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This is just one of a number of photos found recently in grandfathers trunk. There is a bit of Japanese wrting or markings but I have no idea where to go for assistance in authenticating these pics. They are very old and fragile and appear to be taken from the pro Japanese fighter pilot but the rest is a mystery. I am located in Honolulu and would appreciate any advice you may offer.
CLARK FIELD, THE PHILIPPINES
I MOVED TO CLARK FIELD. NORMAN (my friend) HAD REJOINED US AND THERE WERE SIX OF US LIVING IN ONE TENT. AS SOON AS WE COULD, WE ARRANGED TO HAVE SOME OF THE LOCALS BUILD US A BAMBOO FLOOR AND UPRIGHTS OVER WHICH THEY PLACED A CANVAS TENT. WE HUNG A PARACHUTE ON THE INSIDE. IT WAS QUITE COMFORTABLE. IT RAINED QUITE HARD ALMOST EVERY AFTERNOON. CLARK FIELD AT THIS TIME WAS ALMOST A PERMANENT CAMP. WE WERE LOCATED ON A HILL ABOUT FIVE MILES FROM CLARK. OUR TENT/HOUSE WAS NEXT TO A DEEP RAVINE AND ABOUT 50 FEET FROM US THERE WAS A MACHINE GUN POSITION THAT LOOKED DOWN THE RAVINE. EVERY NOW AND THEN A FEW JAPS MADE THEIR WAY DOWN THE RAVINE AT NIGHT LOOKING FOR FOOD ETC. SOME NIGHTS IT WAS NOISY AS THE MACHINE GUN FIRED A FEW BURSTS OR THEY SENT UP FLARES.
AS TIME WENT ON WE EVEN HAD A GENERATOR AND ONE ELECTRIC LIGHT BULB IN EACH TENT/HOUSE. AN ICE MACHINE PICKED UP IN AUSTRALIA MADE LIFE QUITE BEARABLE. THERE WERE EVEN MOVIES WHICH WERE PICKED UP BY ONE OF THE PILOTS WHO WENT TO AUSTRALIA. THESE WERE SHOWN IN A SPECIAL AREA SURROUNDED BY ARMED PERIMETER GUARDS. WE ALSO HAD A VISIT FROM LARRAINE DAY AND LEO DUROCHER OF BROOKLYN DODGER FAME. WE REALLY APPRECIATED SEEING THEM.
WE SLEPT WITH OUR 45'S UNDER OUR HEADS AND WE WOKE UP EVERYONE IN THE TENT IF WE HAD TO GO TO THE LATRINE AT NIGHT. WE EVEN HAD THE USE OF A MAKESHIFT SHOWER MADE OUT OF 55 GALLON DRUMS WHICH WERE FILLED BY TRUCK EVERY FEW DAYS. THE WATER WAS CONSERVED.
NOT LONG AFTER I WAS STATIONED AT CLARK FIELD, I WAS APPOINTED OFFICER OF THE DAY. THAT NIGHT A FEW JAPS INFILTRATED THE FIELD AREA. THERE WERE FILIPINO GUARDS STATIONED AROUND THE PERIMETER OF THE AREA WHERE OUR PLANES WERE PARKED. THE JAPS TOOK A TRUCK AND RAMMED THE TAILS OF SEVERAL PLANES. THE FIELD WAS ABOUT 5 MILES FROM OUR CAMP SITE. WHEN I GOT TO THE FIELD IT WAS A MADHOUSE. EVERYONE WAS FIRING AT ANYTHING THAT MOVED. IT WAS A MIRACLE THAT NONE OF US WERE SHOT. EVERYTHING ENDED OK WITH SEVERAL JAPS DEAD BUT SEVERAL OF THE PLANES WOULD NO LONGER FLY.
OUR FLIGHT SCHEDULE WAS POSTED EVERY NIGHT FOR THE NEXT DAY. IT INDICATED WHERE WE WERE TO FLY TOO THE NEXT DAY. I SECURED THE NEEDED MAPS AND PLANNED OUR ROUTE. WE NEVER HAD THE SAME CREW. I WAS STILL LEARNING THE TERRITORY SO I FLEW WITH AN OLDER PILOT. I TRAVELLED SOUTH TO SOME OF THE ISLANDS LIKE MINDANAO. WE CARRIED FOOD, AMMO, PARTS FOR MOTORS, WOUNDED ETC.
