February 23, 1944

Wednesday

Another day added to the grim, dim memories of the past.

Finished our armament training and began communications. Otherwise life goes on as usual, in a rut. This cold of mine is taking the zest and the will to accomplish from me. Classes today, as a result were dull and unending. A tropical cold, I’ve come to the conclusion is worse than any other. Well, tomorrow, I’ll feel much better, I hope. Ray Milland is giving a show across the river today; but I’m too weak to transverse that swinging bridge. Ha!

Hope to see a show tonight. There was none last evening. The nights are too damn long and dull.

I had a big fuss with Russell and Seehorn tonight. We were harmlessly kidding each other about the old question of whether married or single life is the best. They insinuated that my wife married me for my insurance.1 Of course, I called them on that damn quick. Not a word have they spoken to me since. If that’s the way they feel the hell with them. Love me love my wife, or fight. Probably would have made a poor fight of it, am so weak, the sun threatens to knock me cold.

We were a party to the same old threat this afternoon. A captain came along and didn’t like the cleanliness of our area. Made us police the area, and threatened the lot of us with court martial. Ha! What a joke, as if those on Guadalcanal would give a damn. Very poor morale here. All the boys here feel as though we’re being screwed by the 5th and 7th Air Force. McArthur’s pets. No grounds for that accusation, of course. Mac’s doing a great job down here.

Captain Hardy our Intelligence officer can teach me in his classes anytime he cares to. He can make things plainer and more interesting than any army man I ever knew.

B-24s stationed here, bombed Rabaul, Lukunai and Tobera airdromes yesterday and day before also struck a Jap convoy leaving Rabaul and sank nine ships.2 MacArthur hints that they were beginning a withdrawal of Rabaul. I think that it’s a lot of bull. We shall see in the near future.

The Jap premier, Tojo kicked out his three cabinet members who commanded Navy and Army staffs.3 Aha! Another Hitler, Ha! He will either quit or commit big Hari Kari, though I doubt he has the guts to do so. His former staff hasn’t as yet. Maybe this is a sign of weakness on Japan’s so called strength? Time alone will tell.

It’s a beautiful night. Signs of rain abound and it’s been terribly sultry all day.

P-38s conducted a practice dog fight overhead today. They’re terrifically fast.

Boy do I miss the states and all they entail. Goodnight!

Notes & Commentary:

1 Servicemen could provide their beneficiaries with up to $10,000 in life insurance in the event of their death. In some quarters it was not an infrequent insinuation that some women married soldiers for their benefits. The wife of a Staff Sergeant serving overseas, as Wayne was, could expect to receive a minimum of $1,538 annually. In 1944, 60% of all single persons in the United States had comparable or smaller incomes. While Wayne was overseas, Bonnie continued to work at Columbia Air Base, where they met, and to live at home with her parents. “Army-Navy Pay Tops Most Civilians’, Unmarried Private’s Income Equivalent to $3,600 Salary,” Barron’s National Business and Financial Weekly, 24 April 1944, (http://www.usmm.org/barrons.html : accessed 22 February 2014)

2 On Monday, February 21, 15 Thirteenth Air Force B-24s bombed Lakunai Airfield while 20 P-38s joined US Navy (USN) fighters in covering USN dive bomber strikes on Lakunai gun positions. The next day, on Tuesday, February 22, 20 Thirteenth Air Force P-40s and 40+ USN fighters covered 70 USN dive bombers attacking Keravia Bay shipping; while 40+ B-24s, with fighter escorts, bombed Lakunai and Keravat Airfields. See: http://www.pacificwrecks.com/60th/1944/2-44.html.

3 “. . . the Emperor was inclined to blame Sugiyama and the Navy Minister, Shimada Shigetaro, for the reverses in the fortunes of the war, and the Emperor’s displeasure with Sugiyama gave Tojo the wedge he needed to remove Sugiyama as Army Chief of Staff. Tojo then appointed himself to this position, on 20 February 1944 . . . It left Tojo with no one else to blame for the increasingly unfavorable course the war was taking.” See: http://pwencycl.kgbudge.com/T/o/Tojo_Hideki.htm.

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3 Responses to February 23, 1944

  1. Pierre Lagacé says:

    Interesting entry…

    We were a party to the same old threat this afternoon. A captain came along and didn’t like the cleanliness of our area. Made us police the area, and threatened the lot of us with court martial. Ha! What a joke, as if those on Guadalcanal would give a damn. Very poor morale here. All the boys here feel as though we’re being screwed by the 5th and 7th Air Force. McArthur’s pets. No grounds for that accusation, of course. Mac’s doing a great job down here.

    Like

    • a gray says:

      I think the 5th and 7th Air Forces received more publicity.

      Like

      • Pierre Lagacé says:

        I will read the February entries today.
        You don’t have to comment on every commen I make.
        But then this is a free country…
        I really like your blog.
        I read it like I am watching a movie.
        A real one…

        Like

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