April, 1945

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April 1, 1945, Easter

          This is, I hope, the first and last Easter that I ever spend in any manner outside of North America.  For one I am quite sure that I am going to be quite satisfied within the confines of the U.S.A.  Still, time and circumstance may decide differently the course of my future movement, but, at this time my mind is home headed.

          The morning is probably a little warmer and a good deal cleaner than any of those in the two weeks we have been here.  Last night I was able to see practically all of the useable stars in the heavens for the first time.  All in all it appears to be a good start for April 1, 1945, April Fool’s Day and Easter Sunday.  Some combination.

          Up at about 6:30, breakfast the routine mess of chow.  Sitting around waiting for 9 A.M. to attend Easter Mass in the chow hall with Ulithi MapDick Eberle and a few other fellows in our hut.  In comes N.C.O. Dilger telling me that I have a flight to Ulithi.

          There goes my plans for Mass and also the beer party on the beach this P.M.  This beer party I do not mind missing, just a big headache.  It would be good to attend mass. 

          Took off here about 9:30 and landed on Orote Peninsula where we picked up a flight of SBD2Cs for Ulithu.  Got underway and busy as hell as it is very necessary that one keep on the ball especially when on one of these ferrying jobs.

          Had a nice flight down, everything went well.  Took off a half hour later for Guam and arrived back at 5:30 P.M. after an uneventful flight.  Took on some chow, shower, shave, talked of the new and interesting invasion of Okinawa Island.

          We have been expecting this for some time and now that it is under way we will in all probability be going in there soon.  I have no doubts that we shall be seeing the Jap homeland before many months.  This takes us within 350 miles of the Jap homeland and about 450 miles from China.

          I should like to operate from a Philippine base or better still, China.  At 9 P.M. we tune in on the shortwave broadcast from San Francisco.  It is 4 A.M. there of the same day (Easter).

     Enjoy some sack time strategy for winning the war and bringing this boy home safely – a letter to Vera and lights off.  Finis to one more.  Not unhappy to see them roll along as they are.

April 2nd, 1945

          After yesterday’s hop it appears as if I may have a few days to sit around and have more of perspiring than anything else.  Such was the case today.  It was one of those hot sultry days with a couple of minor showers that added to the heavy humidity and general discomfort.

          Surprisingly clear though with just a few heavy cumulous clouds roving across the sky in their seemingly perpetual one direction.  I spent the day doing a little reading, tried washing some sheets in a bucket along with some other few items.

          One hell of a job – cussed like hell – sweated like a leaky devil, and gave up after a while and hung the damned thing, ungracefully, on the make shift line that is stretched across the west end of the hut under the projecting end.

          At evening chow after some ice cream at 4 P.M. saw a poor showing of “Meet Me in St. Louis” and then the rains came.  Cripes! How it can and does rain here once it gets underway, which is always without warning and with an intensity that must be akin to walking suddenly beneath a waterfall.

          Well, being curious I of course waited until I was damned well soaked and then went scurrying to my hut just a few yards away there to be greeted by that personable laughing hyena of a human, Dick Eberly.  He laughs always and at anything and of course this gave him a few inordinate chuckles and an opportunity to get in a few good natured jokes as to the probability of my mental faculties working or at least leaning a little towards the moronic.

          Wonder if there could be anything to that.  Sometimes I am not alone in thinking myself crazy as a looney Indian “rigged” on denatured lizard sweat.  From then on until lights out and until good old sleep had taken our most of the innocent minds and flat smelling bodies of the contents of Hut #77.

          There was the nightly (institutional) BS lying – downright and nothing else, scuttlebutt and occasionally into the big wind there might be a mere wisp of a draft of something faintly bordering on the (?) but withal unenlightening.

          My!  What a delightful life all we good people are blessed with on this green Island of God – Pardon, I mean of Admiral Nimitz and some few thousand other officers – second lieutenants in a majority. Of courseyou know I sort of took it easy today.  Got up, washed face, brushed teeth, ate some amazingly unappetizing chow, made up sack, walked across air strip towards navigation area, stopped to gaze upon the carcass or carcasses of more than one fat toad – victim of the night patrol cars.