WE WORE OUR 45'S WHILE FLYING. THERE WAS A THOMPSON SUBMACHINE GUN AND A COUPLE OF RIFLES ON BOARD. OUR CREW CHIEF MADE SURE WE ALWAYS HAD COTS AND RATIONS STOWED SINCE WE MIGHT NOT GET BACK TO OUR CAMP FOR DAYS. WE PICKED UP OR DELIVERED CARGO WHEREVER IT WAS NEEDED. MANY TIMES WE SLEPT IN OR UNDER THE PLANE. THE CREW CHIEF RIGGED UP A COUPLE OF STOVES FROM #10 TIN CANS AND WITH A LITTLE GAS TAKEN FROM THE WING TANKS WE STARTED OUR COOKING. IF WE WERE LUCKY WE EVEN HAD CHARCOAL PICKED UP FROM AUSTRALIA. I REMEMBER ONE TIME WE EVEN HAD STEAK WHICH WE ACQUIRED FROM THE NAVY ON ONE OF OUR STOPS ON THE COAST.
ON LUZON WE FLEW MANY MISSIONS INTO THE CAGAYAN VALLEY. THE JAPS WERE TRAPPED THERE ON THEIR ESCAPE ROUTE NORTH FROM MANILA. IT WAS TOUGH FLYING. THE WEATHER WAS A BIG FACTOR IN THE MOUNTAINS. IT CLOUDED UP EARLY AND WE ONLY HAD A SHORT TIME TO FLY IN AND OUT. WE MADE MOST OF OUR DROPS 'FREE FALL'. FOOD OR AMMO WAS KICKED OUT THE CARGO DOOR AS WE MADE A LOW, SLOW PASS OVER THE DROP AREA. MANY TIMES WE FLEW UP AGAINST THE SIDE OF A MOUNTAIN. YOU HOPED YOU MADE A TURN IN TIME. WE GENERALLY HAD A FILIPINO GUERRILLA WHO KNEW THE AREA ON BOARD TO ACT AS A GUIDE. OUR CARGO DROP AREA WAS USUALLY MARKED BY SIGNAL FIRES. THE JAPANESE CAUGHT ON FAST AND THEY OFTEN LIT A FIRE HOPING WE WOULD DROP THEM SUPPLIES. I'M SURE THEY GOT SOME. SINCE WE FLEW SO LOW WE OFTEN TOOK A LOT OF GROUND FIRE GENERALLY AFTER WE HAD MADE OUR DROPS. WE LOST SEVERAL PLANES IN THE MOUNTAINS.
IN OUR TENT WE HAD A NAVIGATOR WHOSE PLANE WAS HIT BY GUNFIRE. THEY MANAGED TO PANCAKE ON THE SIDE OF ONE OF THE MOUNTAINS. WE SAW SOME OF THEM GET OUT OF THE PLANE. IT NEVER BURNED. WE WERE TOLD IT WAS RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE JAP AREA.
AS THE JAPANESE TRIED TO ESCAPE NORTH TOWARDS OKINAWA AND THEIR HOMELAND, WE HAD A BIG PARACHUTE DROP IN THE APARRI REGION TO CUT OFF THEIR RETREAT. IT WAS VERY SUCCESSFUL THANKS TO THE GOOD WEATHER.
I DO REMEMBERR ONE MISSION IN PARTICULAR WHERE OUR PLANE WAS LOADED WITH 55 GALLON DRUMS OF NAPALM. I DON'T RECALL WHAT KIND OF FUSES WERE USED ON THE DRUMS. AT ANY RATE WE FLEW SOUTH TO ONE OF THE SMALLER ISLANDS AND THE DRUMS WERE PUSHED OUT THE DOOR AS WE FLEW LOW OVER THE ISLAND. IT WAS NOT A PRETTY SIGHT.
I LEARNED THAT MY PAPERS HAD BEEN PUT THROUGH FOR ANOTHER PROMOTION. I THOUGHT WHO KNOWS I MIGHT GET IT BEFORE THE WAR ENDS.
I HAD A CHANCE TO GET INTO MANILA. THE CITY WAS IN RUINS. JAP GUNS AND SHELLS WERE EVERYWHERE. PEOPLE WERE ROAMING THE STREETS LOOKING FOR FOOD. THOUSANDS SEEMED TO BE HOMELESS. PRICES WERE SKY HIGH - CIGARETTES, 3-4 DOLLARS A PACK AND IMITATION COKE, 1 DOLLAR A BOTTLE. THERE WAS LOTS OF JAPANESE INVASION MONEY SCATTERED ON THE STREETS.
