Wayne’s journal remained silent on December 15. He, though, was continuing to fly missions. This time it was an eight-plane mission of the type he feared so much, low-level strafing. The mission was to bomb and strafe Andai and Kabarei Village, which are located on the north coast of Waigeo Island. Wayne flew on B-25J #015 piloted by 1st Lt. T. O. Wright. The other crewmembers were 2nd Lt. Ward D. Rae, 1st Lt. Thomas F. Quinn, S/Sgt S. L. Seehorn, and S/Sgt H. S. Beaulieu.1
The eight mission aircraft departed Mar Airfield between 0510 and 0515. Scheduled take off was 0510 with the planes proceeding directly to the target and returning directly. Each plane was armed with six 100 lb. fragmentation cluster bombs.
The first flight of four planes attract attacked Andai at 0600 from an altitude of 6,000’. A strafing run at a minimum altitude was initiated 20 minutes later. The second flight of four planes attack Kabarei at 0601 from the 3,500’, and five minutes later, strafed the place from a minimum altitude. All told, 48 100 lb. fragmentation clusters were dropped on Andai and Kabarei, and 12,000 rounds of .50 caliber ammunition were expanded. Photographs were taken on the bombing run at Kabarei with a K-20 camera.
Between 0645 and 0650, the eight mission aircraft recovered at Mar Airfield.
One bomb from plane #085 exploded prematurely after leaving the bomb bay, and shrapnel holed the plane in approximately 10 places causing minor damage. Several members of the crew were injured. The bombardier and navigator in the nose received slight scratches on their hands and arms from flying Plexiglas. It could have been worse. On B-25 #105, a short round of ammunition exploded in the ammunition sack of the flexible guns cutting the bombardier beneath the eye. A blast tube blew off of plane #087. There was no antiaircraft fire.2 Everyone came home.
The results of the mission were meager. One small fire was started at Andai with white smoke to 200 feet. There were no other observed results from the bombing or strafing attacks against the Kabarei and Andai personnel and supply areas on Waigeo Island. Both areas, however, appeared to be well used and several paths were observed leading to the caves at Andai.3
In England, Verne wrote to his dad . . . .
I may have made a mistake on my return address on some of my letters to you. The right one is 571st Bomb. Sqd. instead of 570th. Be sure and use it from now on.
Things are still moving for us. We have been receiving ground training but should get started on our real job before much longer.
Have you heard from Wayne recently? I haven’t received any mail hardly since leaving the States. The mail service seems to be plenty slow but it is easy to understand why with the large volume that comes through here.
I’m not sure yet which is the faster airmail or V-mail. As soon as the letters start arriving steadily I’ll be able to tell you more about it.
None of the incoming mail is censored, Pop, so don’t worry about what you can or can’t write.
How is your job coming along? Do you expect to be in Hanford much longer?
The pilot said today that we would get our buck sergeant’s rating4 within a week. I sure hope he is right because the extra money will really come in handy.
I’ve only been to town once since arriving here and it didn’t appeal to me very much so with the exception of a possible trip or so to London, I plan to stay pretty much on the base.
Some parts of England and Scotland remind me quite a bit of home. The dampness is about the biggest change to me.
When we receive our next flying pay I plan on chasing after the electrical course I’ve spoken of previously. Sure hope I can connect with it over here.
Is Granny Bartel still in good health? I sure hope so. She is a grand old lady, Dad. I hope we all have a chance to have a reunion of the family before her time comes.
The food has been much better here than we ever had in the states. 5 The only thing I miss is fresh milk. All of ours is powdered but even it is better than none at all.
Aileen writes that Allen is starting to talk well. She also says that he kisses my picture almost every time he turns around. I hope he remembers me, Dad, until I see him again.
This letter may be short, Dad, but I have many more to write so will close.
Your loving son
Notes & Commentary
1 Operations Order No. 128, 15 December 1944, 100th Bombardment Squadron (M). Office of the Operations Officer, 15 December 1944, microfilm A0576, Maxwell AFB, AL: Air Force Historical Research Agency, 1972, frames 1811-1813.
2 Final Mission Report, Mission No. 203, 15 December 1944, 100th Bombardment Squadron (M). Office of the Intelligence Officer, 15 December 1944, microfilm A0576, Maxwell AFB, AL: Air Force Historical Research Agency, 1972, frames 1808-1810.
3 Narrative Mission Report, Mission No. 203, 15 December 1944, 100th Bombardment Squadron (M). Office of the Intelligence Officer, 15 December 1944, microfilm A0576, Maxwell AFB, AL: Air Force Historical Research Agency, 1972, frame 1807.
4 A nickname for the lowest rank of sergeant.
5 This statement from Verne regarding the food he is receiving in England is in sharp contrast to those of his brother, Wayne, serving in the South Pacific.