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Volume 1756
WWII Articles
Edgar Rice Burroughs
Oldest war correspondent 
in the 
WWII Pacific theatre


July 4, 1942
September 22, 1942
September 24, 1942
September 30, 1942
November 11, 1942
January 4, 1943
February 14, 1943
Honolulu Advertiser ~ July 4, 1942
By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Shortly after the Battle of Midway, I heard a man say, "Now we can throw away our gas masks!" A remark which exemplifies with some accuracy the stupid complacency of the general public since our decisive defeat of a Japanese task force. A considerable percentage of people booked for evacuation to the Mainland have canceled their bookings. Attendance at drills of civilian defense organizations has fallen off.

Hitler has said that we are stupid. perhaps Hitler is right. But why risk our lives to prove that he is right? Let's see if we are risking our lives and the security of our Island by assuming that we are in no further danger of attack and are therefore, warranted in relaxing even for a moment.

I am no military expert. But I had a piece of paper and a pencil, and I called up an engineer friend of mine and asked him what one multiplied by what to obtain the area of a circle; because I had forgotten the .7854 part of it. I knew that there was a Dawn Patrol; because there was an illustrated article in the papers about it a couple months ago. I don't know how many planes go out, nor how far they go; nor at what altitude they fly. But all that is immaterial.
What I do know, and what everyone else must know is that the Japs, for psychological reasons, have got to hit back. They've got to save both their faces. A successful attack on Hawaii or the West Coast would boost Japanese military and civilian morale which must have had a severe crimp put in it by the bombing of Tokyo and the Midway defeat. Therefore, we should definitely expect an attack, possibly in the near future. We would be making no mistake if we assumed that they would use gas.

Here is what I deduced by a judicious use of a piece of paper, a pencil, and .7854. I did it without the use of mirrors. Anyone can do it.

Knowing nothing about it, but to get a figure on which to base deductions, I assumed that patrol planes might go out a thousand miles. So if a number of planes went out in different directions, the area of ocean they would be attempting to observe would be a mere 3,141,600 square miles.

I imagine that on a clear day, one might be able to spot ships at a distance of eighty miles, with good glasses. So it would seem that it would take a hell of a lot of ships to scrutinize 3,141,600 square miles of ocean. And visibility is not perfect every day.

No matter how efficient our observation may be, it is anything but beyond the realm of possibility that a couple of enemy carriers, with their escort could sneak in on another hit and run mission and turn this Paradise of the Pacific into an inferno. Perhaps even a large invasion force might get by.

The extent of millions of square miles of ocean is difficult to conceive. So let's reduce that to the 598 square miles of Oahu, and everything else more or less in proportion. You are observing from a Flying Fortress of microscopic dimensions. It is probably much smaller than a gnat. The enemy force consists of two carriers, four cruisers, and eight destroyers. The carriers are the size of large ants. The other ships of smaller ants. They are somewhere on Oahu and you go out looking for them. It is raining and a heavy mist is rising from the ground Would you be surprised if the ants reached their objective unobserved?

Don't throw away your gas mask. Don't cancel your Mainland booking. Don't neglect your defense duties. Don't be stupid.

The Japs might come tomorrow.


Honolulu Advertiser ~ September 22, 1942
By Edgar Rice Burroughs

This is a call for men.

General Green says that we civilians have done a pretty sell job here. Perhaps many of us could do just a little bit  more. Perhaps many of us could do just a little bit more. When we realize that the United Nations still seem to be losing the war, when we consider the fanaticism of our own nearest enemy, that my impel him to strike these Islands in force at any time, the duty of each of us becomes clear. We must do that little bit more.

There are some twenty-five thousand adult male citizens of Hawaiian, part Hawaiian, and Caucasion blood living in the city of Honolulu. Perhaps many of these do not know how badly they are needed, nor where nor how to offer their services. This article will tell them.

The BMTC needs men. A recently promulgated Navy regulation has taken between two hundred and three hundred men from the ranks of the BMTC. Even before that its strength was not adequate for the job the Army is depending upon the BMTC to do.

