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Photographer's Diary

This Photographer's Diary is an extension of the USS Natoma Bay (CVE-62) online logbook project described here.

Part 1 (14 October 1943 - 18 May 1944)

Part 2 (18 May 1944 - 30 December 1944)

Part 3 (1 January 1945 - 15 August 1945)

Index

Comments, corrections, and additional information should be sent to:
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DIARY OF EVENTS

USS NATOMA BAY (CVE 62)
AS RECORDED BY ROBERT N. JOHNSON,
CHIEF PHOTOGRAPHER'S MATE

(as transcribed by Glenn McWilliams)

Part 1 (14 October 1943 - 18 May 1944)

14 October 1943

USS NATOMA BAY commissioned at Astoria, OR.

USS Natoma Bay commissioned

Crew assembled for commissioning of Natoma Bay

15 October

Worked on ship.

18 October

Worked on ship. (CVE 60 sailed)

24 October

Worked on ship. Loaded Ammunition.

27 October

Participated in Navy Day parade, Astoria.

28 October

Worked on ship. (CVE-61 Sailed.)

04 November 1943

Left Astoria for Port Townsend, WA. First time out. Very heavy seas. Most all sick.

McCune, McCurdy, Bryant, Rogers

Dr. McCune (Flight Surgeon), Lcdr. McCurdy, Chaplain Bryant, and Dr. Rogers (Dentist)
[Note: this picture appeared on the same page with the picture of the commissioning (see above), but was not mentioned in the text as associated with a particular date. LD]

05 November

Arrived Port Townsend. Took on bombs.

06 November

Went to Bremerton, WA. Loaded torpedoes and ammunition.

Loading Torpedoes

Loading torpedoes at Bremerton, WA

Loading Torpedoes

08-10 November

Ship degaussed, compass corrected and underwent speed trials.

11-12 November

Moored at Seattle, WA. Took on stores.

13-15 November

Left for Alameda. CA. Very foggy all the way out the straits.

16 November

Arrived Alameda. Laid to four hours because of fog. Upon docking, took on stores, aviation gas, etc.

17 November

Underway for San Diego, CA at 1600.

19 November

Moored at San Diego. First planes loaded aboard (North Island).

21 November

0700. Underway for gunnery practice.

22 November

Fueled at sea.

Fueling at sea

Heavy sea between Natoma Bay and tanker.

23 November

Moored at San Diego.

24 November

Composite Squadron VC-63 came aboard.

25 November

0700. Underway to check out squadron. 6 FM and 6 TBM aircraft aboard. LCDR Searcy made first take off and first landing. Two FM‘s made barrier crashes during flight operations.

26-27 November

Flight operations. One barrier crash each day.

28 November

Flight operations. Catapult broke down after catapulting 3 FM’s.

01 December 1943

Flight operations. FM hits look-out in head, breaks his neck. Injured man flown to San Diego. LCDR Searcy goes into drink while taking off in FM. He is rescued by escort.

Injured man

Injured man loaded into TBM for flight to San Diego.

02-07 December

Squadron fly off to North Island. Ship moored at NAS, then shifted to Destroyer Base. Machinery overhauled, took on stores.

08 December

Shifted to North Island. Took on 8 F4U, 14 F6F, 45 SBD, and 700 passengers.

09 December

0700. Shoved off for Pearl Harbor. Sea choppy. Hit storm, heavy sea all night. Most of the passengers and some of the crew sick.

10 December

Heavy sea. Man overboard at 1315 after 33 degree roll. 1415. Unable to find man. Proceeded.

15 December

0900. Sighted Maui; 0930 Molokai; 1100 Oahu. Laid off Pearl Harbor to let the TENNESSEE, COLORADO, and MARYLAND get out. Docked at 1730. Unloaded passengers all night.

16 December

Loaded P40’s and R4D’s all night. Three hour liberty. (ESSEX, New LEX, Big E, COWPENS. BELLEAU WOOD, CABOT, INDEPENDENCE, many BB and DD in port.

17 December

0930. Shoved off for San Diego. Gunnery practice.

23 December

1530. Arrived NAS San Diego. Unloaded planes and passengers.

24 December

Shifted to Destroyer Base.

26 December

Took on stores. Started work on Admiral’s Quarters.

28 December

Took on much dehydrated food, firefighting gear and ammunition.

