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Volume 6846

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 17 and 18: Depth Charges ~ Porpoises ~ Tutila ~ Pago Pago ~ The Portland
Pilot Boat ~ Barrage Balloons ~ Coconut Point ~ The Flower Pot ~ The Minneapolis
Mine Field ~ USS Shaw with one Screw and Flooded Compartments ~ The Mississippi
Admiral Munro ~ Native Houses and Curios ~ Sadie Thompson Hotel
. . . ing wrong with my heart (a fool doctor to the contrary notwithstanding) for running up and down those ladders would have finished me, had there been. And I mean running. The contact was again close ahead. The Captain ordered, "Stand by to drop depth charges!" The great moment had come! The moment for which I had been hoping. I also hoped that the Shaw wouldn't break in two and sink. A moment later, the lookout, beside whom I was standing, announced: "School of porpoises off port bow!" I saw them playing along ahead of us. It was quite a large school. It was also our "sub".

Feb. 18. When I came on deck about 6:00, the island of Tutila lay ahead. The Shaw and McKean circled and patrolled as the task group approached the harbour of Pago Pago. Planes from ships and shore swung around us in great circles. We were well protected. The Portland was just putting out from the harour as we approached. A pilot boat brought pilots to all the ships but the McKean, having run out of pilots before reaching the end of our column. The pilots took us through the mine field, past a big airfield to port with its grounded barrage balloons, past Coconut Point and The Flower Pot, into the harbour, where we tied up at the dock alongside the Minneapolis at about 10:30.

It was difficult to handle the Shaw, because she had only one screw. Two of the McKean's landing barges pushed us in sideways against the cruiser. She looked strange, with her square, stubby temporary bow, beyond which her No.1 guns protruded. She had a great big hole amidships just beow the water line. Her forward compartment and three compartments amidship were flooded. I saw fish swimming in and out of her. While she was cruising, nearly every sea broke over her bow. Divers went down, probably to examine the damage and see how she had stood the trip. One of them was drowned.

We got orders from the Mississippi relative to shore liberty uniforms. Officers to wear ties. It was exceedingly hot, and no one liked this order. They decided that it was Admiral Munro's idea, and there was considerable damning of brass hats.

Lt. Croft brought 2nd Lt. Jonathan C. Rice, USMC, of Oak Knoll, St. Louis, who had come aboard to meet me. He was a former correspondent who got drafted. He took me ashore to his quarters for a highball and dinner. Then he took me for a ride in a station wagon. We looked up Hulbert's acqaintance, Lt. Asbury, at the airport. He joined us and showed us around the air field. It was a splendid development. The best I have seen. We also visited the dispensary and met several doctors, and then to the inevitable officers' club for highballs.

We left Asbury there, and drove back past native houses and the docks to the real Pago Pago, where I saw the Sadie Thompson Inn. Through the windows, I saw Sadie's room - or what might have been.

The natives are doing a big business in curios and stinging the Marines. Beads that used to sell for 25 cents or 50 cents a string are now $5 to $7.

We drove back to Rice's quarters and had another highball. He wanted me to stay for supper, but I begged off. All I wanted was a shower, as we had been driving in clouds of dust thrown up by trucks and the Admiral's limousine. By the time I had showered, it was after five. I went ashore in search of the Captain and Croft, or, possibly, Ramey. I though I should find them at The Visiting Officers Club. Had to cross the main deck of the Minneapolis every time I left or returned to the Shaw, saluting the colours and OD's of both ships each time.

Pago Pago
Sadie Thompson Inn
Vice Admiral Sir William Munro Kerr
Pilot Boat
Barrage Balloon
Heavy Cruiser USS Portland
USS Shaw


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