May 30, 1944

Tuesday — Decoration Day1

This has been about six pretty normal days, and yet very busy ones. Pulled missions on 27th2, 28th3 and 29th4.

The 25th and 26th were days of rest. We were able to get half a dozen Oh Henry candy bars5 which were certainly enjoyed by all the boys. Did another washing and near wore myself out at that.

The missions weren’t too rough.

Haven’t written in my book for several days having so many letters to write. Am caught up, finally. Received letters from Mom, Tommy, and Bonnie and Guyneth. Bonnie’s letters are so swell and truly a staff to lean upon. They actually keep me living and infuse me with joy and therefore happiness. I’ve the most wonderful wife in the whole world. Have written Bonnie everyday and feel release from everything about me when I’m thinking and writing to her.

We’ve been able to get a lot of orange and grapefruit juice lately, and I feel like an orange tank at this moment.

After pulling three missions in a row, I was worn out, and today being a day of rest I took advantage of it and napped intermittently all morning. In the afternoon, wrote Bonnie and Bonnie’s mom.

Went to see the show Miracle of Morgan’s Creek6 tonight and it was very good. Got my Bible lesson and now it’s bedtime, so I’ll say goodnight a little early because I’m very tired. Goodnight all! I do love you, baby doll.

Notes & Commentary

1 Few people know the significance of Decoration Day. Originally a day on which the graves of Civil War soldiers and later those of all soldiers were decorated with flowers, Decoration Day was observed each year on May 30. After World War II, it became more widely known as Memorial Day, a name established by Federal law in 1967. In order to create three-day weekends, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act in 1968, which took effect in 1971 and changed the holiday its traditional date of May 30 to the last Monday in May. Public Law 90-363.

2 On May 27, 12 B-25s from the 75th Bombardment Squadron bombed the antiaircraft guns on Hospital Ridge east of Rabaul town. One small building was set afire otherwise only bomb smoke was observed. This was part of a larger medium altitude-bombing mission that also included 12 B-25s from the 70th Bombardment Squadron. Smoke from bombs dropped by other aircraft prior to the B-25 attack obscured the target area.

Historical Report for month of May, 1944. 75th Bombardment Squadron (M). Office of the Intelligence Officer, 31 May 1944, microfilm A0565, Maxwell AFB, AL: Air Force Historical Research Agency, 1973, frame 716. Also see, Periodic Activities Summary, 1 May 1944 – 31 May 1944. Headquarters 42nd Bombardment Group (M), 1 June 1944, microfilm B0131, Maxwell AFB, AL: Air Force Historical Research Agency, 1973, frame 1621.

3 On May 28, 23 B-25s bombed the coral runway of Lakunai airfield from medium altitude. Other than one fire, only bomb smoke was observed. The 12 B-25s from the 75th Bombardment Squadron were joined in this attack by 11 B-25s from the 70th Bombardment Squadron. Altogether 138 250-lb bombs were dropped on the runway and revetment areas. One bomb set off a fire, probably in a fuel supply area, which sent black smoke up above 500 feet.

Historical Report for month of May, 1944. 75th Bombardment Squadron (M). Office of the Intelligence Officer, 31 May 1944, microfilm A0565, Maxwell AFB, AL: Air Force Historical Research Agency, 1973, frame 716. Also see, Periodic Activities Summary, 1 May 1944 – 31 May 1944. Headquarters 42nd Bombardment Group (M), 1 June 1944, microfilm B0131, Maxwell AFB, AL: Air Force Historical Research Agency, 1973, frame 1621.

4 The Nordup supply Area was bombed by 24 B-25s on May 29. Four small fires were started in the target area. The 75th Bombardment Squadron’s 12 B-25s were joined by 12 B-25s from the 69th Bombardment Squadron in this early morning medium altitude attack. The target was a supply and personnel area near Nordup village east of Rabaul. Despite a lack of landmarks to guide the bombers and a thick ground haze, strike photographs revealed that 50% of the mission’s bombs fell within a 3,000’ X 500’ target area. Numerous small fires were started and one explosion touched off a series of recurring explosions.

Historical Report for month of May, 1944. 75th Bombardment Squadron (M). Office of the Intelligence Officer, 31 May 1944, microfilm A0565, Maxwell AFB, AL: Air Force Historical Research Agency, 1973, frame 716. Also see Periodic Activities Summary, 1 May 1944 – 31 May 1944. Headquarters 42nd Bombardment Group (M), 1 June 1944, microfilm B0131, Maxwell AFB, AL: Air Force Historical Research Agency, 1973, frame 1621.

5 That they were able to get six Oh Henry candy bars meant that each member of the aircrew were able to have their own candy bar. Oh Henry candy barswere introduced by the Williamson Candy Company of Chicago in 1920. They are still available. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oh_Henry!.

6 The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek is the story of a girl who wakes up married and pregnant with no memory of her husband’s identity after an all-night party for the troops. The movie starred Betty Hutton and Diana Lynn. It was released in January 1944 by Paramount Pictures.

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One Response to May 30, 1944

  1. Pierre Lagacé says:

    I have decided to read your blog backwards… This way I won’t miss anything. I also read the notes. Now each time I want a snack… it’s an Oh Henry chocolate bar.

    Like

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