[As always, Tuttle took time to sit down with the low ranking servicemen who make everything work.]
Over lunch I talked to some of the technicians based here. They work in different units, each of which has a job to do that changes as each base evolves. The Navy has got base building itself down to an art form, after lots of practice. Building an airfield, operating an airfield, operating planes out of the airfield, and doing heavy maintenance are jobs of different units. They each move into a new area in that order, just as some of the people and gear from the previous units are moving on to the next raw island.
Warrant Officer Lloyd Daniel, of Livingston, Montana, ran a team of earthmovers as the Seabees were expanding the small air strip the Japanese had here before. That airstrip is now almost twice as long as it was, and it has new brothers. His bulldozers are somewhere in the Philippines now, and most of his team is right behind them. He expects to fly out after finishing paperwork here.
Herman Davis, from Bowling Green, Florida, is an electrician’s mate with the unit that actually runs the base. They take over from the Seabees, and “make it civilized,” as he says. Sitting next to him is aviation ordnanceman Tom Close, of Pensacola, Florida. Tom works on guns and bomb racks, and often runs parts for the heavy maintenance guys.
I found these guys from different units sitting together not because of their common professional interests, but because of baseball. They are the core of the infield for the base team, and they’re worried about what to do for a shortstop once Mr. Daniel leaves. I’m sure they’ll do fine, but they’re from a relatively small base. The other bases each have a top notch squad, as does each combat division in the Marianas. They have a competitive league going, and big games coming up.
I asked the guys about other topics of interest, like the British election and the big conference at Potsdam, Germany. I couldn’t get a stated opinion on any of it, though they get regular world news here. They are much less concerned about how Prime Minister Clement Attlee will get along with President Truman than the number of combat aircraft they can help get in the air over Japan. They will debate the Potsdam proceedings only after the Japanese throw their own guns into the sea and give up.