanese in hand-to-hand combat.
Holding His Own
Major Lee Walt assessed the lines in the morning, taking account of their losses.
“I came across a foxhole occupied by Private First Class Ahrens, a small man of about 140 pounds… He was slumped in one corner of the foxhole covered with blood from head to foot. In the foxhole with him were two dead Japs, a lieutenant and a sergeant. There were eleven more dead Japs on the ground in front of his position. In his hands he clutched the dead officer’s sword.”Major Lee Walt
Ahrens had multiple stab wounds and gunshot injuries. According to Walt, Ahren’s last words were, “The idiot tried to come over me last night-I guess they didn’t know I was a Marine.”
Twenty-two-year-old Ahren died in Major Walt’s arms. For his bravery in World War II, Ahrens was given the Navy Cross.