The Mad Marine of Matareva: A Cautionary Tale

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Since the Obama Administration and Congress keep pressuring the US military to “queer-up,” a story from James Michener’s autobiographical “The World Is My Home,” may be in order.  Link The late James Michener spent two tours (four years) of duty as a US Naval officer in the Pacific theater during WW II.  It was his experiences, and the stories he heard during that period, that formed the basis for his book “Tales of the South Pacific”—later turned into the musical play, and movie, “South Pacific.”

James Michener, photo found at achievement.org

During his second tour he was assigned the task of traveling around the Pacific and compiling information for the official US Naval history of the war in that region.  He visited forty-nine different islands during his travels, but it is one island, and what occurred there, that concerns us.

The legal officer who assigned Michener his job of unearthing information for the Navy’s history project, was especially interested in finding out what had happened on one particular island.

“Michener, I want you to read this court-martial record, take no notes, and forget it when you’re finished,” the officer told him.  “We want you to visit the island and let us know, top secret, what really happened.”  Writing of what happened decades afterwards, Michener used the fictitous name “Matareva” in order “to protect the privacy of those involved in the real-lifemilitary tragedy.”

Michener read the courts-martial record, and found that the young Marine general in charge of it had inexplicably stopped the proceedings, called an end to it, and announced “The trial is over.  The twenty-two accused will be dismissed from the service and shipped out this night on any available transport.  And no one will speak…of what happened in this courtroom.”

Admiral “Bull” Halsey had wanted the marines involved in the courts-martial to be “scorched,” as Michener puts it, and Halsy was furious that the Marine general had let them “off the hook.”  “Get me that son-of-a-##### now!” Halsy roared.

Michener’s briefing officer had been there when the young general (General Anderson) was ushered into Halsey’s presence.  Halsey started in on a rant, but when he took a breath, Gen. Anderson said “I knew you’d be furious, so I typed out what the next line of testimony would have [been].  Would you really want this displayed in the record ?”  Halsey read what was on the paper, and then told Anderson, “If you had permitted that trial to proceed, I’d have chewed your a—for allowing that sewage to get into the Navy record.”

Michener’s briefing officer told him, “We’ve never heard another word about Matareva.  But rumors have filtered back to Washington and they want a coded report….  Stop by the island and give me something I can forward—but clean it up.”

Upon arriving in Matareva, Michener’s first stop was at the Marine base, where he tried to find out what he could about the two main defendants in the courts-martial—Captain Mark Dorn, and Staff Sergeant Michael Hazen.  Although everyone who had been on the island at the time of the courts-martial was long gone by the time Michener arrived, he was able to gather some accurate scuttlebutt about Capt. Dorn—at least about his history before he arrived on Matareva.

“And there the discussion [would end], because no Marine, especially no officer, was willing to speak in even the most guarded language about Dorn’s experience on Matareva.”  As for Sergeant Hazen, “No one knew anything about him… and no one cared to know; he was a man who never existed, and my queries about him were not welcomed,” Michener recalled.

Michener was finally able to track down a native who would talk, at the local outlet of the ubiquitous Burns Philp chain of general stores.  The man’s name was Robert Weed, but the other natives called him Ropati.  It was Ropati who first started filling in the missing pieces of the puzzle; giving details of what led up to the courts-martial—what Ropati described as “the long downward slide of Captain Dorn.”

Ropati told Michener, “Never met a finer man than Dorn.  A bit tense, but sane and sober and, above all, a man of the most severe attention to honor in all details.”

“Too rigid for his own good?” Michener asked.

“Not at all.”

“What went wrong?” “Staff Sergeant Hazen.”

Ropati informed Michener that Hazen, who had arrived on Matareva after Captain Dorn, detested Dorn.  Sergeant Hazen hated Dorn for his family background (FFV—First Family of Virginia), fine education, and other reasons.  But what really galled Hazen was the fact that the other Marines respected Dorn for his honesty, integrity, and valor.  “Hazen was determined to destroy him.  He hated him,” Ropati said.

At first Dorn saw none of this; he simply wouldn’t, couldn’t, believe that a fellow Marine could be so base and petty.  By the time Dorn understood how bad things were, it was too late.  When Michener pressed Ropati for more details, Ropati told him that he had better talk with the native woman Tetua.

Michener describes Tetua as “an island girl whose movements were like palm trees swaying in the wind.  She was lovely, with… a serenity that seemed impervious to any storm, any disappointment.”  She and Captain Dorn had been lovers.  She told Michener, “I realized early on that Hazen was a confirmed homosexual.”

