The SCROLL of Phi Delta a for November,
was one which made all his fellow-members of the vast and attentive Associated
Press news-gathering organization proud.
In fact all newspaper men, whatever
news service or daily paper they served,
had awaited news of the outcome of
Vern's battle with the utmost interest
while he fought to conquer his way and
evade the Japs through some of the
swampiest, hilliest, and most forbidding
jungle in the world.
Haugland's diary while he stumbled
through the forest covered only thirty-two
days of his fight for life. The rest of it
was a half-conscious nightmare. But the
entries the good reporter
penciled dutifully into a little black
notebook told more of what the correspondent had gone through than any
words which came later and reluctantly
from between the ever-grudging Haugland lips.
The diary, published by the Associated Press, covered the thirty-two days
from August 6, when he parachuted
from the disabled plane, to September 9,
eleven days before he was found delirious in a native village and was cared
for by kindly missionaries. In the period
covered by the diary not a day was
missed. Here are a few sample entries:
Aug. Michael and I may get
separated. I have a life-preserver; he hasn't.
If you find me and not him, send help quickly,
as he is starving. With food he can make it.
Aug. more mountains. Heard plane,
but too much clouds. Slept under big log. Kept
Aug. day lying on rocks, chewing
grass and reeds, praying a great deal. Getting
so weak. Hardly any hope now. Lost life preserver. Watched vainly all day for a plane. Only
hope is a plane dropping food or ground aid
extremely unlikely. Looks like
I shall die here soon.
Aug. warm, dry night. Two and
one-half weeks with nothing to body
looks terrible. If someone comes today I can
still I need food. Head clear position good otherwise.
Aug. may be wrong date. Either
last night was very long and full of bad dreams
or I have been semi-delirious two or three
days only one night though, because it
must have been fairly dry and my clothes are
only damp. If can summon strength may hike
through woods in hope of finding a shelter hut.
Also berries, or food. Found some delicious
berries on shore.
Aug. top, amazingly awe-inspiring
view, but raining, so will try for better look
in forenoon. Drenched and not survive. If I do, I feel my chance of getting out
alive is better since I'll get an idea of the
layout. Can see the river for miles. Despite
cold, feel better confident. Wliatever happens, God has been good to me.
Sept. 2.-Under log awile, then under palm.
Wettest yet. Almost longest hike yesterday and
today. Another emu, three wallaliies together,
Sept. river's end valley. Now
surrounded by rivers which can't ford. Guess
have to go back one on right. Only chance
now native come, I guess. Almost nothing
edible several weak.
to and dozens
of bramble berries. Sleep under great sleep. Mosquitoes not bad.
Sept. (last rainy a.m. in hut
drying shoes. Where from here? Impossible
stick close to river because impassable tall reeds.
Will stay as can otherwise get lost cause can't
see where going.
God I keeping near reeds, got
onto faint animal track. Crossed stream on log
at berry place, trail grew plainer, definitely
track through forest. Made more distance so
far than for weeks. Sun still high. All
creeks logged over, no vines, all cleared."
It was lucky that the little black notebook was there to tell what had happened, when Vern stumbled into an outpost where friendly natives helped him.
Otherwise, Haugland would probably
have sent some matter-of-fact cable back
to the Associated Press in New York,
and to his mother, Mrs. Claus Haugland, in Wilmington, California, to the
effect that he was back again, hoped to
be back at work soon, and that everything was pretty much all right. For
Vern Haugland is like that: he would
talk when there were questions to be
talk about himself? Never.
Haugland is one of the sort of newspapermen who fill most of the posts on
most of the dailies in the United States,
but who never become known to the
movie patrons who get acquainted with
newspaper practice from what they see
on the screen.
When, at 33 years of age, he volunteered to leave his interesting berth in
the Los Angeles office of the Associated