Footnotes for Introduction to Bob's Diary and Letters
1Construction Battalions, nicknamed SeaBees, were established by the Navy in WWII to build roads, runways, hospitals, and other facilities for military use. The initial recruits, with an average age of 37, were specially chosen for their construction skills. "Pick and Shovel Sailors - The Navy’s SeaBees," Valerie H. Briggs, Master Collector
A formal account of the 93rd is in PACIFIC DUTY: A Book of Record and Review of the Activities and Achievements of the 93rd Naval Construction Battalion, C.E. Pappas, ed,. Lester C. Nielson Company, Huntington Park, CA, Publisher, 1946
"After forming at Camp Peary, the 93rd was transferred to Endicott
May 15, 1943, then to Camp Parks in July. On Aug. 9, the Battalion was moved
to Hueneme, whence it embarked Oct. 14, 1943. The 93rd reached the Russell
Islands on Nov. 10 and remained there on duty until Feb. 12. 1944, when the
first echelon left the Russells and went to Green Island in the northern
Solomons group. By Feb. 25, the entire Battalion had moved to Green Island
and was stationed there until Oct. 25. The outfit embarked once more,
arriving at Leyte Gulf Nov. 14, 1944. The next day, the 93rd disembarked at
San Antonio, Samar. From Nov. 30 to Dec. 30, 1944, the Battalion moved to
Guiuan in 16 detachments arriving early in January 1945."
2Bob and his monkey (Ilus.)
3During a lull in official projects, the 93rd constructed a replica of this famous intersection. At the time, Bob regarded it as "the latest absurdity." However he and other military personnal and entertainment personalities observed "photo ops" at the landmark which boasted a U.S. 93 highway sign. (see ilus.)
4Portions of the movie were indeed filmed on Green Island. Wynnum Graham, Cairns, Australia
5Melvin Clark flew in the Marine VMSB 341 Dive Bombing Squadron as a gunner. He was stationed on Green Island from April 6 to May 11, 1944. He remembers Charles Lindbergh flying in with F- 4U fighter pilots during his stay. Behind Hanger Doors by Albert Black relates the experiences of his unit. (see footnote for Diary, 5/2/44) More on Mel on Green Islands Page.
6Diaries were illegal during wartime. They could be captured and used by the enemy or (perhaps worse) by one’s comrades.
7"You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught," a song from South Pacific, laments the passing of bigotry from one generation to another.
Footnotes for Diary
19433/22: John Fulbright (5/1, 6/21, 11/2/44, 11/4, 11/8)
3/24: Camp Peary, now a CIA training facility: map, http://www.fas.org/irp/overhead/peary.htm
"You’ll be sorry" alludes to impending haircut (see Letter March 24)
MA (or MAA): Master At Arms: "The master-at-arms rating is by no means a modern innovation. Naval records show that these "sheriffs of the sea" were keeping order as early as the reign of Charles I of England. At that time they were charged with keeping the swords, pistols, carbines and muskets in good working order as well as ensuring that the bandoliers were filled with fresh powder before combat. Besides being chiefs of police at sea, the sea corporals, as they were called in the British Navy, had to be qualified in close order fighting under arms and able to train seamen in hand-to-hand combat. In the days of sail, the MAAs were truly "masters at arms." The master-at-arms in the U.S. Navy can trace the beginning of his rate to the Union Navy of the Civil War."(http://nsrp.navspace.navy.mil/public/navytrad.asp#R-TRAD)
3/25: Graveyard: overnight shift
Fire watch: "A number of small barracks were heated with pot-bellied stoves in the middle of the floor. There were several shifts a night watching out for fire and to keep it going. I caught duty in an officers’ quarters one night. I kept a roaring fire going, making the officers miserable. That was the only time I caught that duty."
PPG Co.: Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company, Bob’s employer
3/30: D.O.(or O.D.): Duty Officer
3/31: Naval officers are addressed as Mr. rather than by rank
4/1: Eleven general orders: Basic responsibilities of vigilence, duty, and decorum. A rookie could be ordered to recite them on the spot and receive demerits if he failed. They are common to all services and enumerated at http://nrotc.cmu.edu/knowledge/drillknowledge.asp.
