National Geographic : 1944 Jan
At Ease in the South Seas U. S. Army Signal Corps In New Caledonia the Army Finds Willing, Intelligent Helpers Taking orders from a private, the tractor driver is typical of fine physical specimens who have helped build our installations. In contrast to his mechanical aptitude, his fuzzy hair is stained red in primitive style. New Caledonian, his fuzzy, red-dyed hair cut in GI style. And discarded khaki, despite all orders to the contrary, gradually becomes the standard garment for natives living near the Army camps. Threadbare, salvaged overseas caps perch jauntily on many a bushy and pomaded head in these regions. Not all the contacts of the American boy in the South Pacific are with the semicivilized. Wherever whites are settled, the American has met ready welcome. The warmth of the reception given Ameri cans in New Zealand, Australia, New Cale donia, and Fiji can never be reported ade quately. Go to a Brisbane racetrack on a day when the Australian government permits such pleas ures, and your American uniform passes you free through to the rail. Look up the marriage notices of any paper published in these lands, and it is likely you'll find American soldiers are winning more than their share of girls. And, unusual in war, even the Allied troops get along well together. Good-natured jeer ing is frequent. Americans popularly refer to their allies of any nation as "aliens." But a profound re spect for the Australian and New Zealand fighting man is expressed by every American who has served with them. And for those who know its extent there is equal appreciation for the reverse Lend-Lease benefits whereby American forces are fed and partially equipped at a sacrifice of personal comfort by every civilian "down under." * Silver Coins Go into Bracelets Wherever troops go, their purchasing power and foreign tastes create problems for busi nessmen and governments. In Fiji, as example, many Hindus, first im ported as labor, have long since become small * See "Lend-Lease is a Two-way Benefit," by Francis Flood, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, June, 1943.