National Geographic : 1953 Oct
567 lmnailin L. Marco Night Hecklers, Landing on Kearsarge, Weave Light Trails Like Erratic Tracer Bullets To an observer on the carrier's island structure, jets coming in at night suggest red- and green-eyed monsters that hang motionless in the sky and then lunge threateningly forward. Filmed by time exposure, the planes record tangled light trails that tell many things to the initiated. Diagonal line in upper right reveals a plane that came in too high and was waved off by the LSO (page 559). Plane at extreme left made a wobbly approach, landed too far to starboard, and almost went into the catwalk. Confused by this near mishap, the pilot forgot to cut his lights, which continued to trace a path as the wings folded up and the plane taxied to the right. Other lines show planes approaching the carrier correctly, turning and jockeying to get in the groove, and bouncing to an abrupt stop. White dots in the distance are running lights of guardian destroyers. cepts each month. It is hazardous duty. Fre quently challenged by ships, they have also occasionally drawn fire from batteries on is lands off the coast. During one night when photographer Roberts flew with the patrol the strong searchlights of his plane were turned on 12 vessels. At the Naval Air Facility ashore, Oki nawans are trained to help Americans main tain planes and ships. Like Koreans, who become good tank mechanics though they have never driven a car, Okinawans make good re pairmen. The trouble is, once they've learned, they depart to reap a cab driver's fortune from the pedestrian GI's on the island. Much remains to give hot, dusty Okinawa the pleasures of a Coronado, but service fami lies can now buy local meats and vegetables with confidence, golf on the nine-hole sand green course, dance at American-style serv ice clubs, or make their own fun spear fishing with Aqualungs off Naha's coral reefs. The best steaks west of Chicago are said to be served at the Merchant Marine Club near Naha's busy harbor, and the little Okinawan lobster is a delicacy. Island Fortress of Formosa Farther southwest, on mountainous For mosa, most heads are turned toward the main land of China.* To Chiang Kai-shek's fine army, navy, and air force, the mainland is the goal toward which all sacrifice and train ing are directed. To many of the 2,000,000 Chinese refugees who arrived on Formosa, the mainland is where wives and children are. To our Military Assistance Advisory Group on Formosa, under Maj. Gen. W. C. Chase, mainland China is the springboard for a pos sible attack which we are pledged to repel. And to the staff of our Embassy and old * See "Formosa-Hot Spot of the East," by Fred erick G. Vosburgh, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, February, 1950.