March, 1945

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March, 1945

March 1, 1945, Aboard Ship

          Still continuing in on a “zig-zag” course towards the South West.  Understand that there have been a few enemy sub-scares since leaving the States with actual submarine activity being picked up by this ship’s warning devices. 

          Life saving, or, abandoning ship dsrill that may prove beneficial.  It’s not pleasant to contemplate being aboard this ship and below deck if there should be a “strike.”  It would be very bad.

 

March 2 to 7th, 1945

          Sighted Eniwetok Atoll his A.M. early, my first view of this low lying hurricane swept group of coral bleakness with their tattered and stubbed palm trees, evidence of the fury of an earlier day, one of the first bloody landings of the Marines after Guadalcanal and Tarawa.

 Eniwetok Atoll, 1945         Many ships, mostly cargo and troop ships lying in this great lagoon.  Deep water for anchorage but it evidently must be a satisfactory haven as so many vessels are lying too here.  This is no doubt a great refueling and refitting base for the fleet as it moves westward thru the Palau Group and on thru the Philippines and northward from Guam and Saipan towards Japan.

          It is sufficiently far from enemy bases, except Trub (which is quite close westward from here, and Marcus, quite some mileage to the north) to be relatively secure from air attacks.

          Quite a number of the men are trying their luck at fishing although I see little evidence of any note-worthy catches.  Most popular diversion still continues to be cards and reading anything and everything.

          Seems the Marines have secured about ½ of the Isle of Iwo Jima.  They will never be beaten back now.

          Liberty parties were formal during the 7 days stay here and about 5 or 6 hundred men were allowed to go ashore each day for some ground relaxation – a few cans of beer and some pleasant swimming and sun basking.

          The nurses went ashore and were permitted to stay there for a few days as were the troop officers.  Bety they really are able to say they have another drunken brawl and (?) under their belts with all the incidentals that such occasions provide whenever these worthy officers and service women have their little innocent get togethers.

          It creates a hell of a lot of nasty feeling and expression among the enlisted men which is quite understandable considering the accommodations offered the one group versus the other.  This could be the Prussian Army if one judges it from the circumstances of privilege.  Hell, it’s nothing less than rotten.

          Some of the most serious cases of sunburn which I have ever beheld resulted from the liberty parties.  Many of the fellows are walking blisters and sick bay is hard put to care for the cases.  This trop sun and salt water burns in a few minutes, as so many can testify.

March 8, 1945, Aboard Ship

          Pulled anchor and cleared Eniwetok in the early hours of a hot day.  Good sailing weather, a good breeze blowing and no showers or squalls to mar the smoothness of the past 12 hours.

          We now have a couple of LSG’s in our convoy and now our speed will be cut even more as the best that those lumbering crafts can do is 8 knots.

          At least we have the consolation of knowing that this is the last let of the voyage.  A good thing it is too.  After three weeks of these conditions most any natural change would seem an improvement, yet considering the crowded state of the vessel they have worked out a system of chow and ship store facilities for the enlisted tdroops aboard that works in a commendable fashion.

          Chow is not bad and we get our three meals every day.  Lots of parties and drunken tete-a-tetes last nite in all of the dark corners of the first and upper decks as they nurses and male officers got all that the circumstances would offer to them following their big liquor bust ashore of the last few days.

          There sure as hell are numerous incidents of a disgusting nature that could be recorded aboard this tub during the past weeks.  Perhaps the most obvious one concerns the old military caste system.  The nurses have their cabins on the second deck.  The passage to the chow hall along the outer rail passess by their parts.  Naturally the enlisted men are going to “cop a few sneaks” although I’ll be damned if I can see what their delight could be in that herd of cows.  Anyway, a few of the boys have been delighting their pupils and I suppose “getting their guns off” to use an expression at what they see of the motley females who do not seem averse to providing the sights.

