Bataan Speaking Introduction Aug '43-Mar '44 April '44 May '44 June '44 July '44 Aug'44-Sept '44 Bridge Reminiscence Oct '44-Mar '45 Apr '45 May '45 June '45 July '45 Aug '45 Arthur Bode & Bernard MacDonald Sept '45 Oct '45 Recall & Reminisce

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June '44

 

THURSDAY, 1 JUNE '44

THERE WERE NO FLIGHT OPERATIONS, SO "EMERGENCY DRILLS" WERE CALLED DURING THE MORNING; "CRASH BOAT CREW" AND "FIRE AND RESCUE PARTY" WERE CALLED AWAY FOR MUSTER ON THE HANGER DECK.

EVERYONE WAS WAITING FOR THE "ABANDON SHIP DRILL". THE PREVALENCE OF OTHER DRILLS REMINDED EVERYONE TO CHECK UP ON WHERE THEY COULD REACH THEIR LIFE BELT AND GET TO A LIFE RAFT IN A HURRY.

WARDROOM MESS TREASURER, WEISHEAR, COLLECTED $35.00 FROM OFFICERS FOR THE MONTHLY MESS BILL; THE EXTRA FIVE WAS RUMORED TO BRING THE SHARE UP TO VALUE.

OUR WEST-SO'WESTERLY COURSE TOOK US ACROSS ANOTHER TIME ZONE; ALL SHIP'S CLOCKS WERE SET BACK ONE HOUR AT 1800, STICKING DOG WATCH STANDERS WITH THREE INSTEAD OF THE USUAL TWO HOURS OF DUTY.

PAINTERS WORKED LIKE FIENDS TODAY GETTING THE INSIDE OF THE SHIP IN SHAPE. EVERY SPACE IN THE OFFICERS' COUNTRY WHERE THE STEEL DECK SHOWED THROUGH, WAS CIRCLED WITH CHALK; AND A MAN WITH A CAN OF DECK PAINT CAME ALONG AFTER THE CHALKER AND "OLD MAN RUST" WENT DOWN FOR THE COUNT. PASSAGEWAYS WERE PAINTED BY THE "FIFTY PER CENT" METHOD; HALF OF IT WAS PAINTED, LEAVING THE OTHER HALF FOR TRAFFIC WITH BIG CHALKED SIGNS AND ARROWS -- "WET DECK". IT WAS OKAY AS LONG AS YOU WATCHED WHERE YOU WERE GOING. COMPLICATIONS SET IN AFTER LIGHTS OUT, AND ONLY THE BATTLE LIGHTS WERE ON IN THE PASSAGEWAY. YOU STOPPED AND HOPED THAT THE PAINT HAD DRIED BY THAT TIME.

FRIDAY, 2 JUNE '44

THE CAPTAIN INSPECTED ALL COMPARTMENTS THROUGHOUT THE SHIP WITH DIVISION OFFICERS STANDING BY. HE WAS ACCOMPANIED BY THE EXECUTIVE OFFICER AND HEADS OF DEPARTMENTS. THE TOUR STARTED AT 1300. ARMED WITH FLASHLIGHTS AND AS LONG CLIPBOARD, THE FIRST LIEUTENANTS COPIED COMMENTS WHICH WOULD COME OUT IN A REPORT TOMORROW.

AT 1500, THE INSPECTION WAS SECURED AND DIVISION OFFICERS WITH A "VERY GOOD" COMMENT, PATTED THEMSELVES ON THE BACK -- AND -- OTHERS NOT-SO-LUCKY, MADE PLANS TO CORRECT DEFICIENCIES AT MAJURO. OTHER THAN THAT, THE DAY WAS UNEVENTFUL. ANOTHER TIME CHANGE WAS MADE PUTTING ALL CLOCKS BACK ONE HOUR AT 1800 AND MOVING INTO 12 PLUS ZONE.

EVERYONE IS WONDERING IF THERE WILL BE ROOM FOR US AT MAJURO. SOMEONE SUGGESTED THAT THE LARGER NUMBER OF SHIPS SHOULD DO AWAY WITH THE NECESSITY FOR SHIP'S BOATS. YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO GET TO THE BEACH BY JUMPING FROM SHIP TO SHIP.

SATURDAY - SUNDAY, 3 AND 4 JUNE '44

THIS WAS ONE OF THOSE "DOUBLE DAYS"; AT 1200 WE SET ALL CLOCKS AHEAD 23 HOURS TO ZONE MINUS 11 TIME. IT CONFUSED THE PADRE ALL TO PIECES BECAUSE HE DID NOT GET THE WORD AND HADN'T PLANNED ON CHURCH SERVICES. SO, ON TOP OF THE USUAL LACK OF "SUNDAY-NESS", WE HAD THE ADDITION OF ONLY HAVING "HALF" A SUNDAY.

AS WE APPROACHED MAJURO AT NOON, THE SHIP-FILLED LAGOON WASN'T THE BIG THRILL IT WAS THE FIRST TIME. OUR OWN FORCE -- THE FAST CARRIER FORCES OF THE PACIFIC -- THE FAMOUS TASK FORCE 58, WAS AGAIN SPREAD OUT BEFORE US. WE HAD HOPED TO SEE PART OF THE INVASION FLEET -- THE AMPHIBIOUS FORCES, BUT EVIDENTLY THEY WERE BEING STAGED ELSEWHERE.

AFTER WE ANCHORED AT 1248, THE CAPTAIN LEFT THE SHIP IN HIS GIG TO VISIT REAR ADMIRAL J. J. CLARK ON THE HORNET. WITH THE CAPTAIN WERE SEVERAL DEPARTMENT HEADS WHO WERE CONCERNED WITH GETTING UP TO DATE ON OUR COMING OPERATIONS.

WE WERE HOME WITH THE FIGHTING FLATTOPS; WHO KNOWS -- PERHAPS THERE MAY BE MAIL CALL TOMORROW.

MONDAY, 5 JUNE '44

TO ADD TO THE DAYS EVENTS, A "RED ALERT" WAS SOUNDED. "ENEMY AIRBORNE OVER ISLAND". WE SET CONDITION 1 ON ALL ANTI-AIRCRAFT BATTERIES AT 1257 AND WONDERED WHAT THE STORY WAS. PREPARATIONS WERE MADE FOR GETTING UNDERWAY, AND AT 1317, GENERAL QUARTERS WAS SOUNDED.

THE MAJURO COMBAT AIR PATROL WAS SENT AFTER THE BOGEY WHICH HEADED IN THE DIRECTION OF JALUIT ATOLL. BY 1340, EVERYTHING QUIETED DOWN; A "FLASH WHITE" COME AND WE WERE SECURED FROM GENERAL QUARTERS.

DURING THE AFTERNOON, PREPARATIONS FOR GETTING UNDERWAY TOMORROW PROGRESSED NORMALLY AND SAW THE ARRIVAL OF LT. COMDR. HORACE C. LAIRD, JR., THE NEW FIRST LIEUTENANT AND DAMAGE CONTROL OFFICER. HE REPLACED COMMANDER GOODHUE WHO LEFT THE SHIP AT PEARL HARBOR.

ANOTHER BOGEY AT 1750, CAUSED THE SHIP TO SET "CONDITION ONE ON THE AA BATTERIES". THINGS WENT TO NORMAL TEN MINUTES LATER AND WE HAD NO MORE EXCITEMENT THE REST OF THE DAY.

TOMORROW WOULD BE THE DAY; ON OUR WAY TO SOMETHING EXCITING. NO SNAP LIKE THE HOLLANDIE LANDING, BUT BIG AND TOUGH. WHETHER WE HAD A SLOW FORWARD ELEVATOR OR NOT, WE WERE GOING TO THIS OPERATION.

AND THE JAPS WOULD REALLY HEAR "BATAAN SPEAKING".

TUESDAY, 6 JUNE '44

THE DAY EVERYONE HAS BEEN WAITING FOR SINCE DUNKIRK -- D-DAY ON THE COAST OF FRANCE -- CAME TODAY AND OVERSHADOWED THE HISTORICAL FACT THAT THE FAST CARRIER FORCE OF THE PACIFIC FLEET LEFT MAJURO ATOLL. BUT, AFTER ALL, PERHAPS IT IS JUST AS WELL THE WORLD DOESN'T KNOW OF OUR DEPARTURE, FOR 93 COMBAT SHIPS PLUS THE OILER FLEET WAS A LOT OF BAD MEDICINE FOR THE JAPS AND MORE EFFECTIVE IN A SURPRISE DOSE.

DURING THE MORNING, ALL PREPARATIONS WERE MADE FOR GETTING UNDERWAY. A LAST MINUTE MAIL TRIP WAS MADE TO THE FLEET POST OFFICE WITH THE LAST LETTER THE FOLKS BACK HOME WOULD BE GETTING FOR A LONG TIME. THE BIG UNFINISHED ITEM WAS OUR FUEL AND GAS. NO "GONDOLIER" HAD COME ALONGSIDE, BUT AFTER SOME WRANGLING OVER THE RADIO, ONE CAME ALONGSIDE AND WORD WAS PASSED -- "NOW THE SMOKING LAMP IS OUT THROUGHOUT THE SHIP."

THE DEPARTURE WAS DELAYED BY THE FUELING; FORTUNATELY FOR LIEUT, (JG) IRVING S. FISHER AND NO. 2 WHALEBOAT, WHICH WAS SO LONG DELAYED IN RETURNING FROM THE MAIL TRIP THAT IT WAS BELIEVED A SPECIAL UNIT WOULD BE ADDED TO THE TASK FORCE -- TASK GROUP 58.X, ONE MOTOR WHALEBOAT.

AT 1419 THE HOOK WAS RAISED AND WE GOT UNDERWAY IN COMPANY WITH OTHER UNITS OF 58.1 IN A TROPICAL SQUALL AND LIMITED VISIBILITY. NO PLANES WERE LAUNCHED DURING THE DAY.

