by Wil Biddy
NOUMEA is a personal account of an ordinary seaman aboard a US Navy
troop transport, the U. S. S. President Hayes-APA20 during the Second World
War. The Hayes, along with sister ships USS President Jackson and USS President
Adams, and the USS Crescent City, convoyed together in the South Pacific
throughout the war. Author served 19 months on the President Hayes while
the vessel transported Marines and supplies between Noumea, New Caledonia
and Japanese occupied islands. Beachhead landings during that time included
Empress Augusta Bay in the Solomons, Guam in the Marianas, to as far north
as Leyte, Philippines. Much like a diary, NOUMEA covers the drudgery of
a sailor's life, and periodic invasions--landing US Marines on remote islands
occupied by fierce Japanese infantry jungle fighters. The reader is in
the landing craft loaded with Marines, and lives the moments 'til the invasion
troops are on the beach.
Only twice during the nineteen months were officers and crew of the
President Hayes treated to short term visits to New Zealand, there to be
met with genuine friendliness by a wonderful nation of people. The book
is a first hand tour of duty during the South Pacific campaign. The author
penned a second book, titled Silber's Diary, being a purely fiction novel
which premise is based on an actual event that occurred aboard the Hayes.
About the Author
Enlisted US Navy mid-1943, served aboard USS President Hayes, APA20,
attack troop transport.