Today was rather strenuous. We built two clotheslines and worked all day on washstands and so forth. For one water container, we swiped a 200 gallon P-47 belly tank from the Jap junk yard. Removed a spigot from our water tank and swapped it for a ¾” inch plug from the bottom belly tank. Hauled some scrap lumber from the Army sawmill down the road. Interesting arrangement.
We drew some necessities from the mess hall. Half a dozen bars of tropical chocolate, carton of cigarettes, toothpaste, soap, etc., all free.
Carl Snyder developed the pictures we took the other day. Not much good, too small. Inanimate objects were all OK. A few crash pictures, a couple of a new Jap Oscar. A couple taken of the boys in the shower, nearly indiscernible.
Johnson and Burke came over in the evening and we indulged in a good long bull session. Columbia old times, you know. Quite interesting. They are coming after me tomorrow night for to see the picture show at the 3rd Attack Group theater and to soak up their ration of beer. Just one trouble, the beer will be hot instead of cold.
They told me of the many crashes of A-20s in their outfits. Also of some of the characters over there.
One called Two Gun Brown. (Wears two guns in shoulder holsters). A flying fool who took a plane up to 10,000 feet feathered his two engines. When he got back to his base, he said it wouldn’t fly without power.1 One major in the outfit will ground any man who buzzes the control [tower] for a week yet takes off and blows the roof from it himself. Strictly nuts I hear.
After the two boys went home, Snow, a fellow from Denver and I went to the squadron up the hill, drank a cup of coffee and listened to the news. Snow is about as pure a man as I’ve ever known. Darn nice fellow very religious and quite straight laced. Quite interesting to talk to. And so to bed!
Notes & Commentary
1 A friend of Two Gun Brown sent the following just prior to the publication of the entry for August 14, 1944:
“A flying fool who took a plane up to 10,000 feet feathered his two engines. When he got back to his base, he said it wouldn’t fly without power. “
Believe me when I say that just a minor blip on the life and times of my good friend and dad’s favorite pilot James L. “Two Gun” Brown.
Jim was probably one of the most skilled A-20 pilots in the SWPA. Crazy but good! He completed over 100 missions as a co-pilot on B-25s and as a pilot on A-20s. If you ever read about Black Sunday in the SWPA, Jim was one that got himself and my dad back to base under some of the worst weather that the 5th ever ran into.
His A-20 was named, “BUB’S BROTHER”, after his brother who was killed at Anzio.
I consider myself fortunate to have known Jim and to have him call me a friend. Sure do miss his smile and character! Bill
The 5th Air Force suffered its greatest single one-day operational loss on 16 April 1944 when 46 aircraft, P-28s, B-25s, A-20s and B-24s, were lost due to a massive tropical weather front. They were part of a 300+ armada of bombers and fighters sent to attack the Hollandia airfields in preparation for a landing in the area. The 5th Air Force aircraft were returning to their respective bases when they ran into the weather wall. “It is believed to be the biggest single-weather-related loss in aviation history.” ‘Black Sunday’ as tropical storm hits US 5th Air Force. (http://ww2today.com/16-april-1944-black-sunday-as-tropical-storm-hits-us-5th-air-force : accessed 13 August 2014.)
The 42nd Bombardment Group, 75th Bombardment Squadron lost a B-25 to a similar weather situation on 05 June 1944. Wayne’s Journal. (https://waynes-journal.com/2014/06/04/june-5-1944/).