It Wasn’t Always Boring

13 03 2011

That's me on the right. Kerry Walsh (see my Survival Gilligan's Island post) sitting behind me, Tom Hydorne in foreground.

Okay, so I exaggerated just a bit. The truth is it wasn’t always boring while on Johnston Island. Yes, there were definitely some long lonely hours but if you were stationed on Johnston Island, or even tiny Sand Island, as I was, there were many ways to spend your free time. For example, once each month we would take a boat outside the reef to do a little fishing. The fishing, as you can tell by the pictures, was always good. And when we weren’t fishing we could be found SCUBA diving. You could take a SCUBA course and become a qualified SCUBA diver for $20.00. And for $15.00 you could rent all the SCUBA gear you would need plus the dive raft and dive all day.

In addition, there was a nine-hole golf course, six lane bowling alley, softball and flag football leagues, various hobby activities and a non-denominational church.

One day's catch. R-L, Pinon (cook), Steve Steady, Johnny Milhonick, John Chapman, Ron, chief somebody.

There were also frequent USO shows coming through. One particular show featured a singer, who, at the time was a complete unknown (to me at least). Later, Anne Gaybis would make her name as a singer, dancer and actress. She had bit roles in films such as Best Little Whore House in Texas and Bachelor Party. She also made a couple of films that you won’t see on network television.


I happened to be front row center at her show that evening because I had sprained my ankle pretty badly earlier in the day and had to be taken to the hospital over on Johnston Island. As long as we were on the island, we decided to go to the club. That was when we learned there was a show in town. I saw the Rocketts in 1972 but the Rocketts couldn’t hold a candle to this show.

Anne Gaybis. Not much I can say wife reads my blog. Write your own caption.

Photographing birds was also a favorite way to pass the time.

I’ve never met anyone who had lived at Johnston Atoll who wouldn’t be willing to kill to go back. Other than the fact it was isolated, it was perfect duty station and while I wouldn’t entertain the thoughts of killing, I’d go back in a heartbeat.




4 responses

17 04 2012
Bill Alley

My dad was stationed on Johnston 1943-1945. I have three blogs re his time there on my site, if you are interested. Nothing serious, he was a humorous guy.

21 04 2012
Bill Taylor

Thanks for dropping by, Bill. I’ll be sure to check it out.

28 02 2015
Nick St. Denis

Hello, Bill. Great blog! I’m in the early stages of a project about the history of Johnston Island. My grandfather was stationed there in the 40s, and I’ve recently found myself on a bit of a research kick. Sometime in the next couple months, I would love to pick your brain about your experience there. I’ve provided my email, and I hope to here from you in the near future. Best regards.

1 03 2015
Bill Taylor

Nick, thanks for visiting my blog. I would welcome the opportunity to speak with you about my time and experiences on Johnston Island. Feel free to contact me.

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