Before the War, Ahuar had been under loose Japanese control, but the local garrison had been increased greatly towards the end of 1941. The US Marines began a surprise assault on the island on October 30th, 1942, which escalated into a full-scale battle the next day, when the USS Hermes attacked the island's naval garrison.
In an unusual turn of events, the Marines requested land support from the Navy, and some of the seamen from the Hermes landed on the island in Amphibious craft. The Battle ended in a pyrrhic American victory after the joint Marine-Navy assault on the Japanese island headquarters; and the island was never contested again.
Pvt. Michael Keegan, USMC, was killed in the battle, as he attempted to provide covering fire as his wounded Sergeant, Ulysses Raleigh, was helped to safety by Seaman Lucius Charleston. Charleston was later wounded himself, while trying to rescue Keegan. Raleigh and Charleston, who were each given temporary leave in the United States, both attended Keegan's funeral in Chicago.