WEDNESDAY, 7 JUNE '44

THIS WAS A DAY FOR TRAINING. THE RADAR GANG'S WORKOUT STARTED AN HOUR BEFORE SUNRISE WITH SURFACE TRACKING EXERCISES, AND IN THE AFTERNOON, THE AA BATTERIES WENT TO WORK ON THE TARGET SLEEVES. WE FIRED AT TWO TBM TOWS IN TORPEDO TYPE RUNS ON EACH SIDE OF THE SHIP. ONE SLEEVE WAS NEATLY CLIPPED NEAR THE CABLE CONNECTION BY A 20MM BATTERY. THE 40'S DIDN'T GET A SLEEVE, BUT THEIR FIRE PATTERN WAS EXCELLENT. FROM ALL THE VIEWPOINTS, THE SHOOTING WAS PROFITABLE, FOR IT GAVE ALL CPO'S AND OFFICERS THE STANDING CONDITION WATCHES A CHANCE TO CONTROL THE MOUNTS WHEN FIRING. ROUTINE ASP OF FOUR TBM'S AND A CAP OF FOUR VF'S WAS FLOWN OVER TASK GROUP 58.1, AND DUPLICATE PATROLS OVER TASK GROUP 58.7 WHO WERE CONDUCTING MANEUVERS IN THE VICINITY. THERE WAS A WORLD OF FIRE POWER IN 58.7 -- BATTLESHIPS NORTH CAROLINA, WASHINGTON, IOWA, NEW JERSEY, INDIANA, SOUTH DAKOTA, AND ALABAMA; HEAVY CRUISERS BOSTON, BALTIMORE, CANBERRA; CL(AA)S OAKLAND, SAN JUAN, SAN DIEGO, RENO; CL'S SANTA FE, MOBILE, BILOXI, HOUSTON, VINCENNES, MIAMI, AND 11 DESTROYERS. WHAT AN IMPRESSIVE SIGHT, AND ABOVE ALL, COMFORTING! IN THE FINAL PATROL TO BE TAKEN ABOARD AT 1817, WAS ENSIGN H. C. "BUZZ" RUDA, OF BARABOO, WIS. HIS PRESENCE WAS NOTABLE IN THAT HIS LANDING WAS THE 2,000TH ON THE BATAAN DECK. THURSDAY, 8 JUNE '44 FLIGHT QUARTERS SOUNDED AT 0545 AND A GROUP OF FIVE TBM'S AND 18 F6F'S TOOK PART IN A TRAINING MANEUVER LED BY AIR GROUP COMMANDER OF THE HORNET. WE FLEW A ROUTINE ASP AND CAP FROM 1207 TO 1604 AND HAD A STANDBY CAP ALOFT FROM 1303 TO 1610. AMONG THE LAUNCHING WAS THE 1,000TH PLANE SHOT FROM THE DECK BY "JELLY BEAN", AS lIEUT. (JG) GEORGE ALT'S CATAPULT IS AFFECTIONATELY KNOWN. IN THE AFTERNOON, WE AGAIN RENDEZVOUSED WITH THE FUELING FLEET.

FRIDAY, 9 JUNE '44

AN EIGHT PLANE ASP AND FOUR PLANE CAP WAS LAUNCHED AT 0847 AND RECOVERED AT 1217 FOR THE DAY'S ONLY FLIGHT OPERATION. AT 1300 A TANKER PULLED ALONG SIDE AND MORE AVIATION FUEL OIL WAS TAKEN ABOARD. THE AIR GROUP HELD A SPECIAL CELEBRATION IN THE WARDROOM AT EVENING CHOW. A FANCY CAKE, FASHIONED TO RESEMBLE THE BATAAN, BUT LACKING ONE STACK, WAS PRESENTED TO ENSIGN RUDA, WHO CUT IT WITH A FLOURISH MUCH FANCIER THAN THE SPEECH THAT ACCOMPANIED IT. COMMANDER HOUSE AND LT. COMDR. STRANGE ALSO SPOKE BRIEFLY.

SATURDAY, 10 JUNE '44

A QUIET AND UNEVENTFUL DAY, SOMETHING WHICH PROMISES TO BE A RARITY ON THIS OPERATION. WE DREW THE EARLY PATROL AND LAUNCHED EIGHT FIGHTERS FOR CAP, A FOUR PLANE ASP FOUR ANTI-SNOOPERS AT 0427. THEY WERE TAKEN ABOARD AGAIN AT 0833. OFFICIAL MAIL ARRIVED VIA DESTROYER IN THE AFTERNOON. IT CONTAINED LAST MINUTE PLANS, CHARTS, AND PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE TARGET AREAS. DRILL CALL SENT THE VARIOUS DIVISIONS TO WORK BRIEFLY, BUT "SACK DRILL" WAS THE MOST POPULAR OF THE DAY AS EVERYONE TRIED TO STORE UP SLEEP FOR THE DAYS TO COME. AT 1800 GENERAL QUARTERS WAS SOUNDED AND CAPTAIN SCHAEFFER SPOKE BRIEFLY AND INSPIRINGLY TO ALL HANDS, OUTLINING OUR OBJECTIVES.

"ATTENTION ALL HANDS, THIS IS THE CAPTAIN SPEAKING -- AGAIN WE ARE HEADING WEST TOWARD THE LAND OF THE SETTING SUN, IN COMPANY WITH THE FAMOUS TASK FORCE 58, OF WHICH WE ARE NOW AGAIN A PART. TONIGHT AT SUNSET, WE ARE APPROXIMATELY 420 MILES TO THE EASTWARD OF THE MARIANAS. IN THE MARIANAS ARE THE JAPANESE BASES OF SAIPAN, TINIAN, ROTA, AND GUAM. THESE BASES ARE OUR OBJECTIVES WHICH WE WILL ATTACK AND OCCUPY.

"AGAIN, AS HERETOFORE, THE FAST CARRIER TASK FORCE OF VICE ADMIRAL MITSCHER IS THE SPEARHEAD OF THIS ATTACK. FOLLOWING, SEVERAL HUNDRED MILES BEHIND US, IS THE FIFTH AMPHIBIOUS FORCE UNDER VICE ADMIRAL TURNER. THE AMPHIBIOUS FORCE IS COMPOSED , FOR THE MOST PART, OF THE LANDING CRAFT, BATTLESHIPS, CRUISERS, AND DESTROYERS WHICH YOU SAW ASSEMBLED IN PREPARATION FOR THIS OPERATION IN PEARL HARBOR. THE FIFTH AMPHIBIOUS FORCE WILL TAKE OVER THE JAPANESE ISLAND BASES OF SAIPAN, TINIAN, ANDGUAM AFTER WE HAVE CLEARED AWAY ENEMY AIR AND SURFACE NAVAL OPPOSITION.

"WE HAVE A FULL WEEK'S WORK AHEAD OF US AS FOLLOWS: SUNDAY, 11 JUNE -- LATE AFTERNOON FIGHTER SWEEP OVER GUAM AND ROTA. MONDAY AND TUESDAY, 12 AND 13 JUNE -- ATTACK AND BOMB GUAM AND ROTA. WEDNESDAY, 14 JUNE -- WE RETIRE TO THE NORTHEASTWARD OF SAIPAN AND REFUEL. UPON COMPLETION AND ON THE FOLLOWING DAY, THURSDAY, 15 JUNE -- WE HEAD ON A NORTHERLY COURSE TO THE BONIN ISLANDS, WHICH WE WILL ATTACK ON FRIDAY AND SATURDAY, 16 AND 17 JUNE.

"TASK GROUP 58.4 WILL ALSO ATTACK THE BONIN ISLANDS THE SAME TIME AS WE DO. TASK GROUP 58.2 AND 58.3 WILL ATTACK AND BOMB SAIPAN AND TINIAN AND COVER THE LANDING OPERATIONS OF THE FIFTH AMPHIBIOUS FORCE, WHICH START ON THE 15TH OF JUNE. THAT, BRIEFLY, IS THE OPERATIONS AS PLANNED. WHAT ENEMY OPPOSITIONS WILL BE ENCOUNTERED, REMAINS TO BE SEEN. A MAJOR NAVAL ENGAGEMENT WITH THE JAP FLEET MAY RESULT FROM OUR ATTACK AND OCCUPATION OF THEIR MARIANA BASES.

"IT IS INTERESTING TO NOTE THAT THE BONIN ISLANDS, WHICH WE ATTACK ON FRIDAY AND SATURDAY OF NEXT WEEK, ARE EXACTLY 511 MILES FROM TOKYO, JAPAN. SO, IT WOULD APPEAR, THAT WE ARE BEGINNING TO GET CLOSE TO FULFILLING THE LAST TWO LINES OF OUR BATAAN SONG -- THAT IS ALL."

SUNDAY, 11 JUNE '44

FOUR MORE PLANES FELL TO THE PILOTS OF VF 50 TODAY AS WE LAUNCHED A SWEEP AGAINST ROTA A DAY AHEAD OF SCHEDULE. THE BIG DISAPPOINTMENT WAS THE FACT THAT THE PILOTS DIDN'T FIND MORE JAPS TO TANGLE WITH AND NOT EVEN ANY PLANES TO STRAFE ON THE GROUND AS OUR DRIVE AGAINST THE MARIANAS OPENED.

FITTINGLY, AS CAPTAIN SCHAEFFER PHRASED IT LATER IN A BRIEF SPEECH TO ALL HANDS, THE SURGEON WHOSE SCALPEL DREW FIRST BLOOD FOR THE TASK FORCE WAS LT. COMDR. STRANGE, SKIPPER OF THE FIGHTER SQUADRON AND C.C. OF AIR GROUP 50. STRANG EWAS LEADING THE CAP -- ASP LAUNCHED AT 0500, AND AT 0830 CAME THE CHEERING NEWS THAT HE HAD BAGGED A "HELEN". AFTER THE LAST PLANE HAD LANDED SAFELY AT 0904, STRANGE TOLD HIS STORY. FLYING WITH ENSIGNS FASH, NELSON, AND VEACH AT 2,000 FEET, HE HAD SPOTTED THE JAP SKIMMING LOW OVER THE WATER AT BETWEEN 500 AND 800 FEET. THE PILOTS BRACKETED THE JAP AS THEY DOVE ON HIM, STRANGE AND FASH CHASING ON THE RIGHT AND NELSON AND VEACH ON THE LEFT. ALMOST AT THE WAVE CREST, THE JAP TURNED TO THE RIGHT IN A DESPERATE EVASIVE GESTURE BUT SWUNG STRAIGHT INTO THE SIGHTS OF STRANGE, WHO WAS BARRELING ALONG AT 250 KNOTS. A LONG BURST SENT FLAMES SPURTING FROM BOTH ENGINES AND THE JAP WENT INTO THE WATER, WITH FASH ADDING SOME BURSTS FOR GOOD MEASURE. LT. COMDR. STRANGE, NOT SATISFIED WITH HIS RECOGNITION OF THE JAP AS A HELEN, STUDIED ALL POSSIBLE IDENTIFICATION PHOTOS AND FINALLY CAME TO THE CONCLUSION HE MIGHT HAVE BAGGED ONE OF THE NEW "FRANS" OR Y-20'S. IF SO, IT WAS THE FIRST FRAN TO FALL TO U.S. GUNS. MESSAGE WAS RECEIVED FROM THE FLAG -- "WELL DONE ON DRAWING FIRST BLOOD."