          A few of the fellows have been “running” by the “salty” boat Marine guards on this tub and have suffered penalties without actual proof of any charge.  Yet it seems OK for both sexes of the officer corp to excel themselves in drunken revel for two or three days and nites on Eniwetok and then come aboard after dark to continue their “whore mongering” and excesses with the full knowledge of all men on board and often within the full sight of more than one individual. 

Yep!  Respect the officers they tell the peons.  They will show the way by their example.  Of all the G.D. B.S. I have ever heard – Respect the bastards like hell I can or will.  Of course there are exceptions.

March 9th to 18th, Aboard Ship

          The routine was unchanging during the past 9 days – slow going – considerable bad weather with the LST’s completely disappearing in the troughs of the great swells or rolling precariously on many a huge wave.  I for one am damned happy that no part of my voyage was aboard one of those homely yet sea-worthy smears on the ocean landscape.

          Much more “zig-zaging” than usual and because of the fact that these are really dangerous sub waters.  Close to Truk on this last leg which Japs held.  Isle is quite large enemy submarine base.

          There have been a few actual alerts but luckily no actual encounters.  Damned if I ever would wish such an experience on any boat, but last of all on a troop ship such as this!

          “Believe it or Not” Tokyo Rose in her broadcast the other nite actually announced the sinking of this very ship by her country’s subs.  At least they have good information as to our coming and our destination but they seem a little fouled up on the other score.

          For a torpedo-sunken ship we have been doing remarkably well.  The battle for Iwo Jima still continues fiercely and has proven the most bloody in the history of the Marine Corp.  At this time the whole of the small isle has been over run by the 3rd, 4th & 5th Marine Divisions but the mopping up and securing of the vast cave networks the Japs have there may prove to be a long and costly campaign in point of lives lost.

          Of course now that the isle has been lost to Japan her military experts are yelling to their people and to the people of the world it’s complete lack of military value to that country.  Of course anyone can see that this is stupid propaganda.  The Jap sure as hell must be a stupid soul if they swallow that mess of shit.

          I doubt if the general mass of people do as I doubt if they know what goes on from day to day.  For an isle that is valueless to them they put up one helluva fight.  I should be seeing something of that place relatively soon now, providing my first navigation assignment is not a tour of mess duty or a like tour of guard duty.

          That is probably the shape of things to come judging from past experience and the varied careers of a P.F.C. in this or any branch of the service.  Will this is it and the next few days will tell the story.

March 18, 1945

U.S.S. Gen. H. Taylor

          Up early this A.M.  Lying too, about 15 miles west of Guam.  Anxious to get going and disembark after 32 days on this tub.  Made port in the inner harbor about 10:30 A.M. amidst a large number of freighters, transports, tankers and a variety of men of war ships from large carriers and battleships down thru a lot including cruisers, destroyers to the mighty torpedo boat (the Bantam of the battle wagons – call it the “scooter.”)

          Finally drop anchor and try to acquaint ourselves with the shoreline.  Seems to be much activity on the land from where we get our view and an air strip, not visible from the ship is doing quite a business in dispatching and returning planes, for the most part of a fighter variety.

          A nice long, light yellow sand beach is directly to our starboard but some dark green high foreboding cliffs with a dangerous reef over which the swells break very high to the West of us and continuing for some distance north.

          A breakwater in process of construction here by the Sea Bees that will tend to make a large protected harbor of this bay.  Started to disembark about 2:30 P.M.  Happy to have had our last chow on this torrid “cattle boat.”

          Our turn comes to board the landing barge at 5 P.M.  Getting our gear from the narrow limits of our lower compartments to the main deck proved to be a sweaty, laborious and rather precarious experience, especially the part in manning the steep narrow ladder from the main deck to the barge.

          About 300 men on this load but finally shove off amid much rooting and the usual farewells, with those remarks peculiar to the military.  The nurses all lined up and farewelling the departing officers – much regret in their parting  - must have been another big evening in the offing being reluctantly relinquished by both parties – too damned bad.

