National Geographic : 1942 Jun
Americans in the Caribbean Curious Antiguans Stare at Ship-weary "Joes" from the North Americans and islanders in West Indian bases call each other "Joe"-why, the author never discovered. Because deep-draft ships cannot come alongside in Antigua, these soldiers of the first troop contingent to land at St. John's have been lightered ashore. Here a soldier strums a guitar as the men await trans port to camp (pages 725 and 739). "That twin-hilled island off the coast is Pigeon Island," the lieutenant said. "From the peak of the higher hill Rodney watched for French ships in the days when England harassed France in the Caribbean." The island resembles a couched lion look ing toward Martinique, 21 miles away. Constantly while visiting the islands I was struck by the way history is repeating itself in making these strongholds of 18th-century sea might come back to military life. From the Army base I went one morning to see the sulphur pits and fumaroles of Soufriere. In a hollow formed by scarified hills the malodorous vapors of brimstone rise, and jets of steam roar like the opened safety valve of some giant locomotive. The boiling and hissing of the little valley reminded me on a miniature scale of the great crater of Popo catepetl in Mexico. The evil-smelling vapors contained enough corrosive elements to tarnish the shoulder bars of the lieutenant who accompanied me, and to turn a glaucous green and purple the "gold" wrist watch I wore. A few days later I flew southward in a bomber again, this time to Trinidad. The big island is only nine miles from the mainland of -South America. The B-18 bomber in which I rode landed at an Aerodrome which serves as a flying field for the Fleet Air Arm of the British Navy, the Trinidad Air Training Scheme, and civil airlines. When I landed, American fighting airplanes were also stationed there. Later, these were shifted to another field, a few miles away. This field has been quickly cleared from the matted jungle with the aid of mechanical equipment. Not far from the aerodrome is H. M. S.