March 26, 1944

Sunday

Well, baby, yesterday dawned bright and early. Went out skeet shooting1 in the a.m. and made the poorest score I’ve ever made, 6 out of a possible 25. I’m blushing for shame.

Flew up to the Russell Islands yesterday afternoon to deliver a new ship. We picked up about a dozen coconuts and removed their husks. Loaded them in the rear end of our plane. We picked up the delivering pilot and navigator, and brought them back to Guad. They slyly opened our nuts and drank all the milk out of them. Russell really blew his top when he discovered it.

The Russells were extremely beautiful Islands, masses of coconut trees in orderly rows. The jungle is well cleared out around the camp and it’s much cooler than at Guadalcanal though it’s just as hour’s flight from here, via B-25. Looks to be a wonderful honeymoon spot, if you go for palm trees and big island moons. On our way back, we counted 17 warships in Guad’s harbor. Hope the Japs get a taste of the medicine those boys can put out. Serve them right!

So we came back and had a coconut feast. Last night, Northern Pursuit2 was the picture show. Left after it just begun and wrote you a letter, Bonnie. We’d seen the picture before but I’d rather have written you than to sit through it again! Flew 566 for 3 hours Saturday.

We kicked our way out of bed at 4:00 am this morning, took off and flew 566 for 5½ hours. Went over Tulagi3 and saw a mess of naval craft. It was beautiful up above today the waters below were multicolored and gorgeous. The sky was clear blue. Lots of Navy planes on Henderson Field all painted blue, as ours are painted an Army O.D. green. They should all be blue, I think. Most of our work entails crossing great distances of water.

A new boil has appeared right below my right elbow, larger than the others and twice as miserable. Can’t write very well; but can’t do that anyhow.

Well the blow has fallen. Tomorrow we move up to the Russells. Probably will take another plane and go on to Stirling; and then, magical word, “combat”.4

Bonnie if you don’t hear from me for a few day’s it’s because we may be changing addresses. I won’t get a letter from you for probably a couple of weeks. Am going to miss that more than anything I’ve ever missed.

When inspiration doesn’t come regularly from home, I’m usually in a blue funk, and that’s not kidding in the least. So Bonnie, green eyes, you be good and sweet as always. And remember, dearest, I love you with all my heart. Goodnight Doll Baby!

Notes & Commentary:

1 Aerial gunnery training included skeet shooting. See “Skeet Experience Is Called Big Help to Aerial Gunners”, Milwaukee (Wisconsin) Journal, 5 August 1942, p 2, col 7; digital image, Google.com (http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1499&dat=19420805&id=jTMdAAAAIBAJ&sjid=7CIEAAAAIBAJ&pg=6198,1716925 : accessed 24 March 2014).

If you would understand the role and training of the aerial gunner, a 1943, Army Air Force training film, Flexible Aerial Gunnery: Making a Gunner, is available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ts5gsZy8JH0.

2 A Canadian Mounted Policeman, played by Errol Flynn, thwarts Nazi sabotage in Northern Pursuit released in 1943 by Warner Bros. The movie was directed by Raoul Waslh. See http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0036218/?ref_=ttco_co_tt.

3After its capture, Tulagi became an important US Navy base (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Tulagi_and_Gavutu%E2%80%93Tanambogo). After the war, “Tulagi” was a famous dancehall on the “Ave” near the University of Colorado in Boulder.

4 Tomorrow, March 27, 1944, Wayne and his crew finally move forward into the combat zone. His journal entries become sporadic. He no longer fills the time writing as he has for the past six weeks. If you have not already subscribed to Wayne’s Journal, do it now. As a subscriber, you will receive an email each time an entry is posted. There is no cost to subscribe.

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