Thursday 17 June

168th Day, Bunker Hill Day (Boston), 197 Days to come

Left O.C. 0100. Left SCAT 0330. Arrived Cactus 0830. Slept most of the way. Got 4 post sack built, though had to leave bed roll at Buttons, will be up later. Nearly all had to leave one piece due to weight restrictions. Found Log books, they were lost since we left Oahu HQ. Stood alert this afternoon. Fitted chinks(sic?). Got hint of big doings soon. This trip will be plenty interesting and a lot of work. Air Raid over Tulagi from 2100 - 2300. One shot down.

~~~~~~~~~

NOTE: O.C. is the Officer's Club.

Winnia probably built a bed, a four poster, to suspend the mosquitoe netting from. The wood for the bed was probably mahogany or teak scrounged from one of the many sawmills the SeaBees were operating at the time. Bridges across the rivers were built of solid teak.

The flight Log Books had been lost since February, when they left Hawaii.

Tulagi was an island base just north across "Ironbottom Sound" from Cactus. There were P.T. boat bases on Tulagi and Florida Island. Ironbottom Sound got its name from the many American, Australian and Japanese warships which had been sunk and now littered the bottom. It has been said that there were so many ships sunk there that magnetic compasses were not dependable.

One Japanese bomber shot down in the dark was testimony to the rapidly improving radar and night fighter techniques being developed.

Friday 18 June

169th Day, Ember Day, 196 Days to come

Stood 0500 alert then spent morning straightening out quarters. This afternoon on alert. Had a big scramble at 1330. Up on oxygen for 2hrs 10 min. bogie turned back. We really were expecting a big fight. Word came in tonight that we will get in on night fighting. Got my radio today in workable condition.

Saturday 20 March

170th Day, Ember Day, 195 Days to come

Slept in this AM till 0630. 2 hr Local Patrol 1000. Stood alert all afternoon but nothing doing. Two marvelously stirring shows tonight. "Keeper of the Flame" & "The Great Man's Lady."

Sunday 20 June

171st Day, Trinity Sunday - Father's Day, 194 Days to come

Stood 0500 alert this AM. Went to mass, confession and communion 1000. Scrambled while at show at 1200. The damned bogie turned around again. Received letter from V.J. and Mother. Answered both. Maj. Weisenberger and last pilots came in today after scramble. Raid tonight but bogie went away.

Monday 21 June

172nd Day, 193 Days to come

Stood alert today at 0530. Afterday (sic) stood chow relief. Slept and washed clothes. The most amazing thing tonight. A USO show tonight, movie also.

~~~~~~~~~

NOTE: The USO show was Artie Shaw, who had been called the "King of Swing," and was famous for his orchestral jazz style. He had once hired Billie Holliday as his vocalist, the first black female singer to work for a white bandleader. The Artie Shaw Orchestra was making as much as $60,000 per week before the war, but the unpredictable perfectionist took a long break and was living in Mexico when the war started. He joined the Navy, where he formed an award winning band. The band toured Australia, New Zealand, and the front areas, such as Guadalcanal, sometimes doing four shows a day. On a few occasions his show at Guadalcanal was bombed out by the Japanese.

Some of Artie Shaw's hits were
Begin the Beguine, Frenesi, Star Dust, Moonglow, Dancing in the Dark, and Concerto for Clarinet.

Tuesday 22 June

173rd Day, Summer, 192 Days to come

Alert again at 0530. Knucklehead at 1100. Treffer had no power forced landing at Russells. Got home later in the afternoon. Saw "Barnacle Bill" with 10. Busy pilots meeting. Strike tomorrow. Tref & I won't go as Tref's delay in getting home so he didn't get the word.

Wednesday 23 June

174th Day, 191 Days to come

No alert this AM. There was a raid sometime last night but as no bombs dropped I hardly woke up. We didn't go on strike today though 2 divs of 213 did go. 1500 Local patrol. Rain started again tonight. Letter from Kit & 2 from Mother.

