Jack Stevens, 93rd Seabees
Jack Steven's grandson, Mike McCaslin, provided these photos. Stevens passed away in 1988, in Chandler AZ. and Mike hopes someone may have photos of his grandfather.
Jack Stevens appears in Bob Conner's diary on Armistice Day, 1943 as the 93rd is landing on Banika Island.
RUSSELL ISLANDS, BANIKA*
11/10, Wed. Woke up this morning to find ourselves running along a very peaceful and mountainous island which turned out to be Guadalcanal. The mountains were huge and completely covered with foliage. We dropped anchor at Henderson Field. There were a number of ships, boats and barges there and a great deal of activity. We arrived there at 8 this morning and after discharging mail and the New Zealand troops we left at 1:30 in the afternoon. Followed the coast for several hours and saw a number of bomber groups leave toward the north presumably for Rabaul or Bougainville. Around 6, we pulled into the harbor at Russell Island with Guadalcanal’s peaks still in view. We were quite casually enjoying the view of the island with its plentiful share of coconut trees when orders came to prepare to leave the ship with all equipment. That really caused a stir. Shortly after that we pulled to the dock. The rail was lined with men catching coconuts from the men on the docks. Since I was on the unloading detail I remained aboard ship and along with others helped those who were leaving to get ready. Instead of going to bed tonight I was placed in charge of four other men to unload trucks at the various dumps with the ship’s cargo. Set foot on solid ground tonight for the first time since October 14.
11/11, Thurs. Armistice Day. Naturally I would be put on a detail even before the ship had docked. Have been placed in charge of four other men to unload trucks as they reach the dump from the dock. We left the dock shortly after midnight on the first truckload of lumber to go to the campsite. Were caught in a drenching rain shortly after leaving the dock. Were soaked clear through before reaching the dump. The five of us worked like Trojans till about 7:30 this morning. We were really whipped down. Slept for about three hours this morning. Packed my gear this afternoon and moved out to the campsite. Pitched shelter holes with Jack Stevens. Went to bed on the ground at 8 only to have to get up at 11:30.
11/12, Fri. Another night like last night except that we had some water to drink and a crane to assist us with the unloading. It is mighty hard to put out so much after almost a month of inactivity. Spent the greater part of the day washing myself and my clothes in fresh water. It was a swell feeling.
11/13, Sat. Another midnight shift and this time two cranes to help us. Just piddled around most of today trying to get my clothes and such in shape. Moved into big tents tonight. Had a very heavy rain this evening which caught me in the act of moving from the pup tent to the big one. Spent about two hours in the pup tent trying to keep my bags and other gear from being washed away in the river that ran through the tent. Managed to get to bed at 9 but only after pushing a puddle of water from my cot.
11/14. Sun. It was highly miserable to work last night. It rained most of the night and the mud was terrible. Our feet were wet and clothes covered with mud. Even had mud in our shoes. Thought there would be no end to trucks. Bought an extra pair of dungarees from the 33rd’s ship’s store so I could make a pair of shorts from an old pair. Wandered over the island (Banika) this afternoon. Found a number of pretty pieces of coral on the beach.
11/15, Mon. Woke up last night for work to find a red air raid alert in progress. There was very little work tonight but it was still muddy from last night. Tried to get some more of my stuff in shape today. Went out this afternoon in search of some chow different from the tinned stuff which we have been eating for 3 meals a day. Found some candy in the 35th’s ship’s store and stayed there for evening chow. It was not very good but we enjoyed it for a change.
11/16. Tues. Thought we would have another light night but the trucks rolled in with the dawn and really kept us busy till 8. Had another good bath this morning. Wrote for part of the afternoon and wandered in the jungle late in the day with Nestlerode. We had quite a time and found the jungle a very easy place in which to get lost. We did not come out anywhere near where we went in. Found a tree which is all roots till it gets up about 75 feet and then forms its trunk. We were really wet from perspiration.
11/17. Wed. Did we catch the devil last night. We got on the detail unloading cement. It lasted the entire night and of course we were plenty filthy by this morning. Mr. Roberti drove us to the shower and we put in the whole morning washing ourselves and our clothes. This afternoon Fay and I went over to the adjoining island to find a lime tree. Found it but the limes were small and green. Sponged a sandwich from the 1009th Special. Came back to this island and found several trees with fruit that was almost ripe. Stopped in at the 4th Base Depot to buy some candy and eat chow. Arrived back in our camp to find that our chow hall had opened up and was serving a pretty good meal. To bed fairly early.