4/7: Marion Conner, Bob’s younger sister was studying in Ann Arbor, MI
4/9: Rope Yarn Sunday: "On the day the tailor boarded a sailing ship in port, the crew knocked off early, broke out rope yarn and mended clothes and hammocks. One afternoon per week at sea, usually a Wednesday, was reserved for mending. Since it was an afternoon for rest from the usual chores, much like Sunday, it was dubbed "rope yarn Sunday." The Navy adhered to the custom up to the years immediately after World War II; men used Wednesday afternoon for personal errands like picking up their laundry and getting haircuts. Of course they paid back the time by working a half-day on Saturdays. Today, uniforms require less attention so rope yarn Sunday has been turned to other purposes; mainly early liberty or a time for catching up on sleep. Some, however, still adhere to tradition and break out the ditty bag for an afternoon of uniform PMS." (http://nsrp.navspace.navy.mil/public/navytrad.asp#R-TRAD)
4/10: Semaphore: Code for sending messages with colored flags
4/14: extended order: close order drill is marching on the heels of the row ahead. Extended order leaves space for another row between rows.
4/16: Joseph G. Morgan, Jr. (4/17, 5/27)
5/1: Ship’s Company: ship crew
5/9: Ezra D. Cooper
5/10: Short arm inspection: hygienic survey of intimate portion of male anatomy for overt manifestations of disease.
5/17: Davisville, RI:
5/22: Robert E. Minor (5/23, 7/31, 8/1, 3/1/44)
5/29: Sun Valley chow line (ilus.)
5/30: Palmer B. Beck
6/4: Americus Esposito
6/7: Warren R. Watson (6/8, 6/9, 8/19, 11/24, 3/19/44, 3/26, 5/20/45)
6/14: Depth charges: bombs that go off underwater
6/19: Alvin D. Hoenstine
7/14: train wreck story (see Letters)
7/15: California map (ilus.) Camp Parks was a Constructions Battalion Replacement Depot (CBRD): the rest camp and training facility for Seabee units that had returned from the Pacific.
7/19: Frank E. Bradshaw (7/23, 3/26/44, 4/2, 4/9, 1/2/45)
7/31: 93rd Construction Battalion Commander Harold F. Lynn
8/4: Thomas E. Hale, Jr. (11/25, 3/19/44)
8/7: Henry C. Siggelkow (8/8, 8/19, 8/23, 8/28, 8/29, 9/1, 9/5, 9/27, 11/24, 12/5, 12/12, 1/2/44, 4/9, 7/2, 9/19)
8/19: Norman B. Nestlerode (11/16, 1/16/44)
8/21: James C. Fay (9/7,10,12,14,16,18,24,25; 11/17,24,27; 12/22; 1944 1/2, 1/9, 1/16, 1/23, 1/26; 2/1, 2, 17, 25, 28; 3/2, 18, 20; 4/8; 5/10, 18, 21, 28; 6/2, 3, 9; 7/9, 16, 17, 23; 8/8, 9, 13, 20, 21; 9/3, 19, 10/6, 11, 19, 20; 12/4, 5, 12, 19, 26, 27, 31; 1945 1/5; 3/18, 25; 4/1, 10, 22; 5/17, 24; 6/1, 10, 19; 9/11)
8/23: In Oxnard, Bob bought a map (ilus.) on which he based a code to let Lib know where he was located in the Pacific (Letter: 8/23)
8/28: Orson Welles’ Tent Show program (ilus.)
8/29: Anna Hatcher is Lib’s younger sister
8/31: The beginning of the supply department
9/6: Albert F.Benedict
9/8: An Acorn was a small World War II naval air station in a war zone, together with the military personnel necessary to build and operate it.
9/18: Carl H. Brueninger (9/24, 9/29-10/3, 12/21, 9/19/44)
9/19: Bernard C. Baker (2/13/45)
10/14: Perida was also known as Caldera
10/22: Shellback (ilus.)
11/6: Joseph E. Duffy (11/28, 1015/44, 2/8, 12/28, 2/21/45, 6/6, 9/21)
11/10: Banika map:
11/11: Jack M. Stevens
11/17: Henry R. Roberti (11/29)
11/25: Dump: Supplies were unloaded from ships and held until needed
11/26: Thanksgiving Dinner (ilus.)
