John W. Bustard Collection

Dublin Core


John W. Bustard Collection


1st Lt. John W. Bustard was born and raised in Hawaii, attending from the Punahou School, before leaving to study at Stanford University. He later joined the Marine Corps, graduating from officers training academy in Quantico, Virginia.

During World War II, Bustard was stationed on Palmyra for 10 months (from 1942 to 1943) while assigned to the 2nd Platoon. His photos are really wonderful examples of daily life for the marines and Naval personel who occupied Palmyra. We see sporting activities, daily work, and a truly candid portrait of their time there.

We're very grateful to the Nature Conservancy and 1st Lt. Bustard's son, John N. Bustard, for donating these photos to the archive.

Photo Index:
01: (right) Mike Hogan’s and later Phil Freeman’s shack, with the Colonal’s pride and joy: that palm tree crawling along the ground.
02: Photo of entire platoon: “The best outfit on the island, the second platoon.” (Marines)
03: Jim and corny with a couple of Japanese love birds.
04: Corny holding a booby. Two other marine pointing guns.: tough chaps those marines.
05: Corny Smith holding one of those coconut trees.
06: Jack, Clancy, Jim, I, Corny, and Mike pose for this one.
07: “Day of the big game, had to get together for a celebration. Phil, myself, Van Riper and Clancy. I’m using a stethoscope to help bring the reception in a little better. It worked.”
08: Phil and I, Van riper, trying to give Clancy a hand in getting some coconuts.
09: A little volleyball down at the first platoon.
10: The troops enjoy a swim after a long hike.
11: a group of us on one of the islands. This particular one had probably more dense foliage than any of the others.
12: The third hut (men seated outside the hut in two row).
13: The two staffs “troop the line” at a presentation of a Navy Cross to Capt. Merrill for his work in the battle of Midway: Marine Captain who was shot down in flames during the battle but who recovered, only to be killed about two weeks after he was given the cross. .
14: At the ceremony , there were 4 marine companies, one Navy company and the band.
15: Our boxing team from the second platoon.
16: The basketball team from the second platoon.
17: Sgt. Polk and Sgt. Morby having a brew outside of their quarters, the NCO quarters.
18: Other basketball players
19: Jack Little giving himself a shave in the homemade washroom.
20: Second platoon marching along the causeway in a platoon column.
21: The first hut (men standing in cut down trees in the jungle). Photo taken on Christmas morning.
22: Left, one of my boys, Ken Sona, seen winning the light heavyweight championship of the island, KOing two boys and one on a decision. Red Cochran, welterweight champ on the world and now in the Navy, was the ref and is shown raising his hand.
23: Mail call, with Sgt Meade doing the honors.
24: Filling sand bags, which we did plenty in our 10 months.
25: I am holding school for the men on the volleyball court.
26: Sgt Morby and Srt Polk draw water from the lyster bag just outside the second hut. Note homemade chair in the foreground.
27: Rain catch
28: “Quarters for the men on one of the islands, the hut slept 8 men and was made out of scrap lumber and what we could steal off the Navy.”
29: Our shower, the best on the island, fresh water all the time.
30: Police call (sweeping up) every morning before chow.


John W. Bustard


Nature Conservancy




Public Domain



John W. Bustard, “John W. Bustard Collection,” Palmyra Archive, accessed August 11, 2020,