March 23, 1944


A good cool morning. The routine task of cleaning the tent all finished.

The daily bulletin told of the Navy taking the Island Mussau1 in the Admiralty chain. Only 600 miles from Truk.2 That’s excellent heavy bombing range. Peace rumors are coming out of Cairo and Ankara. Let’s not stop now, until we’ve wiped the earth of a scourge to mankind.

Read in Life magazine where a “Peace Now”3 movement is going on in the States, backed by a bunch of older ladies and baldheaded men. Let them keep their noses to the grindstone of production, and please, God, let us finish this tyranny for once and for all, unconditionally and incontrovertibly!

Two F6Fs4 are engaging two P-38s5 in a mock dogfight. They out climb, out dive, out maneuver and out speed the 38s. That is a fighting aircraft!

We fly at 12:00 noon today. Au revoir, until then!

Our battleships made their first appearance in the Bismarck Sea this a.m. and dropped a thousand tons of shells on Kavieng on New Ireland.6 Demolished the place from all reports. Only a forerunner to future activities.

An Easter card I sent Bonnie contained the following verse, which I authored:

I see you gracefully walking,
In your Easter Finery arrayed.
My heart goes a wandering,
Down a colorful promenade.

Straight and Sweet you are
Yes! Loving and beautiful, too.
Bonnie? Do you wonder if I care?
Love you baby, bless you I do!

Many Easters may come and go.
Score upon score, one after another
My love for you, you may always know,
Is thrilling my soul! Always! Forever!

The day ended with the blast of 90-millimeter anti-aircraft guns, a flash of flame and a dull puff high in the sky.

The picture show was attended and the rains came beating on the theatre’s canvas top until the sound was blotted out. The picture a person sees looks disconnected without voice. Without voice, this picture was particularly lousy. Producers, now days, ought to see their pictures without sound the tracks. Very soon, they’d quit making mediocre and uninteresting insults to ones eyesight and intelligence.

So, in the middle of the movie, I went back to my tent, stripped to the barest naturalness and took a refreshing rain shower. As I stood there I thought of the primitive man, who must have bared his chest to the cleansing and raised his eyes to heaven, even as I. His thoughts must have been much as mine, a wild exhilaration and his mood as mine, one of beating the breast, and challenging the rain to come harder, the lightening to split the sky in jagged forks. The will of the beast to conquer the down pouring of the heavens. Then I went quietly to bed!

Notes & Commentary:

1 Massau Island was occupied by the Japanese from 1942 to early 1944 when they withdrew and left behind Korean and Chinese “comfort” women. See

2 Operation Hailstone in February 1944,, marked the first strike against Truk. That carrier-based attack could now be continued by land-based aircraft.

3 “Peace Now” was a pacifist movement opposing Allied demands for unconditional surrender. See

4 Grumman F6F Hellcat. See

5 Lockheed P-38 Lightning. See

6 Kavieng, the site of murders of Western civilians (, was bypassed by Allied forces after Allied invasion plans were cancelled in March 1944. Nonetheless, it was heavily bombarded to eliminate any potential threat. See

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3 Responses to March 23, 1944

  1. Pierre Lagacé says:

    Tells a lot about the F6F…

    Two F6Fs4 are engaging two P-38s5 in a mock dogfight. They out climb, out dive, out maneuver and out speed the 38s. That is a fighting aircraft!


  2. Lloyd Marken says:

    He’s a poet too. Was the ack-ack fire for training purposes?


    • a gray says:

      Yes, Wayne wrote poetry on occasion. The “blast of 90-millimeter anti-aircraft guns” appears to have signaled the end of the “work” day. I don’t know if it was considered a signal or considered training.

      Liked by 1 person

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