A VISIT TO TONOAS

During World War II, Tonoas (called Dublon then) was the central island for the Japanese soldiers and sailors here in the Chuuk lagoon. Along with the Reeds and Beachams we were able to take a trip there. On the other side of the island from the chapel there are several sites that still exist from those World War II days. It was a fun day but exhausting. We climbed and walked quite a distance.

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Sister Soram and her niece were our guides. She recently returned from a mission in Canada. Sister Hardy helps out by being the mosquito bait; she attracts the mosquitoes so no one else gets bitten.

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We saw some beautiful country and some beautiful flowers. These steps lead to a Japanese compound during the war. There were offices and other buildings; now we can’t even find foundations. When we got to the top we saw three big gun emplacements.

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All three had 8 inch guns mounted on a concrete and steel turntable so they could be aimed. I was amazed at the technology given the day and age the difficulties associated with getting so much mass up to the top of the mountain.

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The view from the top is pretty amazing. The Japanese flattened out a nearby island, Etan, and built a runway there. From the air it looked like a huge aircraft carrier. Several US pilots reported direct hits but said they could not make the carrier sink. The dark circle in the right hand picture is a concrete hole with metal rungs that leads down under the guns to the aiming mechanism.

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This man was gathering breadfruit. He ties it to a stick so it can be carried. He probably has 60 or 70 pounds on the stick. The next two photos show a mushroom. You can see the end of my size 11 shoe in the middle photo.

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This is the Japanese Army hospital. It had two wings and an open courtyard in the center. The roof is gone but the concrete is still standing. The design feels “nice”.

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The photo on the left is of the Reeds and our guides. In the center is a unique structure attached to a house. It is a huge covered area. The size is larger than a tennis court; the sides are open so the breeze can blow through. It is a pleasant place for neighbors to gather and visit. The Beachams are pictured on the right. They worked with the courts and have returned home now.

Looking at the dates on these photos, we made this visit over a month ago. Since then we have been busy with the planning for the Book of Mormon Celebration and Pageant on December 12. We have visited all the seminaries at least once each month (that includes a boat ride every week). I also teach a BYUH education class twice each week. We really haven’t just taken some time to be tourists since this visit to Tonoas.

Thanks to all who support us with your thoughts and prayers. We feel your strength. We have passed the midpoint of our mission and have some much left to accomplish. Hopefully, after December 12, things will be a little quieter.

 

 

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