I CONTINUED TO FLY WHENEVER THE WEATHER PERMITTEDD. I RETURNED SEVERAL TIMES TO NEWGUINEA AND TO AUSTRALIA. I ALSO WENT TO REST CAMP FOR FIVE DAYS IN BAGUIO. IT WAS NICE.
More of Robert`s recollections:After the Bomb
March 11, 1945. Ulithi Atoll, Western Caroline
We are at fleet anchorage after returning from Iwo Jima, and Japanese areas.
2000 hours(8PM). I had just been relieved from watch in Rdo1, (which is our main radio room in the Island structure)and had started walking aft, on the flight deck. My rack(bed), and also my GQ (general quarters) battle station, was Rdo#3. Radio 3 was a small emergency transmitter room on the Gallery deck, just under the flight deck, starboard side above the fan tail.
Normally I would write letters, and listen to Tokyo Rose, because she had the best Big Band music. I slept in RDO#3, because it was a lot cooler up there, than down on the 2nd deck, and also because it was my battle station. As I started aft, I heard music from the movie on the hangar deck. It was the Polonaise. I went down to the hangar deck, and stood at the rear, until it ended, at about 2007. I then started to walk aft on the hanger deck, to Rdo3.
Suddenly, there was a terrific white flash, explosion, and the ship shook violently! I was knocked flat on my behind. When I jumped up, there were men lying all over the place. A man just behind me had his head covered in blood, and when I stepped back to look down at him, I saw he was dead. Then GQ was sounded, the claxon going...bong, bong,bong,bong. " All hands, man your battle stations". The first few moments, we thought the ship might be going down. Fire, and 20mm cannon shells were exploding all over. The sprinkler system had automatically gone off, and we were drenched. Smoke was terrible. I saw a Marine Lt., and told him that my battle station was in flames, so he told me to help move planes out of the fire, and help the wounded.
By this time, we knew what happened. A twin engine Japanese bomber, named Frances, dove into our starboard quarter aft, just outside Rdo#3, her bombs exploded both at impact, and some exploded on the fan tail. The entire fantail area was aflame.
I helped move planes out of the fire, then a corpsman grabbed me, and told me to hold some guy s stomach in, while he got a doctor. This guys intestines were bubbling out, and I was so scared, I kept trying to push with both hands, but blood was so slippery, and my hands were shaking so badly, that I yelled for that corpsman, and by that time he had the doctor. By this time, my eyes were stinging me, and the smell of burned bodies, and smoke was awful. It took about three hours for the fire to be brought under control.
Then I went back to Rdo#3, but there was just a big hole outside, and our steel hatch had disappeared. They were bringing 3 bodies out, but we could not identify them. Later found out they were flight deck crew. I believe they were guys from the catapult group, who had gone into Rdo#3 to listen to music. No radiomen were in there. I would have been, if I hadn't stopped to listen to music. I then went up to Rdo#1, and as soon as I walked in, the Chief started screaming at me! "You will be court-martialled",etc. etc. The Communications Officer took me aside, and explained. Seems the Chief had thought I was in RDO#3, and was crying. When I walked in he was embarrassed, so he lit into me. I was filthy dirty, but I wasn't going below decks to get a shower. I just went up to Rdo2, and one of the guys gave me a mat, and I slept behind the transmitters.
Next morning, when I awoke, my eyes were swollen, so they sent me to sick bay. Seems I had flashburn from the explosion. It did not last long. I went back to RDO3 to see if I could find my ring, that Bernice, (my girl friend) had given me. But the typewriters were melted, and the cabinet I kept it in was gone. The smell was so bad, I did want to not stay there very long, and right about then, they called GQ again, and I had no idea where to go, so I stayed right there. It was my GQ station, even though there wasn't anything left in there. It was just an alert, and they blew (bugle) retreat from GQ.
We lost 30 men, and over 100 wounded. There were parts of three Japanese Kamikaze crewmen in the Frances. They said that a body was found in the port catwalk -decapitated. Their flight originated from a Jap naval base at Kagoshima on the main island of Kyushu - 1500 miles north. Also found out later that there were a lot more planes that had started for Ulithi, but only three planes made it. One hit us, another crashed forward of the ship in the water, and the third crashed on Falalop Island. They flew under the radar, and you might know, they picked my ship, out of hundreds. The battleships were at anchor all around us, plus other carriers, dozens of destroyers, many cruisers. If that plane had hit forward, and exploded on the hangar deck, the death toll would have been horrendous. There were over 500 at the movie. Guess I will never forget March 11th.
