About the Book “What Rotten EGGS”

Mystery, Adventure, Redemption, The Mind, Coast Guard

What Rotten Eggs” by Daniel M. White

A work of fiction based on a true story. What Rotten Eggs follows a Coast Guard Lieutenant as he begins a tour as the new commanding officer on a military base. The base is on a small, desolate island, Iwo Jima, Japan.

While he wasn’t sure quite what to expect on the island, Lieutenant Roy Fisher absolutely never could have predicted what happened. In his first week, a crew member went insane, another threatening to knife him in his sleep, he experiences a life-or-death decision with a sailor in shock, and then the doctor is seriously injured forcing him to act as the doctor. One crew member was so distraught he tried to sail 700 miles to Tokyo on a homemade raft. While dealing with all this, the new commanding officer realizes that someone on the base is working to make him fail. At first, he believes that his crew is a bunch of rotten eggs. As he gains experience and gets to know the men better, he realizes that isolation is the problem.

The story is interesting because it deals with the problems that arise from being isolated from friends and family and looks at ways of dealing with them. It also shows that confidence and creativity can go a long way to solving problems. With the isolation we all experienced lately with Covid-19, that theme seems a little closer to home. This book also explores the power of the subconscious mind. Readers should take away that the subconscious mind plays an important role in our lives. It also shows that dealing with adversity can make you stronger. (2022, hardbound with dust jacket, 234 pages, 978-1-6853-7100-5, $23.00)

Buy the Book: Dorrance Bookstore or Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble or Thrift Books or Target or Walmart


Chapter 1

Arrival on Iwo Jima May 21, 1962
The large C-130 military transport swung into a hard left turn. Lieutenant Roy Fisher was thrown against a stack of wooden crates. The cockpit door opened. The copilot stuck his head into the cargo area.

“Sorry kid, we forgot we had a passenger this trip.”

Roy smiled and said, “No problem. Are we over Iwo Jima”?

The copilot pointed to the window, “You can see it just up ahead.”

What he saw down below surprised him. The island didn’t look any bigger than a football field. Most of the hilly terrain was covered with thick impenetrable jungle. He could see smoke rising in several places. He guessed they were the sulfur pits. There were mountains at both ends. In between were black sand beaches and jungle. Commanding Officer Iwo Jima was his third assignment. He was apprehensive because Loran (Long-Range Aid to Navigation) duty was stressful and dangerous. He desperately wanted to have a successful tour after the trouble on the last one. Some wanted him to fail.

When Roy got his orders to Iwo Jima, he was relieved that he was not sent to Vietnam. Now looking at this desolate, tiny island, he wondered if Vietnam might be preferable. He thought, what do you do all day down there? His knowledge of the island was limited. He knew a large battle was fought there during World War Two. It is in the middle of the Pacific, 700 miles from anywhere. He thought about the research he had done. Iwo Jima is south of Tokyo and east of Okinawa. It is five miles long and two miles wide. At one end is Mount Suribachi, an inactive volcano, and at the other end is Kitano Point. The island is owned by Japan and is part of the Volcano Islands. The name means sulfur island. It was invaded in 1945 by the United States.

The siege lasted twenty-two days, killing 21,000 Japanese soldiers and 7,000 U.S. Marines. It was the largest armada invasion of the Pacific War. During the twenty-two days, there were 26,000 marine casualties. That was one-third of all Marine Corps casualties in the entire war. Today the island has an Air Force Base with approximately forty airmen and a Coast Guard Loran station with forty-four sailors.

The copilot said, “I have been told that all kinds of weird things go on down there.”
Roy grimaced because he was going to spend the next year down there. “What kind of weird things?”

“It may just be a rumor, but I heard that one of the Coast Guard guys when he is not on duty, sits on his bed and stares at the wall.”

Roy laughed, “Maybe he is practicing yoga.”

He thought, I hope it is not my executive officer or one of the chiefs. As he was closing the cockpit door the copilot said, “You are going to love the smell down there.”

After a rough flight and a bouncy landing, Fisher was glad to get on firm ground. He was met on the tarmac by Lieutenant George Matterly, the Commanding Officer he was replacing. Matterly saluted smartly and said, “Welcome to Iwo Jima.”

Matterly was annoyed because he had to look up to the much taller Fisher Roy returned the salute, “I am glad to be here – I think.”

They walked over to a small Japanese truck where enlisted men were loading supplies. Roy noticed they were dressed rather strangely. One had on a pair of jagged green Bermuda shorts, a Rolling Stones
tee shirt. and sneakers. The other had on white Coast Guard uniform trousers, a sweatshirt from Notre Dame, and black patent leather boots. They stood on the boiling tarmac waiting for the truck to be loaded.

Matterly offered a cigarette, “It will be a few minutes before they
finish. Care for a smoke?”

“Don’t mind if I do. Does it just burst into flames or do I have to
light it? Damn it is hot.”

Matterly smiled, “If you think it is hot now you are in for a surprise.
The real hot weather and typhoons are in a few months.”

Roy loosened his tie, “What do you think is the temperature?” Matterly whipping his brow with a hankerchief, “I checked the thermometer outside my quarters a half hour ago, it was only 98 degrees.”
“Only 98 degrees. What is a hot day?”

“In July and August, you will get some at 115.”

Roy took a long drag on his cigarette, trying to word his next question
delicately. He felt like blurting out, “Why are those enlisted men dressed like fraterniy college kids? Instead, he asked, “Does the base relax dress codes on hot days?”

Lieutenant Matterly laughed, “Dress codes – you are going to find
things are pretty informal around here.”

A sense of foreboding came over Roy. A crew that wears strange
attire, stifling heat. and an awful smell. “What is that foul smell?”

“What foul smell?”

“It smells like ten thousand rotten eggs.”

“Oh, that foul smell. You are standing on Sulfur Island. Several bubbling sulfur pits send sulfur dioxide into the air. You’ll get used to it.”

Roy was reasonably certain that he would not get used to it. He wanted to prove that the incident in his last command was not a lack of leadership on his part. His success or failure as Commanding Officer of Iwo Jima is very important to his career. If he would have known what lay ahead, he would have climbed back aboard the C-130.