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Volume 6841

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

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


Feb 5/6: Suva ~ Menominee Tugboat ~ USS McKean ~ Captain Ramey ~  Grand Pacific Hotel
. . . first one. The seagoing tug Menominee which pulled the Shaw off the reef at New Caledonia came in this morning, towing a barge.

As Biggs received no orders this morning, no shore liberty was granted until after lunch. Shortly after one o'clock, Lt. Croft sent a boat in with me; as I wanted to get a haircut. Got one from an East Indian whose profession is tattooing, but who reverted to barbering due to a wartime shortage of dyes. He had lived in Santa Barbara and Santa Monica, among other places.

While waiting at the New Zealand Air Corps dock for our three o'clock boat, Capt. Ramey came ashore; and I went back to the Shaw in one of his landing barges -- one that had landed the first marines on Guadalcanal. Shaved, showered, changed into clean uniform; and just missed the four o'clock boat. But when it returned to the ship, the Officer of the Deck sent it back with me.

Took a taxi to the Grand Pacific, where I found Biggs, Croft, Ramey and one of Ramey's officers at at a table. We were later joined by two more McKean officers -- reinforcements for our heroic attack upon the Grand Pacific's store of Scotch. We returned to our ships at six, as they stopped serving drinks at six.

Feb. 6. Watched inspection at 9:30. Not very snappy. Nothing like the Army or Marines. In facing about, some of the men turned left about and some right about. But as long as they can fight their ship, the little things don't count.

As the Captain had still received no orders, no shore liberty was granted until 1:00 PM. Officer of the Deck sent me ashore about three. I knew that  Croft and Biggs were ashore, or I wouldn't have gone. I had quit going ashore unless the skipper was ashore, as I knew they wouldn't sail without him; but if they got orders while I was ashore, the would probably sail without me. Met a McKean officer at the landing, and we started to walk to the Grand Pacific. Ran into Croft on the way back to the ship and took him along with us. Other officers dropped into the lounge, including Capt. Biggs, until we had quite a party.

Cmdr. General, Captain of the Menominee, was guest at supper. An extremely handsome and interesting man. In civilian life he runs a salvage concern in Seattle. H has been at sea all his life, under both sail and steam. He told some interesting yarns. Among others, of a hurricane that blew the paint from his ship.

Feb. 6, Sunday. After breakfast, an officer from the McKean came aboard with an invitation from Capt. Ramey for me to have dinner aboard his ship at 12. At 11:30 a McKean boat called for me. The McKean has no opening in her rail for a gangway, and there is a permanent iron ladder affixed to her side. After climbing this, one crawls over the rail. I had climbed in and out of captains' gigs, while boats, and landing barges onto and off of ships and docks so often by that time that I no longer felt that I was risking life or limb.

Dinner aboard the McKean consisted of fruit cocktail, turkey, vegetables, iced tea, and ice cream. The ship is much smaller than the Shaw, and the wardroom was so exceedingly hot, that after dinner Ramey suggested we take a ride in a landing barge to cool off. We took along his liberty party and stopped at the Shaw for theirs, making about sixty passengers.

Ramey and I took a taxi to the Grand Pacific where our worst fears were  . . .

Grand Pacific Hotel
USS McKean
Sinking of the USS McKean
Captain Ralph Lester Ramey USN
Menominee Tugboat


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