V.J.Verdolini RM2/c U.S.Navy
I was standing on the gangway of the USS Nevada, waiting for a liberty boat to take me on shore. I saw three planes with red suns on there wings. When one of them peeled off and hit the(minecraft) Oglala--that's when I knew it was for real.I ran to my primary assignment on one of the deck guns, but there was no ammunition. I made my way to my secondary assignment on the five-inch broadside guns. They were semi-fixed with a 17 degree angle of elevation,and we used the broadside as best we could. The stuff we were shooting with was used for ship-to-ship action. We were just trying to see what we could hit. There were two other sailors,Bissell,who was manning one gun, and little Willie, who was locking and loading the ammo into the guns. The ship took a hit where ammunition had been put for another gun, and there was a terrible explosion. We lost a bunch of guys there.
After the attack, we spent 14 hours putting the fires out.That night, I slept on the steps of a recreation centre because the stern of the ship was submerged.
The Nevada, although badly damaged, eventually lifted anchor and was able to sail out of the harbour. The ship was run aground intentionally at what is now known as Nevada Point just outside the harbour entrance to keep it from sinking.
I remained aboard the Nevada for the rest of the war. We got her off the ground and headed for dry dock within 60 days. She fought in several other important battles-Normandy, the Aleutians, Iwo Jima, Okinawa and the Mediterranean.
Cecil (Mac) McCloud,
22 years old Seaman 1st Class aboard the USS Nevada.
Cecil passed away last Dec. 7th,1999 early in the morning,almost as if he couldn't face another anniversary of the day that haunted his life. He served a total of 30 years in the Navy, retiring a Senior Chief Petty Officer in 1970.
Submitted by his Daughter,Joan Mecteau.
Navy Corpsman on Guadalcanal (1942)I can only offer info(medical or otherwise) affecting MY limited world of 5 Marines on a 75mmGun Half-Track that for the greater part either camped or operated in mostly isolated areas:
Guadalcanal was a jungle-like, hot, damp mosquito-infected island blessed further with heavy downpours and lightning flashes that at times could not be distinguished from that of enemy Naval gun flashes! An island that rocked to-and-fro as a broadside of 14" shells from a Jap battleship sunk deep within its innards. An island that trembled almost daily from heavy enemy bombings(and head-bashing falling coconuts!). An island continually invaded by an increasing number of Japanese troops, predetermined to have their say!!
"Front line" battle wounds were treated with the topical application of a moderate coating of Sulfanilamide Powder "sprinkled" directly into the open wound. Sulfathiazol Tablets given orally(if not an abdominal wound!) for the additional fight against bacterial infection. Then a dry padded "battle dressing" was applied. If patient was in extreme pain, Morphine Sulfate(1/4gr) was injected intramuscularly(into deltoid if practical). The Morphine Solution was in a small squeezable tube affixed with sterile needle, ready for immediate use!
I carried in an emptied Jap gas mask case (quite big!)various first aid items ranging from simple Band Aids to Morphine Sulphate. Many other items necessary to maintain a health fighting crew, were also carried in that case,or in my "Unit One"(canvas pouch with shoulder sling). Symptoms of Malaria (chills--fever-chills-fever,etc.) were referred to the Regimental Aid Station as were any and all cases that I could not handle in isolation.
PREVENTIVE MEDICINE: Atabrine Tablets administered semi-weekly to suppress malaria symptoms; salt tablets prior to or after excessive perspiration; proper hygiene--the "whore's bath" accomplished with helmet filled to capacity with rainwater. The all-purpose helmet also substituted as "washtub" for our delicate undergarments(that in time rotted away!) As the cry went out"There's fungus among us", I admonished the men to keep themselves as dry as possible.(You could hear their sharp, snide retorts echo throughout that clammy, steaming, rain- drenched jungle: "YEAH"!! "RIGHT"!!) One of our crew was reluctant to leaving his private foxhole at any time. He ate, slept. etc. there until his sparse clothes began to mould. After several unsuccessful attempts to entice him out, we forcefully took him to the Regimental Surgeon for evaluation. He was immediately replaced.
Evacuation of casualties by Field Hospital was initially by Higgins Boats to off-shore ships. Later with the availability of the airstrip on Guadalcanal, military transport planes evacuated patients to rear area hospitals, some distance from the island. Used my shelter halved "Sick Bay" area as Headquarters for poker playing; gripe sessions and sea story telling. In addition to medical treatment for various conditions, I also believed in dispensing MEGA-DOSES of much needed "Positive Thinking" to help neutralise the debilitating affect of surrounding and never ending CHAOS!