          Pondered and mused on their fate and philosophized on the life of a toad and guess they do OK in their sphere of life.  Hell, they are as important in this eternal order of things as these sweating lazy insignificant masses of protoplasm moulded into ungainly awkward points, elongations and concaves that we call the beautiful animal body genus homo.

          Wonder why I worry about the passage of time:  minutes, hours, days, weeks, a year (the years I find pass too damned fast) the former too slowly.  Worry about getting home stateside (a thirty day furlough) getting out of the service – will it never end?  You damned right it will end and hell I’ll end (no loss either, to the world that matters) and the damned Japs, Germans, yes, even the ________ officers and all other living shall end, although one would wonder often why they deliberately hasten their demise.

          I mean so many of our superiors, our officers – not only rats makes a divers vermin that by their loathsome qualities and engendered affection in the world hearts tend eventually to make open season on easy prey.

          A most dangerous game so many warm blooded animals love to play at.  Seems as if since my earliest memory the essence of life has been the passing of time – the getting over with the few mere seconds entreated to my span of being – not the accomplishing or doing or knowing or absorption of that the world puts side by side with me to feed on and make my moving and breathing worth the effort small as it really were for nature to put this object here.

          As a child my first impressions were rushing for this or that to happen or come about, always in the future – never rushing more had happened in the ever present.  First wishing I were old enough to play with older children – to go to bed alone in the dark – to dress myself alone – turn the butter churn, ice skate, swim, go to school – wish time would passing thinking that it never should when I should be in the next grade higher and when one was achieved hoping for the next and then wishing I were old enough to go to high school – parties, dance – go out with girls -first

pair of long pants – drive the car and then wishing I were old enough to go into pool halls, play snooker – buy cigarettes, “shoot craps’ and then get a drink and have a fight with a real grown man and beat the hell out of him.

          Ah yes!  And then wish for, and how important this one wish becomes paramount to all others – conquest of women.  First one woman, then others.  Not too particular what kind or by what means achieved, it was life and conquest and could come about only by time passing and always I speeded it along in my never ending imperatives.

          Then wishing for glory glorifying the ego, to be a good dancer, a good fighter, good drinker, good fellow, to make a lot of money, spend like hell and live like red hot hell and then the sudden sobering influence of mother nature laying me a restraining hand on the race of the body and mind slowing them but hastening the years but still wishing, now for a wife, a mate, home, children the afterlife, better character, tolerance, magnanimity and appreciation of fellow man and the vagaries of the human flesh.

          And now continually I wish, I wish to call it a day, to shut out the light, to wish for sleep, for the passing of tomorrow, for a letter from home.

          Good night, sack rat.

April 4, 1945, Wednesday

          As far as I can see or ascertain, and my range is short, I can’t see that anyone in our area or near proximity thereof accomplished a single damned thing of even worthy a second glance if reasoned on a second word of referred to anyone.

          It is hot as hell and I have a hop set up for Samoa which is a central Eastern province of the Philippine archipelago and adjacent to Leyte.  Made up a couple of charts for the navigation of this job – no briefing – not Cumins the other navigator who is also going along although I am the navigator for this hope.

          It is not too long being about 1,300 miles with one stop at Peleliu airstrip.  Set three a show after a few cans of beer and after some chow the nature of which is better forgotten and an act of kindness directed towards the mess cooks who prepared same mess – some more appropriate or inappropriate discussions of no particular subject – lights out and lying awake long wonder how in hell my train of thoughts can be called a train when they are on so many different tracks at one time with no couplings intact and lots of rail skipping.

          Some damned mix-up, no doubt.

April 5, 1945

          At 0400 I was up and about and by 0500 had my morning ration of chow – walked over to the nav hut, lined up my gear – went out to ship R5C1 #23 and as soon as the entire crew arrived we taxied out and took off into what appeared to be a fine morning for flying.

          A few clouds and little drift encountered – at ETA for abeam Ulithi were on the nose and proceeded in the manner, after a slight hdg. Change to clear Yap safely – passed Neighu and arrived over Peleliu white and hot appearing at the pre-computed time.

