June 2, 1944

Friday

Composed a poem along Bougainville this morning on the way to hit Nordup1 supply area on New Britain

The ocean hems it in
The mountains top it off
Mount Bagana is its sin
Roiling volcano smoke aloft

The ocean is like the desert
Flashing mirages in the sky
The mountains are like dessert
Topping a blue, blueberry pie.

This is bloody Bougainville
An ugly blot on the horizon
And yet it is disdainful
As Bagana pours forth its spoilage

It seems to say, “Come hither,
I am only deceptive from afar
Herein, find peace that I deliver
Even though the horizon I mar.”

Yes, Bougainville, you have allure,
But your death is not for me
I know how men have died there,
Many white crosses do betray thee.

Graves attest your deceptiveness
Silent and empty, your villages,
Monuments to your unrest
My soul thou shalt not pillage.

The mission this morning was very tiring for me. Can realize that combat fatigue is upon me. It will be good to get a rest, and we should have one beginning June 18th. This one made the 17th; am hoping to have 20 before leaving here, but doubt we will. Had a few thoughts yesterday which I neglected to put down so here they are.

Notes & Commentary

1 The 69th and 75th Squadrons each provided 12 B-25s for an attack on the Nordup Supply Area, New Britain. Each aircraft carried a dozen 100 lb. general purpose bombs. The mission aircraft departed Stirling Island between 0821 and 0843L and flew to Cape Narun north of Duke of York Island where they turned directly to the target. The mission’s 288 bombs were released upon the Nordup Supply Area at approximately 1015L. The mission retired from the target through St. Georges Channel and flew directly to base where it recovered between 1205 and 1322L. The mission’s results were indeterminate. Only bomb smoke was observed in the target area.

Consolidated Mission Report #42-438, 2 June 1944 Headquarters 42nd Bombardment Group (M), 2 June 1944, microfilm B0131, Maxwell AFB, AL: Air Force Historical Research Agency, 1973, frames 1670-1671.

2 Bagana is 5,741 ft. high stratovolcano located in the Emperor Range of central Bougainville. Bagana, one of the most active volcanos in the world, has been “… in near continuous activity since the earliest records from the 18th century.” See http://www.volcanodiscovery.com/bagana.html.

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