          Making shore we loadesd ourselves and gear onto trucks for the try from this.  Orote Harbor to our permanent base about 20 miles north up the island.  Agana Air Bases is the name of the place to which we are destined for the questionable future.

          Twilight now and showers threatening as usual.  Much activity in construction under way and completed, shows an amazing panorama.  So much having been done in so little time.  Guess the Sea Bees are to be credited, as usual.

          Pass thru a couple of native villages – homes and all visible dwelling or other construction  completely devastated by aerial bombs and ship fire – grim evidence of recent passage of war here.

          Reached base and willingly releasing our jacks to partake of our first chow on Guam.  Chow hall is a large Quonsat type hut planned to accommodate a good many hundred men.  Chow consisted of chicken, dressing, cranberries, mashed potatoes and ice cream for dessert.  I do not know the occasion but surely lthis was not a sample of the average chow here.

          It was a banquet indeed to be remembered after the monotony and unchanging quality and variety and taste of the ship board mess.  The water here has a strange disagreeable sulphurous taste.  It is very noticeable in the coffee and to a lesser extent in the ice cream.  They tell me that one soon becomes acquainted with this characteristic of the liquid.  Well, I’m not too hard to satisfy – that’s what I say – of course I may be wrong.

          After chow and much to the better physically and also mentally we are assigned to our future squads by the group sgt. Major.  The navigators are being split into two groups.

            14 are detailed to sqd. 952 of which I am one and the other 6 to sqd. 253 to which Tommy Mankhen is detailed.  I should have liked being with him in the same sqd. But that is not the way things are done in these outfits.

          Which sqd. bids fair to offer the best duty and other amenities of life during our stay here has to be determined and judging by the passing of time and after we have been returned to the States or transferred to another sqd.

          Sqd. 952 looks OK at present by comparison and by the “scuttlebutt” concerning the divers groups.  Were assigned to barracks at once.  Dick Eberley (he is a pal of mine, a former flyer and a pharmacist from Illinois and a boot in the ass) and myself about to get together to fill vacant sacks in barracks #77.

          It is too late to shower as there are water hours here necessitated by conservation due to fresh water shortage.  Seems this condition will remain so until the completion of natural wells being drilled on the island at this time.  Did manage to acquire enough of the precious liquid to wash our face and hands, a real pleasure, and then to prepare for a real nite of rest in an honest to God GI sack and an honest to Jesus mattress pad.  A fine cool breeze blowing from the N.E. – very pleasant.  Really quite some welcome by the boys here who are expecting reliefs from this group and who after 14 or 15 months overseas are now hoping to go home.

          Lots of questions about the States and things stateside with women occupying the no. 1 place and liquor probably second.  Of course, lots of the old “B.S.” and “scuttlebutt” that are present wherever or whenever more than one man in uniform get together.

          Knocked off the manure about 11 P.M. and after about an hour of relaxation and thoughts of home, finally to sleep – I guess.

March 19, 1945

          Up at 6 A.M.  Reveille at 5:30.  After chow of powdered scrambled eggs, bacon, cereal with powdered milk, prunes and coffee made ready to catch the trucks which will carry us to the other side of the air strip where our navigation hdq. Are located.  Seems like a long way from our living area to have to negotiate 3 or 4 times per day, but then many more men busier than we have been doing the same thing for quite some time now, so guess it will not hurt us much.

          The main air strip here at Agana Field lies in a North East-South West direction and it is well over a mile long and 300 ft. wide.  Both landing and take off strips appear to be substantial black top, well maintained by the Sea Bees on the base.

          Large quarry pits from which coral rock is taken are in evidence about this area.  The coral rock when crushed is worked into a concrete-hard surface for taxi-strips and parking areas by the maintenance men.  The sun shining on this glass-like whiteness blinds me as my eyes are very susceptible to light.

          Skies seem to always be nearly ½ to ¾ clouded by dark low-hanging cumulus type clouds from which it rains like hell on the slightest provocation and with a complete suddenness that is damned amazing considering the heaviness of the downpour.  Just as quickly the sun is again shining and then the sun’s rays, hot as Hades makes of the whole area a Turkish Bath.  I guess this phenomena is typical of all tropical isles, in fact, that is the reason for the luxuriant foliage of the jungle about these isles of a variety unknown by me.

