Buss, the Emperor and Jackie, a WWII Pacific War Love Story

by Bob and Nancy Kerstetter—A story emerging from letters and diaries, plus original research into the plaited political, cultural and technological histories of Japan and America. (Richardson, Texas: Village Hiker Press, 2013, Illustrations.)

Buss, the Emperor and Jackie is a story of love disrupted by naval actions during the Pacific War—from the Solomon Islands to Wakayama, Japan.

buss the emperor and jackie wwii pacific war memoir

Frustrated and motivated by the beginning of combat on December 7, 1941, Buss soon left his job as a construction electrician and enlisted in the U.S. Navy as a patriot, hoping to help quickly end the conflict. Instead—as a fire control petty officer for the main batteries and antiaircraft guns of the light cruiser USS Montpelier, CL-57—the war kept him away for months, then years from Jackie his love.

His agile, abstract mind integrated smoothly with the requirements of his warrior work. Entering the conflict eager to engage the enemy, Buss grappled throughout the Pacific with skilled Japanese ships, deadly shore artilleries and unrelenting war planes. Gung-ho during his training and first combat battles, his heart and life change forever after several tragic and touching human-to-human encounters.

Taken from his letters, her diaries, interviews with his shipmates and other historical records, the story shows Buss, Jackie and their friends working to maintain life and love amid the incertitudes of war. The tale tells their views of America and Japan, music and movies, fears and boredoms, marriages and babies, shore leaves and temptations, governments and militaries, weapons and helping hands, and the surprise changes emerging in the heart of Buss as he mets everyday Japan in September 1945.

The story uncovers some undeniable parallels as two countries believing in their own divine beginnings and manifest destinies fight and fraternize from the west and east rims of the Pacific Ocean.

Buss, the Emperor and Jackie is currently in production.