"Our next mission on 2/1/45 was again to Cavite. This time, however, we hit the old Pan-Am Seaplane Base. This is where the Pan-Am Clippers left from pre-WWII. Again, there was no Ack-Ack nor fighters. Mission #2 was completed, and our double shots went into the bottle!"
"On the 4th of February, we got our first real look at Corregidor. We bombed the gun batteries on the rock. No Ack-Ack. No fighters - Booze in the bottle."
"About this time, I discovered a good way to relax, quite by accident. I got a one-man life raft and walked over to the other side of the island. It was a nice beach with no one around, and it was quiet. I pushed the raft out upside down, crawled on, and paddled out about 150 yards. There was a drop off of about twelve to fifteen feet, and a small coral reef. All of a sudden, a school of small, brightly colored fish came in to feed. While I was watching them, another school of different colored ones moved in. All in all, I think there were three or four different species that came in to feed while I was there. Time passed very quickly, as I was there for over two hours. I used to go over there at least once a week to watch "My Fish". That was my introduction into salt water fish. Now we have a salt water aquarium, and the fish are just as beautiful as I remembered them."
After two days off, we were scheduled for Sepinggan Air Drome in Borneo. This was just six miles north of Balkpapan oil refinery, referred to as the "Ploesti of the Pacific"."
The schedule for the next day's mission was usually posted in the late afternoon, along with the target. We would go over to Operations around 5 o'clock to see if we were one of the lucky six crews for the next day's mission. Since we were the new crew, we didn't know much about the targets and what to expect. It didn't take long for us to find out, as there were other crew members also checking, and they told us real quick that we could expect heavy Ack-Ack and fighters. Needless to say we didn't have a real sound sleep that night. Wake up was usually around 3:30 or 4:00 in the morning. We got dressed and went to the mess hall for breakfast. "How do you like your powdered eggs this morning, Corporal?" and black coffee, Yuk! I always had cream and sugar!"
"We boarded the trucks to take us to the flight line, hopped off the trucks, got our gear aboard, did some checking on board, and went back out for our last cigarette before take off. Booker yelled, "All Aboard", just like he was the conductor of the "Orient Express". We boarded through the camera hatch and the bomb bay. The engines started one by one, and we pulled out onto the taxi strip and started bouncing down to take off position. Book ran up #1, #2, #3, and #4, hauled them back, and turned onto the runway in take off position. The brakes locked and up went all four engines until we thought the fuselage was going to separate from the gear. All at once the brakes were released, and we started picking up speed. As I was sitting back in the Waist with my back against the Aft Bulkhead, many things went through my mind, especially that special prayer on every take off. Finally, we could feel the weight of the plane get off the gear, and in a moment, we were airborne and the gear came up. It was another successful take off."