          Our stop here was only long enough to gas and only take on another passenger or two and then off for Samar (Philippines).  The flying weather having been very good up to this time.  Fortunately held for the next leg and after a matter of 2 hours plus we arrived about 10 miles to the left of the small islel of Suluan and then changed hdg. For McGuire Field (Somar) 350 degrees.

          Beforer reaching Lulnan I had my first glimpse of the great Philippines and visibility being good at 6,000 ft. much of the vast hilly province of Mindanao could be seen in outline stretching to the South – Samai and Leyte to the North AND West and the other larger and more prominent island masses and mountain peaks dotted about the deep and blue waters by countless small isle atolls.

          So there were the lands of the Filipinos, descendants of ageless ascetic and adventurous explorers and navigators of old Spain and continental Europe.  Now the vast battleground and locale of a drama of humanity at its work on humans long to line as vital and moving force in the past and future of the great mother country thousands of miles to the West in an earlier day.

          As we reached the mainland and passed over the teal swept reefs and shallow beach waters at 3,000 ft. many native fish traps were in evidence appearing as an arrow head with rounded backs with wide flanking streamers to the left and right.  These, no doubt, were part of an industry vital to the existence of the dusky natives of these verdant – hot, humid isles.

          Beautiful and soft appearing from aloft in rapid passage but dangerous and possibly expressing a horrible aspect to the presences of the ubiquitous of unnatural white interloper.  In a few minutes the field (McGuire) on which we were to land and RON come into view.

          As expected and as has been the case of the only other newly invaded base up to this time (Iwo Jima) this scene below was remindful to me of an ant hill a moment after having dropped a burning match into its center – frantic activity expressing itself in a great cloud of gray-brown dust, moving in all points of the compass – yes even up and down as the long line of trucks - caterpillar fashion moved up on and haltingly or swiftly by the beetle-like bulldozers and other man-made disrupters of the skin of the tough hided old mother earth.  As expected, the Sea Bees were here and at it.

          One thing I expected to see and there it was were the vast number of those great and indefatigable as well as seemingly innumerable B-24, that perhaps greatest of all around bombers and flying fort that have and are still destined to blast not a few damned Kraut & Yellow ___ ___ ___ to their holy and revered ancestors.

          It is always to me an imposing and flesh tingling experience to see them in the air or at roost in their long lines with the exuberant brood of divers fighters and smaller bombers always darting and waiting to be seen, one with the other, this field has the appearance of not having been in active operation by the Yanks for but a week or perhaps two.  The runway and hard stands all of hard packed brown clay and rock.  The main landing strip running North by South being wide and well over one mile in length

          The entire length of this strip flanked on both sides by long lines compactly aligned of jB24’s and the fighter plane Corsair, seemingly all Navy operational bombers, transports, and fighters.  Once we had reached the parking area assigned to us for the night an army truck approaches the plane driven by a sailor whose rank was not in evidence.

          This vehicle was manned by 8 to 10 short, wiry, dark Filipinos of ages difficult to ascertain as is the age of these Filipinos.  Despite their comparative dwarves knees these natives gave one the impression of being possessed of an unordinary amount of determination and inexhaustible vitality.

          Appearing shy and reticent their possession of decorum and general mannerisms was to me surprising in view of what I well knew to have been their physical hardships under the Jap hand.  Some of them spoke English as you or I or any ordinary American could be expected to use as expression of the spoken word.

          Once the cargo doors were opened and the trucks backed up to the plane they all clambered aboard and from pockets not in evidence in remnants of clothing made up of all that the various military assortments might provide in addition to clothes fashioned into short legged trunks that I imagine as an aid to keeping cool and to conserve cloth now precious to these hard put people.

          They brought forth Japanese invasion notes and some little guerrilla money of small denomination.  The Jap money ranged from 10 centavos to 100 pesos (the centavo being equal to ½ U.S. penny – the peso to ½ U.S. dollar). This they proceeded to offer in barter for whatever we might have at hand.

note:  My brother and I used to play with the occupation money when we were kids...this is the first time I found out where my dad got it.  I'll dig it out, scan it, and post the pictures.

