The Memoirs of Armand Charest Part II

Chapter 9

D-Day Plus One…

Map drawn by Armand Charest of the Biak Island Engagement

The second day is uneventful. Early in the morning E Co. leads the advance followed by G and F, with the heavy Weapons Company H dispersed among the three line outfits. It is a great day for a hike. The sky is cloudless and the air fresh due to an onshore breeze. A navy destroyer covers our left flank. It moves along slowly, in a zigzagging manner. We can see the lookouts keeping an eye on us. We are thankful for the support. The invasion is turning into a picnic.

The only problem is the lack of drinking water. But that is soon rectified as the engineers find abandoned wells that they restore to working order.

The National Guard veterans, who have been in the South Pacific area a long time, do not share our joviality. I remember First Sergeant Jim Duncan advising us to be cautious and not to take things so casually. We pay little attention; we should have because the next day”s events prove him to be correct.

The scouts move along at a rapid pace; they report no enemy activity. We become complacent and careless. We bed down for the night on a section of beach reminiscent of the movie scenes where the boy and girl discuss their future under a full moon with an ebb tide for company. The only problem arises from relentless attacks of gigantic army ants as they fed on us the whole night. So it is with relief that we assemble the next morning and leave the field to our tormentors.

Websites About Present Day Biak Island:

 A database of photographs, descriptions and locations of WWII wreckage remaining on Biak Island, Irian Jaya, Indonesia.

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