12/14: Henry J. Bergeron (3/29/44, 9/22/45)
12/23: Chaplain William L. Ball, Jr. (12/23, 12/24, 12/25, 3/18/45, 4/1/4)
1/8: The tugboat Ute rescued Perida and Arthur Middleton during
Spring 1944 when they ran aground in Alaska.
1/14: "Washing Machine Charlie" was a well-known character, however with two manifestations. Bob describes one. The other was also a lone Japanese bomber, whose distinctive unsynchronized engine (resminiscent of an old Maytag) and random bombing were more disruptive and unnerving than destructive. (Google search: 153 results)
1/21: Charles Lindbergh had been test flying Corsairs for Chance Vought and in January began a survey of USMC operations in the Pacific. A few months later he joined VMF-223 on Green Island, flying bombing missions over Rabaul. In June he joined the Army Air Corps’ 475th Fighter Group flying Lockheed P-38 Lightnings, returning to the Marines in September. He also kept a diary of his wartime experiences. http://www.acepilots.com/lindbergh.html
1/25: Gordon L. Myers (6/10/44, 7/14, 7/31, 8/8, 9/6, 10/17, 12/5, 1/27/45, 5/25, 5/28, 6/1)
2/1: The Seabees called themselves "Confused Bastards" owing to their conglomeration of Army, Navy and Marine clothing.
2/13: Hans Albert Nemoede (2/17, 5/2, 5/23, 6/4, 6/11, 7/9,
7/19, 8/8, 8/9, 8/20, 8/23, 9/3, 9/5-9, 9/21, 4/19/45)
Nissan and Green Island are often used interchangeably. In fact, the Green Islands are an atoll - a circle of coral covered peaks of an extinct volcano with a central lagoon, located 117 miles east of Rabaul which was a major Japanese stronghold during the war. Nissan Island comprises about 3/4 of the circle; the entire north, east, and south. Barahun lies in the middle of the two western channels leading into the lagoon. Sirot is northwest, with tiny Bion on the west rim and Hon in the middle of the lagoon. Pinipel, a mile northwest of the atoll is also included in the Green "archipelago."
Before the war Nissan had coconut plantations, villages and Catholic missions. Most of the natives were evacuated to Guadalcanal for malarial and other medical care when the Allies arrived.
Characteristic of its volcanic origin, the atoll has a sloping beach on the lagoon side, but sharp cliffs overhanging caves and sparse beaches on the outer rim. Japanese soldiers, trapped in the invasion, leapt to their deaths from the oceanside cliffs. Bob recalls seeing skeletons along the beach as he was walking. Ships carrying troops and supplies had to enter the lagoon or send smaller craft in to the various loading areas. At the time of the invasion, foliage was dense right to the water’s edge. The Seabees plowed bulldozers straight into the jungle creating roads for the New Zealand combat troops and providing them a shield from small arms fire.
Within a month, there were 17,000 troops on Nissan, including the 33rd, 37th, and 93rd Seabee Battalions, Army Anti Aircraft gunneries, Marine Bomber Squadrons, and the Navy’s PT boats and PBY patrol bomber aircraft (aka Black Cat Flying Boats). A history of the Green Islands and their role in WWII is being prepared by Milton Bush whose father, Milton Bush Sr. was a PATSU legal/personnel officer and served on Green Island and in Guiuan. Data supplied by Wynnum Graham, Cairns
David A. Friederich, of the USS Cassiopeia recalls passing
into the lagoon through "a gap blasted out of the reef, it seemed only
about 10 ft. clearance on both sides" to supply the PT Base which was
on Barahun or Nissan. For 3 days, the Cassiopeia slipped into the lagoon by
day, to pass supplies to the waiting PT boats in cargo nets, returning to
the open sea by night zig zagging at high speed to avoid Japanese submarine
fire. One day Friederich went ashore on a PT boat and joined a group of men
trying to corral a wild sow and her pigs. Somehow she eluded capture.
However the men did enjoy fresh tuna feasts during that sojourn. http://www.friederich.net/guadalcanal.html.
2/29: Tent description (ilus.)
3/1: Dr. Hulda Magalhaes was a colleague of Lib’s at Duke. Bob was collecting and sending her shells for research she was doing on snails.
