Another five days have slipped into the misty shrouds of time and more regret with them. Regret because we’ve missed five more days of living together. That I count as a terrible loss. Yet, life goes on in the so inevitable way, though it doesn’t seem right. The war causes it to have no rhyme or reason whatever. What a terrible shame it all is.
Flew a combat mission on the 7th. We hit Sahoe, a village. Made four strafing runs on the target. My guns jammed on the first run. Doggone right booster motor burned out after both tracks of ammunition jammed due to excessive timing of the guns. I sweat sweat-and-blood trying to clear them and finally succeeded on the way home. Thank God, there was little opposition down that way.
Stan1 has been flying excessively to get caught up. He now has two missions less, but more flying time and is thus ahead of me on points. That’s O.K. though. We have quite a few extra armorer gunners and as a result, it takes less points for us to go home than engineers. We ought to end up going home about the same time. Would like to catch the same plane if possible. Stan’s a darn good fellow, believe me, as are all the boys on our original crew.
The dreams are still with me. For instance, was awakened during a air raid last night by the traditional three antiaircraft shots and the local air raid siren.2 In the nick of time too. A big yellow and black dream snake was just crawling in bed with me, Ugh. Where from my imagination come forth these nightly monsters. It must be the jungle influence. It surely has always terrified me.
Sometimes I wonder if there’s a streak of insanity in my makeup. Was always rather depressed before meeting you, Bonnie. You pulled me out of the morass with kind treatment and a blanket of love. The months of ours were filled with nothing but love and delight. I pray God these days will again be ours. Let it be soon, soon, oh Lord.
Franklin Roosevelt has again been elected President of the United States for the fourth consecutive time. I truly believe he’ll bring us a lasting peace at war’s end, and that, above all else, is what we’re fighting for. Do a good job of it Mr. President and earn the eternal gratitude of the American people. We’re solidly behind you in the hopes that war will soon be a forgotten happenstance in the minds of humanity.
Juiciest rumor today is that Russia has attacked Japan.3 It sounds too good to be true, but it would be nice, besides shortening the war considerably, to have them on our side.
This is all for the time being. Must get lots of sleep, though the night before a mission to me is usually of a cold sweat type. Our takeoff is late tomorrow, 8:40 am4, and I’m sweating out Ambon Town and the truly murderous antiaircraft guns the Japs have stationed there.5
Good night, baby. Know that I am asking everyone’s true father for protection tomorrow and also that he cause an end to this war. I hope to heaven that people will adhere more closely to his teachings in the future and not allow themselves to fall from his appreciation. Oh God, our atonement has been horrible. We’ve known a fear so horrible as to be revolting and we long for peace in order to pursue happiness and true worship of you. Amen.
Notes & Commentary
1 Stanley LeVelle Seehorn.
2 During the night of November 8/9 a condition red was in effect from 0332 to 0455. One bogey was plotted but did not close upon Mar Afield, The following night, November 9/10, a condition red was in effect from 0349 through 0533. Three bogies were plotted. Bombs were dropped, but no damage to Mar Airfield or its facilities occurred.
Historical Records and Histories of Organizations. 42nd Bomb Group, November 1944. Headquarters 42nd Bombardment Group (M), 9 December 1944, microfilm B0132, Maxwell AFB, AL: Air Force Historical Research Agency, 1973, frame 8.
3 Nine months would pass before Russia declared war on Japan on August 8, 1945 — two days after the Atomic Bomb was dropped on Nagasaki.
4 Although Wayne reports he is scheduled for a mission the following day at 0830, he did not fly a mission on 10 November 1944.
5 During a raid on Ambon Town on October 20, a B-25 from the 70th Bombardment Squadron was shot down.
Consolidated Mission Report #625, 20 October 1944. Headquarters 42nd Bombardment Group (M), 20 October 1944, microfilm B0131, Maxwell AFB, AL: Air Force Historical Research Agency, 1973, frames 2197-2198.
“You pulled me out of the morass with kind treatment and a blanket of love.” What a magic line! There is a bit of a poet in the boy. You are starting to get me on tenter hooks – does he make it? what is the rest of his life like? etc? etc?
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There are still five months left to go in the journal.
A streak of insanity? My father Smitty would have said it was the insanity of the jungle; a darkness so black – nothing can be seen; sounds and echoes no soldier had ever heard before – if one was alone the jungle would engulf you -he had every right to be terrified of it.
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I was curious about the comment on the booster motor. Here is a link to an image showing the tail gun layout of a B-25. Note the ammunition feeds from behind the gunner through long chutes.
The booster motors, one for each side are small canister shaped motors. (See number 3 in the diagram. )
Here is a link to a short video of a B-25 tail gun. You get a quick glimpse of the boosters as the camera pans around.
I gather that the guns were firing at too fast (or perhaps too slow), i.e. cycling at the wrong rate for motors to feed properly.
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The two links in your comment were unknown to me. I recommend them to anyone who is following Wayne’s Journal, and I am very pleased by your very valuable input.
Wayne has the loveliest dreams . . . Bless his soul
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Sir, your uncle’s fluid writing under those stressful conditions continually amazes me. I couldn’t write so eloquently under any condition… and to think he handwrote these is astounding.
As the gunner/armorer of his crew, he was responsible for the cleaning and maintenance of the aircraft’s .50 caliber machine guns of which there were many. When they returned from a mission, it was his responsibility to get every gun ready for the next one. I am amazed that he did his job, kept up his mail correspondence and still maintained his journal.
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This is really, really interesting. It deserves publication as a book.