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Volume 6836

Wartime Journals of Correspondent Edgar Rice Burroughs
or Buck Burroughs Rides Again

Written April 1943 ~ Copyright ERB, Inc.
Transcribed for ERBzine by Bill Hillman


Jan 29/30: 5 am Tanks and Jeeps Move Out ~ Watch Tank War Maneuvers in Valley Forest Below
Jeep Back to Noumea ~ Sleep and Reading LIFE ~ On Dock to Board USS Shaw for Honolulu
The company moved out for the exercise at 5:00. Brothers gave me the option of riding in his command tank with him, or in a jeep with Cpl. E. J. Muller of Cincinnati. I chose the jeep for comfort and visibility. There was a portable radio in the jeep, and I could hear Brothers' commands to his platoon leaders and their replies.
We moved several miles to a rolling an partially wooded terrain near the foot of the mountains and took a position on top of a knoll, from which we could watch the tanks maneuver. The first attack was slightly balled up; so they did it all over again. To watch this one, I rode with Capt. Webb, the observer, to the enemy position. Following the tanks as they raced through a forest and up steep gradients to attack was impressive and thrilling even without an enemy. And much safer.

Following the attack, the tanks rendezvoused in a dense naiouli forest. Big and clumsy looking as they are, they snake-hip between and around obstacles like an open field runner, and can turn on a dime. Jeeping through that forest was exciting.

I didn't wait for the critique that was to follow. Muller drove me back to Bn Hqs, where I picked up Bouncing Baby and drove back to Noumea. As I was parking across from the hotel, Maj. Hart drove and parked beside me. I took him up to my qrs for a highball; and after a shave and a shower, went to G-2, where I found Hal Thompson with Capt. Bowen, who asked us up to his qrs for a highball. After lunch I lay down to read, and slept four hours. Went to bed again right after supper. Major Romlein came up to tell me that the Noumea Chowder and Marching Club was meeting, but I didn't get up.

2nd Lt. Tom McLaughlin had brought me a bottle of Rye the evening before and DROPPED IT ON THE MESS HALL FLOOR! A major catastrophe. Hal and McLaughlin lived with a French family a few blocks from the hotel. I drove them up there after mess that evening. They gave me a supply of mystery stories and two copies of LIFE, as I was entirely out of reading matter.

Jan. 30. Went to see Cmdr. Bassett relative to surface ship transportation to Honolulu. He explained the procedure, and I returned to hotel, typed my request, and took it to my friend Lt. Col. Skaude C. Skaates, Acting A.C. of S., G-2 USAFISPA. He endorsed it "approved", and I then took it to Cmdr, David G. Roberts, USN, of Flint, Michigan who was extremely co-operative. He got busy on the phone, and made all arrangements for me to return directly to Pearl aboard the destroyer USS Shaw. He told me that she would leave in a day or two and that I had better go aboard that same day. So I had to do some hustling.

I was to be notified exactly when to go aboard. The landing was a short distance from the hotel. I have forgotten who helped me with my gear, but somebody did. Somebody always did. Even Captains, Majors, and Colonels have carried it for me. On a few occasions I have carried it several yards by myself, but not when any Good Samaritan would carry it for me. I sat in the sun on the floating dock, where the barges and whale boats come in from the ships, for an hour before the captain of the dock, or whatever they call him found a boat going near the Shaw. The Executive Officer of the Shaw told me afterward that they would have sent a boat in for me had they known I was waiting.

The Shaw was anchored five miles from the dock I fully expected to be . . .

Rare Edgar Rice Burroughs WWII Photos
Col. David Taylor shares eight photos of ERB as a WWII correspondent
from the National Archives in Washington, DC.


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