As Hazen began to slowly isolate Dorn from running the Marine detachment, he was aided by the fact that Dorn lived off base.  Tetua recalled that “When Hazen had Dorn isolated… he began a systematic campaign to entice the younger Marines into his net.”  Tetua told Michener that Hazen’s “malignant power” was “incredible.”

Michener asked Ropati why he hadn’t tried to stop Hazen.  Ropati told him, “Lieutenant, he was running the base.  He was in charge.  …When he failed three times to get me into bed with him, he calmly drafted areport to my superiors in London charging me with incompetence and theft of funds…and—I—was—fired!”

Michener asked, “So inside the fence was a homosexual riot?”  “Yes,” replied Ropati. “

At least thirty Marines cooperating?”

“Maybe more.” Tetua added, “In the end…Hazen wouldn’t even allow [Captain Dorn] to come onto the base.  Locked the gate against him and jeered when he tried to break in.”

Michener found out that Captain Dorn, Staff Sergeant Hazen, and a few dozen other Marines were shipped back to the states, “and quietly dismissed from the service.”

Michener writes, “Like Admiral Halsey when he finished with the court-martial record, I had heard far more about the Matareva incident than I really cared to know: I was satisfied that a first-class Marine captain… had allowed a vicious enlisted man… to steal his command, corrupt it totally, and lead it into the swamp of a hideous court-martial.  Something like that should never have been allowed to happen, but happen it did.”

The United States of America was founded on the principles of “the laws of Nature and of Nature’s God”—you know, the laws we no longer respect, and the God we no longer believe in?  Michener believed in the laws of Nature, and he felt that it was because those laws were ignored that the tragedy on Matavera happened.  After looking at the strands of barbed wire surrounding the base, he thought to himself, “They wired themselves in and prevented the therapy of nature from helping.”

Michener felt the fact that Matareva was located in the Melanesian region of the Pacific contributed to the situation.  He could not imagine something similar occurring in the Polynesian sector.  “If the mad Staff Sergeant of Matareva” had started his operations on one of the Polynesian islands, Michener believed, the women would have gently, but firmly, nipped such nonsense in the bud, “and the poison would have been neutralized.”

from The JAG Hunter

There are a number of morals to Michener’s story, but perhaps the most important one is the danger posed by “chicken-hawks” in a military atmosphere, (“chicken-hawk” being slang for an older homosexual who preys on young males). Chicken-hawk senior NCOs and officers will have a field-day in a gay-compliantmilitary—and don’t tell me it won’t happen.  As Michener said of the breakdown of military discipline on Matareva, “something like that should never have been allowed to happen, but happen it did.”

The “military tragedy” that occurred on Matareva happened back when homosexuality was much more stigmatized than it is today, so the odds of something similar to what occurred on that island happening today are that much greater.  It would behoove the Pentagon to be aware that there are some flies in the ointment—lots of flies, actually.

photo from wikiality.wikia.com

In closing, it is worth noting that homosexuals serving in the military are nothing new.  In fact, it is a throwback to pre-Christian paganism.  The Spartans, for example, “used homosexual attachments to build solidarity among soldiers in war.”  Homosexuality and pederasty was de rigueur.

As Dinesh D’Souza observes, “when we rhapsodize about ‘the glory that was Greece and the grandeur that was Rome,’ we should keep in mind that the sexual practices of these civilizations live on today only in prisons and in the ideology of marginal groups like the North American Man/Boy Love Association.”

There is nothing progressive about allowing homosexuals into the military; it is the “same old, same old” of ancient polymorphous perversity.  America is rushing backward toward the pagan past, thanks to some first-class marketing, loads of money spent, and bold, clever lies.  Link

While the US military is proceeding, post haste, with the “gaying-up” of the armed forces, Michener’s true tale of “the mad Staff Sergeant of Matareva” may serve as a cautionary warning to them—to slow down, perhaps even stop, and think about what they are doing.

Laus Deo.

P.S. They also might want to look into the homosexual pursuits of “bug chasing” and “AIDS trading,” and consider the effects of such practices on the health of their troops.  (See “Secrets, Lies, and AIDS Trading,” “St. Petersburg Times,” May 22, 2011).


Born in June of 1951 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Jim O’Neill proudly served in the U.S. Navy from 1970-1974 in both UDT-21 (Underwater Demolition Team) and SEAL Team Two.  A member of MENSA, he worked as a commercial diver in the waters off Scotland, India, and the United States. In 1998 while attending the University of South Florida as a journalism student, O’Neill won “First Place” in the “Carol Burnett/University of Hawaii AEJMC Research in Journalism Ethics Award.”  The annual contest was set up by Carol Burnett with the money she won from successfully suing the National Enquirer for libel.  Over the last few years, Jim has regularly written for Canada Free Press. .

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