February 12, 1944

Saturday

I arrived today at Hamilton Field, San Francisco, California. That place was a Mecca. Everyone wanted a Permanent Party there; and all seven crews1 of us would have gladly stayed had there not been a war to fight the little yellow men of Japan.

In my mind remains, the good-natured ribbing of one another, and the remarks we addressed to the girls employed on that base. We had arrived around five o’clock when the civilian women were knocking off for the day. From the various buildings, these girls were streaming across the different areas to the bus lines. Having been aboard a partial troop train for four days, we were quite interested in the movements that only girls can make with different sections of their bodies. A good deal of flirting was done by the various and sundry types of men. This was forgivable due to the fact that we expected to see no white women for the Lord knows how long. Is it any wonder that desires arose in us?

The imposing buildings where Combat Crew Processing is being done spewed forth a number of particularly good-looking gals. In one of the windows, we could see stacks of mattresses. One of the crewmen looked at those mattresses, dropped his eyes to the women and shouted “Oh my God! Room and broad!” That caused an uproar among the men and many blushes to the women.

Yes, it was all very gay; and helped to prepare our nerves for what was to come before we returned home again.

We received our quarters and meal tickets, ate our dinners and retired as soon as possible, afterwards. The meal was one of the best Army meals I’d ever eaten. After four days on the train from Savannah, Georgia, the showers were quite the best that any of us had ever enjoyed.

I added emphasis to my prayers that night. Prayed for the well-being of my wonderful wife and both of our families. Everyone had been so grand to us; and I’d enjoyed a good many of life’s happiest moments. Is it any wonder, blessed as I am?

Notes & Commentary:

1 These seven B-25 crews were on their way to the 42nd Bombardment Group based on Guadalcanal. These men were replacements.

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10 Responses to February 12, 1944

  1. Pierre Lagacé says:

    This a great tribute to another unsung hero as well as his crew.

    Like

    • a gray says:

      Was he a “hero” as portrayed in movies and on television? No. He was a guy like so many others who did what they thought was right. He was a brave man as were so many others. The extent of his heroism will be determined in the minds of the readers of Wayne’s Journal over the coming months as he endures boredom, loneliness, the terror of some missions, and the loss of those dear to him.

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  2. Pierre Lagacé says:

    I have started again reading from start which is a pleonasm. I don’t want to miss anything I would have missed the first time. Since I don’t watch TV anymore except Canadian football, I have leisure time. I will jump in though on June 6th for your entry for June 6th, 1944.

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  3. Lloyd Marken says:

    With a family he could have deferred the draft let alone not volunteered. Says something. Do you know when he decided to join and how old he was and what was going on in his life. This is post D-Day so there was a sense that victory was coming but only at a cost. I wonder how that weighed on those guys when they know they’re a replacement crew and what that means.

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    • a gray says:

      Wayne enlisted on March 24, 1942 when he was 22 years old. He married in the fall of 1943. D-Day was still some four months in the future when he was transferred to the South Pacific. Wayne was a replacement; his unit was transferring to the South Pacific.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Lloyd Marken says:

        So he enlists not long after Pearl Harbour, marries while in service and finds himself headed to combat as a family man and with the war still in full swing. There are many parallels here with many who served at that time. People who would join in 1942 and find themselves going to fight the enemy in 1944. My grandfather joined in 1942 as well and spent a lot of the war at Canungra not far from his hometown of Brisbane. He married too and was then deployed to the Pacific in 1944. My father was born while my grandfather was in New Britain. It is a small forgotten campaign of which he played a small part but what I wouldn’t give to have a similar journal from him discovered. Reading Wayne’s will have to suffice and for this I am most thankful for your work here.

        Liked by 1 person

      • a gray says:

        What was your grandfather’s service in New Britain? Unit, rank, service, job?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Lloyd Marken says:

        He was an electrical artificer. He has his unit listed at one point as Lae Fortress Workshop and it appears he was seconded to 472nd Anti-Aircraft Troop where he was at Jacqinot Bay where he hooked up the guns. It is unlikely he saw much combat like your Uncle but he did not talk much about the war and when he did always through the prism of something positive. A Salvation Army Chaplain coming out of the jungle to serve them their first hot meal in weeks. A prize for coming second in a swimming comp. We knew he was taken up in an American Avenger torpedo bomber on a run and did not care to do it again. He died before I was 3. Craftsman although he was put on Corporal’s pay for a while.

        Liked by 1 person

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