So the BMTC needs YOU.

If you are anywhere between twenty-one and the grave, have all your arms and legs, a little endurance, and a lot of guts, there is a place for you in the BMTC where some day, possibly sooner than many suspect, you may get a chance to take a shot at some of our country's enemies.

When you are accepted by the BMTC  you will receive a rifle, ammunition, and a steel helmet. These are issued by the government to buy your own uniform. You will receive a pass entitling you to carry your rifle anywhere on the Island of Oahu by day or by night when on duty. And you will be associated with some of the finest men and most loyal citizens that any Territory or State can boast.

For training purposes you will do sentry duty occasionally at night for a few hours, but not often. Some men enjoy the drills and field exercises. Others find them monotonous and tiresome. Those who haven't go what it takes, drop out.

Plenty of men on this Island have what it takes. They are the men the BMTC wants. They can find plenty of alibis for not joining. But they won't make use of them. BMTC can use a thousand more such men. If you are one, pick up your phone now!

If you live in Koko Head of the Drainage Canal, call Major Wright, Bu. 5282, Res. 73091; or Capt. Macfarlane, Bus, 4991, Res. 79555.

If you live in the Manoa or Waikiki district, call Major Doering, Bus. 1241, Res. 98892; or Capt. Lowery, Bus. 1241, Res. 98420.

If you live in Makiki, Pacific, or Alewa Heights or south thereof, call Major Winsley, Bus. 3431, Res. 68347; or Capt. Graves, Bus. 4911, Res. 79555.

If you live Ewa of these districts, call Major Crocket, Bus. 59911, Local 38, Res. 87490; or Capt. Givson, Bus. 6211, Res. 88466.

Ask him where you can get a BMTC membership application blank. Do it now.

Fellow BMTC Officers
Fellow BMTC Officers

Honolulu Advertiser ~ September 24, 1942
By Edgar Rice Burroughs
Our boys are fighting and dying on the beaches of the green little islands of the South Pacific. They are fighting and dying over the waters of the Pacific, the Atlantic, the North Sea, and the Mediterranean. In China, in Europe, in Africa, in Asia. It is quite probable that one day they will be fighting and dying here again, as they will be fighting and dying here again, as they did December 7. We must not think that the Japs have abandoned one of their dearest wishes -- the invasion and occupation of Hawaii. We must not think that they are unable to assemble a sufficient force to make the attempt.

We civilians can't do a hell of a lot about it. But we can do something. We can at least do what the Army wants us to do to help it, should the Japs come back. The Army wants a strong, well trained BMTC for certain definite porpoises of defense and to help maintain law and order.

And the BMTC wants 1,000 more men -- NOW. It wants you if you are a male citizen, dry behind the ears, and with not more than one foot in the grave. If you can hold a gun and learn to shoot it, Army officers and non-commissioned officers permanently assigned to the BMTC will assist in your training. The Government will arm and equip you. You will give a few hours of your time each week. That is not much to give when you think of those other men giving their lives.

The BMTC constitutes a green section of the best Hawaiian and Caucasian blood of Honolulu. It is a true product of democracy. Its ranks contain men from every walk of life -- laborers, bankers, clerks, executives, salesmen, professional men. And an officer maybe a laborer, and a private banker.

Honolulu needs you. It may need you damn bad some cloudy morning.

Honolulu Advertiser ~ September 30, 1942
By Edgar Rice Burroughs

In Saturday's Advertiser, ex-Q.M.Sgt. Henri Jules Pinchon, 6th U.S.Inf., commenting on the BMTC current drive for recruits, questions the wisdom of placing arms in the hands of men not qualified to handle them effectively. Mr. Pinchon is dead right, and I am glad that he raised this question.

It had not previously occurred to me that it might be thought that the BMTC would place men on duty with rifles and ball cartridges who had not been trained to handle them with safety to themselves and others and to the consternation of the enemy; or that Army authorities would permit it to do so.