          Of course there are great groves of coconuts, that being quite an important industry on Guam during the peaceful years.  Personally the greenery appeals to me as from past experience.

          I have no great liking of desert bases.  The green here is restful to the eyes in contrast to the blinding whiteness of the sun on the coral topping.  The driver of this trucks reminds me of a drunken jitterbug as he negotiates the twists and turns of the road to the other side of the strips.

          Numerous Corsair fighter planes as well as F6-F night fighters and dive bombers are parked into diverse areas – all exposed to the elements and damned rugged appearing as the result.    Damned rugged and a hardy lot they are too as witness their imposing record against the Japs in this Pacific War.

          On the navigation side of the field are located the C-47’s and C-46’s (Commander’s) transports, the planes of our sqd. as well as the type used by 252 & 253.  At a glance it is difficult to guess at their age being painted the dull green which is their war paint camouflage color.

          By the serial numbers I would guess that they are for the most part about a year old and soon ready for survey.  Soon met Lt. Welch and he more or less broke the ice in welcoming us into 952 navigation.  Lt. Mathews is our C.O. in this dept. but is absent on flight today, thus the substitute welcoming committee.

          Welch seems a likeable fellow and I believe gives us some straight dope on the sqd.  Naturally we are a very welcome group to men of this dept. as the navigators we are to relieve all have in the neighborhood of 15 months overseas ands they are very anxious to return to the States.

          Can’t say that they are to be blamed for expressing such a desire.  Spent the balance of the day lying around and in idle talk, presumptions and prognostications.  Some of the boys gather and open up a few coconuts and we all sample the milk and the meat.  The green nuts prove to produce the most palatable drink.

           Tis said the milk from ripened nuts are sure to give a fair case of dribbling shits.  Damned!  I don’t want any of that.  Near the latrine, which is a pipe in the ground with a funnel or helmet on the back end as a receiver there is mounted a Jap skull with a neat bullet hole thru the side and bleaching out nicely in the sun.  Well, that one did not get far – he is a very good Jap.

          I think very well of it and so of course pass my opinion and judgement on the object as no doubt have all who have stopped here to urinate and view it for the first time.  People are blessed with such a lovely, marked curiosity and naturally they take great pleasure in making known some of their own sordid opinions on diverse subjects.

          About 4 P.M. I am notified of my first overseas hop which will be a check out hop for me.  This will be to Tenian, Saipan, and thence on to Iwo Jima.  It is still under fire and I look forward to see a little battle action (from a distance, I hope). 

          It is about 800 miles due north from here and requires about 4 hours flying time in a R5C-1.  Well, I did not have long to wait for a hop.  Take off time will be early so I’ll have to get out of the sack by 4:30 A.M.

          Ate evening chow – had a wonderful shower (my first in 3 weeks) a shave, wrote a letter to Vera (my first from Guam, and then hit the cot to relax in some more idle talk and general B.S. for half-hour or so and now to sleep, I hope.

          I guess I did as I did not remember much more except a little urgent waking sometime after midnight by mother nature in response to a little job of wetting down the rock near the corner of our hut (my new home).  Ho-hum.  Such is life in the tropics.  Also watched the night fighters taking off on their patrols as well as the bombers.

     

March 20, 1945

          Did not sleep too well last nite and up early as well so this is the ending of a very long day which did prove one of real experience to me.  I was supposed to be very busy being checked out by Lt. (?) and as it turned out, yours truly, little man did so have.

          Up at 4 A.M. and to an early chow with the other crews that also are on early flight schedule and then over to the plane to await take off time which was 6:s30 A.M.  Plane already loaded and soon met my check out navigator, Lt. Olmstead.  Seemed to be a fine fellow on first impression which was assured after flying with him today.

