May 24, 1943 (Monday)

“Button,” Espiritu Santo

Some bogies over last night. They dropped bombs all around the Curtiss but didn’t do any damage. That’s a pretty long haul from the Solomons and I have to hand it to them. 

Stack Glanz had a friend of his, the chief engineer of the SS Elko Planter, up for the evening. Some of his statements amazed me. His base salary was almost $400 per month. For being in the Pacific war zone (Lat. — to Lat. — , Long. — to Long. —) he received 100% bonus on his salary. For coming into a port that has at some previous time undergone attack, he gets another bonus. Plus a few more odds and ends, he makes over $1100 per month! — Plus, $125 for every man aboard when they’re present in a harbor that undergoes attack! So, last night harmless little attack netted each of them $125. Ships lying off Guadalcanal get the bonus for each and every Jap raid, which sometimes run as high as one a day and two or three per night! Now the most ironical fact of all is that aboard all these merchant ships are Navy gun crews, the members of which make the regular monthly seaman salary of between $50 and $100 per month. The ship lie out here for as much is two or three months at a time, while these merchant seamen draw these phenomenal salaries. Seems horribly unfair that the fighting men should draw such comparatively low salaries for taking 99% of the risks. Of course I will admit that the Atlantic run is a bit rougher, but this run out here is a pushover.

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