September 10, 1944

Sunday

While lying down today, after reading fifteen chapters of Saint Mark, the following verse came to mind which I’d like to pass to my children when the time comes.

I’ve said it a thousand times or more
When my thoughts turned to evil
The words Jesus said over and over.
Get thee behind me Satan.
Thus do you say; as Jesus said
When evil comes to your mind,
And turn your thoughts to the divine.

Today, besides being Sunday, has been just another day. Went to church this morning and heard a sermon by Chaplain Miller. It was on morality and it certainly struck home to many in the audience. Red faces were observable. It seems the boys sometimes transgress while in Australia on rest leave or with local nurses. Not for me to judge, however.

The stories that I hear do not always come from reliable sources. For instance a good one came down today with a red headed friend of mine. The night before last Jap bombers paid a visit to the strip and dropped 35 bombs on it. Two boys had built a foxhole near the beach. They hurried to it, and were pretty scared. Being under enemy attack is no fun. Just before the bombers arrived, there came into the foxhole a Red Cross nurse girl clad only in brassiere and panties. She said, “I don’t care if you see me like this, I’m scared.” The men were scared enough that they hardly looked at her. Odd what fear will do. These men had been overseas for two years minus a relationship with women. A lot of men might have taken advantage of her in the absence of fear. Maybe the boys are better gentlemen than they have a reputation for being. Who knows? There are a lot of good men overseas, just as there are bad.1

Stan Schriebman returned here today2. In the crash at Noemfoor Island, two men were killed; both swell fellows. Lt. Dellinger and Captain Lawley pilot and senior observer. Wagner, Sgt. Holder and Shriebmann walked away while Prinderville, Mills, Beauregard and Cathers are in the hospital with bruises and such. Evidently a .50 caliber tore loose and hit Cathcart in the face or body and dropped from there into Shreibman’s lap. The latter opened the hatch, climbed out and called for help for Cathers. Men were all about the plane picking up souvenirs while thirteen injured men were inside the two planes and two were dying. Not very pleasant to think about to be sure.

We’ve lost four of our new B-25Hs during the move here and the time spent here. Also one B-25 of the 75th Bomb Squadron which was parked on the strip at Sansapor. As a result of this and heavy losses in regard to strafers, we are being made a medium squadron again and are to receive B-25Js a very sweet ship.

Cleaned my guns today in preparation for the transfer. Very glad to do it. Would rather spend my time high above than just over the ground.3 Not that one is any tougher than the other. It’s rough either way you look at the situation. Rumors now are that our transfer to Sansapor is indefinitely postponed. Swell. Would rather get in on the Philippines invasion, if such is to be.

It’s been rather cool all day and it was a pleasure to be sure. Some of our planes bombed the Celebes today. Others flew top cover for a convoy or task force. Twelve-hour missions are long and tedious according to the boys who participated. Those of six hours are certainly long enough as I discovered.

So another Sunday closes bringing the war that much closer to an ending. It can’t come too soon. We are all praying that it ends soon.

Notes & Commentary

1 Given the date cited, “the night before last”, this event did not occur at Hollandia. This may just be a story passed around, but then again, stories are often based on a nugget of fact no matter how small.

2 Two B-25s, numbers 484 and 611, were involved in the crash. On return from a bombing mission against Babo afield, Lieutenant Theo Wright blew a tire on landing at Noemfoor Island in weather that was almost zero zero. Lieutenant Rexford L. Dellinger, following him in, overshot his landing and crashed into Wright’s and another parked aircraft. The two aircraft, both running low on fuel, were landing at Noemfoor Island to refuel. The accident resulted in the death of three men and the injury of others.

Lost in action

Lawley, Robert L., Jr., Capt., injured fatally

Dellinger, Rexford L., 1st Lieut., injured fatally

Mills, Maurice C., S/Sgt., injured fatally

Wounded in action

Wright, Theophilus, Jr., 1st Lt., slight concussion, shock, and multiple bruises

Quinn, Thomas F., 1st Lt., slightly injured, simple fractures, and lacerations

Duncan, Charles W., 2nd Lt., serious fractures and lacerations

Schriebman, Stanley, T/Sgt., slight abrasions

Cathers, Horace J., S/Sgt., slight injury, concussion, lacerations, and
abrasions

Prinderville, Maurice E, Jr., S/Sgt., slight injuries, concussion, lacerations of scalp face and neck, and fracture of mandible.

The operational accident on 8 September on the island of Noemfoor was the only sad incident of this kind for this unit for some eight months.

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, frames 1053

3 In the preceding paragraph, he notes “As a result of this and heavy losses in regard to strafers, we are being made a medium squadron again . . .” Two components of safe flight are speed and altitude. Low-level strafing missions pushed the limit of flight safety.

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2 Responses to September 10, 1944

  1. suchled says:

    Is this the first time we hear of Wayne’s religious feelings or have I missed it? I am very impressed by the story of the girl in the foxhole.

    Like

  2. Mustang.Koji says:

    I am very glad his three friends escaped with their lives; I also hope they survived the war. In those days and rainy, muddy conditions, accidents were bound to happen. We must remember, too, these young pilots would have been racing in their ’32 Deuces if back home; instead, they were piloting huge aircraft, to kill or be killed.

    The story of the young nurse in the foxhole was unexpected. The airmen did exercise tremendous restraint for sure. War is ugly.

    Like

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