May 5, 1944


Briefing at 6:45 a.m. On the line at 7:30 a.m. Took off at 8:00 a.m. Hit coast guns at Buka1 which were knocking off our PT boats. Returned to base at 11:00 a.m. Had regular 2 oz. shot of bourbon, ate dinner and washed out some clothes. Am now sweating out pistol inspection at 16.00 o’clock and water to be put in water tank so we can take a shower. Can’t write worth a darn. Hope this can be read after the war.

Today is a beautiful day. It hasn’t rained as yet, for a wonderful change. Must write Bonnie and Tommy letters this afternoon. She’s the nicest wife in the large world.

Notes & Commentary

1 On May 5, Japanese coastal defense guns at Buka on Buka Island were bombed by 24 B-25s while P-39s attacked Japanese installations on Buka and Bougainville Islands. “Friday, 5 May 1944, South Pacific Area (Thirteenth Air Force)”, Combat Chronology of the US Army Air Forces May 1944. database ( : accessed 04 May 1944)

Buka Island is about 175 airline miles northwest of the Stirling Island airfield from which Wayne is flying. That would take the aircraft directly over a portion of Bougainville still occupied by Japanese forces. It is likely the bombing formation flew a longer, over-water route to avoid antiaircraft artillery fire over Bougainville and to surprise the target.

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6 Responses to May 5, 1944

  1. Jim Hooper says:

    I tend to overlook the roll P-39s played in the pacific; instead, viewing them as more of a Lend Lease platform. The following link provides a short overview of the P-39:

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pierre Lagacé says:

    Could P-39 be a typo?

    SOUTH PACIFIC AREA (SOPAC, Thirteenth Air Force): On New Britain Island,
    Bismarck Archipelago, 24 B-24s over the Borpop area attack coastal guns;
    40+ fighter-bombers and 30 USN dive bombers pound Vunakambi Plantation. 38
    P-39s, flying 18 different missions, hit a variety of targets on SW
    Bougainville Island, Solomon Islands, including missions at Tinputs,
    Koromira and Tsimba, Hongorai River crossing, Numa Numa bridge and huts at
    Aravia and Kunagaupau.


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