Rumors are spreading like wildfire. Our naval forces hit Saipan1 with carriers and task force ships. Troops have landed there. The situation is progressing. Another task force hit Bonin Islands2, 600 miles from Tokyo. B-29 bombers, in a long heralded appearance, bombed Japan proper a few days before this.3 Invasion is proceeding according to schedule.
We await further news. Will we be shipped to New Guinea or to Saipan? The rumor here is that we’ll go to Sydney for a rest and then to a new area.
The day was spent in the sack and writing letters home.
Notes & Commentary
1 The U.S. launched the invasion of Saipan in the Mariana Islands on June 15, 1944. Battle of Saipan. A&E Networks. History.com (http://www.history.com/topics/world-war-ii/battle-of-saipan : accessed 17 June 2014). See also The Battle of Saipan. (http://navysite.de/ships/lha2about.htm : accessed 17 June 2014).
2 The Bonin Island are approximately 150 miles north of Iwo Jima. The Chichi-jima, the largest of the islands, was the site of Japanese radio relay and surveillance sites. As with Rabaul, the Bonin’s were not invaded but were subjected to frequent air raids. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chichi-jima. George W. H. Bush was shot down on September 2, 1944 during one such raid.
3 On the night of June 15/16, 1944, the Imperial Iron and Steel Works at Yawata in northern Kyūshū were attacked by 75 B-29s. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_raids_on_Japan. These 20th Air Force B-29s flew from bases near Chengdu, China. By the fall of 1944, the B-29s were flying from bases on Saipan, Tinian, and Guam. For personal stories related to B-29 raids over Japan, see War Tales (http://donmooreswartales.com/tag/b-29-superfortress/ : accessed 17 June 2014).