          Soon were airborne and off for Saipan and Tinian, a little over a hundred miles to the North in the Mariana chain of islands.  We divert from a direct course to Saipan so as to skirt the island of Rota which lies about 20 miles north of Guam.  It is still occupied by a considerable number of Japs who although stranded there by our forces yet manage to throw up quite a heavy barrage of 50 caliber stuff whenever one of our plans is within their range.

          Now and then they get a fighter on a strafing mission but our transports made a point of staying well to the left of the island.  No doubt their opportunities to improve their gunnery by practice on our planes are few now and destined to be less as time passes.

          Yes, they will be much older and I hope a hell of a lot tamer by the time they once again put foot on the soil of their emperor which I doubt if many shall enjoy.  They make good practice targets for our fighters and bombers from Guam, Tinian, and Saipan, and I hear that the results have been good, but their first welcoming committee will be a delegation of U.S. Marines.

          We soon arrive over the isle of Tinian which is four miles from Saipan.  It is an impressive sight to gaze down on the air strip in use and others under construction here for the great B-29’s that appear numerous as do B-24’, B-25, and a variety of fighter planes.

          Two air fields are in general use on Saipan with another large one about finished to the north.  One strip takes care of B-29’s and other bombers and the other is primarily for transport planes and fighters.  Lots of ships lying off of this isle – quite a supply base also, as is Guam.

          We stay here only long enough to take on some gear of the Army Air Corp and a few crew members who are on their way to Iwo for duty.  I believe they are part of a “black widow” squadron – one of the first Army groups to move onto Iwo Jima. 

     Take off in a very heavy rain squall which, of course, are an institution here and solar in their regularity.  For the next four hours I have plenty to do trying to keep on course in not good flying weather.

     Overcast and undercast part of the time but manage to get a few sun lines worked out.  To the right of our course to Iwo lies the islands comprising the chain known as the Marianas.  They are for the most part Jap occupied and we are sure to keep far enough from them so as not to be guests to the Japanese hospitality.

     They love Americans as their guests and entertain them royally, I understand.  The sharp, precipitous peak of Minami Jima is soon spotted protruding abruptly from the ocean surface to a height of 3,200 ft.

     It is bleak and foreboding in appearance and being of solid rock and almost vertical it is uninhabited except by birds and also seals.  It also is a distinct hazard to planes flying this area during stormy weather as it lies so close to Iwo and is on a direct course from Guam and nearly so from Saipan.  I must remember this well in future flights.

     In a few minutes we sight the isle of Iwo, that now famous and bloody battle ground of the Marines in their route to Japan.  At first sight I am remindesd of a pear pressed flat with the mount of Suribachi rising a few hundred feet on the extreme southern tip.

     We circle the island first at 5,000 feet and I got a good view of the isle of volcanic dust.  Much smoke is still rising especially on the northern end where fighting still continues.  The entire island is marked by countless small craters, evidence of the terrific shell fire from navy vessels and from shore light artillery and mortar fire.

     The beaches on both sides of the island are a mass of tangled, jagged landing craft that are no doubt Marine vessels and victims of Jap heavy mortar fire.  It looks very bad.  Some large Jap vessels are beached and burning on the Eastern shore and seem to be heavily bombed.

     As we circle lower the hulks of many Jap planes and tanks also numerous American bombers and fighters many still burning dot the landscape in painful twisted shapes and odd poses.  We find we were being fired at as we circle lower but luckily all we get are a few slugs through the tail section of our plane.

     A good hit can do lots of damage.  Finally come in on the strip, such as it is, and find the Sea Bees heavily busy with their never-ending job of making war easier for our men.  They are constantly subject to rifle fire and also mortar fire from the Japs and their casualties have been heavy here, but yet they continue.

      A close bond has grown up between these Bees of the Pacific and their Marine battalions that fight by their side.  It is a good combination.  We land in a cross wind and a chilly rain. As soon as we stop and pile out of the plane I notice how much cooler the weather here on this isle to the north.

