OUR TENT ON TINIAN
By Richard Knodel
The one amusing thing I remember on Tinian was you could do anything to upgrade your tent but you had to procure the materials to do so. We managed to build a whole wooden structure inside our tent, with a place at one end for a table and benches. You have to understand that in order to do this we had to steal 2x4ís, Masonite board and we also took mosquito netting for our ceiling, (we had very few bugs, etc., because of the winds I believe). We also made beds out of 2x4ís. We made a frame from them, then we cut up rubber inner tubes to stretch across our 2x4ís and wove them together, and then we put insulation on top of this for a mattress. The less ambitious troops slept on GI issued folding cots, with just a piece of canvas under them.
As I read what Iím writing I shake me head in disbelief, when I think of stealing supplies from the US Government. Iíd never do that today, but we were young kids, far from home and had enough guts to think we could improve on Uncle Samís ideas.
You have to realize there were no lights in any of these tents either. When it got dark you went to bed to sleep, we had ideas about that too. So one of our crew who did electrical work back in the States, tapped into the headquarters powerline and ran it into our tent. Of course this meant "finding" quite a length of wire. We had electric lights for about a week until they caught us and turned off our source of power. Boy, we sure were stupid to think we could get away with this electricity caper. Can you picture a huge area with hundreds of tents and as soon as it got dark, nothing could be seen in the whole area but our tent lit up like a beacon. Well, even though we lost our lights, no one said anything about our tent's wooden interior. I also might add, with a little pride, that when we got our first tropical storm (Typhoon), our tent was the only one that stood up completely throughout the storm.