3/2: Mr. Russell D. Warren
3/6: SeaBees in general were notorious for (moonlight) procurement,
maggot issue, and informal requisitioning (Milton Bush, Valerie H. Briggs)
3/23: Perry F. Karsten (5/28/45, 6/1, 7/24)
4/9: "We had sunrise services on the beach this morning. As we looked at the chaplain delivering his sermon the background was great breakers near the shore and nothing but the deep blue sea beyond. Airplanes were patrolling overhead, a grim reminder that we are still at war ...." Gregory Peccard, architect, 93rd NCB. Submitted by Great Granddaughter Rachel Jensen, WWII Memorial Project, Gunnison Valley Middle School, PO Box 1090, 271 East 600 South, Gunnison, UT 84634. http://www.ssanpete.k12.ut.us/GVMS/WWII/beccardg/beccardg.htm.
4/26: Refer: a refrigeration unit containing ice and perishable goods.
4/30: The 22nd Construction Regiment was made up of the 33rd, 37th, 93rd, and portions of the 15th Battalions
5/1: Howard O. Holtan (9/6, 7/2/45)
5/2: Marine Sgt. Melvin Clark, flying as the gunner in an SBD, experienced a hair-raising landing on the Nissan strip May 2. The SBD’s fuselage obscured its pilots’ view on the ground. So the gunner would hoist himself out onto the wing by the cockpit and guide the pilot to a safe stop. Gunners had taken to "jumping the gun" by crawling out before landing. As Mel’s plane hit the runway, the right brake failed, throwing the plane off the runway into a dirt mound. Mel flew through the arc of the propeller, landing beside the plane. Luckily, the ground had squelched the propellor. Mel’s experience squelched the practice of inflight wing-seating. More on Mel and VSMB 341 in Green islands page.
5/10: "Protoplasm Joe" (ilus, Letter)
6/22: Mr. John L. Eyre (9/5, 9/6, 9/8, 1/15/45, 1/26, 1/27)
6/28: Lt. Israel Slutzky (7/1)
7/2: Supply Department picture (ilus.)
7/11: Bob overcame his vexation to pose at "Hollywood and Vine." (ilus.)
7/21: Michael Duggan
7/29: Bert Howard
8/21: Gavel (See Letters, August 1944 )
9/3: Albert P. Cobb, Jr.
9/5: Mr. Stanley C. Orr, Mr. Hilliard H. Huggins (1/5/44, 1/23)
9/12: CBMU: CB Maintenance Unit
9/19: Man and son in village. (ilus.) Most of the natives were evacuated to Guadalcanal for malarial and other medical care when the Allies arrived. No doubt those remaining were confused as to the whereabouts of their loved ones.
9/24: Charles A. Dinlocker: A versatile artist, noted especially for his work on "Hollywood and Vine" and the mural in the Chapel by the Sea. (3/18/45)
10/6: The Green Islands were formed by a volcano which was still unstable.
10/14: Duffy’s Tavern was a popular radio program.
10/15: Duffy’s Tavern, South Pacific branch (ilus.)
10/22: officers’ liquor (see Letters) The SeaBees had no corner on liquor heists and were even wrongly blamed in the disappearance of Bull Halsey’s Whiskey at Guadalcanal. The stevedore crew of SeaBees sent to unload it from the USS Cassiopeia is exonerated and the ingenuity of the ship’s crew described by David A. Friederich, Bosco Eudaly, and Robert "Inky" Hinds at http://www.friederich.net/guadalcanal.html.
10/25: USS Cape Johnson: http://www.navsource.org/archives/09/22172.htm
Cape Johnson/Commander L.C. Farley: http://www.hazegray.org/danfs/auxil/ap172.htm.
10/28: Serenus C. Pegors: (From Rick Thomas) "One of the Seabees I’ve met at the reunions is John Pegors. His father Sam Pegors felt cheated at not being able to serve overseas in WWI, so when WWII came along he enlisted in the Seabees and was assigned to the 93rd Battalion. He was in his late 40s. His son John, 18, also joined the Seabees and was assigned to another Battalion. While the 93rd was sailing from Nissan to Samar, they stopped in New Hollandia and were allowed to go ashore. Sam and John ran into each other and the meeting was so emotional that many men in the 93rd remember it." (note difference in venue)
11/13: Attack story (Letters)
11/14: Samar map: http:home.online.no/~erfalch/samareasterne.htm
The Battle of Leyte Gulf was October 23-25, 1944
Ack ack: anti-aircraft gun or fire
11/17: Maggot Issue: as opposed to Government Issue
12/17: Joseph Stitcheson
12/28: James E. Cullen (9/11/45, 9/19)
1/26: Gator: Dan B. Glass
2/16: Andrew L. O’Neal (6/16, 8/9)
2/24: William J. Nelson (2/27, 3/2, 3/8, 3/9)
3/8: Mr. Harold J. Benriter
NSD: Naval Supply Depot
3/25: Chapel dedication program (ilus)
3/26: Alfred C. Widdowson
4/15: Donald E. Shackelford (4/11)
4/23: An unsubstantiated legend persists that the Enola Gay stopped here en route to Tinian Island from which it departed with the first atomic bomb.