          They were given a loaf of extra bread we had aboard as a gesture by Smitty, the first mech and the manner in which they feel upon this commodity and eagerly devoured it to the last crumb was mindful of a flock of very hungry chickens.  It certainly changed the train of my mental processes and a surge of pity for these people was in complete control of my being for a brief moment.

          They would barter for anything that we had to offer although their first desire was food – the kind they could see taste and smell upon immediate acquaintance and not leaning towards that in the cans that required time in opening and was not suited to be wrapped up in a sheet or stuffed into a pocket for future consumption.  Especially they seemed desirous of some shorts, tops, dungarees, trousers, or shirts and white sheets, mattress covers commanded a good stack of souvenir bills or a bolo knife in a wooden sheath of a mahogany type wood carved into a horse head design upon the side of which was a V (for Victory, I guess).

          How these people know the curiosity of the American, a curiosity ranging from the morbid to the regal is I suppose due to their national life and livelihood having been for years (?) to the Jap occupation so closely aligned with Americaqns and American industry.

          Except perhaps for the nature of the immediate surroundings, natural and mechanical the scene could be duplicated hundreds of times at any given number of large American cities at any day of the 365.  We all made a few trades. I traded a couple of (?) tops for a couple of 100 peso bills that to me seemed rather attractive as a link in a “short (?).

          The man who was outstanding from the bartering situation was Ca? who had while in Hawaii some months previous to this purchased a few yards of various multicolored colorful cloth – just ordinary cotton cloth of a print variety that could for a few cents per yard be had in any American general store.  This the Filipinos really wanted and I noticed that Cu? proved a good barterer and the little scene made led to his final acquisition of a bolo knife and bills of various denominations was amusing to behold.

          During this trading interjection into our operations Capt. Ohm had walked a matter of 3 miles and found where we might get chow and bunks for the night although we had before he returned hitched a ride some 4 miles to a Sea Bee camp for chow only to be denied the right to eat there because we were at the officer said, “Marines.”

          It seems as if there are many individual and unstated fronts in this so called war of unity of purpose.  This was old stuff to me though, and bothered me not a whit.  As it were we secured transportation to the Marine’s camp of MAG 14 and after chow which by the way was good including the first fresh meat I had had in weeks, we picked up our cats and proceeded through a wilderness of trees, tents, rocks, and crags to a tent back some way from the chow hall.

          This camp is placed in the most imaginable terrain of extreme roughness and unorthodox setting.  It is a large camp set upon the steep sides and crests of two or three sharply rising hills and I was not able to perceive a single level spot.

          It proved impossible to walk more than a few feet in a straight line due to trees, vines, rocks, tent stakes, ropes, etc.  This evidently proved to be the place least suited for a camp area under pressing needs because of the natural drainage it offered thus serving as a poor breeding place to the dangerous and might anopheles.

          We set up our tents with a will, watched the natives who unmindful of sex, in fact the females predominated, wandered at will among the tents over the entire area visiting in any tent that was their fancy to so do, notwithstanding the fact that the boys were lying around in the cool of the evening, naked and semi-naked or using the showers nearby as well as the pipe latrines. 

          Evidently immodesty is a word the literal meaning of which is strange to these people.  As for their morals they are of a high standard and being of a very religious nature prostitution is virtually non-existent here on Samar as can well be attested to by many of the men who have been here for some time.

          The same surely cannot be said of an American camp in similar or even the very best circumstances.  It appears as if morals become lower as the standard of living rises.  These Filipinos who have suffered the heavy hand of a barbarous invading are to be commended by every man who ever just once comes into contact with them.

          They certainly have fostered and strengthened a great national pride and this during four years of subjection.  A salute to them, I say.  We all wandered over and saw the movie, an old one, “My Favorite Wife” and listened to the latest news and then back to our tents, getting damned well lost on the way.

          After washing our faces at a drinking tank we all hit the sack, voices our hope to Christ that no rats decided to sack in with us for a night and so ended for me, April 5, 1945.

