SCATTER SIGHT (right) is most apt for the location of four 200 foot NCS station antennae at Ritidian Point. All that remains is a mess of tangled, twisted steel and cable. (NCS Photo)
By Chaplain Robert W. Van Landingham
The recent catastrophe that hit us in Guam makes us take a second look at marginal soul living.
Marginal living assumes the attitude that "whatever will be, will be." It takes Jesus literally when he said "Take no thought for the morrow, for the morrow will take thought of itself." No thought is taken of the morrow. Money is spent as if pay-day were every day. Life is lived as closely as possible to the dividing line between honesty and dishonesty, responsibility and irresponsibility, work and shirk, and a host of other divisions that demand more than marginal living. At any time a financial catastrophe could strike and leave one penniless, or a threat of nature could suddenly descend and leave one emotionally whipped.
Marginal living is a binge, a drug. Caught within its vortex one seeks to escape, but is ever drawn within the whirling, endless sprial of just getting by. William James, noted psychiatrist of half century ago, wrote; "we are spinning our own fates, good or evil, and never to be undone.
One may be just honest enough to keep from getting caught, love just enough to hold a marriage together, study just enough to get by in school, work just enough to hold a job. The result is a human body, alive and moving. But only that--a body, no soul. This body lives from one day to the next, from pleasure to pleasure, thrill to thrill, comfort to comfort, affection to affection, with knowing the power of discipline, of goals, of developing inner resources to cope with the emergencies of the soul that come to rich or poor, good or bad.
An inner reservoir of strength necessary to break the binge of marginal living comes through prayer, meditation, trials of faith, wrestling with ideas and doubts, suffering, knowing God as a friend. A prepared life in or out of storm is the kind that confirms the sucient song: "I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand I shall not moved."
Thanks to the lessons learned from the passing of Typhoon Allyn in 1949, NCS prepared for the future disasters by constructing permanent, typhoon-proof operational buildings and housing units at Finegayan. These modern buildings came through all Karen could throw at them, and damage was minor. However, many temporary structures were either totaled out or severely damaged.
The antenna "farms" at Finegayan and Radio Barrigada were "a mess," to quote a member of a special rigging crew flown in from NCS Honolulu. The monstrous towers at Ritidian Point are twisted piles of wreckage, knocking out a vital link in the Pacific Scatter Communicatons System. Page Communications Engineers, Inc., personnel had jury-rigged antennae erected hours after the passing of Karen, but damage to the site approaches one million dollars, and repairs will take months to complete.
NCS opened its doors and hearts to its community of neighbors, giving them food and shelter. Thousands of hot meals were served at the Ney Award winning galley, arousing the admiration of the galley's unexpected clientele. Vacant housing was made available, and a few Navy families with damaged housed moved in with neighbors. Power was restored in many housing units just hours after the storm passed, and in a day or so most of NCS housing had utilities again.
NCS is cleaning up and making plans to rebuild, and promises to be bigger and better than ever. New equipment and technicians continue to arrive every day. Navy personnel who lost personal property in the typhoon began submitting claims to six Claims Investigating Officers on November 26, and prompt settlement of claims was assured.
RADM Bernard F. Roeder, Director, Naval Communications, sent the following message to NCS after the storm: "The performance of NavCommSta Guam personnel during and after Karen has been a source of pride to me and everyone in the Navy Communication System. Your work to minimize damage before and during the typhoon and you promptness in getting your facilities on the air after the storm provided the first major communications from Guam. "I should like to congratulate and extend my personal appreciation to everyone concerned for a job well done."