July 31, 1942 (Friday)

Johnston Island

Got here about ten minutes ahead of Jackson this morning. McKenzie’s navigator navigating hit it right on the head.

Same type island as Midway (only smaller) — two islands of coral sand and a surrounding reef of coral. The main runway is a beauty — made of crushed coral, which is as firm as very thick cement.

The morale among the Marines here seems low. They have been here nine months, previously which they spent 11 months at Midway! No wonder they’re blue. A number have gone insane and have been shipped back to the states.

The air defenses of Johnston consist of one battered old J2F Duck. The rest of the defenses aren’t much better. This island would be a pushover for any small Jap force. At times I can’t understand the Navy.

Went swimming this afternoon with Rhodes, out over the coral reef. We both got well cut up on the razor-sharp coral, especially Rhodes, who had at least 20 cuts on him when we finally got in. He looked like he just finished a duel. We went down to the doctor to haveourselves patched up, as coral cuts are extremely infectious. Learned that iodine is the worst thing for coral cuts, is any remaining bits of coral feed on the iodine and the infection grows worse — strange. The dispensary is completely underground and quite modern.

They are blasting continuously here and the resultant upheavals of coral, water, and sand, are terrific.

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