April 6, 1945

          Everyone was out early on this day after my first night on Samar of the Philippine Islands.  After breakfast of fried eggs (a treat for us) we took off for the field and the plane.

          Captain H(?) obtained some few hundred pounds of freight and a couple of passengers for Mindoro and Luzon and by 9 A.M. we were in the practically clear sky with the cobalt blue of the Gulf of Leyte shimmering below.  Over the southern end of Samar and across the San Pedro Bay dotted with vessels of the U.S. of every type and tonnage.

          Across Cougara Bay of the Samar Sea and the upper tip of Leyte and South portion of Bileron Island and over the Vesayan and Sibarayn Seas the scenes of the great historic disasters to the Japanese fleets and of course the memorable victories of the U.S. Navy.

          To the north the long island of Masbate, Sabiyan and Tablas surrounded by the numerous smaller heavily wooded and mountainous isles that make up the great Phillippine Archipelago.  To the south the large islands of Caleu, Bahal and in the south the large of the Philippine group, Mindanao.

          One begins to understand the magnitude of this Philippine battle area and a few things related to the huge and seemingly insurmountable problems of supply necessary to the invasion these thousands of miles from the American continent.

          Surely here alone is real evidence and undying tribute to American production and courage and faith in the precepts of their magnificent democracy.  This is the thing we call “the cause” for which men freely live and willingly die.

          After two hours we sight Waterous Field on the flat plain comprising the southern end of Mindanao and the towns of San Jose and Painta nearby.  The usual large numbers of B-24’s predominated in number the planes on this well constructed if new field with, of course, the usual number of divers fighters, pursuit and other combat and transport planes.

          There were too the now common sight of the burned and shattered wreckages of U.S. planes as well as the increasingly larger number of Jap planes, victims of ground strafing and bombings for the most part.  There are still many fighting Japs within the unsecured and nearly inaccessible mountainous jungle portions of these islands.  In fact, for the most part the great part of these islands of the Philippines are wild and uninhabited jungle. 

          This condition is for the certainty of a long and arduous type of mopping up activities by liberating U.S. forces and Philippine Guerillas.  Landing here we were ready for takeoff in ½ hour with a new passenger or two but still a light load. 

We now skirted the west coast of Mindanao for security reasons and flying over the China Sea near Apo Reef northward to cut across the northwest peninsula of Mindanao and skirting Luhang Isle continued north over the South China Sea skirting the west coast of Luzon.

       Saw Manila Bay far to the right came into view and also the famous rock Corregidor lying a few miles south of memorable Bataan Peninsula which is green mountainous terrain and place of horror for so many civilians and soldiers of the U.S. after the fall of Corregidor.

       Soon over Subic Bay ;with a display of U.S. naval might lying below and a few miles inland to San Marcelino Air Field a U.S. Army air strip and transport base upon peninsula and north over Manila Bay over the great rice paddies and innumerable Filipino villages dotting the flooded landscape adjacent to the bay itself.

       I was impressed with the seemingly great fertility and greenness of these checkerboard designs below as I find later they are some of the world’s most fertile land plots.  Everywhere along this coastline the countryside is marked with the pocks of bomb craters and all the dotted ends of what from the air looked much like surfboards but which were the innumerable Jap planes, victims of our air force.

     Nearly everyone seemed to occupy the center of a circular gray smudge as if a haycock had been burned around the whole.  Continuing north we pass to the left of Clark Field a scene of much activity and many U.S. planes as the ravished once great field is once again being mended for future action of our air corp.

       There were literally hundreds of Jap planes in huge piles of wreckage near this field and of course dotting the countryside along our course.  The Japs were sure caught with their pants down here!  That much is evident.

Continuing up the landing I noticed the squadrons of this fast dangerously great P-51 (Mustang fighter planes) as they were continually landing and taking off with a light bomb under each wing to fly north over the mountains to the area east and west of the Lingayen Valley and Clark Field where they were giving their particular kind of hell to the bastard Jap.

