National Geographic : 1945 Jan
The National Geographic Magazine Gay and Fearless Is the Fijian Jungle Fighter Pvt. John Seduadua, like most of his companions, has served in the Army since Britain declared war on Germany. When he goes on patrol in the "bush," his helmet will stay behind because it makes too much noise against vines and branches in the jungle. Ferns will hide his soft olive-drab cap (Plate VIII). around the village breadfruit tree. Not one Fijian was wounded. The ambush was perfect. Back at Ibu the next day there was great excitement. Word sped in from lookouts that planes were low over the mountains, coming in fast. I dived for the jungle. Food Floats Down from the Heavens Looking back over my shoulder, I saw Fi jians crowding into the clearing. Instead of dodging bombs, they were hiding their weapons under trees, then running into the open. With heads thrown back they watched the sky. In a tornado of sound, a giant shadow swept over the treetops. Suddenly overhead long cylinders shot into the air. Parachutes ex- the dust and ferns. the victor; he hadn't Sometimes a chute ploded in bursts of brilliant colors. Tum bling cylinders jerked back to swing down into the clearing with loud crashes (Plate I). Another SCAT plane swooped in above the clearing, spilling more 300-pound para-packs. Each cylinder bulged with supplies-am munition, grenades, flares, surgical dress ings, field rations everything needed in jungle fighting. All supplies for the Fijians reached them by air; none came in overland. To the Fijians it was a fascinating game. Thev'd stand trans fixed watching the cyl inders tumbling down. Just as the skull-crush ing loads clipped their caps, they'd corkscrew to the side without get ting squashed. It was great entertainment perhaps more danger ous than fighting Japs! I saw two argue priorities on a drop, neither man giving way an inch. One even ignored the falling cyl inder, nonchalantly rolling a cigarette. As the heavy pack hit the ground, two blue pos teriors disappeared in Wild applause greeted even spilled his tobacco. failed to open. Its cyl- inder shot down like a bomb, at a hundred miles an hour, smashing everything in its path. Only the mission's sheet-iron roof prevented demolition by the silk-tailed meteors. Pilots took great pains to drop the chutes into the canyonlike clearing, because if they fell in the jungle they were impossible to re trieve. One parachute caught in a giant tree in the clearing and had to be shot down be cause tree ants made climbing "too hot"! We were anxious to get it down, too, because its canary-yellow canopy might be visible from Numa Numa and stir up the Japs.