Crime and Punishment in the 93rd
It was a wire cage, open on all sides to the tropical rain, mud, heat, and insects and .   Its iand exposed 24 hour a day to passers-by.

Being confined on a tiny equatorial island for a couple of years in the prime of your life would seem punishment enough for being a healthy male in 1943.  Boys will be boys, and stories of pilferage, procurement, diversion, and just plain looting abound in Bob's diary.  But in all fairness, it was to the Seabees that PT and other outfits turned when their full rations of fuel and other supplies ran short.  Moreover, the Bees could do more with less - repairing, mending, innovating - than anyone else.

 How would you ad to the sentence of exile, privation, and humiliation that were the daily lot of enlisted men.  Stripping of rank (if any), pay (already meager) and - the brig.  Mr. Widget (not his real name) of the 93rd claims intimate knowledge of the brig where he spent three weeks imprisoned for "dissing" an officer. 

Officers liquor, stills, Marines, drinking fighting, attacking women, derelection of duty

This was a major offense; Bob Conner reported that "Widdowson has been broken down from 1st class to 2nd class for expressing his opinion about chiefs going to the head of the chow line.  All of the fellows are really mad about it (presumably both the chiefs' preferential treatment and Widdowsons' unpreferential treatment)."


The brig was a wire cage, open to the elements (and wildlife), erected in the middle of the (units space??)  Its inmates were thus subject to teasing, ridicule, lack of privacy.  They were fed bread and water.  To use the head, they had to summon a guard and be escorted some distance to the facility.  The frequent downpours would have created a soggy, muddy, parasite-ridden environment.


It would surely have been almost as painful for their comrades and Bob Conner notes that "Two fellows were caught last night trying to get some food into the brig to the two boys in there on twenty days of bread and water."


After a supply drop by David Freiderich on the Cassiopaeia, even Bob Conner was disgusted, "The looting that goes on with the cargo is really terrible."  By the time he had discovered guards rooting through the supplies and surprised a couple of "fishermen" bogged down in the mud, he conceded that "procuremnt is in the 93rd's blood” and acknowledged that they were known as “Commander Lynn and his 1000 thieves."

 A world where officers enjoyed meat, liquor, fine china, femine companionship, and steinway pianos, and imprisoned enlisted men for rudeness, while enlisted men were served gravy and even forbidden to own chickens, could hardly be anything but a lab for trouble.

"Very little has happened since I wrote you last night other than the fact that I learned today that I am to be a witness in a summary court martial to be held Monday afternoon.  It involves the theft of a washing machine from the dump.  I know very little about the case and can do no more than verify that there was a theft.  It was supposed to have been stolen and swapped for a case or two of beer.  While I have little use for the man involved and would not be surprised if he were involved I still think they have made a mistake and have the wrong man.  In fact I seriously doubt if they will be able to convict him."


"Was notified today that I was to appear as a witness at a summary court martial on Monday afternoon.  Know very little about the case and doubt if guilt can be proved."" This afternoon I was occupied with the court martial.  Still do not know the outcome but believe it became rather involved."

Sourvenier-making was another notorious Seabee practice.  Bob Hope delighted Hugh Aaron’s fictional comrades by alluding to the practice of making and selling “authentic native art” to supply ships and latecomers to the islands.