Thursday 24 June

175th Day, Nativity of St. John Baptist - Corpus Christi, 190 Days to come

Test hops all day today. Mine wasn't ready until about 1600. Tested swell but fabric tore off part of starboard wing in 420 K 14,000' =460 mph. Peck lost an elevator in a similar dive into rough air.

Friday 25 June

176th Day, 189 Days to come

Spent easy morning. Afternoon had duty. VMF 221 came in for duty with full compliment of planes. Great confusion but finally got them parked.

Wrote V.J. tonight in company with Virg. Ray.

Saturday 26 June

177th Day, 188 Days to come

Raid sometime during night but missed the show as I was dead asleep last night. Wonder of wonders today Stf.Sgt Coffeen was returned. Lost since 13 April. He really had a story, great hardship but he is alive!

Wrote mother tonight.

Sunday 27 June

178th Day, 187 Days to come

0630 Dumbo to Segi. Picked up some survivors of a B-24. Missed Mass as didn't return until 1030. Idle afternoon. Wrote Sis a good letter in afternoon and Dr. Watkins after the show. Last of 3 pages but took 2 hrs to write. I hope I did a good job of it.

Monday 28 June

179th Day, 1st Sunday after Trinity, 186 Days to come

0530 alert. Local hop at 1100. Forced to return early due to engine trouble. Went to show but no letters written tonight.

Tuesday 29 June

180th Day, 185 Days to come

0530 local hop. Tref had to come home then 1st LT Tate attempted forced landing at Fighter two. Undershot, plane turned over, stump came up into cockpit. We buried him at 1400. Out here people get nothing but a sheet & a hole in the ground. Received three letters today. One from V.J., 2 from Mother. Answered V.J.

Strike called off due to weather. Injured left foot before hop this morning. Caught in hydraulic flap. Grounded today.

Wednesday 30 June

181st Day, 184 Days to come

1st Lt Peck killed this morning on a test hop. Landing force on Rendova Island. Our squadron got 16 planes. Maj. Weissenberger still missing. Only one not home. Grounded yet with foot so didn't get up at all. Foot better all the time.

Thursday 1 July

182nd Day, 183 Days to come

Final total for yesterday for the squadron 20 planes shot down, one lost. Maj. Weissenberger returned today. Bailed out picked up by DD. Strike to Kahili early afternoon 1125 - 1535. Kahili covered over by clouds but Bahli wide opened but the darned army either dropped on water on way home or landed with their bombs. Little party tonight for celebration.

Friday 2 July

183rd Day, Feast of the Sacred Heart, 182 Days to come

Rendova patrol 0655 - 1055 Landed at Russell Islands South Field. Ruby base recalled all trolleys then Japs hit. Really a mess. On way from patrol Vedder bailed out - engine failure. An F4U exploded on starting. Burned down, pilot VMF 122 terribly burned. I doubt he lives. Vedder is apparently OK, picked up OK. Returned Cactus 1700. Letter from Mother, answered it tonight.

Saturday 3 July

184th Day, 181 Days to come

I didn't fly today at all. The squadron bad luck is continuing. Lt. Ted Brown cracked up at Russells. Cut up a bit but came back this afternoon by SCAT. Lt. Herman Spoede is missing. Rest landed either here or at Russells. The pilot in 122, Lt. Rassmussen, died.

Sunday 4 July

185th Day, Independence Day, 180 Days to come

Rendova Patrol this morning. Somehow I missed it in the afternoon. Took duty for afternoon. Wrote V.J. a short letter tonight.

