John & Molly Brown

Recently, two toilet blocks have been built adjacent to the 8-inch gun at Temakin. During the excavation, a bunker was unearthed with remains of Japanese, and also many 8-inch shells, which had been rendered “safe” with no detonators.

Increase in population growth on Betio continues to be a problem. Complaints have been laid about insufficient water being delivered by the water trucks on a daily basis into areas which have no PUB (Public Utilities Board) water main or tanks. This, of course, is exacerbated due to 60 percent of the estimated 28,000 people using the 50,000 liters of desalinated water, produced by the Chinese-funded desalination plant at Takaronga. The water is then trucked to the villages.

Bonnyman's bunker has been cleaned up. I take tourists inside, with access made through the Betio police station. All walls and ceilings have been cleared of masonry loosened from the 20mm and 30mm rebar as it rusts. The generator from this building is now located in the Marine Training Centre. Steve Irwin, the crocodile hunter from CNN’s “National Geographic,” came here two weeks ago and filmed over two days, reenacting the story of the battle, with lots of graphic demonstration. This will be a new series, entitled, “The Ghosts of War,” basically showing the remains of war materiel left lying to rust around the Pacific.

The kids are still bringing live ordnance to me, why, I don’t know. Probably because I give them a few dollars. The police training section, which looks after live ordnance, has run out of firing cord and explosive, so much of what is being found is left lying on the ground at the police headquarters. I am still picking up 75mm anti-aircraft shells on the beach, some with live detonators. I have to be careful. I found one or two boxes of live .50-caliber bullets under the sand, congealed together and lying in about a foot of water. I tend to leave them alone, as they are all stuck together. Whether they are live or not, I am not prone to find out.

The amtrac at the back of Red Beach One is still there and I showed the movie to the people who's house lies behind it. They are not keeping the area clean. Progress!! The wreck on the beach at Tamaiku is, in fact, a box-like Alligator, and not an amtrac. It continues to deteriorate badly.

I guess that is all for now, except that I have 15 Taiwanese coming through on the 2nd of July for the tour. One day special. In early in the morning, and out the next day. We are still doing tours with the Peace Corps volunteer teachers. They include this in their history classes.


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