Just as the Army recruits men who have had no experience with firearms, so does the BMTC. And exactly  as the Army trains these men to use firearms, so does the BMTC. They are taught the nomenclature and care of their rifles. They have hours of sighting and aiming exercises and the use of the sling. Then they go to their battalions' subcaliber range, where they must qualify before going to the .30 caliber range to qualify with the .30 caliber rifle.

Sub-caliber target practice is continued as long as they are members of the corps.  .30 caliber target practice is limited only by the amount of ammunition available to the BMTC.

Mr. Pinchon also questions the necessity for uniforms. That also is an excellent point which should be clarified. Without uniforms we should be guerillas. Guerrillas, if captured, are not without benefit of clergy, or anything else. The uniforms and the oath which we take give us belligerent status. They are for our protection.

There are many old-time Army men in the BMTC. Mr. Pinchon should be in it. We need all the experienced men we can get, regardless of age. From the date of his service, 1898, I judge that Mr. Pinchon is about the same vintage as I, though probably younger. . . I was discharged from the 7th Cavalry in 1896.

I can still hobble. If he can, he should join up.

Signal Corps, October 12, 1942
The Signal Corps has little flags
Sometimes it wigs again it wags
I do not doubt that if they heed 'em
The Signal Corps can really read 'em
But what its cryptographers sigh for
Is the key to Burroughs famous cipher

Honolulu Advertiser ~ November 11, 1942
By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Bernard Clayton, LIFE magazine representative in Hawaii, and I accompanied Brig. Gen. Thomas H. Green, executive to the Military Governor, on a tour of Honolulu's front line civilian defenses Saturday night.

To insure the safety of the Fourth Estate, Clayton and I were accompanied not only by the general, but by Lt. Col. William F. Steer, provost marshal, and Asst. Chief Eugene Kennedy and Lt. Leon M. Straus of the Honolulu Police Department.

However, there was absolutely no activity in the front line trenches, the enemy "Demon Rum" having practically run out of ammunition. It is believed that action may be resumed in the future, as our honorable spies report that the enemy hopes to receive a new consignment of ammunition almost any day now. So do we.

Night Dead

Honolulu at night is dead, buried, and, from the point of view of a correspondent looking for spot news, smells to high heaven. Nevertheless, the evening was far from wasted, as it demonstrated to Malihini Clayton what the intelligent application of martial law, combined with the willing  and unselfish cooperation of civilian organizations and the municipal police, can accomplish in an American city.

We toured the city from about 7:30 to 11:30 p.m. of a Saturday night. Police calls were coming to us over the police short wave hook-up, but insofar as crime or excitement was concerned we might just as well have been at a Quaker prayer meeting in Philadelphia. Clayton and I got quite excited for a moment when a police report came in about a guy with a tent full of 44's over at Kailua. But our hopes were dashed when it was explained to us that 44 was police code for something innocuous.

Visit Center

We visited a bowling alley just before the closing hour. It was crowded, mostly with civilian defense workers. There was a sprinkling of soldiers, sailors and women. Many nationalities and races were represented. You'd never find a better natured, better behaved crowd anywhere.

At Kaahumanu and Thomas Jefferson schools, we inspected the First Aid units, where Mrs. G. Fujimoto at the former and Miss Marian Martin at the latter showed us the very complete equipment and explained the training and duties of the personnel. These stations, like all the 19 scattered over this island of Oahu, are manned 24 hours a day be competent, well trained staffs. They are a monument to the foresightedness of unselfish, patriotic women of many nationalities, who began to prepare for Pearl Harbor eight months before it happened.

At the Red Cross Motor Corps headquarters, which we visited after the girls on duty had gone to bed, Miss Mae Simeona received us graciously in her pajamas. There are 47 unpaid volunteers in the corps, each girl furnishing her own car. Twenty-four hours a day they are on call for civilian or military emergency transportation duty. In the wee hours of many a morning they have doubled for the stork, insuring that Junior would be delivered to and at the right hospital, and on time. They meet transports at the piers, where they minister to and transport women, children, and the ill. They are grand girls doing grand work.