Monday 5 July

186th Day, 179 Days to come

Early take off planned but weather prohibited any operation until afternoon. Had Rendova patrol. Mixed divisions now. Tref had to come home, cold or sinus. Searched for Spoede on way home - no results.

~~~~~~~~~

NOTE: "Dago" is San Diego. There are many marine training facilities in Southern California. Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego is one of two current recruit training facilities, the other being, of course, Parris Island, South Carolina. A marine who trained at MCRD San Diego is known as a "Hollywood Marine."

Tuesday 6 July

187th Day, 178 Days to come

7 hrs today. Patrol over Munda and Rendova. No action. Had to cut afternoon short due to motor trouble. Lt. Boag had an emergency landing on this strip made it OK. Tref still sick. Boy, am I getting tired.

Wednesday 7 July

188th Day, 177 Days to come

Flew all day today. All but two pilots flew 10 hrs. It's really getting tough. Did nothing but fly & eat a little & fall into bed. Sent for "Guide to USMC Administration"

Thursday 8 July

189th Day, 176 Days to come

Fifteen pilots in commission this morning. All had Rendova patrol in AM, only 12 for PM. I stayed down as have a little cold. As usual no mail today.

Friday 9 July

190th Day, 175 Days to come

Rendova Patrol in morning. Escort 3 DC-3s to drop supplies to Raiders on NW end of New Georgia. Now have Munda about surrounded.

Saturday 10 July

191st Day, 174 Days to come

Three Rendova patrols today. Total 10 hrs. Rather warm out. Swell letter from Mother. Subject V.J.. No letter from V.J. in a long time. Would feel less discouraged if I could only

Sunday 11 July

192nd Day, 173 Days to come

Missed mass this AM. Rendova patrol. Feeling badly with bad head. Doc grounded me as I was preparing for an escort this afternoon. Rec'd letter from V.J. written 28 June. Answered tonight though confined to bunk. First I have heard in over two weeks. A small fight this afternoon. Naturally I wasn't in it. Maj. got one, Defab 1, Boag bailed out, hit tail, no news. Thomas had motor failure, water landing, no news.

Monday 12 July

193rd Day, 172 Days to come

Scrambled for fight this AM. Rendova patrol in morning. Cold getting into ears & sinuses, grounded all afternoon.

Tuesday 13 July

194th Day, 171 Days to come

Duty officer most of morning. Flew in afternoon. I'll bull out this cold yet. Hop Rendova patrol with bogie chase but no results. Thomas reported safe at Segi. Two letters from Mother.

Wednesday 14 July

195th Day, 170 Days to come

4.3 hrs this AM. Escorted 5 DC-3s dropped supplies at New Georgia, Covered Dumbo while evacuating wounded. Afternoon hop cut short - weather closed down. Landed at Russells, returned 1700. Show tonight "Knute Rockne". Writing Mother. Thomas returned today in time for afternoon hop.

Thursday 15 July

196th Day, St. Swithin's Day, 169 Days to come

Rendova Patrol and fighter sweep over Vella Lavella this morning. This afternoon I was on the deck when 8 of the boys tangled with the Japs. 7 back so far with 16 certain, several probables. Lt. Votaw still missing.

Friday 16 July

197th Day, 168 Days to come

Didn't fly at all today. Show tonight interrupted several times by air raid.

Saturday 17 July

198th Day 167, Days to come

Raid to Kahili today. I missed action there, protecting SBDs. Beautiful, six ships sunk. Lt. Garison shot down in flames. MG Hodde made it to Segi, wounded but OK. Lt. Vedder today presented with Purple Heart. Our squadron got 10 Zeros. Total now 57. Today was one of history. Had an egg this morning and a beer this evening. Raid tonight.

Sunday 18 July

199th Day, 4th Sunday after Trinity, 166 Days to come

(This entry in a different hand. Written by Lt. Treffer)

Mission to Kahili well done. Lt. Winnia lost in dog fight over Kahili.

Lt. Red Hall shot down Choiseul near Bougainville. Hall made a safe crash landing, 5 zeros strafed him.

Only 11 pilots left.

~~~~~~~~~

This is the last entry in the diary.


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