     More so though I notice the landscape painted by war in its most devilish mood.  We stay close to our plane as there are many mines about and also many snipers that so suddenly appear like moles through the surface of the ash from the great network of caves that underline this hell spot.

     This has proved the great problem in securing the isle – the vast subterranean network that had taken the Japs so many years to perfect. He did a fair job.  Twenty thousand have died there so far but they have taken 5,000 Marines with them on the long journey.

     There are a few dive bombers parked near our plane.  Directly behind one lies a smoking Jap foxhole and possibly a cave entrance. On closer inspection I find three Japs in grotesque patterns, late victims of a Marine flame thrower and still smoking and smoldering from the blast. 

     They are but kids.  Yep!  They have probably satisfied their desire for any threat of the battlefield. I find myself unable to give an adequate description of this day’s experiences and I omit much, but I shall ever remember it as my first sight of war that is brutal and hellish.

     We take off late in the afternoon and make a good flight to Guam arriving after dark.  Get some late chow, take a shower and now, lying here on the sack, relaxing and thinking and considering my fortune and the good fortune of that vast number of men in uniform who are spared this hell of the battlefield and yet who probably rarely take time to so consider.

     I know not what’s due for tomorrow but now I know that I’m ready for some much needed rest.  A cool breeze blowing this eve and the temperature is pleasant. Listen to the roar of the night sqds. As they take off on their patrols and also to some B-29’s as they start their long trip to Japan to have some high explosive calling cards there.

     Some are sure to stay there but yet nite after nite they continue the job of showing the Jap the road to his destruction.

 

March 21st to 29th, Inclusive

          Up early the 21st and over to the area to find out little going on.  Seems the Marines are ready for another large scale invasion far to the northwest of here and about 300 miles from Southern Japan.  They operate as part of an army group we are told and our squadrons are to support them in their invasion by carrying in supplies and wounded out but more particularly to ferry in fighter planes and dive bombers from Eniwetok, Guam, Ulithi, Saipan, and Tinian.

          Our planes will nearly all be grounded for a number of days and they remain so for the most part until tomorrow the 30th when a few flights are scheduled. Some Philippine hops are also on schedule.

          I understand that this will be more or less a regular schedule now that the liberation of those great islands is progressing so rapidly.  Planes are all given complete checks making ready for early possible flights to the island of Okinawa where the next invasion is expected to begin almost hourly.

          It is a large island and a great Jap stronghold and a lot of heavy action is to be expected here. It may be a long hard show and we have some long and difficult hops ahead considering the non-stop character of the hope in bad weather into enemy territory.  Well, it should help to pass the time and I’m all for that.  I look forward to this show with a lot of curiosity and desire to see as much as possibly I can of the operation.

          Spend the last 8 days taking things easy trying to acclimate myself to this tropic situation. The days are damp and hot and I perspire profusely. Nights are fairly pleasant with cool breezes blowing almost constantly.  It is not difficult to get to sleep.

          Movies are plentiful, if old. They are nevertheless a real treat to all the boys. Cokes and beer are practically non-existent as far as the enlisted men are concerned. What they do get is air-temperature, which means hot beer. One can acquire a taste for it I am told, but here I doubt if one could acquire the habit considering the amount available. Perhaps it’s a good condition although a cool beer would bring a healthy fee here.  I’ll bet on that.

         Another day gone by ands ready to hit the glorious sack. Just dashed off a letter to Vera (how I miss that great girl) and also to the folks. I find myself worrying some about mother and dad.  I guess it’s natural to do so when every now and then at no particular moment the fact presents itself as a slap in the face and reminds you that they are really getting on in years.

          It is a real pity also and so true that theirs has been a life of few pleasures, a normal share of grief, and now, I imagine they often think more of their share of loneliness.  The thoughts of perhaps having Lowell (my dad’s younger brother) leave before long is not going to be easy for them.

