November 4, 1944

Saturday

Seven days more, and not a whole lot to report. Flew three missions. One on the first, second and third.

Number 1, a strafing mission after Jap barges at Sorong, New Guinea in close proximity to Doom Island AA concentration point. Drew fire from heavy and light AA plus machine gun fire. Ship with us was holed twice. We were lucky. Score, one barge sunk, three damaged.1 Fired my first shot since coming overseas. Shot seven hundred to be exact.2

On the second, we flew to Morotai, 55 planes. Refueled there and then to the Mindanao Sea to look for a Jap task force of four BB, 6 CVs, 13 DDs and an unidentified amount of aircraft carriers. No luck. That’s dangerous work. We dropped our bombs in an airfield revetment area near Davao after flying over 3 strips and the town. We just had enough fuel to return to Morotai.3

Stayed there in a casual tent and flew to Davao to bomb a cement dock. Weather turned us back so we bombed Lolobates airfield in the Halamaheras, getting hit thrice by flak, once in the prop, wing and tail. My nerves are jumpier than a cat as a result.4

Holed twice in the past five missions. Am secure in the knowledge that God will protect us, but it’s hair raising just the same. Not much worse than my dreams at night, though. Night before last, a python dropped out of a tree and wrapped himself around my neck.5 Last night a P-40 crashed and the pilot got caught in it. As I went to his rescue, six Japs jumped over a big log and started shooting. While fighting them off, the P-40 caught fire and the pilot burned screaming all the time. God! What terrible nightmares over and over again. Hope they don’t recur tonight.

Oh what courage you give me baby doll. My repressive nature requires a lot of it too. Oh thank you darling of my heart.

Notes & Commentary

1 Wednesday, 1 November 1944.

2 This was Wayne’s 35th mission and he had not yet fired his guns. None of his missions have been intercepted by Japanese aircraft nor has he flown many barge sweeps.

3 Thursday, 2 November 1944.

4 Friday, 3 November 1944.

5 This nightmare occurred after Thursday’s long mission in search of Japanese naval activity in the Mindanao Sea. Wayne commented “We just had enough fuel to return to Morotai.” This mission stretched the capability of the B-25Js involved. If they had encountered a Japanese fleet, attacked and survived, some of those aircraft returning to Morotai would likely have run out of fuel and ditched at the sea.

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5 Responses to November 4, 1944

  1. gpcox says:

    This was about 10 days before Smitty landed on Leyte, so interesting to see through Wayne’s eyes what transpired before my dad got there.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. What a terrible experience – typical I suppose of what crews witnessed. The recurring nightmares continued for many long years after the war ended and indeed many never stopped having them.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. suchled says:

    I think he is expressing some of what soldiers returning from Vietnam and the Middle East are going through now.

    Like

  4. Mustang.Koji says:

    These ugly remembrances is something many, many of us Americans are just naive about. To see anyone burn alive is something I have been spared let alone shot. A lifetime may not be enough to heal…

    Like

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