Bruce Jacobs - About Canton Island
Just a word to introduce myself to The Canton Group. Through the good fortune of finding Harold Mendelson’s article “Canton Memories” on Dr. Jane Resture’s website I finally indulged a long-standing fantasy of revisiting Canton Island by means of getting in contact with others who had been there. After 42 years of military service (starting in 1943) I have never really come across anyone who knew anything about the brief moment in history which was Canton Island for a number of us who served in WWII.
(It really took Jane Resture’s website to remind me that Canton/Kiribati was also in the thoughts of many folks who (1) had no military association with the island’s past, and (2) actually had much deeper connections than most of us who knew the Phoenix island group only because of our military service).
To paraphrase Dick Schmal most of my “hits” in looking for references to Canton usually resulted in weather data and other statistical data. I was extremely satisfied with Harold’s article because this put me directly in contact with someone who actually reached Canton with Task Force Holly in February, 1942. This TF included several rifle companies of the regiment with which I would later serve; the regiment left detachments at Fanning and Christmas islands. The bulk of the regiment went to Bora Bora, poor fellows.
My tenure on Canton was brief – June 1944 through January 1945 – although it didn’t seem so brief at the time. I subsequently served in the Marianas, Iwo Jima and Okinawa before WWII ended. There is a lot I hope to fill in with respect to Canton’s history and its probably not surprising that I am especially interested in the wartime years. Most of my military service after WWII was in the armor branch. My “second track” specialty was military history. My grad degree is in diplomatic history (Georgetown 1975). I served until March 1, 1985, retiring as a major general, USA, on my 60th birthday.
Harold was kind enough to add my name to The Canton Group. This is a “test message” to make certain I have correct email addresses. I have heard from several of you already and am most appreciative. Having made this “connection” I have been inspired to look for my “Canton Island papers” and related items. I hope to be hearing from you all as time goes by and I hope to offer some of my own recollections which – I must caution you -- will probably reflect all the wisdom and perception appropriate to a 19-year old corporal all puffed up with his own importance. Cheers.
Bruce Jacobs, Alexandria, VA
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E-mail: email@example.com - 8th February 2005