A B-24 BAGGED ANOTHER JAP SHORTLY AFTERWARD AND WHEN IT BECAME FAIRLY CERTAIN THAT THE JAPS HAD SPOTTED THE TASK FORCE, SCUTTLEBUTT FLEW TO THE EFFECT THAT A FULL-FLEDGED STRIKE WOULD BE LAUNCHED. AT 1040, WORD CAME THAT GUAM HAD BEEN ALERTED AND THAT THE TASK FORCE WOULD LIKELY BE UNDER ATTACK SOON. AT 1048 CAME THE OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT THAT A FIGHTER SWEEP WOULD BE STAGED OVER THE ASSIGNED TARGETS IN THE MARIANAS STARTING AT 1300. THE CAP (NOW FLOWN BY OTHER CARRIERS) REPORTED A JAP FLOAT PLANE SHOT DOWN AT 1210. GENERAL QUARTERS WERE SOUNDED AT 1240 WHEN A JAP WAS REPORTED ATTACKING. FOUR MINUTES LATER, WITHIN SIGHT OF THE TASK FORCE, THE CAP BROUGHT DOWN A FOUR-ENGINED EMILY IN FLAMES. ONE MINUTE LATER, A NELL SUFFERED A SIMILAR FATE. LATER, THIS PLANE WAS REPORTED TO HAVE BEEN CARRYING MAIL; THREE BAGS BEING RECOVERED, ONE FULL OF OFFICIAL DOCUMENTS. TWO SURVIVORS WERE ALSO PICKED UP.

AT 1250, THE FIRST OF OUR 12 VF WERE LAUNCHED ON THE SWEEP AT ROTA AND THE ENTIRE GROUP WAS AIRBORNE IN 5 1/2 MINUTES, A FEAT THAT BROUGHT PRAISE FROM THE AIR OFFICER. THIS TIME BETTERED THAT OF THE YORKTOWN AND EQUALED THAT OF THE BELLEAU WOOD AND HORNET. MOST OF THE BOGIES THAT DEVELOPED DURING THE AFTERNOON OF ANXIOUS WAITING, TURNED OUT TO BE FRIENDLY, BUT ONE EMILY WAS DOWNED BY THE CAP 21 MILES FROM THE FORMATION.

THE BEST NEWS OF THE DAY CAME AT 1610 WHEN ALL 12 OF THE BATAAN'S PLANES WERE SEEN CIRCLING THE SHIP. THE NEWS WAS TEMPERED WITH DISAPPOINTMENT WHEN THE FIRST FEW PILOTS TO LAND REPORTED HAVING ENCOUNTERED NO OPPOSITION AND SEEING NOT SO MUCH AS A SINGLE JAP PLANE. DISAPPOINTMENT TURNED TO HILARITY WHEN LT. BARACKMAN BOUNCED OUT OF HIS PLANE WITH THE ANNOUNCEMENT THAT HE AND ENSIGN RUDA HAD ACCOUNTED FOR THREE ZEKES. BARACKMAN AND RUDA WERE AMONG FOUR PILOTS DETAILED TO THE SUPPOSEDLY IRKSOME TASK OF FLYING PATROL OVER THE SB2C RESCUE PLANES FROM THE HORNET. THE TOUR OF DRUDGERY TURNED TO ONE OF REAL FULN WHEN THE THREE ZEKES WERE SPOTTED. LT. BARACKMAN OPENED FIRE ON THE FIRST ONE, WHICH LITERALLY DISINTEGRATED BEFORE HIS EYES. THE SECOND BURST INTO FLAME AND CRASHED, AS DID THE THIRD WHEN RUDA GOT IT IN HIS SIGHTS. THE REMAINDER OF THE SWEEP SIGHTED NO JAP PLANES AND FOUND THE AIRSTRIP AT ROTA BARREN, BUT, THEY MANAGED TO STRAFE AN AK, A TRAWLER, AND A BARGE AS WELL AS SOME TRUCKS ON THE AIRFIELD. THERE WERE NO ACK-ACK BUT, ENSIGN DENNES HAD A BULLET HOLE IN ONE WING AND LT. BARACKMAN HAD ONE IN HIS PROPELLER.

THE EVENING CAP OF 8 VT AND 6 VF WAS A DRAB AFFAIR IN COMPARISON WITH THE REST OF THE DAY'S AERIAL CHORES. IT TOOK OFF AT 1531 AND LANDED AT 1846 WITH NARY A JAP SIGHTED. UPON COMPLETION OF THE DAYS WORK, THE FOLLOWING CAME FROM THE FLAG -- "MESSAGE TO THIS TASK GROUP -- DARN WELL DONE -- UPWARDS OF 30 AIRBORNE ENEMY AIRCRAFT DESTROYED AGAINST ONE OF OUR SHOT DOWN -- ADMIRAL CLARK."

MONDAY, 12 JUNE '44

TODAY BEGAN AUSPICIOUSLY WITH OUR PLANES BAGGING TWO MORE JAPS AND ENDED TRAGICALLY WHEN THE GUNS OF ONE OF OUR HELLCATS WERE DISCHARGED ON LANDING AND SPRAYED THE DECK, WOUNDING SEVEN MEN; LUCKILY, NONE OF THE WOUNDS WERE SERIOUS.

THE ACCIDENT OCCURRED AT 1852 WHEN A PLANE LANDED WITHOUT HAVING ITS' SWITCHES PROPERLY SECURED. THE JOLT OF LANDING SET OFF THE 50 CAL. MACHINE GUNS IN THE WING. A SHOWER OF LEAD RATTLED AGAINST THE BRIDGE AND OVER THE DECK, WHICH WAS CROWDED WITH PLANES RECENTLY LANDED, PLANE HANDLERS, AND ORDNANCE MEN.

LESS THAN ONE HOUR AFTER HE LED HIS FIGHTERS OFF THE DECK AT 0520, A JAP JUDY FELL TO THE GUNS OF LT. COMDR. STRANGE. GQ SOUNDED AT 0533 AND AT 0601 CAME WORD THAT STRANGE HAD SHOT DOWN A JUDY 30 MILES FROM THE FORMATION. IN GETTING HIS SECOND JAP IN TWO DAYS, STRANGE ATTACKED FROM THE BEHIND AND BENEATH. WHEN THE LANE WENT OUT OF CONTROL, THE JAP BAILED OUT, BUT, HIS PARACHUTE FLOATED FOR SOME TIME; THE PILOT WAS OBVIOUSLY DEAD WHEN HE HIT THE WATER.

ONLY 14 MINUTES AFTER THE NEWS OF STRANGE, CAME THE ANNOUNCEMENT THAT LT. BARACKMAN HAD RUN HIS STRING TO THREE IN TWO DAYS. HIS VICTIM WAS ALSO A JUDY. BARACKMAN BORE IN ON THE JUDY WITH A LONG BURST THAT SET HIM IN SMOKE. THE JUDY TRIED TO PULL UP, BUT WAS SMOKING AND FELL AWAY ON THE LEFT WING OUT OF CONTROL. ENSIGN RICH FOLLOWED THE PLANE DOWN TO MAKE SURE IT DIDN'T GET AWAY. IT DIDN'T.

THE BATAAN FLEW CAP AND ASP FOR THE REST OF THE DAY WITH THE USUAL FISHERMAN'S LUCK, UNABLE TO RAISE A HEALTHY BOGEY. THIS SORT OF THING GAVE THE PILOTS A BIG PAIN IN THE VICINITY OF THEIR SEAT PACKS, ESPECIALLY THOSE OF THE SECOND PATROL. SOME WERE ALOFT FOR MORE THAN FIVE HOURS WITHOUT RELIEF AND CAME ABOARD WITH ABOUT ENOUGH GAS FOR A GOOD BELCH. THIS PATROL WAS LAUNCHED AT 0710 AND THE LAST PLANE RETURNED AT 1232. TWO MORE PATROLS WERE FLOWN DURING THE DAY, THE LAST ONE BEING A MERRY SCRAMBLE WHICH STARTED OUT THREE VF SHORT (ALL OUR AVAILABLE PLANES WERE IN THE AIR AND TWO WERE DOWN ON THE HORNET) AND WOUND UP FOUR PLANES OVER THE NORMAL ALLOTMENT WHEN SEVEN WERE LAUNCHED AS QUICKLY AS AVAILABLE TO AUGMENT THE PATROL.

THE SICK CHICKENS WHICH CAME TO ROOST ON THE HORNET WERE LT. (JG) LLOYD BROWN AND ENSIGN BARLO TARLETON. BOTH WERE ABLE TO RETURN TO BASE AFTER MINOR REPAIRS.

TUESDAY, 13 JUNE '44

NO JAPS FOR OUR FIGHTERS TODAY, BUT, OUR TBM'S DROPPED PLENTY OF TROUBLE ONTO TOJO'S POSITIONS ON ROTA AND GUAM. OUR GOOD LUCK ALSO CONTINUED WHEN A CRASH ON THE FLIGHT DECK, SPOTTED WITH AVENGERS LOADED WITH GAS AND BOMBS, DIDN'T START A FIRE. THIS EVENT HAPPENED AT 1055 AFTER WE HAD BEEN ASKED TO TAKE ABOARD FOUR SB2C'S, WHO, HAD BEEN OUT ON A LONG SEARCH WHICH LOCATED A JAP CONVOY AND WHICH COULDN'T LAND ABOARD THE HORNET BECAUSE THE PARENT SHIP HAD THE AFTER PORTION OF THE DECK FULL OF PLANES. THE FIRST THREE BIG HELLDIVERS CAME IN SAFELY, BUT THE FOURTH ONE, PILOTED BY LT. (JG) A. F. DOHERTY, NOSED DOWN ON LANDING, DID A KANGAROO HOP OVER THE BARRIERS AND CRASHED INTO THE PLANES SPOTTED FORWARD. ALL FOUR SB2C'S WERE SO BADLY DAMAGED THAT THEY WERE JETTISONED. ONE OF OUR HELLCATS ALSO WAS TOSSED OVER THE SIDE.

AIR GROUP 50 MADE A TOTAL OF 53 SORTIES OVER ENEMY POSITIONS, FLEW 10 CAP, AND DROPPED 16 TONS OF BOMBS. EIGHT ONE-TON BOMBS LANDED IN THE TARGET AREA AT PITI NAVY YARD, GUAM, AND OTHERS ON ANTI-AIRCRAFT POSITIONS. ONE SAMPAN WAS SUNK BY STRAFING AT ROTA, TWO SINGLE-ENGINE PLANES WERE STRAFED ON THE GROUND, AND THE SUGAR MILL WAS BOMBED.

LT. LAAKE AND ENSIGN DENNES WERE FORCED TO MAKE EMERGENCY LANDINGS ABOARD THE HORNET AFTER THE MORNING SORTIES OVER ROTA. LAAKE LOST MOST OF HIS TAIL COMING OUT OF A DIVE. DENNES, WITH HIS HYDRAULIC SYSTEM DAMAGED BY ENEMY FIRE, COULDN'T LOWER HIS FLAPS AND HAD TROUBLE GETTING HIS WHEELS DOWN, SO HE SELECTED THE THE BIG DECK OF THE HORNET FOR LANDING. INASMUCH AS DENNES WAS FLYING A PHOTOGRAPHIC PLANE, THIS RUINED THE DAY FOR THE PHOTO INTERPRETATION OFFICER. OTHER PHOTOS WERE SPOILED BY LOW CLOUDS OVER THE TARGET.

