In the early stages of the Pacific War, General Douglas MacArthur was expected to prevent the Japanese from taking Australia. With limited forces, MacArthur had to be tactical, and the key to the continent’s defense was the island of New Guinea, just above the northeast tip of Australia. In order to defend New Guinea, MacArthur sent a small task force to Milne Bay, where the Coral Sea rounded the southeast tip of the island. His plan: to establish an airfield base for bomber and fighter planes that could attack enemy invasion convoys as they rounded the tip of New Guinea to attack Australia.
In the fall of 1941, at the age of twenty-six, Jules Archer joined the US Armed Forces. A few months later, he joined MacArthur as a member of the small task force being sent to New Guinea.
With good reason not to expect to return alive, Archer and his troop were plunged into a new kind of war. They fought in a jungle among a primitive Melanesian people, some tribes of which were headhunters. For nearly four years they endured in the distant jungle. This is an inside look at one of the lesser-known stories of one of the worst wars the world has known. It’s a story of the absurdities, fears, camaraderie, and even humor of life as a wartime solider.