       I understand that they are doing a great job.  I for one doubt it not one whit.  There were few Filipinos here, perhaps because there are no large town near.  We had some appetizing and welcome chow at the nearby Army Camp and then back to the plane for a gassing and oiling up before takeoff.

       Off the deck at 1:30 and Captain Verdiels in a light mood and a lightly loaded ship – Just the crew aboard and made a fighter takeoff and once again heading south over Subic Bay, swing around Bataan Peninsula and low over and around the unforgettable and tragic Corregidor at low altitude.

       Being a clear day and flying by contact I sat back for a great experience, that of viewing this historical battleground forever to remain great in the history of the United States.  Around Bataan the broad, flat and verdant Lygayan Plain past O’Donnel Field and on over Carlos airfield, also a source of great activity and over the town of Sugayen on Lugayan Gulf the sport of the great landing by MacArthur on Luzon.

     We now swing around the gulf and over San Fabian swing south eastward down the valley towards Manila. Continuing on south over Tarlae and San Fernando until in the distance we can see the destroyed city of Manila and farther south Segundo Bay.

     Circling low over Manila I was amazed at the complete destruction of a great and once modern and beautiful city.  From the air the box-like gutted structures and crumbling masses of masonry made up a pattern lined by what were apparently a well laid out city.

     I cannot describe the complete destruction that lay before us.  Too beautiful Monda Harbor crowded now with our own vessels was at the same time actually crowded with the sunken, partially sunken and burned hulks of hundreds of ships that had been a goodly part of the Jap Merchant Marine now for the most part on the bottom of various distant places in the Pacific. 

       I noticed a semicircle of ships end to end and sunken so as to erect a barrier against any large vessels moving in close to the port itself.  The stacks and superstructure for the most part remain above the water line on nearly every vessel.  I later learned that the Japs had scuttled these ships with the express purpose in mind of preventing U.S. ships from moving in close. This must have been a measure born of futility and desperation.

       Getting permission to land Captain Veidiels picked his way in on the one serviceable strip, the others being full of large bomb craters and under repair by Filipino labor crews.  This runway also had been heavily bombed but was now in a state of fair repair.

       All buildings, still hangers and administration building were in a complete state of twisted, tortured and smoke blackened wreckage.  Not a pleasant sight.

       After cutting the engines Capt. Verdiels was approached by a battalion of photographers with the U.S. Army Air Corp. representing to one of the news reel syndicates and a group of attractive Red Cross nurses.  They wished to use our plane and our crew as a background for some shots to be released as news and sights from the battle fronts and propaganda for Red Cross enlistments in the states.

     Of course this was OK with us and thus were consumed about 45 minutes of our time.  Then the Filipino lads descended upon the plane with their handfuls of Jap Invasion Money and souvenirs to do some bartering for food, clothing, cigarettes especially, or anything else these destitute people desired.  It’s a tough thing to see hungry people of any race or creed and we gave to them all we had left of edibles including our K-rations.

     I secured a few 100 peso bills as souvenirs for a pair of G.I. swimming trunks.  The other boys were doing  (?) and thus we bartered for another half hour.  Having secured the plane for the night and taking our blankets we were able through the Capts. effort to gain transportation into Manila where we were to spend the night although at this time I was wondering where amid that wreckage one could find a spot to lay his body.

The ride into Manila was one never to be forgotten. As we proceeded on the wide thoroughfare adjacent to the waterfront and fronting the most modern and once beautiful apartment dwellings in the city.  The whole landscape was one terrible shamble land holocaust.

     All living vegetation had died with the city and once beautiful parks were now but cemeteries and death places for the beautiful trees that evidently had been profusely spread in this area.  There was not a single building not destroyed as far as the eye could discern and a view of the walled inner city gave concrete evidence of the terrific blasting that had been necessary to root the Jap from his hole.

     The bridges over the river into Manila had been completely destroyed but replaced by the Army with a steel structure of heavy duty type.  Traffic of all descriptions and types was congested and Army M.P.’s did a good job of keeping things moving as a goodly pace considering the condition.

