Flew a combat mission on the 7th hitting Utarum Airdrome with 24 five hundred pounders. 100% hits. Six hours 10 minutes flying time.1 Knees really took a beating kneeling at the rear gun mount for so long a time. Utarum is an air base on the west side of New Guinea.
Letters have come from Bonnie through Johnson. Nice to get mail that is fairly recent for a change. Am awfully worried about those tonsils of hers. She’s lost four lbs, and I believe they caused it. Hope she will decide to have them out immediately. Am expressing my wishes to her today.
The happenings of the past days have been rather wiped out of my mind by the accident that happened yesterday. Two of our planes which went into Noemfoor Island for refueling purposes cracked up.2 One landed blew a tire and cracked up, the other landed on top of it.3 Results are vague as yet. Ten men are supposed to be in the hospital with serious injuries. Rumor has it that three men are all right. The others badly hurt. We’re eagerly awaiting verification of the crackup. Three of my pals are on that ship. Cathers4, Schreibmann5, and Beauregard6 (Frenchy).
The news still is progressing. Bombings out here mostly. The boys are still moving in on Germany. Our troops landed in the Adriatic sector a week ago with the intention of driving to meet the Russian column in Rumania in order to cut the German retreat from southern Balkans. Russia is at the Greek border. Bulgaria declared war on Germany.
Hot as hades today. It is rumored that we’ll soon be sent to Sansapor. More heat there including thirteen foot snakes, kangaroos and loads of scrub typhus.7 Hell of a war, isn’t it?
Notes & Commentary
1 Six aircraft of the 100th Bombardment Squadron participated in a mission against Utarom Airfield on 7 September 1944. Utarom Airfield was also known as Urarom Airfield and Kaimana Airfield. This was one of the last operational Japanese airfields in New Guinea by mid-1944.
“Kaimana Airfield (Utarom, Urarom) Irian Jaya Indonesia” PacificWrecks.com. (http://www.pacificwrecks.com/airfields/indonesia/kaimana/index.html : accessed 4 September 2014).
On 7 September, the mission aircraft took off at 0727-0730 and recovered between 1313-1330. At least 95% of the bombs landed on the runway. Two bombs hit personnel areas east of the runway and just short of the intersection of the runways. The six B-25s attacked the Utarom runway from 8000 feet. The attack formation was composed of two three plane elements. One plane, number 488, made a second run and was successful in getting his bombs on the runway. 24 500 lb. general purpose bombs were dropped. No ammunition was expended.
Historical Records and Histories of Organization. Office of the Commanding Officer, 100th Bombardment Squadron (M), 1 October 1944, microfilm A0576, Maxwell AFB, AL: Air Force Historical Research Agency, 1972, frame 1081.
2 On 9 September 1944, six B-25s from the 100th Bombardment Squad participated in a mission against the runway at Babo. Running low on fuel, two B-25s, numbered 841 and 611, landed at Noemfoor Island to refuel.
3 Denver B. Northrup witnessed the crash and reported as follows:
I was with 487th AntiAircraft Artillery Bn. We had quad 50 and 40mm. No big guns. One time, the B24’s and B25’s had a long mission north, it was raining really bad. Some of the B25’s were directed to land at our airfield because of the “low on fuel” and stack up at the bomber airfield. One B25 landed . . . blew a tire and ended up sideways on the landing strip . . . rain was so bad that the next bomber to land T-boned the first.
“Noemfoor (Noemfoer, Noemfor), Irian Jaya, Indonesia.” PacificWrecks.com (http://www.pacificwrecks.com/provinces/irian_noemfor.html : accessed 03 September 2014) Statement by Denver B. Northrup.
4 Horace J. Cathers, Jr.
5 Stanley Schriebman
6 Emil J. Beauregard
7 New Guinea is home to a kangaroo which inhabits the trees of the tropical rainforest. Tree-kangaroo subsist on leaves and fruits. Unlike “thirteen foot snakes” and scrub typhus, tree kangaroos are not a threat to man.
“Tree-kangaroo.” Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tree-kangaroo : accessed 8 September 2014).
I don’t know if I’m repeating this. I started writing and moved to another part of the blog. Anyway, On 9 September I was 8 days short of my first birthday and Wayne’s Journal is getting to be quite personal. Through it we can all live a bit of the story. I am glad you are doing this.
Wayne was an air crewman in the South Pacific, but he was part of a web of family and friends. His experiences are location specific, but I don’t think his concerns and feelings a too different from those experienced by others. When read from the beginning, Wayne’s Journal becomes a tale of journey from idealistic naïveté to a realization that that no one wants to know. Hollandia has been an interlude of peace for Wayne, as that time has been for his family in the States. All that is soon to change as the war grinds inexorably on and changes lives.
Your uncle did not mention AA during his bombing run at 8,000′. I doubt there wasn’t any; it’s no fun being shot at. You also have footnoted the three crew member friends of his but only see their names below. Does your uncle write of their fates?