           How the years do go. We were a larger than the average family and were all at home at one time.  Now suddenly as turning the page on a book and all are gone and one gets a sort of empty feeling in remembering his adolescent year being so closely tied with a particular type of life and a family, large, and subject to much emotional disturbance that to the outsider were never very often in evidence.

           Of course, I know having been one of them and also having a habit especially of late years. I am trying to analyze psychologically people that I have lived with or known very closely in the past years and to do so means to associate very closely the entire family and family environment with each individual.

          I might add that I am my own favorite subject and a very alarming case I make of myself. Well, that’s enough of such brain garbage.

Note:  This is as close to my dad ever talking about his home life that I’ve ever come across or heard. He was born in South Dakota on a farm. There were nine kids in the family.  My grandfather was a Prussian and my grandmother was born on the Prairie to a washer-woman and her dad was Sitting Bull’s government interpreter at Fort Yates, Dakota Territory.  He was actually with Sitting Bull when he was assassinated.  At one time he traveled with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show (in Canada).

By all accounts my grandfather was one of the meanest people to ever live.  My aunt told of times when to escape him she’d grab a butcher knife and hide in the corn fields with my aunt Olive for the night.  Oh, he also murdered his brother while on a fishing trip.

My dad’s childhood must have been a nightmare.

 

          The weather was not as hot or humid today as during the past week although storm conditions are more apparent and prevalent and a couple of violent showers during the day.  Strange to have so far never seen it lightning or heard thunder out here. Many of the boys had flights today but I am not scheduled until tomorrow at 9:30.

          I have to be up at 4 A.M. to wake the navigators with early hops. Really it does not bother me one whit. Had a fair pork chop for dinner this eve – a few words with Ken Carson and some other fellows that just came in from the States (navigators) and who are joining our squadron.

          The mess duty list for April is out today – plenty of justified “bitching” on the part of the P.F.P. navigators here and I got in my share. I have much more to say on that later.  Hell I am going to knock off the light and call it a day – see myself tomorrow.  Good night, me.

March 28, 1945

     Up at 4:30 A.M. after a rather restless night. Breezy but no rain, at least I was not bothered by any rats crawling into my sack to keep me bothered with their unwelcome presence.  They are altogether too plentiful on this island and gregarious characters.  Also, they make their homes in trees among other places. 

     Whether this is as a natural protection against the heavy rains of the island, some hereditary enemy predator or as a means to ever present food in the form of coconuts of other tropical fruits I do not know.  Anyhow there they are and nearly every other place.

     The damned ants did manage to find their way during the night on my face and hands and the little red bastards would bite like all hell.  Suppose that is another of the many inconveniences that I must accustom myself to.

     After taking a ride to the hut area with the guard and waking some of the navigators who had early flights I managed to get a little breakfast of corn fritters and coffee and then even another hour of “sack time,” although I suppose I should have been back to the material shack.  I did get over there about 8 A.M. and made ready for a 9 o’clock flight to Eulithe.

     Shot the breeze with Bob Thompson and a couple of other new boys in from El Centro (Four of them have drawn mess duty for April – A helluva situation I calls it) There sure are a lot of new men in here.

     Finally got off the deck at 9:00 with Lt. Welch and a rather fast trip was made to that huge natural ship anchorage Eulithi. Made the very short runway in good form and out to get a little chow with the radio man at which time I met and conversed with a fellow from Kearney that I once worked with while there.

     Vera was at La Jolla then, just a year ago. She really did like that place and during her short stay there she acquired a very beautiful coat of tan. I also recall hers and mine little difficulties with a certain landlady there whose specialty was violating the OIA and at the same time victimizing service men and their wives by rent gouging.

     Some character she was. Vera secured a good heavy padlock and put it on the door of our room to keep the old biddy from snooping while we were out. This the old girl resented very much but Vera was adamant in her stand and she can be such.  Those Russians are quite an esoteric people in so many ways.

     We took off from Guam in a heavy downpour about one P.M. and encountered some heavy weather all the way back but came in well at a little later than the ETA that I had figured. There was little doing during the balance of the evening and after chow I sat through a chuckly Sherlock Holmes cinema and then showered and to the sack, listening to the war news which is very encouraging in Germany and shooting the breeze until lights out.

