PT Boat Commander David Levy: The Japanese Evacuate Guadalcanal:
[T]hey came in with destroyers to pick up as many of their guys as they could…. The Navy thought that they were going to take their men around to another part of Guadalcanal- on the back side. So they put us out on the back side of the island and let the Japs get on their ships. And we had lost so many PT boats by then, they didn’t want us to directly attack their ships. So we went to the back side of Guadalcanal and the Jap planes bombed us, but we didn’t get hit.
The next morning, before it got light, we headed back around toward Tulagi, and we went past where the Japs had been loading their guys on destroyers off the northwest coast of Guadalcanal. The destroyers were all gone. They’d had to leave in a hurry as it got light, because they were worried about getting attacked and sunk by our airplanes. As we got there, we saw many Japanese in the water. The destroyers just left them behind, left them floating there in the water.
I picked up thirteen of them and sat them up on the bow of my boat, and we took them back to Tulagi. I thought it was sensible, that maybe we’d be successful in getting information from them, but the Marines were mad as hell when I got them there. And they took control. They took those Japs off our boat, and I don’t know what happened to them.
But it was amazing to be out there just floating around among all those Japs in the water and picking them up. There must’ve been 500 of them out there floating around. We didn’t shoot any Japs in the water. They’d had it, and they weren’t going to fight.