Now an independent nation east of Papua New Guinea, the Solomons consist of more than 100,000 islands in the South Pacific. They were the site of brutal fighting between the U.S. and Japan during the Second World War between 1942 and 1945, most notably at Guadalcanal, where nearly 40,000 soldiers died between August 1942 and February 1943. Another significant battle in the Solomons was the campaign to take Bougainville, which lasted the rest of the war.
In the photograph at right, the aircraft carrier, USS Enterprise, is shown under aerial attack from Japanese planes during the Battle of the Eastern Solomons, on Aug. 24, 1942.
A year later, PT-109, the boat commanded by Lieutenant junior grade John F. Kennedy, was run down by a Japanese destroyer on Aug. 2, 1943 in the Blackett Strait between Kolombangara and Arundel in the New Georgia Islands group of the Solomons.