National Geographic : 1944 Jan
At Ease in the South Seas U. s. Arlly lgnal tOrps "That's Where the Tall Corn Grows!"-New Caledonia An American captain, together with the French owner of the plantation, inspects corn on the cob to be served at Army messes. To conserve cargo space, the armed forces have fostered garden crops in the South Pacific. but the maximum for a stick without inlay is only one dollar. Avoiding the complexities of the OPA schedules, the price of fish reads, simply, "1 pound-5 cents." New business springs up on these isolated spots to meet new demands. On Espiritu Santo a little Tonkinese woman brought by the French from Indochina as indentured la bor has learned the knack of making dough nuts and does a land-office business with passing jeeps and carryalls. Heroes of Hygiene Advertising, too, has been affected. Cracked signs reading "coiffeur" are displaced by freshly painted boards lettered in red and white-"Barber Shop." Australian papers carry ads for "jitterbug contests," and one or two small restaurants I saw sought to prove their Americanization with window cards read ing, "Water served with meals." Much has been heard of the health hazards of service in these areas. Milne Bay, Guadal- canal, and other familiar names have long been known as centers of tropical disease. Yet when the full story of the South Pacific war is told the achievements of American medical officers in reducing malaria to insignificance where combat has ceased, will match the ac complishments of Walter Reed's generation in lands closer to home. Credit for the success goes also to the in dividual soldier, sailor, or Marine, who has exercised cooperation and intelligence day and night in fighting disease. Certainly, there is a full measure of "blood, sweat, and tears" in the South Pacific. Many think we are beginning there our hardest fight against our toughest enemy. Yet the Ameri cans stationed along this island-studded battle line, the boys named Smith and Jones, from right next door, are not wasting their lives away. Rather their health is generally better than before. They'll come home better in formed and more nearly self-sufficient men by having pioneered this life for themselves.