5/1: ABCD: An Advance Base Construction Depot was a construction equipment and supply base overseas in a war zone.
5/26: Mr. Warner B. McCarthy (7/2)
6/8: AROU: Aviation Repair and Overhaul Unit
6/20: Still (Letters)
6/30: Joe Witke
7/2: For some reason, the Seabees weren’t anxious to rehash their Island Daze. In 1949, 7 couples met for a picnic in Kansas City, MO. They organized the first reunion which 35 members attended in 1950. By the time Bob learned about them through Rick Thomas, the 51st reunion in San Antonio was imminent. It featured a trip to the Nimitz Museum of the War in the Pacific, where Bob and others gave oral histories to museum volunteers. See 93rd Reunion Page
7/3: Pat Fowler, Lib’s first cousin, was an officer in the 64th NCB.
7/19: low boy: long low trailor for hauling heavy equipment such as bulldozers
7/27: Gerald G. Dextradeur
9/1: Harry Rees
9/11: George F. Kane
10/4: Some fellows ran out of the barbershop with partial haircuts
Arthur Middleton ysiwyg://5/ http://www.multied.com/Navy/Transport/ArthurMiddleton.html
Footnotes for Letters
3/23/43: Duke University
5/30/43: mess hall (ilus.)
6/43: Ed Steele was Lib’s uncle. Bob and Lib lived with him in High Point
7/6/43: S.P.: Shore Patrol
7/15/43: Map of CA (ilus.)
8/2/43: Robert E. Minor
8/23/43: Code map (ilus.)
8/29/43: Henry C. Siggelkow (6/30/44, 7/2/44)
10/2/43: Carl H. Brueninger (2/16/44, 5/6/44)
10/23/43: Ceremony for crossing the equator (ilus.)
11/7/43: Eddie Hatcher, Lib’s brother, then a student at N.C. State
12/25/43: Lib’s parents and sister, Anna
1/10/44: Dr. Hulda Magalhaes, a colleague of Lib’s at Duke. Bob was collecting and sending shells for her research.
2/7/44: V-alentine (ilus.)
2/16/44: Code reference indicates the 93rd is preparing to move
2/29/44: In an obscure and unusual reference to their courtship (deleted), Bob wonders if Lib suspected what she was getting into. Ed. can not resist noting her birth the following Leap Year.
3/4/44: Dump: Supplies were unloaded from ships and stored until requisitioned
3/22/44: Perry F. Karsten (5/13/44)
5/6/44: Coral reef (ilus.)
5/10/44: Refer: "refrigerated" storage
5/13/44: Tent description (ilus.)
5/16/44: Beaufort, NC is home to Duke University’s Marine Lab.
6/4/44: Tent description (ilus.)
7/2/44: Supply Department photo (ilus.)
7/11/44: It isn’t clear why Bob was sending a new code letter at this time.
7/20/44: Times were hard and Bob gave Lib a "crafted" horseshoe nail as an engagement ring; they referred to it as a "Pittsburgh diamond."
10/15/44: Duffy’s Tavern was a popular radio show.
10/27/44: Box: see Diary 10/22, 10/25, 11/13
12/13/44: Christmas card (ilus.)
3/25/45: Program for dedication of Chapel built by Seabees and Filipinos (ilus.)
6/24/45: Box: Letter from Rick Thomas: son of Richard H. Thomas. The elder Thomas had lied about his age (15) to enlist in the Navy. He was in training for ship duty until tests showed he was color blind. He was transferred to the 93rd and joined them on Banika. Chaplain Ball was his hometown pastor. However he attended Catholic services to avoid being recognized by the Chaplain who might have reported him for being underage.
Harold B. Collins