During an enemy air raid, our newly formed coastal defence position was completely levelled wounding "Smitty" and blowing "yours truly" out of my shallow foxhole. "Smitty", a no-nonsense type of Marine whispered in my ear as I treated his extensive wounds: "Doc"! "I think I 'DID IT' in my pants"!!
Knowing of his macho image, I reassured him that under similar circumstances "doing it" in one's pants is par for the course, and besides, none of the crew now knew nor need ever know it happened to him! With this assurance, the apprehensive tension on his face sudden disappeared as he was then transported to a medical facility in the rear. (As if there ever was a "REAR' on Guadalcanal!!)
The suppressive treatment against malaria in the form of Atabrine Tablets given two days out of the week on Guadalcanal, gave rise to a tense game of hide-and-seek between the bestowers and the recipients of these highly despised pills!
As the Marines completed their pass through the "chowline","laden down" with their tightly limited ration of food and drink, two career-oriented Navy Corpsmen greeted them graciously! One popped that greatly detested Atabrine into their ordered "OPEN WIDE" mouths while the other stood as "inspector" further down the line, determined to detect unswallowed tablets. With the aid of tongue depressors, the incorruptible "inspector" found them:
(1) tucked under the upper lip;
(2) buried under an unyielding tongue; and
(3) stuck securely to the roof of the mouth (rather than on their carefree way to the "victim's" stomach!)
Not with standing this ridged scanning, the grounds around the mess tent soon wound up peppered generously with those hated pills, jet-fired from the mouths of those extra resourceful Marines who managed to slip through that tight security "net"!!
"Under USMC Management"
I was the assigned Corpsman for a 75mm Gun Halftrack with a crew of five rugged gyrenes!! (They would become my "adopted family" for the rest of the four chaotic months on the island!)
One day, surrounded by Japs on land, sea and air, I found myself cramped sardine-like in our makeshift dugout with a growingly edgy crew. We were under a never ending shelling by Jap warships cruising off the coast. As the tension increased, I decided it time to put into play my self-appointed role of "Morale Officer"
In a faked, stern voice I bellowed out loud-and-clear: "Listen up people"!! "Regardless of what these Japs have in mind, this chunk of real estate referred to as the "Canal" is going to remain strictly under U.S. Marine Corps Management!!
(Well at least I got a chuckle out of them, helping to ease the rising tension, and------ my prediction of sustained U.S.Marine control over the island proved accurate!!!)
"Seating on the 50 Yard Line"
As Coastal Defence components(75mm Gun Half-Track), we were privy to the naval battles erupting to the north of the "Canal". Whenever the Japanese Navy's attention was diverted to our naval ships at sea and away from we "landlubbers" on the beach, the action could be witnessed undisturbed. At times close enough in daylight to seeing ships lay down smoke screens, and at night observing the blasts of naval guns, and, on occasion the resulting fireball of an exploding ship beyond the horizon.
All this sitting(much too fatigued to watch standing!) on a long wooden plank brought near the water's edge. This furnished dry seating on the '50 yard line' as we lay witness to those deadly games,(and always praying the last ball of fire was one of _their_ ships, and not one of _ours_!!) We always had that prevailing sense of guilt we had turned this witnessed 'Game-of-Death' into a stirring recreational event!
"A Stitch in Time---"During a lull in enemy activity on Cape Gloucester, N.B.(1943), we three Navy Corpsmen were involved in a softball match just outside our 11th Marines Aid Station.
We tried striking one another "out" while rotating positions as pitcher, catcher, and batter.
On my turn as catcher, Joe Downs (a young novice in the medical field) was up at bat. As he swung his bat to the rear, (in anticipation of hitting the pitched ball), Joe bounced that deadly "Louisville Slugger" off my protruding, unmasked skull!!
The result was a long, deep gash on my forehead that would require stitching! With the more senior medical personnel absent at the time, I sensed a unique opportunity to introduce our "chancre mechanic" apprentice to some advanced hands-on training!
With small mirror in hand to monitor the procedure step-by-step, I instructed my "student" Joe in some rather outstanding artful "needlework" (practised on my not so numb forehead!) He, though a bit more apprehensive than I, nevertheless did an outstanding job. And why not---- (considering his instructor's cool, composed, impersonal guidance!!)
John Francis Richter
HM1 USN (Ret.)
More information on Guadalcanal
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