WEDNESDAY, 14 JUNE '44

ANOTHER JAP FOR LT. COMDR. STRANGE TODAY. WONDER WHAT HAPPENED TO HIM YESTERDAY? NO PLANE SHOT DOWN! OTHERWISE, A PLANE-A-DAY AVERAGE FOR THE AIR GROUP SKIPPER. THIS TIME HE GOT A BETTY AFTER A LONG CHASE THAT TOOK HIM 65 MILES FROM THE FORMATION. NONE OF OUR OTHERS, FLYING COVER FOR THE ASP DURING THE OPERATION, HAVE EVEN SO MUCH AS SIGHTED A JAP, BUT, IT DIDN'T TAKE STRANGE LONG TO SPOT ONE. THE PATROL WAS LAUNCHED AT 0826 AND AT 0910 HE REPORTED HIS THIRD NIP SCALP. THE SKIPPER NORMALLY DOESN'T FLY THESE BORING PATROLS BUT TOOK THIS ONE ON THE HUNCH HE'D "GET A JAP."

THIS WAS A DAY WITHOUT AN 0300 CALL FOR THE AIR DEPARTMENT. IT WAS ALSO HOMECOMING DAY. THE FOUR PILOTS FROM THE HORNET WERE SENT HOME VIA DESTROYER. LT. LAAKE AND ENSIGN DENNES RETURNED FROM THE HORNET.

WE REFUELED IN THE AFTERNOON AND THEN SET OUT ON THE SECOND PHASE OF THIS PARTICULAR ADVENTURE.

THURSDAY, 15 JUNE '44

AT 0822, A CAP AND ASF IS LAUNCHED AS WE MOVE ALMOST INTO TOJO'S BACKYARD. ONCE AGAIN WE ARE GOING TO STRIKE A DAY AHEAD OF SCHEDULE, THIS TIME HITTING IWO JIMA, HAHA JIMA, AND CHICHI JIMA -- ONLY 500 MILES FROM TOKYO. HERE ARE THE DAY'S HIGH SPOTS:

1145

AIR PILOT SITS IN ON A THRILLING AND HILARIOUS RADIO CONVERSATION BETWEEN LTS. WOOD AND BARACKMAN WHO ATTACHED A JAP AK OF 1500-2500 TONS ABOUT 25 MILES AHEAD OF THE FORMATION. BARACKMAN MADE A FEW STRAFING RUNS TO KNOCK OUT THE DECK GUNS, THEN WOOD MOVED IN AND STRADDLED THE SHIP WITH DEPTH CHARGES. THE AK SLOWED TO ABOUT TWO KNOTS AND BEGAN CIRCLING TO THE RIGHT, AS WOOD AND BARACKMAN KEPT UP STRAFING RUNS TRYING TO SINK THE SHIP BEFORE THE DD SCREEN COULD COME UP AND DO THE JOB. LT. (JG) FELIX HART DROPPED HIS DEPTH CHARGES IN A STRADDLE, BUT THE AK REMAINED AFLOAT UNTIL LT. (JG) JOHN MIDDLETON'S LAST CHARGE DROPPED INTO THE WATER EVEN WITH THE BRIDGE AND BLEW THE FORWARD FOURTH OF THE SHIP RIGHT OFF. THE JAP TURNED OVER SHORTLY AFTERWARDS AND 112 SURVIVORS WERE PICKED UP. THE SHIP WAS IDENTIFIED AS THE TATSUTAKAWA MARU, OF 1900 TONS.

1220

ALL PLANES WERE TAKEN ABOARD SAFELY IN A SQUALL AND HEAVY SWELLS THAT MAKES LANDINGS DIFFICULT. REPORTS FROM A WEATHER PLANE INDICATE MOTHER NATURE IS AGAINST US AND THAT THE CEILING IS 000 FOR MORE THAN 100 MILES TO THE WEST, WHICH WOULD MEAN THE TARGET IS OBSCURED. COULD IT BE THAT WE'LL HAVE TO SIT IN THE WEATHER FRONT ALL NIGHT AND STRIKE TOMORROW? NOT SO GOOD, FOR THE AK MUST HAVE NOTIFIED TOKYO OF OUR PRESENCE.

1330

THE SUN CAME OUT JUST AS WE LAUNCHED THE FIRST PLANE, RIGHT ON TIME, FOR A FIGHTER SWEEP ON THE BONINS. THE BATAAN WAS THE FIRST CARRIER TO COMPLETE LAUNCHING, PUTTING 12 PLANES INTO THE AIR IN 7 MINUTES, LAUNCHING AT INTERVALS OF 35 SECONDS. THE AIR OFFICER COMMENDED ALL HANDS, AND THE CHAPLAIN OFFERED A PRAYER OVER THE BULL HORN.

1700

STILL NO WORD FROM OUR PLANES BUT WORD IS THAT THE CLOUDS ARE DOWN TO THE WATER OVER THE TARGET AND THAT WE'LL BE LUCKY TO GET IN AND TO OUR ASSIGNED JOB. THE ADMIRAL HAS GIVEN US A COUPLE OF PATS ON THE BACK, HOWEVER, SO ALL HANDS ARE ELATED. ONE PAT WENT TO THE PILOTS WHO BAGGED THE AK, THE OTHER TO THE ENGINEERS. UNKNOWN TO ALMOST EVERYONE ABOARD SHIP, SOMETHING WENT WRONG WITH THE ENGINES ABOUT NOON SO THAT WE COULD MAKE NO MORE THAN 25 KNOTS. THE TROUBLE WAS CORRECTED ALMOST IMMEDIATELY, EARNING A "WELL DONE" FROM THE ADMIRAL.

1720

FIGHTER PLANES LANDED; 12 OF THEM IN 13 MINUTES.

1740

THE TORPEDO PLANES ARE COMING IN, ONE OF THEM WITH A WOUNDED MAN ABOARD, AND MOST OF THEM SHORT OF GAS. WITH THE WEATHER BAD AND THE SEA ROUGH, IT WILL BE TOUGH TAKING THEM ABOARD. LT. (JG) HAROLD CONNORS MAKES A PERFECT LANDING, EASING GENTLY TO THE DECK UNDER THE DIRECTION OF MIKE MIKRONIS. WILLING HANDS RUSH TO REMOVE THE WOUNDED RADIO MAN, ALONZO, R. J., ARM2C, WHO HAS A JAP 7.7 MACHINE GUN BULLET IN HIS THIGH. THE TBM, LOW ON GAS HAS GONE INTO THE DRINK, BUT THE PILOT, LT. (JG) ALANSON HALL, AND HISCREWMEN, ANGELO, P. L., ARM2C, AND REX, A. K., ARM1C, WERE PICKED UP BY A DD.

1930

NEARLY EVERYONE LAYS UP TO THE FLIGHT DECK TO WATCH A FIRE ON THE DECK OF THE BELLEAU WOOD, WHICH BLAZED FOR TEN MINUTES. ONCE AGAIN WE FEEL LUCKY.

FRIDAY, 16 JUNE '44

FOUL WEATHER HANGS ON. COMDR. CARR VOICED THE SENTIMENTS OF ALL DURING EARLY FLIGHT QUARTERS WHEN HE ANNOUNCED OVER THE SQUAWK BOX: "THE MEDICAL OFFICER DOES NOT APPROVE OF THIS WEATHER." WE MOVED SOUTHWARD, ABANDONING FURTHER SCHEDULED ATTACKS ON CHICHI JIMA AND HAHA JIMA BECAUSE OF (1) WEATHER, (2) THE ABSENCE OF WORTH-WHILE TARGETS AND, (3) A REPORT THAT TWO POWERFUL JAP NAVAL UNITS ARE CONVERGING TOWARD THE MARIANAS. AN EARLY STRIKE AGAINST IWO JIMA WAS DELAYED BY THE RAIN, LOW VISIBILITY, AND HEAVY SEAS; BUT AT 1303, OUR FIGHTER SWEEP TOOK OFF IN THE RAIN. ANOTHER FOLLOWED AT 1320.

THE TBM'S AND COVER TOOK OFF AT 1429 WITH SUCH SPEED THAT THE AIR OFFICER CONGRATULATED ALL HANDS. PLANES WERE CATAPULTED AT INTERVALS OF 37 SECONDS AND FLOWN AWAY AT 20 SECOND INTERVALS. NO AIRBORNE AIRCRAFT WERE ENCOUNTERED, AND SOME 30 PLANES SEEN ON THE GROUND, HAD PROBABLY BEEN DAMAGED PREVIOUSLY. EIGHT TONS OF BOMBS WERE DROPPED ON THE AIRFIELD, STARTING FIRES AMONG THE SERVICE BUILDINGS ADJACENT TO THE LANDING STRIPS. LT. FRANCIS PARKED HIS F6F IN THE PORT CATWALK IN MAKING A LAUNCHING AT 1557, BUT, ESCAPED UNHURT.

SATURDAY, 17 JUNE '44

IT LOOKS LIKE WE MAY GET A CHANCE TO TANGLE WITH THE JAP FLEET AT LAST. THOSE TWO TASK FORCES REPORTED LEAVING THE PHILIPPINES SEA HEADED FOR SAIPAN. SO, WE'RE OFF TO INTERCEPT THEM IF POSSIBLE, AND FORCE A SHOWDOWN BATTLE. MOST OF THE DAY WE MAINTAINED A COURSE OF 140 DEGREES TO THE WESTWARD OF SAIPAN. FLIGHT OPERATIONS WERE ROUTINE. WE FLEW TWO CAP AND ASP PATROLS, LAUNCHING AT 0835 AND 1537. WE ALSO TOOK TIME OUT TO TOP OFF DESTROYERS. DURING GQ AT 1900, CAPTAIN SCHAEFFER GAVE A BRIEF RESUME OF DEVELOPMENTS IN THE SAIPAN LANDING OPERATIONS AND INFORMED ALL HANDS OF THE JAP FLEET MOVEMENTS AND OUR INTENTIONS REGARDING SAME.

SUNDAY, 18 JUNE '44

STILL JAP-HUNTING WITHOUT SUCCESS EXCEPT FOR LT. (JG) CHUCK WOOD AND LT. CLIFF FANNING ON EARLY ASP. THEY SPOTTED A LIFE RAFT WITH MANY PEOPLE ON IT, APPARENTLY DEAD. WHEN A DD REACHED THEM, THE "DEAD" MEN TURNED OUT TO BE VERY LIVE JAPS. AS SOON AS THE SHIP APPROACHED THEM, SOME JUMPED INTO THE WATER AND STARTED TO SWIM TO TOKYO. THEY DIDN'T GET FAR. IN ALL, THE CAN PICKED UP 14 FROM THE RAFT, WHICH MIGHT BE TERMED A RAFT OF JAPS.

