Official Edgar Rice Burroughs Tribute and Weekly Webzine Site
Since 1996 ~ Over 15,000 Webpages in Archive
. . . jumped into Bouncing Baby and headed for the range, several miles away. We got there after the second flight had landed, but in plenty of time to see the third flight jump. Out of the plane they poured, their bodies snapping grotesquely as their chutes opened, arms clasped around the auxiliary chute strapped to their chests, legs flying above their heads.
One boy got his legs tangled in the shrouds of his chute, but succeeded in kicking himself free before falling far. Had he not, he would have landed on the seat of his pants, Thirty-seven men jumped that morning without even a minor injury. They have never suffered a jumping fatality in the two years of their existence.
Corson got a lot of swell pictures, before, during, and after the jumps. We drove back to their camp, where I breakfasted with the officers. Corson and I had eaten a pineapple given me by Lt. Winfred Minter of Blacksburg, Va., the night before, Corson carving it while we were driving out. But I could still stow away plenty of good Army chow. I seem to be the only human being in uniform who still likes Spam.
On the way back to Noumea we were held up for some time by a couple of prime movers that were trying to haul a brand new 90 mm AA gun back onto the road. It had skidded off the road at a turn and was hanging part way over the edge of a ravine.
At dinner that noon, Dick Tregaskis told me that the Navy's order grounding all correspondents was bona fide, definite, and final. It raised particular hell with my plans. It meant that I would have to go to Espiritu Santo and Guadalcanal by surface ship, and then all the way back to California to get to Hawaii -- also by surface ship. That part of the trip alone might take three months.
I was so sore that I invited Ramsey in to drink some of my precious Scotch. Which is about as sore as one can get in Noumea. I forgot to record the fact that the afternoon previous Ramsey had taken me to the Officer's Club in Hotel Centrale. The only thing that Gregory, the bartender, had was port wine. Ramsey supervised the mixing of a concoction of water, bitters, ice, and port. It could have been worse. We sampled two of them. Then Ramsey led the way to the Circle Club, a French club open to our officers. A filthy hole, like everything I saw in Noumea. It was so jammed with officers that we couldn't get within shouting distance of the bar. But Ramsey knew his way around. He led me out onto a back verandah to the side door of the bar, where he made connections with a club attaché. They had to offer only rum or absinthe. We had two rum Collinses, and Ramsey bought a bottle of absinthe. After we got back to the hotel we had a drink of that. One was enough for me, I gave my half of the bottle to Ramsey.
January 16, 1943. Wrote a request for air transportation to Guadalcanal and took it to Colonel Sherman. After supper, the Noumea Chowder and Marching Club met in Col. Hayward's quarters: Col. Hayward, Col. Skaates, Col. Gates, Maj. Dart, Col. Lee, another colonel, and I. We played until 11:30. I lost consistently until near the close of the session. Then I commenced to hold hands, and ended up about seven bucks to the good.
The enlisted personnel of Hqs were giving a dance down stairs. We had all been invited, and a couple of the colonels went down for a few minutes. After the game, I watched the people from my balcony above the room were they were dancing. There were quite a number of pretty French girls in evening gowns. Both officers and enlisted men were dancing. Others were sitting in what once may have been the hotel garden..
American Presence in New Caledonia
Word War II Military Slang
New Caledonia WWII Museum Photos
WWII Cultural Clash in New Caledonia
BACK TO CONTENTS