Thursday, July 10, 2003

We reached our destination, an island known as X-2, during the night and stood off it until morning. DeAngelis was carried ashore to an emergency field hospital, but I insisted on walking. Still the iron man, I suppose. Or maybe I wanted to show off my whiskers. Marines, who manned the place, walked all the way beside me, ready to catch me if I should topple.

An official photographer, about 10 feet ahead of me, walked backward most of the way to the hospital, snapping photos every few steps. And speaking of steps, they all were sure I would have to be helped up the two or three at the hospital. Helping hands were extended, but I got up all right and was on my feet when I saw my former fellow travelers.

Just a few words about that hospital. It hand't existed four days perviously. When news was received that Bill Cherry's raft had been sighted, Col. Lloyd Leech, veteran marine commandant ofX-2, summoned the naval Sea Bees (CBs - construction battalion) and put them to work.

In 24 hours they had erected this fine little building with concrete decks, screens all around, and a corrugated iron roof overhead. These things usually are built after airfields and gun emplacements are in. but when they are needed, bang! they're there. That's the way our people do things in the Pacific.

In the outer room of the hospital I found Jimmy Bartek, still looking pretty wan. I guess the sea water he drank was a little too much - coming on top of his other troubles.

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