     Now we were in the center of the very heart of business life of Manila.  The scene was the same.  All types of modern building – concrete reinforced and structural steel, were either blackened gaping skeletons of their former selves, torn and pock-marked by light artillery and the gaping holes and crumbling walls as evidence of large caliber fire.

     The buildings were enmeshed from top to bottom by the rods of reinforcing steel that had been torn apart in the blasting and concussion while again it holding much of the masonry to the columns beams and girdles resembled standing skeletons.  A dismal sight was the civic center where the no doubt imposing and once beautiful civic buildings were lying bent and twisted in the streets or having fallen in upon themselves were huge heaps of still burning blacked rubbish.

     I have no doubt that a person having known the city and having lived there might easily have written a volume on the death of this great city had he the heart to do so.  I wonder how many years before this Manila shall be restored to its former beauty and place in the world of renowned cities. Certainly it shall be a decade at the most conservative estimate.

     A high price to pay for blind unpreparedness.  We were to stay at the Naval Hdq. A building of 10 stories (the S. J. Wilson Building) that while torn and blasted on the exterior was fit for hdq. and offered living quarters by its many floors.  This building in the heart of the financial district of Manila on Juan Fusion(?) St. is next door to which is now MacArthur’s Headquarters.  I notice his car right before the entrance with the 5 stars of a general in evidence on its fore-aft plate.

     Finding a place to sack out on the 3rd floor we went on to the 8th floor and had chow in which had once been a large ballroom.  After chow we managed to get a much needed shower and shave before we sallied forth to see what we could of the city before curfew at 11 P.M.

     Duncan came up with a pile of Jap money that he obtained from the huge money vaults below the building.  Cimino and I missed the other boys, so we started out to look for them and see the sights.  Darkness settled quickly and being far from safe to be abroad after dark in this devastated city we started back to our building only to run into the other fellows and the crew who had managed a ride out to the residential districts of Manila where they were determined to satisfy their bodily desires.

     Cimino and I went along although I was not as the other fellows and neither was Duncan.  Anyway, away we went and on down long wide Rizal Avenue for at least 5 miles with its crows of Fililpinos and Army boys and night clubs and other type of joints.  After we left the truck we were surrounded by groups of young Filipinos asking us if we wanted a “Pom Pom Girl,” which of course is a whore and those that did went off down the narrow moldy alleys with the little pimps to take one helluva chance on a good dose of “Chinese Crut” and all for a piece.

     Jesus, what a state of morals war brings to warring states and especially to its conquered, invaded, and liberated, where want and starvation are the brothers of death and destruction.  It was sort of disgusting to Duncan and myself so we started for home arriving at the Wilson building at about 10 P.M. and being completely tired out hit the sacks hoping that those mosquitoes that were to feast on my blood during the night were not themselves full of Malaria. That tragic affliction seems to be rampant in this city and that is understandable.

     I was too tired to sleep immediately, though and remember hearing Cimino and the other boys come in talking of their 7 pesos conquest of the dusky little attractive Filipino “Pom Poms.”  That is about all that I do recall at the end of this 6th day of April, 1945, East Longitude.

April 7, 1945

     Up at 5:30 A.M. feeling refreshed and after chow gathered up blankets and ready to leave for Nichols Field and the plane.  Had a few minutes before we were to meet Captains Verdiels and Ohm and so made my way to the vaults below the Wilson building and was awed at the huge stocks of Jap invasion money that occupied this large extensive system of underground vaults.

     It was evident that the Japs had been so bold as to predispose the conquest of all Asia and eventually all American outlying islands and protectorates with U.S. finally the jewel of the center setting.  Thousands of crates of new and used money of the Philippine as well as Dutch and English Commonwealth as well as American invasion script were piled high in their vaults.

     When I say I walked on BILLIONS I was speaking the truth literally, although it now worthless as a money medium.  It does seem to make for attractive souvenirs though and many of the fellows paste the ends of the various bills end to end for use as a “short snorter.”  I must say that the length and variety of some of these money chains is interesting and a wee bit imposing.

     Having but little time I looked over the huge piles of money in the several vaults and then collecting a goodly supply of various denominations I left the place and again walked up the ramp by the Guerilla Guard whose job was, I suppose, to see that no one entered these vaults although I was not challenged either way.

