The Feb. 13 obituary was sparse in its description: “Edward served during WWII in the 1st Marine Division, Guadalcanal.” Period.

That was so typical of that generation, doing their jobs as a matter of fact, not asking for a return. I wonder if his son or daughter ever asked, “Daddy, what did you do in the war?” If he answered at all, maybe he said, “I was there.”

Edward A. Hobbs of Falmouth, who was 96 when he died, was there. Guadalcanal (August 1942 — February 1943) was the first major Pacific island engagement for U.S. troops on our way across many islands to Japan.

The 1st Marine Division had five weeks’ training before the landing. More than 90 percent had never seen combat. The Navy’s heavy warships shelled the island with up to 16-inch guns for four days to attack unseen enemy. The Marines were told that after the big guns, it would only be a walk-through. Some walk.

Facing the Marines were the unseen enemy, 10,000 experienced and battle-tested troops of the Imperial Japanese Army imbedded in the jungle terrain. The shelling accomplished very little to reduce their numbers or their desire to defend the island to the last man. The humid weather, insects, snakes and crocodiles added to the mix.

Troops exerted themselves to the very highest degree, turning back assault after assault before going on the offensive at great American loss. Of the 1st Battalion’s 1,500 Marines, only 28 walked off Guadalcanal. The 1st Marine Division lost a total of 7,100 Marines on Guadalcanal.

For those who may want to read about the battle, “Helmet for My Pillow” by Robert Leckie is a 1958 first-person account from one who was there.

He also was one of the 28 1st Battalion Marines to walk off the island. His autobiography was one of the three books on the war that formed the narrative for the HBO series “The Pacific” last year.

The passing of the greatest generation is occurring at a an alarming speed. Their kind will never be seen again.

Thank you, Edward A. Hobbs, and all those men and women who allowed my generation to grow up in freedom. To you, I say, “Semper Fi.”

I guess God needed one more good Marine. 

– Special to the Telegram