GQ AT 0500 AND AGAIN AT 1430. WE LAUNCHED TWO CAPS -- ASPS AT 0514 AND 1215; SOME RETURNED AT 0932 AND 1658. AT NOON WE RENDEZVOUSED WITH TASK GROUP 58.2, 58.3, AND 58.4 AT 15 DEGREES NORTH AND 143 DEGREES EAST. A FEW BOGIES WERE REPORTED AND THREE SHOT DOWN.

MONDAY, 19 JUNE '44

THE DAY DAWNED LIKE ANY OTHER ONE, BUT WE WERE UP LONG BEFORE THAT WITH GQ SOUNDING AT 0500. WE HAD BEEN ON A COURSE AT 250 DEGREES DURING THE NIGHT, BUT IT WASN'T UNTIL A HALF HOUR AFTER WE LAUNCHED THE ROUTINE CAP AND ASP AT 0825 THAT WE HAD NEWS OF THE JAP FLEET. A TBM, ON SEARCH OUT OF ENIWETOK, REPORTED SIGHTING A LARGE FORCE MORE THAN 300 MILES WEST OF US AND OUT OF OUR TASK FORCE SEARCH AREA. AT 0925, ENSIGN H. L. NELSON BROUGHT HIS SICK CHICKEN ONTO THE BELLEAU WOOD BECAUSE OUR DECK WAS SPOTTED FOR TAKEOFF. LT. LARRY ABBOTT REPORTED AT 0940, THAT HIS TEAM HAD SHOT DOWN A RUFE. AT 0930, WE SAW GUNFIRE ON THE STARBOARD BEAM AND THE DETONATION OF A COUPLE OF DEPTH CHARGES WERE FELT AS A CAN APPARENTLY DETECTED A SUB IN THE VICINITY. AT 1003, THE POWER PLANT FAILED, AND FOR A MINUTE OR MORE, WE WERE AS THOROUGHLY IN THE DARK BELOW DECKS AS WE WERE CONCERNING THE JAP FLEET MOVEMENTS. ALL IN ALL, IT APPEARED TO BE A ROUTINE DAY WITH NOTHING TO SET IT APART.

CLANG! CLANG! AT 1014 WE WERE JOLTED OUT OF OUR COMPLACENCY BY THE GENERAL ALARM; THE GONG ECHOING IMPERIOUSLY, TREMULOUSLY, AND EXCITEDLY THROUGHOUT THE SHIP ...... "A 30-PLANE RAID COMING IN AT US FROM 270 DEGREES" SAID THE BATTLE ANNOUNCING SYSTEM. THIS WAS IT. A THRILL RAN THROUGH THE SHIP. TOJO WAS TRYING TO GET IN THE FIRST PUNCH, BUT, WE WERE READY, AND HOW. EIGHT FIGHTER PLANES WERE LAUNCHED IN A MINUTE AND A HALF AND CLIMBED UP TO AUGMENT THE CAP. LET 'EM COME, WE'LL FIX 'EM. THE GUN CREWS WERE HAPPY ..... HERE PERHAPS WAS A CHANCE TO TEST THEIR AIR AGAINST A BETTER TARGET THAN A SLEEVE.

FROM THE DECK, THE PICTURE WAS IMPRESSIVE. THE SEA WAS CALM, WITH ONLY AN OCCASIONAL WHITE CAP AND THE CURLING WAVES OF THE FLEET TO DISTURB ITS DEEP, PURPLISH-BLUE COMPLACENCY. IT WAS STILL THE PACIFIC, REGARDLESS OF MAN'S BATTLES ABOUT TO RAGE ON OR ABOVE IT. THE SKY WAS A LIGHTER, BRIGHTER, CONTRASTING BLUE THAT LOST ITSELF INTO A FRINGE OF CLOUDS ON THE HORIZON. THE BATTLE STADIUM WAS A DEEP BLUE BOWL, AND HIGH ABOVE, SOME OF THE PLAYERS WERE WARMING UP, TRACING LACY WHITE PATTERNS ON THE COBALT DOME WITH THEIR VAPOR TRAILS. THEY LOOKED PRETTY UP THERE, OUR PLANES, BUT HOW DEADLY THEY SOON WERE TO BECOME.

ALL ABOUT US, EXTENDING BEYOND THE HORIZON, SPRAWLED THE GREATEST NAVAL FORCE IN HISTORY --- THE MIGHTY CARRIERS, WITH THEIR BIRDS OF PREY, EITHER SOARING ABOVE, OR FLYING OUT TO TRACK DOWN THE ENEMY -- THE HUGE BATTLESHIPS AND SLEEK CRUISERS, WITH GUNS BRISTLING AND THEIR ANTI-AIRCRAFT BATTERIES REACHING EAGER FINGERS TOWARD THE SKY -- AND, AROUND ALL OF THIS FIGHTING POWER, WERE THE BUSY DESTROYERS, SCAMPERING LIKE A FLOCK OF MOTHER HENS CLUCKING OVER A BROOD OF FULL-GROWN FIGHTING COCKS.

DEATH AND DESTRUCTION WERE TURNING A BEAUTIFUL, BUT DESTRUCTIVE, FACE TOWARD THE JAPS -- A FITTING WELCOME FOR THEIR TREACHERY. THE SETTING WAS SET, NOW FOR THE ACTION BY THE CLOCK:

1030

A LARGE GROUP OF TWIN-ENGINE BOMBERS WERE SPOTTED AT GUAM. NOW THE JAP STRATEGY IS CLEAR. THEY INTEND TO HIT US FROM ONE DIRECTION WITH CARRIER-BASED PLANES, AND FROM THE OTHER WITH LAND-BASED PLANES. THEY HOPE TO GET US IN THE NUT CRACKER. THEIR OWN TASK FORCE IS BEYOND OUR REACH, SO THE ATTACKING FIGHTERS MUST BE INSTRUCTED TO LAND AT GUAM, TINIAN, OR ROTA AFTER THEY STRIKE US FROM THEIR CARRIERS. WELL, THEY ARE IN FOR A SURPRISE, OUR TASK FORCE IS ALREADY ATTACKING GUAM. THE BOMBERS WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO TAKE OFF, AND, THE FIGHTERS, IF THEY EVER REACH GUAM, WILL BE SHOT DOWN LIKE FLIES.

1038

ENSIGN KENDRICK CAME BACK TO THE DECK FOR AN EMERGENCY LANDING, BUT HIS TROUBLES ARE NOT SERIOUS. THE VOICE OF THE CAPTAIN COMES OVER THE BULL HORN -- "ENEMY PLANES ARE COMING IN. PREPARE FOR ACTION." WE ARE READY. TOPSIDE, THE MEN ARE DONNING ANTI-FLASH CLOTHING AND THE GUN GALLERIES AND WALKWAYS ARE ALIVE WITH CREATURES THE LIKES OF WHICH ORSON WELLES MUST OF HAVE DREAMED OF WHEN HE SCARED THE WORLD WITH HIS BROADCAST OF AN INVASION FROM MARS. FUNNY WHAT A TRANSFORMATION OCCURS WHEN A GOOD-LOOKING YOUNG FELLOW PUTS ON HIS HELMET, LONG GLOVES, HOOD, GOGGLES, AND MASK. THIS MAN NOW BECOMES A BLUE BOGGIE-MAN.

1040

"MANY PLANES AT 20,000 FEET," SAYS THE BULL HORN. "SIXTY-FIVE MILES, BEARING 160 DEGREES RELATIVE."

1051

MORE JAP PLANES ARE REPORTED APPROACHING, 20 MILES AWAY, BEARING 260 DEGREES.

1053

SHIPS ON OUR PORT QUARTER OPEN FIRE, BUT WE CAN SEE NOTHING.

1054

MORE JAPS 15 MILES TO THE WEST.

1055

PLANES SIGHTED COMING IN AT 080 DEGREES AND 180 DEGREES. JAPS AREN'T FOOLING.

1100

THEY MAY NOT BE FOOLING, BUT THEY ARE FALLING. THERE'S A BOGIE IN SIGHT NOW. OUR HELLCATS HAVE BROKEN UP THEIR FORMATIONS AND SCATTERED THEM ALL OVER THE SKY. IT MUST BE TRUE WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT THE JAP PILOTS -- THAT THEY CAN'T HOLD FORMATION UNDER ATTACK, AND THEY DON'T KNOW THE VALUE OF TEAMWORK. WE DO. OUR BOYS ARE ATHLETES, AND OUR TEAM IS BEGINNING TO RUN UP THE SCORE.

1104

WORD IS PASSED TO BRING UP ALL AVAILABLE PLANES FROM THE HANGER DECK FOR LAUNCHING. LT. COMDR. ROLLA LEMMON AND ENSIGN BOB FASH, WHO HAVE BEEN SLOWLY GOING CRAZY IN AIR PLOT, START DANCING WITH JOY. THEY'VE BEEN PACING AROUND LIKE CAGED CATS OR LIKE A COUPLE OF FOOTBALL PLAYERS STALKING THE SIDELINES WAITING FOR A CHANCE TO GET INTO THE BIG GAME. IT'S TOUGH TO BE GROUNDED WHEN YOUR SQUADRON MATES ARE UP THERE TAKING A FEW NIPS.

1108

LT. WANBURG, FROM THE YORKTOWN, LANDS ABOARD; WE'LL HAVE HIM FLYING AGAIN IN A FEW MINUTES.

1112

FIVE BURSTS OF ACK-ACK ARE SEEN ON THE STARBOARD BEAM, BUT NO BOGIES.

1120

THIS WAITING IS AGGRAVATING. THE ESSEX CUTS LOOSE WITH A SALVO. MAYBE A JAP SNEAKED IN AFTER ALL.

1122

ANOTHER BUNCH OF JAPS ARE COMING IN. THE MEDICAL OFFICER ADVISES ALL HANDS TO DON ANTI-FLASH CLOTHING. EVERYBODY LAUGHS AT EVERYONE ELSE. EVEN YOUR BEST FRIEND CAN'T TELL YOU IN THIS GARB. IT HAS BEEN HOTTER THAN THE HINGES OF HELL BELOW DECKS ANYHOW, AND NOW, WRAPPED IN THESE POWDER BLUE MONSTROSITIES, MEN BEGAN TO MELT AWAY.

1138

TWO RAIDS HAVE BEEN SPOTTED, ONE AT 258 DEGREES AT 75 MILES AND ONE AT 000 DEGREES AT 100 MILES. THE FIGHTER DIRECTORS ARE ON THEIR TOES IN LOCATING THESE BOGIES. NOT MANY JAPS CAN GET THROUGH WHEN WE SPOT 'EM SO SOON.

1143

THE YORKTOWN PILOT TAKES OFF AGAIN; WE FOLLOW IMMEDIATELY BY LAUNCHING THREE FIGHTERS AND FOUR AVENGERS FOR A STRIKE AT ROTA.

1203

BLACK PUFF BALLS OF A/A DOT THE HORIZON OFF THE STARBOARD QUARTER. SUDDENLY THERE IS A BURST OF FLAME AND A JAP PLANE, LIKE A COMET WITH A FLAMING YELLOW BODY AND A LONG BLACK TAIL, CRASHES INTO THE SEA. A SPONTANEOUS CHEER ERUPTS FROM THE THROATS OF ALL ON THE FLIGHT DECK.