Trick Played

Gen. Green pulled a dirty trick on them and then blamed it on me. He told Miss Simeona to order out a car. Then he held his watch on the girls. Jean Bodge and Elizabeth Marquart were in bed and asleep at the time. IN three minutes they were fully dressed in their attractive uniforms, and in another they were in their car ready to take off. Miss Bodge begged me not to tell her father that she had dressed in three minutes, and I won't tell him.

At the Mutual Telephone building, we saw the telephone censors at work. The very efficient system was explained to us, and I can now authoritatively advise all blabber-mouths to be darned careful what they say on long distance calls.

A trip to Alewa Heights gave confrere Clayton, who recently arrived from San Francisco, an excellent view of what a blacked out city looks like. Or what it doesn't look like, for he couldn't see the city.

See Inspection

At 11 p.m. we were taken to the police station to see the regulars go on duty and the auxiliaries come off. The regulars were put through a minute inspection of about everything but their tonsils and executed a few facings. As one malihini showing off to another malihini, I was damned proud of them. Clayton admitted that he had seen the police of many cities on the Mainland, but never anything to compare wit the appearance  and smartness of these men.

We didn't see the auxiliaries do anything spectacular, other than pecking out their reports with one finger on typewriters. But a few days ago Chief L. G. Gabrielson told me that he doubted that there was a finer body of men anywhere in the world.

And so to bed, taking with me increased admiration for my fellow Americans -- God bless 'em.

Edgar Rice Burroughs Down Under for Xmas
Correspondent Must Tote Huge Load
Honolulu Advertiser ~ January 4, 1943
By Edgar Rice Burroughs
(United Press Staff Correspondent)
SOMEWHERE IN AUSTRALIA: December 25 -- I have no business being here and shall probably lose my job and have to go back to writing Tarzan and Martian stories and other factual and scientific works; but when the opportunity presented itself, I couldn't resist the temptation. So here I am "down under" on Christmas 1942, and glad of it.
Hunting for a War
Yesterday was a hectic day in the life of this war correspondent who hasn't yet succeeded in finding a war but is creeping up on the coat tails of one -- he hopes. Or does he? Capt. H. G. Freeman, Jr., and I were routed out of bed at 3:30 a.m. and loaded into a truck with a dozen other men and more hand baggage than the 20th Century Limited carries.

Hand baggage is the principal handicap and one of the prerogatives of a war correspondent. When I am fully loaded, Army pack mules view me with compassion in their soft brown eyes. Over one shoulder, a bulging musette back is slung; over the other, a gas mask to which is attached a steel helmet. In  my right hand is a Valpac weighing what feels like a hundred pounds but probably isn't. In my left is a portable typewriter. And there are neither red caps nor bell hops in this neck of the woods.

Went Without Breakfast
We took off without breakfast and crossed an awful lot of water with a name that heretofore has been, for me, only name on a map. It was a long and tiresome trip, and to make it longer and more tiresome, 2nd Lt. D. William Hubbard of Minot, North Dakota, the pilot, wouldn't let us smoke. I finished a crackerjack detective yarn by Gardner, slept for about an hour, partially on metal seats that are scooped out like wash basins and partially on a pile of baggage; and then played stud poker with Capt. Ronald F. Adams of Jesup, Georgia, until I had accumulated his spare change.

Eventually we got to somewhere in Australia. All our baggage was loaded on top of a station wagon de luxe. After we had proceeded for some 50 feet, most of the baggage fell off, including all of mine. I as afraid to open up my typewriter carrying case until today, as I was not certain that portable typewriters were built to withstand a drop of eight feet onto concrete. The only ill effect that I can discover is in the upper case letters, which are now a little higher than they used to be. A sturdy typewriter.


Finally Get 'Tea'

After hunting up the billeting and public relations officers, it was 4:30 before Capt. Freeman and I got together again for a spot of tea. Only it was coffee with milk and some little sandwiches -- the first thing even remotely resembling a meal that we had had for exactly 24 hours.

