One of the entries I find very interesting is transcribed here, "On one of our missions in March, can't remember now which one it was, but when we got to the flight line, I noticed the plane had a Consolidated Nose Turret instead of my usual Emerson Electric. I didn't think any more about it, as i had been checked out in the Consolidated some time ago. We took off and after a while, Booker told all Gunners to get into the Turrets to test fire the guns. I went up front, opened the doors to the Turret, and crawled in. Now, I had my usual gear on...chute harness, Mae West and flak suit. I didn't have the flak suit strap hooked p, nor did I close the Turret door when I first got in, thinking I would to it later! I reached down to open the hydraulic valve, and Bingo!, the Turret immediately swung to the left. (Something else I hadn't done-I hadn't plugged in to the intercom). Now, remember, I hadn't closed the turret doors, and the turret had swung 90 degrees to the left, my flak suit strap was banging against the side of the fuselage, and I wasn't on the intercom. I couldn't hear Booker calling me to see if I was okay! It finally dawned on me to get hooked up to the radio and just as I did, I heard Book tell Al to check and see if I had blown out of the airplane."
Another experience occurred on "4/27 we had quite an experience. We had a very early morning take off, and it was still very dark when we became airborne. As soon as the gear came up, we started smelling gas. I stuck my left arm out of the left Waist window and it was immediately soaked with gasoline. I got on intercom and told Andy, our Engineer, that we had a tremendous gas leak. He told Steve, our Pilot, who came on the intercom and told us no smoking, to get out Mae Wests and parachutes on, to open the Camera Hatch, and to wait for his word to "Bail out"! This was for Real! Andy came back to the Waist with a flashlight and looked at the left wing gas cap. It wasn't there. It had blown off, because someone hadn't safety-wired it on. The air turned blue, as Andy was more that a little upset. Andy transferred gas from the left wing tank to the bombay [sic] tank, and the level was low enough in the left wing tank that it had quit siphoning out. Our immediate problem was over, but we now knew that we didn't have enough fuel aboard to hit either the primary or secondary target. This left us to hit the Manado Town bridge. No one, I mean, no one had been able to get this sucker in months and months. Well, they hadn't had a Bombardier like out "Butterball" Yelland. We hit that bridge from 8,400'. Al dropped three 1,000# bombs on the first run and the middle bomb got a direct his on the north span. We made a reciprocal run, and again, Al dropped three more 1,000 # bombs. Once again, the middle bomb scored a direct his on the southern span. Albert was a Hero, the scourge of Manado Town! When we got back to base and word got out that Fortunato's Crew got the Manado Town bridge, friends and neighbors brought us each a quart of cold Australian Beer."
By the beginning of June, Dad received the news that he was grounded for nearly three weeks, "due to a severe shortage of ground personnel being rotated to the States. All Assistant Radio Operators (I was Assistant Radio Operator), and Assistant Engineers were taken off their crews and assigned to work elsewhere. It would not affect their going home when it was their rew's time to rotate to the States. I worked in Squadron Operations. Someone asked me if I could type, and I said that I had taken typing in high school. So, I was elected, not selected. I didn't fly again until June 27th, and again, it was Balikpapan beach defenses, and once again we had very heavy and accurate flak. The missions the past couple of weeks had been Balikpapapn and the immediate area around it, getting ready for the July first invasion."
After his mission on July 10th, Dad found out his crew had been replaced. "To know that we had flown our last mission, [his 38th] was unbelievable. It's impossible to convey what I was thinking at that precise time. It was total and complete relief that we had made it, and there would be no more hazardous take offs, and no more fighters to contend with. The was was over for us! I walked around in a daze and just grinned for a week."
Next time - the return home.