1225

NO MORE BOGIES VISIBLE ANYWHERE.

1234

ALL PILOTS ABOARD NOW BUT ABBOTT, SMITH, THOMAS, TARLETON, MILLER, AND McCORMICK. STILL, NOT ANOTHER RISING SUN TO PAINT ON THE ISLAND.

1248

THOMAS HAS BEEN HEARD FROM. HE LANDED ON THE PRINCETON.

1255

THE SAN JACINTO SPOTS 12 PLANES LOW OVER THE WATER. HERE COMES THE TORPEDO ATTACK WE'VE BEEN EXPECTING. BUT, IT DOESN'T COME FAR. ONCE AGAIN OUR FIGHTERS GO TO WORK. PERIOD.

1309

WE LAUNCH AN 8-PLANE CAP AND 3 VF FOR ASP. NELSON TAKES OFF FROM THE BELLEAU WOOD TO JOIN UP.

1316

"16 ZEKES COMING IN," COMES THE WORD. THEN -- "15 SPLASH!" ANOTHER CHEER FROM ALL HANDS AND SOMEONE CRACKS -- "THE FELLOW WHO MISSED ON NO. 16 WILL BE BROKEN TO SEAMEN SECOND.

1320

ANOTHER ATTACK IS COMING IN FROM 210 DEGREES, VERY LOW. AN A/A CRUISER, 1,500 YARDS AWAY, OPENS FIRE WITH ITS' FIVE-INCHERS. WE MAKE AN EMERGENCY TURN TO THE RIGHT TO AVOID A POSSIBLE TORPEDO. BUT, THERE WAS NO TORPEDO. WE LEARN THAT THE ATTACK WAS MADE BY A LONE PLANE AND THAT IT WAS SHOT DOWN.

1346

OUR COURSE IS NOW 110 DEGREES. OUR PLANES FROM THE ROTA STRIKE COME ABOARD WITH A STRICTLY NEGATIVE WORD. THEY HAVE SEEN NO JAPS IN THE AIR, NONE ON THE GROUND AND ENCOUNTERED NO A/A FIRE. THE VT'S DUMPED THEIR LOADS ON THE WESTERN HALF OF THE RUNWAY.

AFTER THAT, THINGS QUIETED DOWN TO NOTHINGNESS, ALTHOUGH ALL HANDS REMAINED AT GQ. HAMBURGER SANDWICHES AND BATTLE RATIONS HELPED TO REVIVE WEARY SPIRITS AND WATER WAS TURNED ON IN A FEW SCUTTLEBUTTS, TO THE DELIGHT OF ALL HANDS. WE CHANGED COURSE TO 250 DEGREES AT 1425 AND AT 1545 TO 300 DEGREES. A LONE BOGIE APPEARED AND DISAPPEARED AT 1431. AT 1604, WE LAUNCHED A STRIKE OF FOUR VF'S AND FOUR VT'S TO BOMB THE RUNWAYS AT ROTA AND THEN FLY CAP OVER THE ISLAND FOR TWO HOURS. THE GROUP CAME BACK ABOARD AT 1856, REPORTING THE MISSION ACCOMPLISHED WITHOUT A JAP BEING SEEN.

A FINAL CHECK OF ALL PILOTS REVEALED THAT THE DAY HAD NOT BEEN A FUTILE ONE FOR THE AIR GROUP. WE HAD ADDED 10 DEFINITE KILLS TO OUR BAG AND TWO OTHER PROBABLES. THE DEFINITES WERE DISTRIBUTED AS FOLLOWS: REHM, 3 ZEKES; McCORMICK, 2 JUDIES; TARLETON, 2 JILLS; AND MILLER, 1 ZEKE. MILLER GOT A PROBABLE ZEKE AND McCORMICK A PROBABLE JUDY. CONSIDERING THE FACT THAT THESE FIVE MEN AND THOMAS WERE THE ONLY BATAAN PILOTS TO ENCOUNTER THE ENEMY, THE SHOWING WAS EXCELLENT!

THE TOTAL FOR TASK FORCE 58.1 WAS ANNOUNCED AS 109 DEFINITE KILLS, WITH OTHER GROUPS SCORING IN PROPORTION; THAT MEANS THE JAP CARRIERS HAVE BEEN STRIPPED OF THEIR PLANES, AND BETTER, THEIR PILOTS. UNFORTUNATELY, THE TACTICAL SITUATION NECESSITATES THAT WE REMAIN FAIRLY CLOSE TO THE MARIANAS TO PROTECT THE GROUND TROOPS, SO IT LOOKS LIKE TOJO'S FLEET CAN MAKE A GET AWAY. SO SORRY.

TUESDAY, 20 JUNE '44

ANOTHER DAY THAT STARTED CALMLY AND THEN WENT BERSERK, WINDING UP AT 2130 WITH A MYRIAD OF LIGHTS WINKING ON AND OUT; TOO MANY OF THEM IN THE WATER, AS A COUPLE OF HUNDRED OF OUR PLANES ATTEMPTED THE FIRST MASS NIGHT LANDING IN NAVAL HISTORY, AFTER A CRIPPLING SUNSET STRIKE AT THE FLEEING JAP FLEET.

THROUGHOUT THE NIGHT OF 19/20, WE HAD BEEN ON COURSE 260 DEGREES, SPEED 15 KNOTS, AND WORD CAME FROM THE FLAG THAT A STRIKE WOULD BE LAUNCHED AT 0530, COURSE 305 DEGREES TRUE, AT MAXIMUM DISTANCE, TO SEARCH FOR THE JAPS. THE AIR DEPARTMENT WAS ROUTED OUT OF THE SACK BY ANOTHER 0400 REVEILLE AND LAUNCHED A ROUTINE CAP-ASP WITH ANTI-SNOOPER AT 0528. THIS GROUP WAS TAKEN ABOARD AGAIN AT 0930 AND SHORTLY THEREAFTER, CAPTAIN SCHAEFFER READ A DISPATCH FROM ADMIRAL MITSCHER CONGRATULATING ALL HANDS ON THE PREVIOUS DAY'S WORK.

"THE AVIATORS AND GUN SHIPS OF THIS TASK FORCE HAVE DONE A JOB TODAY WHICH WILL MAKE THIS COUNTRY PROUD OF THEM. THEIR SKILLFUL DEFENSE OF THIS TASK FORCE ENABLED THE FORCE TO ESCAPE A VICIOUS, WELL COORDINATED AIRCRAFT ATTACK, CARRIED OUT WITH DETERMINATION. MITSCHER."

OUR SECOND CAP-ASP WAS AIRBORNE AT 1227, AND AT 1301, CAME WORD THAT LT. (JG) LLOYD BROWN, WHO HAD BEEN A STAND-BY PILOT, WAS IN THE AIR BECAUSE WE HAD A SICK CHICK, AND HAD SHOT DOWN A BETTY. OUR COURSE HAD BEEN VARIED. AT NOON WE HAD GONE TO ONE OF 330 DEGREES, AND AT 1313, HAD SWUNG TO 000 DEGREES. THE AFTERNOON WAS WEARING ON AND IT SEEMED THE JAPS WOULD ESCAPE UNTIL ANOTHER DAY, AT LEAST; AND, OUR FUEL WAS RUNNING SO LOW WE COULDN'T CHASE MUCH LONGER. ALREADY WE WERE WELL WEST OF GUAM AND ALMOST STRAIGHT NORTH OF YAK.

AT 1530 CAME THE NEWS. THE JAP FLEET HAD BEEN SIGHTED BY A SEARCH PLANE AT LATITUDE 15 DEGREES 15'NORTH AND LONGITUDE 134 DEGREES 35'EAST, COURSE 270 DEGREES, SPEED 20 KNOTS. THE SNOOPER REPORTED NO JAP PLANES AIRBORNE OR ON THE DECKS OF THE CARRIERS. BOY, WE REALLY DID KNOCK OUT THEIR AIR ARM! WHAT AN OPPORTUNITY TO DELIVER ANOTHER KO WALLOP AT THE FLEET! IT HAS NO FIGHTER PROTECTION. UNFORTUNATELY, IT IS SO LATE THAT NO STRIKE CAN REACH THEM AND RETURN BEFORE DARK. BESIDES THEY ARE 275 MILES TO THE WEST AND NORTH -- THE ABSOLUTE MAXIMUM FOR PLANES CARRYING BOMB LOADS.

THE ADMIRAL DECIDED TO STRIKE! AT 1613, WE LAUNCHED 10 VF, EACH CARRYING A 500 POUND CP OR SAP BOMB, AND JUST ENOUGH GAS TO GET BACK IF THEY WERE LUCKY ENOUGH TO ESCAPE THE JAP A/A. FOR THE FIRST TIME, THERE WAS A FEELING OF TENSENESS ABOARD AS WE REALIZED THAT SOME OF THESE PILOTS MIGHT NOT COME BACK.

THE ROUTINE PATROL LANDED ABOARD AT 1645 AND AS SOON AS THE PILOTS AND CREWMEN COULD BE FED, GQ WAS SOUNDED AT 1730. AT 1815, THE CAPTAIN EXPLAINED THE SITUATION OVER THE BULL HORN. TIME PASSED WITH EXASPERATING SLOWNESS AS THOUGH IT WERE DRAGGING ANCHOR. AT 1940, THE BULL HORN SNAPS ALL HANDS TO ELECTRIFIED ATTENTION. AN AMERICAN SUBMARINE REPORTS SINKING A JAP CARRIER. ONE OF THE BIG ONES! WHAT A CHEER THAT BROUGHT.

IT IS ALMOST 2015 BEFORE WE HAVE ANY WORD FROM OUR PILOTS. WE HEAR THAT LT. MIKE HINN, WHO IS KNOWN AS "OLD GOAT" TO HIS SQUADRON SINCE HE ADDED A POINTED BEARD TO HIS MOUSTACHE, IS LEADING A FOUR PLANE SECTION HOMEWARD, ONLY 15 MILES FROM THE SHIP. GOOD OLD MIKE. IT WAS PITCH DARK OUT THERE NOW. NIGHT LANDINGS ARE TOUGH ENOUGH AT BEST. A FEELING OF APPREHENSION RAN LIKE A CHILL WHEN THE PROBLEM OF LANDING SO MANY PLANES ON SO MANY CARRIERS, WITHOUT REVEALING OUR POSITION TO POSSIBLE ENEMY SUBS OR SNOOPERS, BECAME APPARENT.

