Sunday, March 14, 2010

George's Service Diary: Sun. Jan. 10

Sun. Jan. 10 – Our flight is on 15 min. reserve this morning, so we sit around at the officers’ mess. A most uneventful day, with only the usual patrol missions scheduled. Went down to the line after lunch to put an hour of slow-time on 57, but it wasn’t ready to go. We had a very poor supper; if it weren’t for bread and jam we would go mighty hungry sometimes. After supper some mail came in, principally packages, and surprise! I got a package from Stan and Jo. And what a package! A Dr. Grabow pipe, a pound tin of Kentucky Club, a box of La Frederick cigars, and a carton of Luckies. Really a swell surprise. Every one in the mess, at the sight of the cigars, immediately assumed I had become a father; most embarrassing! Numerous offers were received for my pipe, too, but no sale!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Ernie Harris

Ernie Harris was a pilot in the 8th Fighter Squadron in the 49th Fighter Group. He became the first ace who recorded 10 victories on the P-40 in the Pacific [source]. Here is an artist rendering of his plane.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

George's Service Diary: Sat. Jan. 9

Sat. Jan. 9. – Supposed to have the morning off, but Ben Duke asked me to take his place at Fighter Sector while he attended the funeral of a friend of his who was killed in the recent crash of a B-17. So I went back to that old grind. Ben’s assistant was late to work, so I was on my own for the first hour, but no difficulty was encountered. Our boys, together with the 7th and some P-38’s went to Lae on the previously scheduled dive-bombing mission, and while I was on control, I could hear them checking their radios and chattering in a rather subdued manner. Eventually they all arrived back safely, reporting no enemy interference, but they rather failed in their object, which was to sink shipping in the bay. Most of them missed the boats, but Ernie Harris dumped his bombs amongst about 10 Zeros on the drome at Lae. Ben Duke came in to take over at about
9:30, so I took off. I wrote to Betty while on control, letting the trainee, Ball of the 9th, take over. On the way back to camp, I stopped at 7-mile drome to look at a B-24, the first one I’ve had a chance to look at closely. It certainly is a mammoth, compared to our little “bugs”. The “office” alone is nearly as big as the whole fuselage of our ships, and the bomb-bay could hold an entire P-40, disassembled. Then there is the rear compartment where the waist gunners sit, and lots of room to spare. And the tail turret is easily accessible. Nothing seems cramped, everything is on a grand scale, and it mounts 10 50-calibers as armament. Back to camp, where our flight was relieved for the afternoon, and I slow-timed 57 for one hour, buzzing four ack-ack pits while I was up.