National Geographic : 1945 Apr
South from Saipan Staff Plotographer W. RIobert Moore A Chamorro Chief Inspects His Police Force at Saipan Helpful and friendly to the Americans, these native islanders maintain order within the civilian camp. Identifying red shoulder patches bear a white pillar, representing the stone columns of ancient Chamorros (page 446 and Plate XVI). "It is our symbol of strength," explained the chief. The Japanese camp also has its police force. "The boys are now trying to cut other shells to the right length to provide us with a set of chimes," he added, as we sat on the shell case seats in the chapel. "Notice also our picture window. It's a genuine inspiration." The tent had been set so that the opened flaps behind the altar afforded a magnificent view of the blue sweep of Magicienne Bay. When the men and transport get pulled from the mud and grime, Saipan will again assume some of its natural attractiveness. Geographically, the island possesses many striking aspects-its red and green fields backed by high hills, the deep scallop of Magi cienne Bay, and the uptilted plateau lands at Marpi Point with sides shorn into precipitous coastal cliffs. By Air and "Taxi" to Tinian Island From Saipan I hopped over to Tinian. In fact, I went back and forth several times, for here is one of the world's shortest air rides. I have clocked it at three and one-half minutes from the moment the plane wheels left one airfield until they touched the other! When U. S. forces launched the assault against the island on July 24, they set up artil lery on Saipan to soften Tinian's northern de fenses in the region of the airfield. Then they struck the less strongly held beaches near by and swept southward over the island. On my first trip over to Tinian, however, I went by "Tinian taxi." Such is the delight ful name "commuters" have given to the LCI * which makes the sea run all the way down to Tinian Town (Sunharon). We rolled through rain squalls to the tune of Strauss waltzes playing on an auto radio the crew had hooked up to a storage battery on deck. The broadcast was coming from the American Expeditionary Station on Saipan. Tinian's rain-washed cane fields seemed even more vivid than those of Saipan. At least they are more uniform because of the relative flatness of the island. Except for the stair-stepped cliff elevations and a few forested areas, the whole island was virtually one large cane field, separated into systematic rectangles by highways and secondary roads. As you near Tinian Town, the dominant * See "Landing Craft for Invasion," by Melville Bell Grosvenor, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, July, 1944.