AT 2035, THE FIRST WHEELS SETTLED ON THE DECK WHO WAS IT? IT WAS TOO DARK TO SEE THE PLANE NUMBER. PLANE HANDLERS PUSHED FORWARD AS THEY HAD BEEN DOING ALMOST WITHOUT REST FOR DAYS. THIS WAS NONE OF OUR BOYS. IT WAS A PILOT FROM THE YORKTOWN. ANOTHER PLANE CAME IN AND FOULED THE DECK BY SMASHING THE FIRST BARRIER. HE TOO, WAS FROM THE YORKTOWN. THE CRASH WAS SUCH THAT WE COULD NOT TAKE ABOARD ANOTHER PLANE. WE STOOD BY HELPLESSLY AND WATCHED HELLCATS GO INTO THE WATER AS THEY RAN OUT OF GAS.

THE SCENE WAS ONE THAT NO ONE WILL FORGET. NO ONE, THAT IS, WHO WAS TOPSIDE AND COULD SEE. THE SEA WAS ALIVE WITH LIGHTS. ABOVE, THE BRIGHT TROPICAL STARS HUNG ALMOST WITHIN REACHING DISTANCE. THE CARRIERS, THEIR FLIGHT DECKS OUTLINED BY LAUNCHING LIGHTS, LOOKED LIKE HUGE INDISTINCT SPOOKS. THE WING LIGHTS ON THE PLANES IN THE LANDING CIRCLE LOOKED LIKE EXPLODING COLORED BALLS FROM A MAZE OF ROMAN CANDLES. MORE AND MORE WINKING LIGHTS BEGAN TO APPEAR IN THE BLACKNESS OF THE WATER. THESE WERE THE PILOTS, BLINKING THEIR FLASHLIGHTS FOR HELP AFTER BEING FORCED TO SPLASH. HUGH BLINDING STABS OF LIGHT REACHED OUT FROM SEARCHLIGHTS AND SWEPT THE WATER AS ALL PRETENSE OF SECRECY WAS ABANDONED AS WE HUNTED OUT LOST PILOTS, AND TO HELL WITH THE JAPS IN THE VICINITY. THE NAVIGATOR AND GUNNERY OFFICER THREW OVER FLARES AND DIRECTED DD'S TO PICK UP AT LEAST ONE MAN.

STAR SHELLS FROM A CRUISER LEAPED INTO THE HEAVENS AND HUNG LIKE GREENISH-YELLOW BALLS IN THE BLACKNESS, CASTING AN UNEARTHLY GLOW OVER THE SCENE BELOW. THE YORKTOWN'S DECK BURST FULLY INTO LIGHT AS FLOODS WERE TURNED ON TO GUIDE LOST AIRMEN HOME. THE HORNET'S SEARCHLIGHTS, POINTING STRAIGHT UP, BEGAN WINKING ITS IDENTIFICATION SIGNAL. IT WAS LIKE CONEY ISLAND, BUT, THIS WASN'T FUN. IT WAS A GRIM BUSINESS.

IT SEEMED STRANGE NOT TO HAVE BROUGHT ANY OF OUR PLANES HOME. BUT, WORD CAME THAT HINN, FRANCIS, BEARD, IRWIN, LAAKE, AND FRASER HAD LANDED ON THE YORKTOWN, ROBERTS AND KENDRICK WERE ON THE HORNET, AND FANNING WAS ON THE WASP. THAT LEFT ONLY LT. WILELY STONNER UNACCOUNTED FOR. WE SAID A PRAYER THAT HE MIGHT BE PICKED UP SAFELY BY ONE OF THE DESTROYERS THAT WERE SEARCHING THE SEA AND RESCUING FLIERS BY THE CARLOAD.

WEDNESDAY, 21 JUNE '44

THE TWO HOURS WE SPENT LAST NIGHT TRYING TO LAND OUR PLANES AND HUNTING FOR MISSING PILOTS WHO HAD BEEN SPLASHED NEAR THE FORCE HAD GIVEN THE JAPS TOO MUCH OF A LEAD. AT 0611 WE LAUNCHED A STRIKE OF 8 VF AND 4 VTR, BUT IT WAS A BARREN SEARCH, ALTHOUGH A COUPLE OF OIL SLICKS WERE OBSERVED NEAR THE SIGHT OF THE NIGHT'S RAID AND SOME SURVIVORS WERE SEEN IN THE WATER. LIFE RAFTS WERE DROPPED TO THESE SURVIVORS. AT 0800, A TBM REPORTED SIGHTING THE JAP FLEET, WITH ONE CARRIER TRAILING OIL, BUT, THE ENEMY WAS 325 MILES TO THE NORTHWEST -- MUCH TOO FAR AWAY. OUR CHANCE TO CATCH THE JAP FLEET AND DESTROY IT HAS ESCAPED US. ALL HANDS ARE DOWNCAST, PARTICULARLY AS THE DAY BRINGS NO WORD OF LT. STONER, OUR MISSING FLIER. OTHERS ON THE STRIKE REPORT SEEING HIM LAST WHILE IN HIS DIVE OVER THE TARGET WITH A ZEKE ON HIS TAIL. ALL PILOTS WHO LANDED ON OTHER CARRIERS CAME BACK ABOARD EXCEPT KENDRICK AND FANNING.

ENSIGN BEARD, ON HIS RETURN ABOARD, REPORTED TWO ZEKES SHOT DOWN OVER THE JAP FLEET. WORD WAS THAT LT. FANNING SCRATCHED ONE TOO, BUT, CONFIRMATION WILL HAVE TO AWAIT HIS RETURN. HE IS STILL ON THE WASP NURSING A LAME BACK. LT. (JG) IRVIN ALSO GOT A ZEKE.

THURSDAY, 22 JUNE '44

RETIRING ON COURSE 110 DEGREES UNTIL DAYLIGHT, THEN PARALLELING COURSES OF THE PREVIOUS DAY IN SEARCH OF SURVIVORS. LAUNCHED PATROL OF 8 CAP AND 4 ASP WITH 4 ANTI-SNOOP AT 0547 FOR OUR ONLY FLIGHT OPERATION OF THE DAY. OUR DIMINISHING FUEL SUPPLY WAS REPLENISHED AT 1639 WHEN THE TANKER COHARA CAME ALONGSIDE. WE ALSO TRADED MOVIES WITH THE TANKER AND DID NOT DO BADLY IN THE TRANSACTION, GETTING ONE GOOD ONE AND ONE STINKER. SAW THE STINKER TONIGHT, THE FIRST MOVIE IN A LONG TIME.

FRIDAY, 23 JUNE '44

STEAMING ON COURSE 050 DEGREES WITH TASK GROUP 58.1, HEADED FOR A STRIKE AGAINST PAGAN ISLAND WHICH, EVERYONE IS ASSURED, IS NOT THE LOCAL OF THE PAGAN LOVE SONG. LAUNCHED OUR FIRST PATROL AT 0850, ENSIGN VEACH BEING FORCED TO MAKE AN EMERGENCY LANDING ON THE BELLEAU WOOD AT 0912. GENERAL QUARTERS WERE SOUNDED AT 1300 AND 29 MINUTES LATER WE LAUNCHED A STRIKE OF 13 PLANES, 10 OF THEM VF, AGAINST PAGAN. FIVE TONS OF BOMBS WERE DROPPED, FOUR OF THEM ON THE RUNWAY OF THE AIR STRIP. EIGHTEEN LUGGERS AND SAMPANS WERE STRAFED HEAVILY AND LEFT BURNING, BUT FIVE PLANES STRAFED ON THE FIELD WERE BELIEVED TO HAVE BEEN DAMAGED EARLIER.

OUR FINAL PATROL DREW AN "EXTRA SPECIAL" WELL DONE FROM ADMIRAL CLARK FOR SHOOTING DOWN FIVE JAPS. EIGHT VF AND FOUR VT MADE UP THIS PATROL, THE SAME AS THE ONE IN THE MORNING.

SATURDAY, 24 JUNE '44

ANOTHER DAY OF MISERY WE CAUSED FOR THE ENEMY. OUR FIGHTER SQUADRON SETTING A NEW HIGH FOR THEMSELVES BY ACCOUNTING FOUR TWENTY FIVE PLANES, BUT, WHAT A COST! THREE MORE PILOTS WERE LOST. LT. COMDR. ROLLA S. LEMMON, ONE OF THE BEST, FAILED TO RETURN FROM A LATE AFTERNOON CAP TANGLE WITH A JAP FORCE ATTACKING THE FLEET. EARLIER, DURING A MORNING SWEEP AGAINST IWO JIMA, LT. (JG) JAMES A. DE BELL AND ENSIGN ROBERT S. "FEARLESS" FRASER WERE MISSING AT THE RENDEZVOUS AND WERE NOT HEARD FROM AFTERWARD. A MESSAGE WAS SENT REQUESTING SEARCH.

GENERAL QUARTERS SOUNDED AT 0545 AND AT 0559 WE LAUNCHED 17 VF FOR A SWEEP AT IWO JIMA. WE HAD BEEN STEAMING NORTHWARD ALL NIGHT FOR A RETURN CRACK AT THE BUSY JAP BASE IN THE PAGAN ISLANDS. AT 1015, THE PLANES RETURNED....THOSE THAT DID RETURN....WITH 16 JAPS TO THEIR CREDIT IN A FURIOUS DOG FIGHT AFTER BEING INTERCEPTED BY A LARGE FORCE OF THE ENEMY WHICH HAD BEEN HIDING IN HIGH CLOUD COVER. THEY WERE FORCED TO JETTISON THEIR BOMB LOAD. GENERAL ALARM CLANGED AT 1018 WHEN A 12 PLANE BOGIE APPEARED AT 1101 ABOUT ONE POINT BEYOND THE POINT BEAM AND THE DD'S OPENED FIRE. THE BELLEAU WOOD CAP FLEW RIGHT INTO OUR OWN A/A FIRE TO BRING THE JAP DOWN THREE MINUTES LATER. PROMPTLY AT NOON, THE GENERAL ALARM SOUNDED AGAIN FOR A BOGIE RAID 20 MILES TO STARBOARD, BUT NOTHING DEVELOPED.

AN 8 PLANE CAP WITH A FOUR PLANE ASP WITH FOUR ANTI-SNOOP WAS LAUNCHED AT 1529 BY THE BATAAN AND QUICKLY TANGLED WITH A BIG BOGIE RAID THAT BROUGHT ANOTHER GENERAL ALARM AT 1640. NINE PLANES FELL BEFORE OUR CAP.

THE FOURTH GENERAL ALARM OF THE DAY SOUNDED AT 2127, REPRESENTING, PROBABLY, THE GREATEST DANGER TO WHICH THE SHIP WAS SUBJECTED DURING THE ENTIRE OPERATION. IT WAS RUNG WHEN MANY BOGIES WERE DETECTED, MOST OF THEM AT A DISTANCE OF UPWARDS TO 50 MILES. IT SEEMED CERTAIN THAT THE TASK GROUP WAS ABOUT TO UNDERGO A NIGHT TORPEDO ATTACK. THE NIGHT WAS PITCH DARK AFTER MOONSET AROUND 2130, ALTHOUGH ONLY A FEW CLOUDS SCUDDED ACROSS THE STARS -- AFFORDING THE JAPS AN IDEAL OPPORTUNITY TO SNEAK IN, DELIVER THEIR ATTACK, AND GET OUT UNMOLESTED.

