Radar is really very important and we are given a rather enviable position because of it - when clouds or night obscure the target and for navigation home across all that water, boy! do the aircrews appreciate Radar.
I wish I could tell you about the missions, I shall when I return, but for now, security regulations prohibit me from saying too much. My ship was lost in action and I am really saddened [K-14]. The operator and the crew were becoming quite familiar to me - in fact, the operator and I had become quite friendly - he was a very nice fellow.
I’m C.Q. out at the Radar shack tonight and so I’m taking this chance to write. Need I say that we are terribly busy – the newspapers probably have told you that already – gosh, but we are certainly showing those Japs what a hornets nest they really stirred up. We had quite a talk today – congratulating us on what we’ve accomplished. It really makes us feel quite proud. If you have a chance look up our history – blasted by the Japs at Clark Field – yep, that was the 330th Bomb Gp – of which we are but the continuation.
So far the rains haven’t come, but I’m only hoping that they delay a few weeks – by then we will be in the pre-fabricated huts and then I don’t care – at present I have visions of a river gushing through our tent some night leaving us stranded, mere islands, from the rest of the squadron – probably be court-martialed for desertion.
Pretty soon we’ll be moving into the new barracks – wooden pre-fabricated ones – 46 men to a barrack. Much as I prefer the room of these tents and its privacy – yet I shall be only too glad to move into the barracks because when it rains - it pours and you’re always afraid you’ll be washed away.
Well, we’ve moved into our new home and are they ever swell. At present only the Radar men have moved in so we are quite happy – everyone is well acquainted and all. These pre-fabs sure beat a tent in many ways. You don’t have to worry about the rain; a wooden floor protects everything from quite a few of the insects and all in all sure beats the plain dirt floor of a tent. And finally, its cooler by far than a tent – and that point really sells it to me – as you can well imagine.
Boy we certainly do keep up the good work. I’m quite proud to be so closely connected to these ships. As you stand and watch them taxi down the taxi strips you see part of yourself taking off in those planes. It’s a grand feeling and I’m glad to have had the association with the men. (See below)
Yesterday afternoon we heard Gen. “Hap” Arnold here on the field. He was very complementary, told us how proud the people in the States were of us, and telling us our job ahead. He only spoke for about 3 minutes and then continued on.
P.S. Just heard chow (tonight) is that well known, far renowned, and greatly detested “Guam Steak” or “Guam Chicken” – SPAM!
We are really busy again, and yesterday I got a new ship for a “war weary” one which is returning stateside, it has a tear-drop radome and the antenna and RF unit are mounted for a mechanics dream. Zowie do I love it - cuts out about 2-3 hrs. work in dome removals and 1 – 1 1/2 hrs. off a RF unit pulling. It’s so convenient - wish all mine were that way.
Well, at long last, I’ve snagged a detail – yep. I’m relived of my M.O.S. for one week and am now an experienced (?) carpenter – building or rather erecting a prefabricated barracks. And so good, so eager am I that they gave me another chance to prove my abilities. Beginning tomorrow morning I also have a beer-can smashing detail. We tour the Squadron area and smash, collapse all beer cans and cart them to the dump. This lasts only a few hours in the morning and then I return to the other detail. It’s really a very welcome relief from the work on the line. And anyway I’m the last to pull detail so it’s about time.
Today I completed my detail of barrack building – it was quite an experience and I learned quite a bit.
’ve gotten some of the names of my ships below. As far as I know - this doesn’t violate security regulations. By coincidence I have two named after towns familiar during my V.P.I. days. They are City of Roanoke, City of Lynchburg, City of Williamsport (all of Virginia), City of Duluth, City of Jacksonville, City of Fort Worth. These are all I know of at present - have to wait for the other two ships for which I care.
Boy, am I ever tired! Yesterday I was C.Q. from 1800 – 0600 and the day before we worked till 0430. And since its hardly possible to sleep after 1000 because of the heat, my total sleeping hours really are small. However tonight I was back at 2130 and so shall really get some sleep.
News is all about the possibility of Stalin’s carrying peace terms – if we do not occupy Japan itself. Pres. Truman’s speech at Potsdam that “America has no financial or territorial expansion in this war really shocked us over here. We want America to keep these Pacific isles.
P.S. Public Relations took pictures of the field for the papers. I’m atop an engine and am called “precision instrument specialist”. Group of five.
Today I went up to the I + E office (instruction and education). I’m to help teach psychology during the period prior to our return stateside. We are having classes and while I’d prefer to teach history – they don’t have such large classes, while psychology is one of the largest. There are three of us instructing “Psychology and Life” as it is called. This teaching experience will prove invaluable and also help decide my post war plans. I’d like to get my M.A. and this will help me decide whether or not that is one of the best ways to plan my life.
I’m taking over a history class – World History – with an enrollment of only five. I’m to teach from beginning of history, through Babylonia, Egypt, Greece, Rome, the medieval days, Renaissance, and up to Napoleon. From here the scheduled instructor takes over. Also I’m to help in psychology. At present I’m to devote everything to history until we come to a particular part in psychology where I am more prepared than the other instructor.
Today we went back to line work having been relieved of my work detail. Jerry and I were on the first ship we’ve worked on in almost two weeks - K-6, The City of Council Bluffs - Kansas. Our planes are now carrying supplies up to the Prisoner of War Camps in the Empire - C rations, sliced peaches, and other things both nourishing and a new diet for those unfortunate fellows. We are hoping to find some of our lost crews still surviving and you could add a few prayers on their behalf. I’m afraid for the old K-1 crew, no word, no parachutes were noted at the time.
More good news - the address on the envelope – Staff Sergeant – yep, that’s me.
We had a crash out here yesterday only three escaped. So far four gunners have refused to fly and more are expected to quit. The reason we are having formation flying is that the 2 September over Tokyo, the formation was bad. The Staff figured they had to have more practice and so this happens. The fellas are somewhat bitter ‘cause it could have been avoided if the staff wasn’t so stupid. We all try to imagine how these poor kids families will take the news – death so needlessly almost a month after surrender.
One of my ships, K-3 is in Washington D.C. – took some people back and I hope it doesn’t return cause that’ll mean so much less work if it doesn’t.
For the next four days I’m on the alert crew – work from 1900 – 2400 or if necessary 1900 – 0700 or whenever we finish.
One of the ships went down with a Brig. Gen aboard so for the past two days we’ve had most our planes in the air searching for survivors. Haven’t heard who were rescued, but four so far have been picked up.
Yesterday I intended to write, but we had another unfortunate crash – all except one were killed (10 dead). Every time that happens I get so worked up and so angry with this foolish idea of sending planes up on training missions and formation flying. Yes, that’s today so you can imagine how much worse it was yesterday – I could hardly see straight. I watched the fire for about 10 minutes. Only the tail-gunner got out and his hair was all burned off and his face and body so badly charred it’s doubtful whether he’ll live or not.