July 7, 1944

Friday

Same old monotonous routine with drill every afternoon for 1/2 hour. Now are required to wear gas masks for drill period.

Still rumors of a movement for our Group, New Guinea or Marianas. Saipan, I hope. Would like to get in few licks at Tokyo when we get close enough to it. Prefer taking Japan proper before going into the Philippine Islands, even though fighting for our own territory has an added zest for me. Teach those yellow lousy Nips a thing or two.

We’re assigned to a ship, No. 469.1 New “H” pilot named it “Sweaten It out”. But it will be the “Bonnie Louise” to me, regardless of the printed name. The design is cute. A sort of goofy dwarf with pilot’s accoutrements rolling his eyes towards the skies. l lave worked hard getting it into shape. No rest for the wicked. (Hope I’m not wicked.)

We flew a mission the other day.2 Second time, Russell, Seahorn and myself have been on a mission together. Not too good an average for 22 missions. Believe it or not, not one burst of flak greeted us on that sortie and they tell me the Japs are out of ammunition. I wonder.

Saw a couple of shows this week. The Invaders3, White Savage4, Yanks Ahoy5, His Butlers Sister6. Not a bad collection. Heard “Joe Fasano’s Heptet” play last night. Joe used to play with name band Artie Shaw7 or Jack Teagarden8, I believe. A marvelous player second only to Joe Vermit himself in the opinion of many experts. The violin actually sings and that’s no kidding.

Received two letters from Bonnie which were surely welcome after days of no news. Answered the letters. That girl surely keeps my morale brimming over when everything else goes wrong.

Sent my watch to the watch repairer over here for fixing. He couldn’t get the back off. Tried to remove it by soaking in oil. Never was able to remove it. The oil must have done the trick, because it’s working now. Hope it continues. Maybe that’s all it needed.

The Group was alerted for a move yesterday at 9:15 am. Maybe we’ll leave soon. We go to the Russell Islands for a rest tomorrow. Maybe we’ll get to see Sydney, but I’ve my doubts. We shall soon see.

Our invasion forces on Saipan are still progressing. Cherbourg is finally ours. Invasion of Europe progressing per plan. Russian’s took Minsk. Forty five miles in two days. 100 miles from East Prussia now. Hooray. Those people have my deepest admiration. They are renowned fighters!

Purchased two $50 war bonds9 and sent them to Bonnie this week. She’s my princess. Now and evermore!

That’s about all for this period of time. Bye bye baby!

Notes & Commentary

1 “No. 469.” B-25H serial numbers 43-4469.

2 “We flew a mission the other day.” Wayne flew his last mission in the Solomon Islands campaign on 6 July 1944 in B-25H #469 piloted by Lt. Stoneseifer. The mission consisted of eight B-25H and four B-25D aircraft with the aircraft flying in two six-plane sections. The B-25s in Wayne’s section of the formation were led by Captain Wolfendale in B-25D #301.

The target was an antiaircraft position, designated AA Target “J”, west of Tobera Air Field. Their bomb load was six 500 lb. general-purpose bombs. All nose guns were supplied with 100 rounds of ammunition with a full load carried for all other guns.

The 12-plane formation took off from Stirling Island over a five-minute period 0830L and 0835L. About 90 minutes into the mission, the formation encountered a front extending NE-SW about 80 miles from Cape St. George on the southern tip of New Ireland Island. Another large front was observed over the southern tip of Bougainville Island. After attempting to penetrate the front, which had a base of 1,000 ft. and tops to 15,000 ft., the formation returned to Stirling Island.

Flying into a similar front on 5 June resulted in the loss of a B-25 piloted Lt. Howard Myers and his crew. Despite searches by multiple planes by the squadron, no trace of the plane or its crew was ever found. See https://waynes-journal.com/2014/06/04/june-5-1944/.

The formation, with a full bomb load, recovered at Stirling Island from 1127L to 1138L.

Final Mission Report No. 76. 100th Bombardment Squadron, Office of the Intelligence Officer. 6 July 1944. microfilm B0576, Maxwell AFB, AL: Air Force Historical Research Agency, 1973, frames 1023 – 1025

Cape St. George was the scene of a night battle between five Japanese destroyers and six U.S. destroyers under Captain Arleigh Burke on 1 November 1943. Three of the Japanese destroyers were sunk and a fourth severely damaged. There were no U.S. casualties; the Japanese lost 647 killed.

Battle of Cape St. George. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Cape_St._George : accessed 28 July 2014).

3 No contemporary movie having the title The Invaders could be found. Wayne’s reference may be to The Night Invader starring Anne Crawford, David Farrar and Carl Jaffe. Released by Warner Brothers in 1943, it is the story of an English agent who parachutes into Holland to capture some important papers. Herbert Mason director. The Night Invader. imdb.com (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0036201/?ref_=fn_tt_tt_89 : accessed 28 June 2014).

4Universal Pictures released White Savage in 1943. Starring Maria Montez, Jon Hall, Sabu and Turhan Bey, it is a story of a shark hunter who falls in love with the beautiful ruler of a tropical island. The film location is unknown; however, it was most likely filmed at Universal Picture’s studios in Southern California. Director Arthur Lublin. White Savage. imdb.com (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0036534/?ref_=ttco_co_tt : accessed 28 June 2014)

After living on Guadalcanal, the Russell Islands, and Stirling Island in tents and Quonset huts; I wonder how the troops accepted the romantic images of the tropics as portrayed by such movies as White Savage.

5 Yanks Ahoy, starring William Tracy, Joe Sawyer, and Marjorie Woodworth was release by United Artists in 1943. Its storyline is “Sergeants flirt with a nurse aboard a ship and go fishing for a Japanese sub.” Kurt Neumann, director. Yanks Ahoy. imdb.com (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0036548/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1 : accessed 28 June 2014).

6 The Oscar-nominated (for sound recording) movie His Butler’s Sister was released by Universal Pictures in 1943. Starring Deana Durbin, Fanchot Tone and Pat O’Brien, its storyline was “young girl visits New York to see her half-brother and to start a musical career.” Directed by Frank Borzage. His Butler’s Sister. imdb.com (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0036001/?ref_=ttco_co_tt : accessed 28 June 2014)

7 Artie Shaw was a composer, clarinetist and bandleader. Artie Shaw (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artie_Shaw : accessed 28 June 2014) For an Artie Shaw rendition of “Star dust” see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1OixqPThDNE : accessed 28 June 2014).

8 Jack Teagarden was a trombonist, composer, vocalist and bandleader. Jack Teagarden “King of the Blues Trombone” (http://www.jackteagarden.info/ : accessed 28 June 2014).

9 The 42nd Bombardment Group was participating in a War Bond campaign which may have occasioned Wayne’s purchase of these War Bonds.

“In the recent War Bond drive conducted in this area during June and July this Group believes it has a good reason to be proud of its response. A total maturity value of over $80,000.00 has been subscribed for the 2,300 members of this group. This is approximately $35.00 per capita, and this group believes this a better record than any other unit of comparable size in this theater. The headquarters section of this group responded to the drive with 100% of its strength buying bonds. This is all in addition to the regular War Bod allotments made by the personnel before leaving the states.”

42nd Bomb Group Historical Report for July 1944. Headquarters 42nd Bombardment Group (M), 30 August 1944, microfilm B0131, Maxwell AFB, AL: Air Force Historical Research Agency, 1973, frame 1809.

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One Response to July 7, 1944

  1. Pierre Lagacé says:

    I never miss a post. Always read all including comments.

    Like

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