From then on until midnight we celebrated Christmas eve with the assistance of another Army captain, Sam Gilliland of Brooklyn, and three very delightful Australians. The Australians I have come in contact with are all right -- hospitable and easy to know. And the girls are easy to look at.

Christmas down here happens in mid-summer. Today is warm and sunny. Everything is closed up tighter than a drum, to remain closed for four days. It seems that tomorrow is Race Day, the next day is Sunday, and Monday is Boxing Day, or something like that.

There are quaint customs here, like driving on the wrong side of the street and walking on the wrong side of sidewalks. It is quite confusing, and might even prove fatal. Street cars are trams and cops are constables. Whiskey means Scotch, the implication being that Bourbon and Rye are not whiskies. If you wish coffee American style, you order "a large cup of black coffee with cream." But instead of getting annoyed with our ignorance, the natives are good-natured and helpful. I have had a perfect stranger walk a block or so out of the way to direct me to my destination. I like Australia and Australians.

Two people have stopped me on the street today to ask me what my green brassard with the white C means. There are a lot of war correspondents in the South Pacific area and Australia, but I seem to be the only one who hasn't lost his brassard. By wearing it, I saved FReeman a penny today. We took a tram to get to a chop house that had been recommended to us. I paid the fare up -- three pence each. Coming back, we had a lady conductor. She asked m what the C meant. I told her "cannibal." When she gave Freeman back his change he discovered that she had charged the two of us only one penny. So, being an officer and a gentleman from Richmond, Virginia, he called her attention to the fact. She explained that I rode free!

Fares Puzzling

We decided that the one penny returning, rather than the three pence fare going, was because coming back was down hill all the way. I wouldn't know. Or maybe it is just another quaint custom. But why I rode free I shall never know. She was a pretty girl, and maybe she is afraid of cannibals.

Shortly after breakfast this morning I witnessed a touching ceremony. A crowd of several hundred people, mostly women, were gathered before a cenotaph to the Australians who fell in World War I. There were flowers at its base when I first saw it yesterday, and very early  this morning I saw two women in black placing wreaths before it. And now one side was fairly buried in flowers. An Australian sailor sounded taps on a bugle as a large wreath was placed at the base of the cenotaph, and the crowd stood with bowed heads, the men uncovered.

Hong Kong Memorial

T. G. Stokes, acting finance liaison officer of the government of Hong Kong, who was in charge of the ceremony, told me that it was to honor the men who died when Hong Kong fell a year ago today. These people gathered about the cenotaph were of the 3,000 who had been evacuated from Hong Kong in July 1940. Their men had remained behind to fight and die, or to be taken prisoners.

Perhaps the tragedy of Hong Kong becomes less vivid in the memories of many of us. But not in theirs. It must remain always to cast a shadow over succeeding Christmas Days. And bitterly, until it is avenged. United, we shall avenge it as we shall avenge Pearl Harbor.

Tank Outfit Gets Enough 'Camping Out' For Lifetime
Honolulu Advertiser ~ February 14, 1943
By Edgar Rice Burroughs
(United Press Special Correspondent)

A SOUTH PACIFIC BASE (Delayed) -- A selectee whose outfit has been stationed on this island for some time wrote to his wife back in the States "Honey, I can't hardly wait to get home again, and I've got it all planned out just what we'll do the very first thing.

"We'll get a tent and a couple of cots and bed rolls and mosquito bars and head nets. And we'll load 'em into the back of the car with kitchen utensils and provisions, and we'll drive way back into the hills somewhere, just you and me, and we'll camp out for a month.

"Like hell we will."

Traveled with Tanks

I know how that bird felt, as I have just returned from a couple of days in the field with a tank outfit. Sure, I had plenty of fun; but then I don't have to camp out for the duration, I hope.

It came about through a story I heard, of a tank outfit that had chipped in and bought a mountain full of some kind of ore. It sounded like a good story to me, so I hopped into "Bouncing Baby" and started out to get it. Twenty-eight miles later I came to a side road marked by a sign I have passed many times: "Little Old New York," with a picture of a hansom cab in silhouette.

