THE NOEMFOOR SUBWAY
_________________
Louis G. Aiken, Sr.

 

 HOW Mac Rode His Subway From Noemfoor, Dutch Indies

to San Francisco, California

 

 

After the Noemfoor operation was completed the various units were assigned company areas , etc. Tents were erected, company streets laid out and so on. So I guess we we were in a semi-garrison set up. The year was 1944, September or early October.

 The C.O. during the operation was Capt. Chester Smith and he would remain C.O. until he was WIA during the Mindoro operation.

 I guess it was about 9 or 10 AM one hot morning that I decided to walk up to the orderly (room) to check the bulletin board, or whatever. Our company street was prob­ably 300 ft more or less in length with tents erected on both sides facing each other.

I was squad leader of the 2nd squad, 2nd platoon and T/Sgt Wesley Rice was the platoon sergeant. On my way up to the orderly room I had to pass in front of Sgt. Rice's tent; however before I reached the sergeant's tent I saw a young soldier, who will be called Mac, exit from from the tent. Mac continued on up toward the orderly room. Just before I reached the sergeant's tent,  Rice also emerged from his tent into the company street and is watching Mac as he walked away.

I could see the sergeant was shaking his head and chuckling to himself as if he was slightly puzzled about something. He turns to go back into his tent and spies me, he stops and says, "Come here, Aikien. You ain't gonna believe what Mac just told me, that boy has done lost his marbles."

 
NOEMFOOR QUARTERS  -  This view of the "street" where  Battery "B" of the 462d Parachute Field Artillery Battalion resided during October 1942

 

Sgt Rice explained that Mac walked into his tent and unfolded a rough sketch of a proposed underground subway running the entire length of "B" Co's street. He then explained to Sgt Rice that the troops could ride up to the orderly room during rainy weather, plus they would not have to walk on the hard coral surface of which Noemfoor was composed. Mac further suggested that Sgt. Rice bring this matter to the CO's attention for his consideration and comments on the proposed project.

Just what Sgt Rice did about the situation at that particular time I do not remember. However, we both agreed that Mac was either coming loose at the seams, or that he was just having a bit of fun at the expense of Sgt. Rice.

Actually to the best of my memory nothing much else was ever said about the matter while we were still on Noemfoor awaiting our next assignment, which was to be a move to Leyte, P.I. in late 1944.

We arrived on Leyte where, I guess , we could be considered at that point as being held in reserves just in case we are needed.

Somewhere between the proposed subway on Noemfoor and our arrival on Leyte I end up with Mac in my squad.

Somewhat later word comes down that we are to prepare for the Mindoro operation and, of course, we get prepared. Then comes the day we are to load on an APD (Assault Personnel Destroyer) for the trip to Mindoro, or whereever we are supposed to land.

I decided to check the squad one last time, to see that each man has the necessary equip, ammo, rations, etc.  I assign this task to Charlie Boyes from Mobile, Alabama. He makes the rounds checking the squad and then comes back to me, shaking his head and grinning. I said "What's the matter, Charlie?"

He said "It's Mac - you know what that crazy bastard said to me when I asked him where his entrenching tool was? 

I said, "I have no idea."

Charlie tells me that when he checked Mac that his entrenching tool is missing and when he asked Mac why he didn't have an entrenching tool, that Mac looked at him and said, "Who the hell needs an entrenching tool on the steel deck of a destroyer, you certainly don't think I can dig in on that thing, do you?" CLICK TO TURN PAGE