Coconut Circuit

Dublin Core

Title

Coconut Circuit

Description

In May of 1943, a group of high ranking military officers embarked on an inspection tour of the Pacific Naval bases, many of which had recently finished major construction projects and were becoming fully operational in the Pacific Theater.

This document outlines the officers, the locations visited, and what they concluded in their reports. It is unique in that in tries to capture not just the physical condition of the islands, but the morale and condition of the men as well.

Palmyra is mentioned in several sections, which are transcribed below, but some of the highlights include the presence of service dogs, who have been so spoiled by the Marines they're good for little more than pets, and the below account of the content of the Officer's quarters:

"...on display in these quarters is the most glorified pin-up girl to be found in the entire South Pacific. An original Esquire model has been blown up to about fifty times its original size and now occupies one whole end of the room, truly an inspiration to all fliers in that area!"

Creator

General William P. Upshur

Source

Virginia Military Institute Archives

Date

1943-05

Rights

Fair Use

Language

English

Text Item Type Metadata

Text

PERSONALITIES OF THE PACIFIC
CAPTAIN R. N. HUNTER
One of the most active and intelligent Naval officers we met was Captain R. N. Hunter who is in command at Palmyra.

It is suggested that anyone visiting this island should be sure and inspect the Officers' Mess of the Aviation wing, for on display in these quarters is the most glorified pin-up girl to be found in the entire South Pacific. An original Esquire model has been blown up to about fifty times its original size and now occupies one whole end of the room, truly an inspiration to all fliers in that area!

FIRST DEFENSE BATTALION, FLEET MARINE FORCE, PALMYRA ISLAND, T. H.
DATE OF INSPECTION - 23 - 24 May 1943
COMMANDING OFFICER OF MARINES - Lieutenant Colonel John Griebel
NAVAL OFFICER IN COMMAND - Captain R. N. Hunter

Some new buildings are under construction here, including BOQ and a “Hotel”. The latter is certainly needed since this is the stopping off place for visiting firemen via air from Pearl to the South Pacific.

There is a great lack of nissen huts and many of the dugouts and shacks being used are poorly ventilated and not fit for dogs. Incidentally there are plenty of the latter here for the purpose of "warning" and "watching". Most of them are not worth shooting, having forgotten their training and being spoiled by the men who have made pets out of them.
New batteries are being installed. Guns in most of the islands are well camouflaged; others are not. There is little excuse for the latter condition since there is an over-abundance of dense shrubbery and many palm trees.
Some of the guns were equipped with cooling troughs for the barrels--found only on Palmyra. The communication wiring was neater here than at Johnson or Midway
Smartest unit inspected was that of a tank platoon in charge of Lt. McLoskey on Quail Island. His men seemed well-trained and ready for battle. Their quarters were well camouflaged and of the best type.

Laundry for officers and men is free and service is good.
The best company as a whole is the 21st Provisional, well-housed, well-camouflaged and well commanded on Eastern Island.
“Charlie” Battery on Portsmouth Point was also well camouflaged with movable plants around the big guns which can be taken away on short notice and after firing, put back again.
Aviation has a splendid physical set-up, although at the moment, there is a woleful lack of fighting planes.
The Commanding Officer of the Marines has a terrible, old broken-down station wagon resembling a hearse. He could certainly stand a new car.
At least one gunnery problem is given each week. The General was treated to a night problem in which the potency of the 40mm was much in evidence. There is no question but that the Marines here, like those on Johnson and Midway are in a position to give a good account of themselves. They are stationed, one might say, on “unsinkable carriers” around the Coconut Circuit.

IN THE MATTER OF MORALE
PALMYRA

Men enjoy keeping their own sections in a neat condition. They are constantly improving them. "Pin-ups" are most prevalent. Men like to gather coral shells, which are very pretty.

They are well supplied with radios, books, magazines and games. Athletic equipment is good. Some free cigarettes have come through. More will be sent.

Collection

Citation

General William P. Upshur, “Coconut Circuit,” Palmyra Archive, accessed March 31, 2020, http://palmyraarchive.org/items/show/262.