Over 'Liquid Road'

It had rained hard the night before, and Bouncing Baby and I slid and skidded over two miles of winding liquid road to the headquarters of Maj. J. F. Hart. Major Hart hadn't bought a mountain. He hadn't even heard the story. But h had enough bourbon left for a couple of highballs and he invited me to come back the next day and go out with a tank company. So neither Bouncing Baby nor I felt that our time had been wasted.

I was there the following noon in time for chow. Somehow I always seem to arrive places in time for chow. Major Hart then wished me onto First Lt. Benjamin M. Brothers of Rocky Mount, N.C., with whose company I was to go out the following day.

We slithered back over the two miles of impossible road I had just covered, and then over two miles of absolutely indescribable road to Lt. Brothers' camp.

The only difference between the camp and the road lies in the fact that the camp is wider and has shacks and tents on it. I was glad that I was wearing high shoes and leggings.

They Want Girls

Brothers' camp is more or less typical of these South Sea island camps where your menfolks are learning what a swell place America is. In a shack occupied by four non-coms there is a radio and a phonograph connected with loud speakers in the officers' quarters and the mess hall. They get the short wave broadcasts from the States. A couple of times a week they have an outdoor picture show and they have baseball. But they'd like some cuties from Hollywood. They say "They send 'em to Iceland, they send 'em to Alaska, they send 'em to North Africa. Why in hell can't they send 'em here?" That is a $64 question that I couldn't answer.

Brothers took me out in his command tank for a little target practice. We covered a different terrain where the roads were worse. But a tank rides smoothly over rough roads.

A 'Burroughs Bull's-Eye'

When we got on the range, Brothers let me fire the gun. Sighted mountain. Hit same. I equalled the world's record I made with a three-inch antiaircraft gun on Oahu, when I hit the sky right in the center.

The next morning the sweet strains of a bugle aroused me at 4:45 a.m., sounding first call. And then commenced a day in which I got tired watching other people work.

The morning was spent with Lt. Brothers in reconnaissance. After the noon meal, the unit moved out. I can't tell you how many tanks as censors are allergic to figures; but there were plenty. They made an imposing caravan and a lot of noise.

Eventually the column moved into a wood where the work of camouflage began, and in a few minutes I could see no sign of any vehicle except those within a few yards of me. From the air, nothing could have been seen.

Next in order were the slit trenches. Each man had to dig his, and how they loved it! By the time they were dug, I was practically exhausted.

Hot for Sleeping

Then cots were set up by those who had brought them. They are hot and uncomfortable, and a mouthful of green mosquito netting every time you take a draw on the cigaret helps not at all.

I can't recall all that we had for chow, but there was corn, string beans, bread, coffee, and spam. My advice to Mr. Hormel is to invent something new for when this war is over and the boys come home, whoever serves them spam will be inviting murder. There's a limit to all things.

At 3:30 the next morning a sergeant awoke us --much too early -- and at 4 a.m. we had breakfast. Slit trenches had to be filled up, bedding and other camp gear packed and loaded, radios and motors warmed up. And tonight and the morning after they will go through the same things all over again.

All Necessary Work

It is all necessary -- all this work that millions of men all over the world are doing day in and day out -- so that they may be better fitted to destroy. If it could be intelligently geared to peaceful production what a swell war we could have 25 years from now!

Standing on t he summit of a hill, I watched the tanks move into position and attack. It was interesting. It was thrilling . I should like to describe it to you. But I have a hunch it wouldn't get by.

What I hope does get by is this brief description of how your men are living and working way down here to hellengone from home. They are cheerful. Their health is excellent on this island. They want letters -- cheerful letters. They don't like V-mail, the psychological effect of which is similar to that induced by a circular letter from a correspondence school.

Honeys, write your boy friends. When you don't, their buddies tell them you have fallen for some rejectee.


Submitted to ERBzine From the Sam Cox Collection ~ Melbourne, Australia
War Correspondent Edgar Rice Burroughs in New Caledonia
with officers of the 112th Cavalry Regiment in 1943.
The captain on the left is Byron Albrite.

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