February 19, 1944


A long day, spent mostly in eating and shooting the bull with our officers, Lt. Fincham and Lt. Harland R. Tolhurst. Lt. Fincham has a baby on the way. Lt. Tolhurst is sorry he didn’t get married before leaving the States. On the other hand, I am not a bit sorry I did get married. Bonnie is a grand person and the ultimate in my desires.

We began one month’s schooling this morning. We started out with a class in intelligence. A short test was given here. Some of the questions were:
1. “If you were lost in the jungle, would you wear your shoes or take them off?”
Naturally, the answer was to take them off. If your feet wouldn’t stand up, wear your shoes but bind them up with banana leaves. These precautions were taken because the Japs in this area wear a sandal, and a footprint was a dead giveaway. The instructor asked one man which question he missed. His answer brought down the house. ‘I kept my shoes on”.
2. What is the P-701 an adaptation of?
Ans. A-20.
3. “Do Japs have and in line engine plane?” Yes, it’s called Tony.2
4. “What is a target of opportunity?” That is a target you are given to bomb that was not the target you started out bomb.
These, of course are typical.

I am beginning to miss the mail from home already. It looks as if we’ll have to wait another two weeks for that, however. The days aren’t so bad since we started school yesterday and recuperated from the effects from our long trip. But the nights in spite of the regular outdoor movies are long and terribly lonesome. Miss my family, and am in a blue funk for sight and caress of my wife.

Whistling in Brooklyn3 is the title of the picture showing tonight. It had better be good.

Captain Hardy who conducts the intelligence classes and Master Sergeant Schaeffer, who skippers the engineering classes are very interesting speakers and really know their business. The Armament Master Sergeant probably knows his, too. He’s not too interesting, however. He doesn’t seem to have any interest in his subject. Evidently, he doesn’t care for the inactive life of an instructor. Added to that, he has the aspect of an acute case of combat nerves. His eyes are listless and his manner completely don’t give a damn, something ought to be done about that.

Doc was telling us today, about one of his crew’s last week in the States. His subject entailed Sacramento and one of the side streets joints there. They were seated in the place at one of the tables. Then there was a hilarious babble of talk outside. Into the bar room came a bunch of sailors, inebriated and on shore leave. The one most drunken took all of the stools and sat them on top of the bar. The last one in line he stood on and delivered and oration on the Japanese Navy taken from broadcasts by Jap Radio. He ended up with the words; and the Japanese Navy is full of bull; or words to that effect. The way Doc laughed, the scene must have been terrific.

Russell was sitting on his bunk, today, sewing some buttons on his shirt when he burst out in song. “Sweet romance in my arms, Hutchy Putchy.” It was cute and we got a belly laugh. Russell was a bandsman in civilian life. He’s from Arkansas and his hillbilly characterizations and manners are killing.

Ditz Dean and one of his pals went for a hike today to see what they could find in the way of souvenirs. All they found was plenty of foxholes filled with water and many mud holes which they plopped into rather muddily. Also several trees with cannon holes completely through them. These of course are to too big to send home. Never again “Muddy” Ditz says. He received 81 letters from home in one batch; and has been pulling his hair. They all have to be answered!

Last night, the U.S. attacked Truk. Found 45 naval and other vessels in that harbor. 700 of our planes went into bomb it. No news as yet on the result.4

When we get into action, it will probably be Rabaul until it is knocked out. After that? Perhaps to China?

Tomorrow is a short day as far as classes are concerned so I’m going to write Bonnie again. Should tonight but not quite enough time. And I don’t think the last letter I wrote (yesterday) has left the islands as yet. Still have to get that haircut before the nickname “mad dog” sticks to me. It’s terribly hot; but we haven’t seen anything yet, I’m told. About time for the mosquitoes to come out so I’d better begin to protect myself. We were able to buy a large can of grapefruit and tomato juice today. Fifty men were at the PX5 ten seconds after it went on sale.

Notes & Commentary

1 The P-70 was a night fighter version of the A-20 bomber. See http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=2220.

2 “Tony” was the Allied designation of the Kawasaki Ki-61 Hien (“Swallow”) fighter. See http://pwencycl.kgbudge.com/K/i/Ki-61_Tony.htm.

3 Whistling in Brooklyn, starring Red Skelton, Ann Rutherford, Jean Rodgers and Rags Ragland, was released in December 1943. See http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0036533/?ref_=ttfc_fc_tt.

4 Operation Hailstone was a massive raid on Truk Island. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Hailstone and http://www.cv6.org/1944/truk/.

5 PX, Post Exchange, a commissary on a military base.

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4 Responses to February 19, 1944

  1. gpcox says:

    Fantastic memories.


    • a gray says:

      They are fantastic memories, and by reading the entries he made in his journal and following the links in the “Notes & Commentary” section, they become your memories. When Wayne notes that he heard a song, I search for a sample of the song and post a link to it. When he mentions he saw a certain movie, I search for information on the movie and post a link to it. One of the best examples of this is his journal entry for May 20, 1944. He mentions the songs “I Love You” and “Long Ago and Far Away”. The “Notes & Commentary” sections provides links that take the reader to a Jo Stafford version of “I Love You” and to a movie clip of Rita Hayworth and Gene Kelly singing “Long Ago and Far Away” in the movie Cover Girl. The act of listening to them makes them the reader’s memories. The same is true of “G. I. Journal” and “Zero Hour”. Everybody with an interest in WW II in the Pacific knows about Tokyo Rose, but how many know that her radio program was called the “Zero Hour”? ….. and how many have ever heard it as Wayne would have heard it in 1944? Yes, fantastic memories that we are sharing from 70 years ago.

      Liked by 1 person

      • gpcox says:

        Thanks for telling me all this. Being new to your site, I’ve just been trying to read the posts in order. I’ll keep that in mind and yes, I agree. I often get bogged down with statistics and everyone is relieved when I post an eye-witness story – it not only breaks up the monotony of retelling the war, but it makes it more personal, like my father’s letters.

        Liked by 1 person

      • a gray says:

        I think that many readers mistake the link entries in the “Notes & Commentary” section for footnotes. They are far from that. For example, the links in the “Notes & Commentary” section of the March 15 entry of the Journal lead to some very significant documents related to the Japanese treatment of prisoners of way, especially the treatment of Allied airmen. Too many people believe the war is the Pacific was similar to that of the war in Europe. It wasn’t. Follow the links.


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