February 15, 1944

Tuesday

Awoke two hours out of Canton Island in the Phoenix Group. The weather was quite cloudy, and each and every one of us anxiously awaited a glimpse of the island. The weather was rough and the big plane rocked with it several times. The sky was blue above, cloud crowded. The ocean was vastly evident below us and the water looked so inviting. At nine o’clock in the morning, we circled Canton Island and landed on a coral and sand runway.1 It was very hot and we lost no time shedding our one remaining pair of O.D. clothing for summer khaki outfits.2

The island seemed to be in the shape of a huge horseshoe, the two points of which enclosed a gorgeous blue lagoon. We dumped our clothing in our quarters and lost no time getting into the inviting water. We came out refreshed and had our dinner as the other crewmen Russell, Seehorn3, Lieutenants Tolhurst4 and Fincham indulged in sack time. I strolled over to the “Canton Clipper”, the local barbershop, for a haircut. The waiting list was terrific so, I got no haircut. I am beginning to look like a shaggy dog; and a mop of hair is not conducive to comfort on an island with a hot climate.

In the afternoon, after dinner, we saw the three Army Nurses stationed at that base. They were a sight for sore eyes, and I must say very presentable. After that we went to our first island outdoor theater and sat through, to me, a very boring and disconnected picture. The show ended at 9:45. At 10:15 we taxied out and roared up the runway. Airborne, we set a course for Guadalcanal.

Notes & Commentary

1 During World War II the United States Navy built a 6,230 foot airstrip and Canton became a stopover point for the Navy Air Transport Service flights to Australia and New Zealand. For information on the Canton Island Airfield, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canton_Island_Airport.

2 O.D., olive drab-colored wool clothing for khaki-colored cotton clothing.

3 Staff Sergeant Stanley L. Seehorn

4 2nd Lt. Harland R. Tolhurst

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