ONE PLANE DID COME WITHIN EIGHT MILES AND, ONCE FLARES WERE DROPPED, SETTING A SORT OF SICKLY BONFIRE ON THE HORIZON TO STARBOARD, BUT EVENTUALLY THE BOGIE DISAPPEARED AND THE ATTACK NEVER DEVELOPED. WHETHER ESCAPE WAS DUE TO A CHANGE IN COURSE AND SPEED, TO THE FACT THAT WE WERE JUST OUT OF RANGE FOR THE JAP PLANES, OR A COMBINATION OF BOTH FACTORS, IS NOT KNOWN. ANYHOW, IT WAS WITH OF FEELING OF VAST RELIEF THAT THE WEARY CREW FINALLY CRAWLED INTO THE SACK.

CREDIT FOR JAP PLANES SHOT DOWN DURING THE MORNING STRIKE WAS DISTRIBUTED AS FOLLOWS: LT. COMDR. STRANGE, 2 ZEKES; ENSIGN H. L. NELSON, 1 ZEKE AND 1 JILL; LT. W. E. LAAKE, 1 ZEKE AND 1 PROBABLE; ENSIGN W. A. McCORMICK, 2 ZEKES; ENSIGN R. P. FASH, 2 ZEKES; LT. (JG) M. J. ZIARKO, 2 ZEKES AND 1 PROBABLE; ENSIGN C. C. MILLER, 1 ZEKE; LT. B. BARACKMAN, 2 ZEKES; ENSIGN R. RUDA, 1 ZEKE; ENSIGN C. RICH, 2 ZEKES AND 1 PROBABLE.

THE NINE PLANES DESTROYED BY THE AFTERNOON CAP WERE DISTRIBUTED AS FOLLOWS: LT. COMDR. R. LEMMON, 1 JUDY; ENSIGN R. FASH, 1 JUDY; ENSIGN R. VEACH, 1 JILL; ENSIGN FRANCIS, 2 ZEKES; ENSIGN J. KENDRICK, 1 ZEKE; LT. HILL, 1 JUDY AND 1 ZEKE.

SUNDAY, 25 JUNE '44

THE BATAAN, IN COMPANY WITH OTHER UNITS OF THE TASK GROUP 58.1, MAINTAINED A COURSE OF 125 DEGREES TRUE ON ROUTE TO ENIWETOC FOR REPLENISHMENTS. THE DAY'S ONLY FLIGHT OPERATION WAS A ROUTINE CAP OF EIGHT PLANES AND AN ASP OF FOUR PLANES. LAUNCH TIME WAS 0446, WHICH MEANT THAT THE AIR DEPARTMENT WENT WOEFULLY SHORT OF SLEEP. CHURCH SERVICES WERE WELL ATTENDED AND THE PADRE LED ALL HANDS IN A SPECIAL PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING FOR OUR ESCAPE FROM THE ENEMY AND FOR THE SAFETY OF OUR PILOTS.

MONDAY, 26 JUNE '44

A DAY OF COMPARATIVE REST FOR ALL HANDS EXCEPT ACI, WHICH WAS BUSY WITH A RAFT OF REPORTS THAT KEPT ALMOST ALL YEOMEN ABOARD HAMMERING AWAY AT THEIR TYPEWRITERS. A FLIGHT OF 4 ASP AND 4 CAP WAS LAUNCHED AT 1559 AS WE MAINTAINED A SOUTHEASTERLY COURSE.

TUESDAY, 27 JUNE '44

THE END OF ANOTHER JOURNEY. THE HOOK WAS DROPPED AT 1300 IN THE LAGOON AND ENIWETOC AND OUR MOST EVENTFUL OPERATION WAS COMPLETED. HOWEVER, AFTER THAT EXPERIENCE AT IWO JIMA, WE HAVE A NOTION A LOT MORE EXCITEMENT IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER.

WEDNESDAY, 28 JUNE '44

THIS WAS ACHIEVEMENT DAY ON THE BATAAN. OUR FIRST FULL DAY IN PORT AND THE FIRST DAY NOT STEAMING UNDERWAY FOR OVER THREE WEEKS. SO WE HAD A PARTY!

AS COMMANDER HOUSE PUT IT DURING HIS AFTER DINNER INTRODUCTIONS IN THE WARDROOM, "NOW'S THE TIME TO LOOK AT THE SCORE." SO ALL FIGHTER PILOTS WHO HAD SHOT DOWN JAPS WERE CALLED UPON FOR A BOW AND COMMANDER HOUSE GAVE THE NUMBER OF THEIR TALLY.

THEN AT THE END OF THE SCORE GIVING, WHICH TOTALED 56 NIP PLANES THAT DIDN'T GET BACK, OUR TWO "ACE" PILOTS WERE CALLED UPON: LT. COMDR. STRANGE AND LT. "BOOTY" BARACKMAN, EACH WITH FIVE TO THEIR CREDIT.

THE COMEDY OF THE EVENING WAS WHEN JOHN STRANGE CALLED UPON THE GUEST OF THE EVENING, FORMER AIR GROUP COMMANDER, COMDR. A. R. MATTER, NOW NAVIGATOR OF THE YORKTOWN. AFTER A WINDY PRESENTATION SPEECH, JOHN STARTED TO PIN A KING SIZE SET OF SUBMARINE DOLPHINS OVER COMMANDER MATTER'S PILOT'S WINGS. AT THE CRUCIAL MOMENT, THE CLASP BROKE AND THE "QUALIFIED SUBMARINER" WAS STUCK WITH A "DOLPHIN IN THE HAND."

COMMANDER MATTERS MADE SOME VERY FLATTERING REMARKS REGARDING THE COMMENTS HE'D HEARD ABOUT THE BATAAN'S PERFORMANCE AT THE LAST OPERATION AND SAID THAT HE HIMSELF WAS PROUD OF THE RECORD THAT AIR GROUP 50 AND THE BATAAN WERE MAKING.

AS A CURTAIN OPENER TO THE EVENING'S MOVIE ON THE HANGER DECK, THE SHIP'S ORCHESTRA DID SOME SWING SPECIALTIES AND THE STEWARDS' QUARTET SANG SOME SPIRITUALS AND OLD TIMERS. THEN VOCALIST JOE BATTAGLIA DID A COUPLE OF FRANK SINATRA STYLE MELODIES. OUR HANGER DECK SOUNDED JUST LIKE A FLOOR SHOW FROM THE STATES!

THE CLIMAX OF THE SHOW WAS THE INTRODUCTION TO THE ENTIRE CREW OF THE "ACE" PILOTS. AFTER THE WARDROOM ROUNDUP, BOTH PILOTS DID EVEN BETTER. COMMANDER STRANGE TOLD ABOUT HIS EXPERIENCES WHEN HE WAS ON THE "TAKING" END OF THE PROPOSITION. "THAT'S WHY I GET A LOT OF FUN OUT OF IT NOW -- ON THE GIVING END."

"AND, ALTHOUGH WE GET THE GLORY, THE PUBLICITY, AND THE FUN -- IT'S EVERYONE BACK ON THIS SHIP THAT MAKES IT POSSIBLE FOR US UP THERE -- SHOOTING 'EM DOWN. AS LONG AS YOU WORK HARD TO PUT US OUT THERE WHERE WE CAN GET AT THE JAPS -- WE'LL DO OUR BEST TO KEEP KNOCKING 'EM DOWN."

THE MOVIE WAS A "KNOCKING 'EM DOWN" PROPOSITION. A FULL LENGTH HISTORY OF BOXING -- FROM JOHN L. SULLIVAN TO JOE LOUIS.

TODAY WE HAD STARTED TO REPLENISH IN SPITE OF THE CELEBRATION AND REST. PROVISIONS AND SOME BOMBS STARTED TO COME ABOARD AND THE USUAL "100 HAND WORKING PARTIES" WERE CALLED AWAY. WE'RE STILL LOOKING FOR THE MAIL. LOTS OF IT!

THURSDAY, 29 JUNE '44

"WHO'S GOT A LETTER, WHO'S GOT A LETTER?"

BEAUTIFUL, BEAUTIFUL "MAIL CALL" SOUNDED TODAY -- NOT ONCE, BUT SEVERAL TIMES. OUR EARLY MORNING MAIL TRIP HAD LOCATED 60 SACKS OF MAIL. AS SOON AS IT CAME ABOARD, THE WORD GOT AROUND. SPIRITS ROSE IN ANTICIPATION AND MAIL PETTY OFFICERS WERE POISED FOR THE MOMENT WHEN THEY WOULD PICK UP THAT FIRST BUNDLE OF LETTERS FOR THE MEN OF THEIR DIVISION.

THE RUSH FOR THE MAIL WAS FOLLOWED BY A RUSH FOR LETTER WRITING EQUIPMENT -- AND A HURRIED REPLY TO ALL THE QUESTIONS, THE COMMENTS ON THE NEWS FROM HOME, AND A HUNDRED THINGS YOU FORGOT TO PUT IN WHEN YOU WERE OUT AT SEA.

BUT IN SPITE OF IT ALL, SOME WORK WAS DONE ON THE SHIP. WITH MAIL STUCK IN THEIR POCKETS AND SMILES ON THEIR FACES, WORKING PARTIES TURNED TO ON LAST MINUTE STORES, ADDITIONAL BOMBS AND SPARE PARTS.

FRIDAY, 30 JUNE '44

OUR FIRST, LAST, AND ONLY "QUARTERS FOR MUSTER" WITH FULL GEAR STARTED OFF THE DAY. ARRIVALS BY BOAT WERE FOUR REPLACEMENT PILOTS WITH THEIR GEAR -- BOTH PILOTS AND GEAR WERE COMPLETELY SOAKED. LEAVING THE SHIP WERE EIGHT PILOTS TO FLY OUR REPLACEMENT PLANES ABOARD.

AT 1230, WE WEIGHED ANCHOR AND SORTIED WITH THE REST OF THE TASK GROUP. WE WERE WITH THE HORNET AND YORKTOWN, CRUISERS BILOXI, MOBILE, DENVER, AND SANTA FE, PLUS THE AA CRUISER OAKLAND AND THE DESTROYER SCREEN.

WE STARTED TO LAUNCH A FOUR TORPEDO PLANE ASP AT 1500, BUT AFTER TWO PLANES HAD LEFT THE DECK, WE WERE TOLD TO STOP LAUNCHING. SO, THE OTHER TWO PLANES WERE LAUNCHED AN HOUR LATER. THE PATROLS WERE UNEVENTFUL, AND THE RECOVERY WAS MADE AT SUNSET.

WE'RE AT IT AGAIN; EVERYONE IS HAPPY WITH MAIL CALL AND JUST THAT MUCH MORE ANXIOUS TO FINISH OFF THIS WAR AND GET HOME.

 

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