     Arriving back at Nichols Field we found that we must return to San Marcelino for refueling and getting a green light clearance we were very soon in the air again over Manila and out across Manila Bay to the field across Subic Bay.  Refueling took but a short time and once again we were winging our way south on a course to take us around Cape Santiano and then; east across the lower portion of Luzon.

      Skirted the isle of Marinduque, across Banton Isle, to the north of Sibuy an isle over the Sibuyan Sea, across the north of Masbiate and the upper tip of Leyte and Tacalolian on over and across the lower tip of Samar and so once again across that portion of the Western Pacific for 500 miles to Peleliu.

     The weather was somewhat overcast and undercast but there seemed to be no violent upper winds or definite fronts.  After 2 ½ hours arrived at Pelileu at ETA and in a heavy downpour.  Had chow there and then after displaying and sorting of invasion money everyone sacked down on the plane floor.

      I know very well that this is to be a night of restlessness and little sleep.  Despite the almost continuous downpour on the plane the interior remains hot and uncomfortable and the hard floor with the landing angle of the ship makes for me a certainty of an unpleasant night.

     I shall know more of that in a few hours, and so, so long until then.

April 8, 1945, Sunday

          My previous assumption of an uncomfortable night was 100% correct and today I was not only sleep weary but sore to the point of rawness in one or two places.  I must have slid over half of that damnable plane last night.  Thank goodness I have my sack, humble as it may be, for this nights rest.

          We were ready to leave Pelelui early and had picked up a load of servicemen for Ulithi and Guam.  After getting a weather report from the Army weather station we hopped over to Augar for a few more passengers and then off to Ulithi.

          A perfect day for flying with the airstrip plainly visible in detail on the Jap held (Palau?) and also Yap Island (Jap held).  Stopped only shortly at Ulithi, hot and glaring in the bright sun on the snow white coral landing strip and taxi way.

          After chow here where by the gift of a few Jap bills were able to get all the good ice cream that we could possibly stow away, we took off and made a good run to Guam.  Turned in my gear, had chow, then for a very thorough personal cleaning job as I really had acquired some filth during the last three days.

          It was like a good dream and a restful sleep to be clean once again and so after catching up on past news and new scuttlebutt I parried inquiries as to the type and amount of money or other souvenirs that I had acquired during the flight and off to sleep ere lights were out.

          Miles covered:  4,000.  Hours of flight:  26.

April 9, 1945, Monday

          Arose early and knew this was to be another day of humid heavy heat so much a part of Guam.  Over to the navigation area early and spending most of the forenoon checking my flight logs, brining my log books up to date and talking over the flight with the boys.

          I notice that there are some new comers, all tech sarges, transferred from Squad #253.  Oh, well, hell, I guess that won’t make too much difference in our future here.  Amazed at the interest in and the ready market for the rather goodly amount of Jap money picked up by our flight crew.  It appears as if it may turn out to be a financial landfall.

          Spent the afternoon catching up on my back mail and at 3:30 had some ice cream.  Spent the evening by seeing the squadron cinema, writing letters and parrying inquiries as to the type of and amount of Jap money that I have in my possession.  There are a number of fellows here who are depending on my generosity for a few Jap souvenirs and I am fixing them up, so to say, that their little hearts may be happy.

          Feel like another night of uninterrupted sleep and so at lights out took part in very little of the usual “shooting the shit.”  Looks like a very pleasant 8 hours, so, so long.

April 10, 1945, Tuesday

          Spent the day as usual, going over to the area, sitting around reading, talking and always perspiring just to kill time and pass another day.  Have guard duty tonight and thus must muster at 4:15 P.M.

          Spent the afternoon crapping out until guard muster.  After muster over to guard chow.  Managed to get my two cans of beer and ready to return to the guard area at 6:30 for the night and also my tour of duty.  Hit the sack rather early as I have a couple of hours before the 10-2 guard tour.

          So passes another rather empty day for this person, April 10, 1945.

 

(to be continued…)