November 16th — the Japanese return to the use of subs to supply their troops on the island with moderate success for the remainder of the month. Attempts to use small craft that could hide during the day and then proceed at night fail due to the ever-present US aircraft. The amount of food reaching the Japanese troops is insufficient to prevent the process of slow starvation.

November 17th — the O’Bannon is placed into a floating dry dock to repair the battle damage of the 13th. This keeps us from returning to Pearl Harbor, much to the chagrin of the crew. The ship is out of action until November 28th.

November 26th — the Japanese 17th Army’s stocks of meat and vegetables are nearly exhausted, and rice and barley will be entirely consumed this day.

November 27th — the number of US air units grows from eighty-five to 188 aircraft with replacement of exhausted squadrons and with the addition of new and improved aircraft. On this day our air force achieves air supremacy over Guadalcanal and the surrounding islands of the Solomon Island chain. It would have been comforting if we sailors had been informed of this.

November 30th — Japanese Admiral Tanaka heads a group of eight destroyers and five transports with troops and supplies for Guadalcanal. To intercept these ships, American Rear Admiral Wright attacks with four heavy cruisers, one light cruiser and six destroyers. Admiral Wright has just been appointed to take over this operation as the task force commander and replaces Admiral Kinkaid. (Admiral Kinkaid is given a new assignment by Admiral King, the supreme commander of the US Navy).

This night battle, known as the Battle of Tassafaronga, turns into a disaster for us as the Japanese force is able to sink one of our cruisers and put three other cruisers out of service for a nearly a year. Of the thirteen heavy cruisers we have committed to the Guadalcanal area, all have been either sunk or badly damaged. This battle provides additional evidence to the fact that there appears no end to the supply of inept US commanders that the American high command is able to field. This night the Japanese lose one destroyer but no supplies are landed. The Japanese Army is rapidly starving to death. Large food and ammunition supplies must arrive soon or the Japanese face disaster.

December 3rd — ten Japanese destroyers with provisions are heading for Guadalcanal. These ships have air cover but run into stiff opposition from American aircraft. The destroyers manage to drop off 1,500 oil type drums filled with supplies. These drums are designed to float and carry provisions to shore. The American planes send all but 310 drums to the bottom. This action costs the US two planes and the Japanese five. The Japanese have been on one third rations since mid November and many are unable to walk, many can walk only with the aid of a stick. Starvation has set in and the few relatively healthy soldiers must do the scouting, patrolling and fighting. Malaria and dengue fever is killing more troops than combat operations.

December 7th — twelve Japanese destroyers move down the slot with supplies. Our planes hit the force before dark and damage one destroyer which must be towed from the area by another destroyer. The remaining destroyers press on but are met by American PT boats. These boats, (Patrol Torpedo), which include PT 109, with future president John F. Kennedy in command are able to turn back the Japanese without allowing them to land their supplies. “This action represents probably the greatest success of the PT boats during the war as the young upstart PT sailors achieve the considerable feat of rebuffing the redoubtable Reinforcement Unit without loss, whereas only a week earlier eleven major warships had suffered severely and accomplished no more.”

December 8th — the Japanese Imperial Navy announces at a conference with the officers of the combined fleet that unacceptable destroyer losses force the end of the destroyer transportation runs.

December 9th — without fanfare, the command of the American forces on Guadalcanal shifts from General Vandegrift and the US Marines to Major General Patch of the US Army. Lean, dirty and malaria ridden and with a third unfit for further combat, the Marines proudly march out after almost six months of combat. Many were too weak to climb aboard the transports and had to be pulled aboard by willing hands.

December 18th — diaries of Japanese officers state that “the troops are at the very bottom of the human condition. The entire army is composed of pale wisps of men, with ulcerous skin draped with filthy, sopping clothes. Vast numbers are wracked with fevers, for which there is no medicine. Army headquarters reports they are eating tree shoots, coconuts, and grass growing in the rivers.” The Japanese Army has been reduced from approximately 30,000 troops in November to 20,000 troops in December.

December 18th — the US Army starts advancing to drive the Japanese from their the high ground overlooking Henderson Field. This strong point is known as Gifu and is the location with the strongest and best troops of the Japanese. These troops fight without any indication of retreat or surrender. Our advance is slow. “After twenty-two days the American Army’s 132d Infantry Regiment has such losses from killed, wounded, missing and ineffective from disease that it is incapable of further offensive action.”

December 19th — the Japanese complete an airstrip on the island of Munda 170 miles from Guadalcanal in hopes of giving them an airfield close to Henderson Field. It is built under a canopy of palm trees that are woven together with steel cables to leave the tops in place while the trunks are carried away. This hides the field from view while the work is in progress. The tree tops are removed as the field is finished.

December 23rd — thirty-three zeros are dispatched to this field. American planes attack as quickly as the zeros make it to the field. In the first two days two zeros are shot down and eleven are damaged on the ground. Incessant attacks by our force whittle down the number of zeros at the field. If the Japanese can establish and hold this airfield so close to Henderson Field, our whole operation will be in jeopardy.

December 26th — the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters makes the decision to withdraw from Guadalcanal.

December 27th — air loses at the airfield at Munda are too severe to be maintained. The Munda planes are brought back to Rabaul and the airfield at Munda is abandoned.

December 31st — the Emperor approves the withdrawal of Japanese forces from Guadalcanal.