Editor’s Note: As part of our year-long celebration of our 100th Year Anniversary (1922-2022), we’ll post a Throwback Thursday edition of our Alleghany Rattler Newspaper to give you a peek into life at camp across those 100 summers!
In this piece we see a real piece of the larger history — that war touched camp when beloved workers were away in the fight.
Alleghany Welcomes Arnold Home After 18 Months Absence
Returns From Active Duty in Pacific For 30-Day Leave
Sunday morning, August 1, late breakfasters saw the long-awaited procession coming up the hill — first was Mae, all dressed up for the occasion; then Reggie Don, wearing a newly acquired pith helmet; then a familiar, and yet unfamiliar figure in a blue sailor suit — Arnold! Yes, Arnold was home at last, and tables were soon emptied as campers and counselors rushed to the cottage to welcome First-class Petty Officer Hudgins home from the wars.
Arnold has been to far lands since we saw him last — eighteen months ago— for eight months he was in the Pacific, with the New Hebrides as his home base, building steel huts his job, and the Japanese his objective. In April, when a truck in which he was riding crashed into a coconut tree and his leg was crushed, Arnold was put in the hospital. After several moves he was finally, on a few hours’ notice, shipped to the Naval Hospital in Oakland, California, where he stayed until July 28 when he boarded the train for Alleghany and home. Those weeks in the hospital when he could not walk properly weren’t much fun, and we’ll bet Arnold won’t ever be very fond of coconuts!
Even before he reached the islands Arnold met action in the form of a Japanese torpedo. Fortunately the torpedo missed his ship and scooted harmlessly by. P. S. — they sank the submarine!
Unfortunately the Navy did not have Arnold’s help during the Battle of Guadalcanal— if our “Alleghany Arnold” had been there, the battle’s tide might have turned sooner our way—but after the battle he was there doing repair work. Brought to the exhausted little island by transport plane, Arnold remained there some time repairing refrigerator units and a multitude of other things.
Arnold joined the Navy in the First World War when he was seventeen, signing up for four years. He served as a torpedoman on a U.S. submarine. Since when the bombs starting dropping on Pearl Harbor, Arnold was over the age limit for submarine duty unless he went back to the bottom of the ladder, he became a member of the “SEABEES,” or Construction Battalion to serve the country in his natural line of building a repair work.
And speaking of building, a fox hole was Arnold’s chief habitat for a long time. Knowing Arnold we can imagine that the Hudgins foxhole was a plenty substantial one with all — well, nearly all— the comforts of home.
A foxhole, says Arnold, offers complete protection against bombs unless there is a direct hit— for this reason bombings are not nearly as dangerous or as fearsome as the shellings, which scattered shell fragments into every nook and cranny.
Outdoor movies were one of the more pleasant features of the camp— it seems the latest releases here reach the Far East islands long before they do Lewisburg or anywhere else in America. However, one can’t expect the Japanese to consider the U.S. Navy’s pleasure, and the enemy is a likely to drop bombs during a movie as any time.
When the alarm sounds that planes are overhead, says Arnold, the men sit in their seats. After all, they figure the planes might be headed for the some other island anyway! So it was never until the eggs started exploding around them that Arnold, who was in charge of the power plants, ran as fast as he could to put out the lights.
Anyhow, why worry about Japanese bombings? We are to understand that any Japanese bomber, if he were aiming for Oregon, would be doing unusually well if he hit Washington!
We will have Arnold with us until August 26, when he is to report to the Naval Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland, for a physical check-up— best luck, Arnold!
And after the war? “After the war,” vows Arnold, “I’m going to get me a jeep to go huntin’ in!”