24 May 2004

US veterans call for US role in Solomons

2:07 pm on 24 May 2004

An American group of World War Two veterans who fought in the Battle of Guadalcanal, is calling on the US Government to become directly involved in Solomon Islands affairs.

Bill Fisher, from the US Marine Raider Association, says he and his colleagues feel a huge debt of gratitude for the help given them during the battle by Solomon Islanders.

His Association has been involved in trying to establish a military heritage trail on Guadalcanal to boost tourism and remember the dead.

Mr Fisher says they are also boosting an educational scholarship fund this week to ensure payments can be made to Solomons students long after the last veterans have died.

And he says the US Government has an obligation to do more for the Solomons.

"We, as Raiders, do not concede that it is the Australians sphere of influence therefore the United States should not be involved....we all feel a deep sense of obligation....one would almost have to have been there to appreciate what the natives did for us."