"After we were airborne for two hours, Book informed us that we could open our Orders. I opened my envelope, and here was a green ticket, A 320029, "Good for one-way passage to Biak." Fred L. opened his, looked at it for a while, and asked me where "Buyak" was? I told him, since Geography was not my strong suit in school, that I had no idea."
"After 12 hours in the air, we landed at Hickam Field, Hawaii, where we stayed in a transient camp for four days. We went into Honolulu, but I certainly wasn't impressed.
"The next morning, we boarded the C-46 again for the next leg to Canton Island. what a God forsaken place this was! There was one tree on the entire island and everything about the island was depressing. Oh, one thing, I met a fellow at the Mess Hall that evening who was at Scott Field (Radio School) when I was there. He had completed the course and was assigned to Canton Island AACS (Army Airways Communication System) for two years. How lucky could I be!"
"We boarded our C-46 on the morning of the 14th for our trip to Tarawa, another six-hour flight. I was excited about going to Tarawa, as I remembered seeing the News Reels and Life Magazine articles about the landing at Tarawa, and the bloody battles that ensued. Looking out the windows of the plane as we approached the landing strip, you could see the beached LSTs and other remains of the battle. After we landed and were assigned to a tent, we made a tour of the beach. The tops of the palm trees were blown off. All that remained were the trunks standing nakedly embarrassed by the vicious battle that had taken place months before."
On December 15th, after a seven-hour flight, we landed at Guadalcanal, another historic site remembered from the News Reels and Life Magazine. There was more destruction here, LSTs rusting in the water, palm trees blown away and the cement blockhouse that the Japs occupied. The Marines burned them out with their flame throwers, and you could see the burned areas by the door and the openings where the Japs stuck their guns out. There was a brass plaque on the front of this blockhouse telling about some U.S. battleship that was so many miles off shore, firing big shells into this blockhouse, and very little damage was noted. At one end of the island, Army Engineers used bulldozers to push all of the Japanese remains, guns, tanks, etc. into big piles. What a sight this was!"
"Our next leg was to Finchafen, a five-hour flight on the 16th of December."
"On the 18th, we had a one-hour trip to Nadzab, New Guinea, which would be home for about a month. this is where we went to Survival School and learned how to cope with "Jungle Life".
On January 2nd, we flew a mission to Rabaul, New Guinea. In the early part of the war, Rabaul was a very major Japanese port and air base, very heavily defended, both by anti-aircraft and fighters. Our mission was 7 hours and 20 minutes long. Someone asked what our target was, some smart alec on the crew said "Japanese Victory Gardens." Again, on January 15th we flew a 5:25 mission to Wide Bay (Putt-Putt Plantation). A thought aside from all this...Is this where Arnold Palmer got his idea for miniature golf courses?"
"On January 19th, we flew in a B-24 for six hours to our destination. (On our green ticket, when we opened our Orders two hours out over the Pacific on December 8th, it said, "One way to Biak.) We had finally arrived at Biak, New Guinea. It took us one month and eleven days."
"January 20th we flew five hours to our Base in Morotai that would be our home for the next 5 1/2 months. No one on the crew could envision what it would be like for the next several months. We had no idea where the targets would be, what the routine was, how many missions we would fly in a month, or how many missions before our tour was over? We had heard it was 25 in E.T.O. [25 missions in the European Theatre of Operations before the tour was over.] What were the living conditions like, and how was the food?"
In the next post, Dad describes his tent and describes some of his first bombing runs. In the rest of the notebook from Dad, he describes each of the bombing runs. In the 1990s, Dad transcribed microfilm of all his flights. This lead to the inclusion of all the detail in his notebook. I do hope, you, as readers, are enjoying a first-hand account of World War II.