[A special accolade involving respected character and the persistence of memory may be found at the end of this report.  Readers will not want to miss this.] 
Like Hiawatha, Mike came from "the shores of Gitchee Gumee … the shining Big-Sea-Water …"   
Gitchee Gumee is the Ojibwe name of Lake Superior, referred to in that manner by a  French missionary in 1648 as being 'superieur' (higher) in elevation - not larger - than lower level Great Lakes to the east with names like Ontario, Erie and Huron.  In 1855, American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow indirectly referred to Lake Superior by using the Ojibwe name of Gitchee Gumee in his famed romantic, epic poem The Song of Hiawatha.   Mike Arrand often found himself on, in and around 'big water' during his wartime service in the Pacific.  
Mike Arrand's hometown was Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, located at the southeasern end of Lake Superior (Gitchee Gumee), where the busiest maritime navigation locks in the world are found.  From here, Mike joined the United States Marine Corps when he was 17.
Locks at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, looking downstream from Lake Superior
Mike’s hometown off to the right in this photograph
Some two years later Mike really was on the 'Big Water' when his artillery unit - Headquarters and Service Company, 3rd Battalion, 10th Marines (3/10), attached to the 1st Marine Division - crossed the not-so-pacific Pacific Ocean.  That trip quite impressed on Mike what the term 'big water' could really mean!   For six months of tough combat in Operation Watchtower, Mike fought in the Solomon Islands,  on Tulagi for a few days and then on Guadalcanal for the next six months.   In fact, at the end of operations on Guadalcanal on 9 February 1943, "The only Marine ground unit still in action was the 3rd Bn, 10th Marines."  
This battalion (de-activated in April 2013) was about 560 men in strength.  Throughout the war, its  tactical mission was to provide fire support of infantry units of the various Marine Corps Divisions to suppress, neutralize or destroy enemy.   Their main weapons of choice were the 75mm Pack Howitzer and 105mm howitzer.
August 1942, Tulagi:  a 75mm pack howitzer of Battery H, 3rd Battalion, 10th Marines
July 1944, Guam:  a 105mm howitzer of the 3rd Battalion, 12th Marines
Though Mike modestly does not dwell much on his six months at Guadalcanal, his battalion was one of several units attached to the 1st Marine Division awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for "outstanding gallantry" reflecting "courage and determination ... of an inspiring order."   The full wording accompanying the Presidential Unit Citation appears near the end of this report.
Then, along with many others who survived the 'Canal, even many who were afflicted with malaria, Mike went to Pauatahanui Camp, about nine miles north-northeast of Wellington, New Zealand.   There for about nine months, 3/8 restored its battalion personnel and equipment strength, recuperated and trained extensively.   Fortunately, the beauty of the area and a lot of attractive New Zealand women provided welcome relief and raised spirits of the Marines.
Pauatahanui Camp on Motokaraka Point, Mike's temporary home in New Zealand
Mike relates how by late October 1943, all manner of matériel were moved down to the docks in Wellington, and transports and cargo vessels were loaded for the next battle.  Though unaware of the details of their next encounter, Marines were beginning to get underway in their move to Tarawa where the hellish battle for a pile of sand and a small airfield began on 20 November 1943.  Tarawa was to acquire different nicknames, but "Bloody Tarawa"  and "Terrorwa" really convey the truth of what happened there. 
Mike and 3/10 were in Task Force 53, specifically Task Unit 53.1.2,  on board the USS Monrovia (APA-31), a Crescent City class attack transport of the US Navy.
USS Monrovia (APA-31)
www.navsource.org   and   www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Monrovia_%28APA-31%29
What a vessel Monrovia was!  Her wartime service and Mike's crossed paths a little over three months after her service finished in mid-August 1943 as the command ship for General George Patton and his US Seventh Army in the invasion of Sicily (Operation Husky).   By the end of the war in 1945, Monrovia had earned seven battle stars.
On 1 November 1943, Monrovia had finished loading at Aotea Quay in Wellington and departed for parts unknown, as far as other Marines knew at the time.  About a week later, Monrovia arrived at Efate Island in the New Hebrides (present-day Republic of Vanuatu).  Efate was about 1,500 nautical miles north-northwest of Wellington and about 600 miles west of Fiji.   
Monrovia entered Havannah Harbor, up on the northwest coast of Efate Island, accompanied by the USS Maryland (BB-46) which was the 2nd Marine Division command vessel for the coming battle.  This stop was made for at least three reasons:  waiting for more vessels to join Task Force 53; practicing more amphibious landings at Mele Bay (on Efate’s southwest coast) while waiting for those additional vessels; and refueling Monrovia and resupplying the troops on board.  
Documentation indicating the presence of Monrovia at Havannah Harbor comes from the HISTORY OF USS SHERIDAN (APA 51) …
"SHERIDAN arrived in Noumea, New Caldeonia on 18 October 1943, debarked her troops, and commenced unloading her cargo.  She sailed to Lamberton Harbor, Wellington, New Zealand on 21st, and on 1 November, sailed for Havannah Harbor, Efate Island, New Hebrides in company with the battleship USS Maryland, and attack transport USS MONROVIA."
History of USS Sheridan (APA-51).  Division of Naval History, Ships' Histories Secion, Navy Department, 1952.  http://usssheridanapa51.com/Sheridan_History.pdf