Good Gosh! How time flies. It seems only yesterday that I wrote the previous dates in this book.
All the world seems to have been on fire this past month or two. First, came D-Day in France. Then the Russian’s drive on Finland and their push of the Nazis from their country. Then Saipan which fell in a few short weeks. In France today, our men have hurdled Caen and beyond and are fighting against the Nazis, the weather and the banks of Normandy. The Russians are near Warsaw, having taken Lublin on the Vistula River, 142 miles from Germany proper, 62 miles southeast of Warsaw, Poland’s capital. Saipan campaign is over. Guam and Tinian will soon be over.
An attempt has been made on Hitler’s life, and he has delegated greater power to Himmler, Goering and Goebbels, after a near revolt by the German Army, who can see defeat. Optimism pervades the Allied World. In Japan, Tojo has been relieved from duty along with his cabinet. I believe when Germany falls, Japan will sue for peace. We shall see what time brings forth. Maybe I’m wishful thinking again. Hitler will fall between now and October (end), more wishful thinking? I hope it is true!!!
As for us, we returned here1 from Banika Island, on or about July 22nd. We are still promised our trip to Sydney, Australia but are wondering if we’ll get there before moving to our new operational area. That’s the big question at present. Every news broadcast is listened to avidly. Such is the nature of the times.
All our special equipment has been drawn. Some of us will have to go by C-47. I am one of those, as are Russell and Seehorn. Some place we’re going to evidently isn’t divulged to us as yet.
Our rest leave still consists of rest. Haven’t done much work on the plane lately. Have an infected finger which is considerably in the way. Hope it will be OK by the day after tomorrow. Guns must be cleaned and made ready. We’ll need them plenty in the near future.
We have seen a couple of shows. The one most worthwhile was the “Road to Singapore2” (except for the lovely South Sea Islands. Phooey!3) This was seen tonight.
I went down and had my teeth cleaned tonight. It cost two bucks4 and surely worth it. They were awfully dirty. I won’t let them get in such bad shape again.
My morale has been good. Letters from all the family continue to come in. Six recent ones from Bonnie. She broke her toe while swimming at Myrtle Beach5 when a wave knocked her down. Have worried about that quite a bit. She wrote and told me I’d receive the Air Medal. News to me but good.
My mind has been an awful lot on Carolina since leaving there, and it will be as long as Bonnie is there. My love for her grows more each day. We will live again when we’re together once more. Life seems suspended while we’re apart. I’m in love.
Am a good boy lately, getting my Bible lessons each night and believing in the Lord. Belief and faith goes a long way down this way. Without it and the thoughts of loved ones, Stirling Island would be unendurable. With it, it’s at least livable.
My gosh! It’s getting close to bedtime so will close for the time being. Goodnight, baby doll, Love me always!
Notes & Commentary
1 The 100th Bombardment Squadron rotated back to Stirling Island from Banika Island.
2 Road to Singapore, released in 1940, starred Bing Crosby, Dorothy Lamour, Bob Hope, Anthony Quinn and Jerry Colonna. This musical comedy was the first of seven Bing Crosby, Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour “Road” films such as Road to Zanzibar, Road To Morocco and others that proved so popular in succeeding years. Set in the South Pacific, Road to Singapore was actually filmed at the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden and at Paramount Studios in Hollywood. Road to Singapore was released in March 1940. Just 23 months later, Singapore was captured by the Japanese Army.
Road to Singapore. (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0032993/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1 : accessed 24 July 2014).
3 In early April, Wayne wrote “South Pacific nights are famous for their romantic possibilities . . .” (https://waynes-journal.com/2014/04/09/april-9-1944/). The subsequent days of heat, mosquitoes, rats and mud appear to have dampened his enthusiasm. Now he says “Phooey!!!” Romantic notions have fled.
4 I find it curious that Wayne paid $2.00 to have his teeth cleaned. I always understood servicemen received free medical and dental care. Have any of my readers run across other instances where servicemen were charged for dental care? Remember, he paid for this care while assigned to a forward area combat base.
5According the 1940 U.S. Census, the coastal community of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina had a population of 1,597. The community’s small airport, which had opened in 1937, was taken over by the U.S. Army Air Force in 1940. It was expanded subsequently to a full-scale military airfield. The runways were extended and roadways and hardstands constructed. Over 114 buildings were constructed for the base. Originally known as the Myrtle Beach General Bombing and Gunnery Range, the airfield was renamed Myrtle Beach Army Air Field in late 1943.
During 1944 and 1945, activities at Myrtle Beach AAF were expanded into performing coastal patrols over the Atlantic, monitoring for German U-Boat activity, and in the spring of 1945, a rocket testing range was established on the field. In November 1944, a German prisoner of war camp was opened on the base, first near Cane Patch Swash, then on base. Prisoners provided upkeep for the facility.
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myrtle_Beach,_South_Carolina : accessed 24 July 2014) and Myrtle Beach Air Force Base.(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myrtle_Beach_Air_Force_Base : accessed 24 July 2014).
Glad Wayne has started writing again. Reading what is happening around the world though his eyes is fascinating.
My grandfather mentions getting teeth filled at least twice so far in his diary, i assumed he was getting free dental care as it was likely not a high priority when at home, pre-war. I would have thought it was the same for Americans too. (Assuming there was a dentist at the camp)
“The small AAF units needed at least two doctors, a dentist, and about fifteen enlisted medics.” (James S. Nanney. Army Air Forces Medical Services in World War II. [NP]: Air Force History and Museums Program, 1998. p 30). The definition of the term “small” is somewhat elusive. At the time Wayne reports having his teeth cleaned, he was stationed on Stirling Island off Bougainville. Several B-25 squadrons were stationed there along with fighter squadrons and all the supporting ground personnel. At least one New Zealand unit was stationed there also. In this case, the term “small” encompassed several thousand men. Medical and dental service was free; however since Wayne paid to have his teeth cleaned, this must have been something special done on the side by one of the dentists or one of the dental assistants. I’ve discussed this with my dentist, and he finds it very interesting that Wayne would have had his teeth cleaned. According to him, this was not something widely done in those days.