     Also wondering at the very sharp pain in my right chest. Very much like pleurisy and very discomforting especially in a reclining position. Perhaps it is due to the “shots” for typhus, cholera, and plague that we have been getting the last two days. I will make it a point to see the doc tomorrow and so until then another good night.

March 29, 1945

          This was one of those lazy days that occur far too often in one’s military life.  Arose at the usual time about 6 A.M., breakfasted and over to the nav area by 8.  Very little doing around there as there were but a couple of hops going off and a few more cancelled.

          I had to sit around and wait to see what was on schedule for the day and also to shoot the sun for at least 10 C.o.p.s. Seems to be some talk of our getting some men from Sqd #253 which of course is not going to improve the absolutely unjust and unfair states of the junior rated navigators in this or any other sqd. in the Marine Air Corp.

          It is very difficult to comprehend all the possibilities that bring about such a being as a P.F.C. navigator and by him in such status, although after some simple analysis over some period of time it not only becomes very simple but glaringly obvious. I shall enlarge upon that topic at a later date being as it incurs much of my minute thinking process, and perhaps deduces although they are mine and are not to be easily breached.

          Maybe it is the Russian influence of the past 7 years (my dad’s wife, Vera, was a “wild red-headed Russian.”). Well, anyway one looks at it noon came and with it the wholly automatic habit of a knocking off from doing nothing nothing and beating one’s way to the chow hall again to stand in this caterpillar moving line, bitching because it does not move faster and not eating a damned thing but satisfying the constitutional urge and inherent capacity to bitch more not once considering the proposition that one’s stomach had deserved no right to consideration of this second chow.

          Properly was not considering it in the first place but desisting from assembling it in the first place but desisting from asserting its non indulgence against an atrophied brain mass by way of tending its main lining and bubble making any insulating designs of some damned nasty little ulcer.

          The afternoon passes in about the same state of furor. Exhaustion stemming from of nothing else the opening of the pores to permit a little excessive hide leaking.  Anyway, every one tired as hell and groping hurridly if blindly to the rest area at 4:30 P.M. for the benevolent ration of two cans of beer every other day at 15 cents per.

          The rest of the evening passed as the one before!  More vittles – shower, shave, another 16 reeler that was originally a 2 rounder and finally the usual amount of lying, etc.  Lights out and a recriminating sleep.

March 30, 1945

          This is another typical Guam day or at least I imagine it is, having not actual experience.  The (?) of or of a season here.  Spent the usual time today and over to nav to see or rather to standby for flight.

          As it turned out I was not on schedule and so after the usual shooting of old sol in good intention of course and with the caliber Mark V sextant.  My what vicious sport we fighting Marines disport ourselves with, though we have seldom achieved any notoriety as eradicators of the genus homo – if we have it is a stinking affront to an organization of sterling character and founded on sound principles of justice, legality and open heartache to one and and all especially this P.F.C. who are given all that there have coming to them of their own and most of what should be taken care of by the numerous other N.C. grades and officer corp up to an including not a few colonels.

          Ah, yes, they are the salt of the never present beer that is meted out to them so judiciously.  There was little of interest to be taken into account for the balance of the afternoon – at 3:30 there was the line up for the dishing out of the free ice cream or some squeezed injections.

          As it was I happened to be one of the first in line and I managed to get a helping of honey comb, light sweet ice crystals but they said it was ice cream and so sterling P.F.C. that I am I ate it voraciously and my!  How I loved the stuff!  Then I thanked myself and left to the other side of the area, washed my face and then went to chow.

          Beans and hash and then back to the hut to shower and shave.  Relax a while, listen to the news by short wave from San Francisco.  Shoot the breeze, tell a few lies.  I am not in very fine fettle this evening, and then to sleep sometime after lights out.

          Ho-Hum, so long me.

 

 

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