03 January 1944

Shifted to NAS SD. Took our squadron (VC-63) aboard, plus 350 passengers, and another squadron’s FM-1’s.

04 January

1100. Left San Diego for Pearl Harbor.

10 January

Arrived Pearl Harbor after an uneventful trip. Unloaded extra planes and passengers.

13 January

0745. Underway for five day maneuvers with Carrier Division 24 (CARDIV 24), consisting of CVE’s 16, 57. 58, 61, us, along with 5 DD and 5 DE. Anti aircraft gunnery practice began when we were clear of harbor.

14-16 January

Flight operations. Catapulted FM’s and TBM’s. CVE-61 broke down.

17 January

Received "Well Done" for landing planes in 15 minutes from flag. Prepared to take 6 extra TBM’s aboard because CVE-61 could not get up steam and CVE-58 had deck crash.

18 January

Gunnery practice. Docked at 1500, Ford Island.

19 January

Took on 2000 pound bombs, and stores.

23 January

Left Pearl Harbor as part of large task force heading for Marshall Islands.

24 January

Anti Submarine Patrol (ASP) and Combat Air Patrol (CAP) in the air all day. Our group consists of NASSAU (CVE-16), PORTLAND, 10 troop ships and freighters, 2 mine sweepers and many cans. TBM goes in water after engine failure. Ens. Mann and crew were picked up and returned to NATOMA BAY by DD349

injured crew member transferred

Injured crew member of ditched TBM is transferred back to Natoma Bay.

28 January

Crossed International Date Line.

30 January

All set. Our job is to take Majuro Atoll, one of the best natural harbors in the Pacific, large enough to hold the whole US fleet. Loaded 12 100 pound bombs and 20 150 pound incendiary bombs into 3 TBM’s to be joined by 3 like TBM’s from NASSAU. Rest of TBM’s loaded with 4 325 pound depth charges. One of NASSAU TBM’s spun in after gunner had shot his own tail off.

Loading 100 pound demolition bombs (12 per TBM).

Loading incendiaries

Loading incendiaries in TBM.

31 January

“D” Day. Reveille at 0415. TBM’s bomb Majuro while PORTLAND shells beach and fighters strafed beach. FM motor failed while in landing circle and went in water. Pilot, Ens. Wilcox. CAP and ASP up all day.

01 February 1944

ASP and CAP off Majuro all day. Ens. Venable went in water with FM on take off. Was picked up by DD-666. An FM landed, but didn’t catch any wires and went up on its nose in the barrier. It balanced on the propeller for 5 minutes until pulled down. Two TBM’s came back from Taroa shot up after bombing field there. One had to land with no flaps, but made good landing.

FM balanced on nose

FM balanced on nose after barrier crash.

02 February

CAP and ASP during the day. FM lands with no tail hook and makes good barrier landing. Entered Majuro lagoon at 1615 to anchor for the night. NASSAU left out on patrol . We are the first US carrier to anchor in Majuro and also the first carrier to anchor in a captured harbor. Majuro is one of the best natural harbors in the central Pacific. It’s about 21 miles long and 7 miles wide, completely surrounded, with two deep water entrances. The islands are very green, almost completely covered with coconut trees and breadfruit trees. Coral reefs are all around the atoll with good surf in places. The natives live in neat grass shacks with well kept yards. They sail around in outrigger canoes.

03 February

Battleships WASHINGTON and INDIANA enter Majuro after collision with each other. WASHINGTON lost about 60 feet of bow, and INDIANA was hit bad at #3 turret. Cruisers SALT LAKE CITY, PENSACOLA, CHESTER, and PORTLAND fueled and left. Sea plane tender in and PBM squadron operating. Many freighters with troops and supplies arrive. PECOS fueled us at 1500. Swimming party over the side for a swell time.

04 February

Pulled out of Majuro at 1100 for ASP and CAP around atoll. Looked like whole Pacific fleet pulling in. Many CV, CVL, and CVE’s. Also IOWA and NEW JERSEY, biggest battleships afloat. I flew late ASP and shot pictures of ships in harbor. Air strip being built by CB’s is about 3/4 done.

05 February

ASP and CAP all day. Pulled into Majuro at 1800. CV and BB still in and fueling.

06 February

In Majuro at anchor. Swimming party at 1700.

Swimming in Majuro harbor

Swimming in Majuro harbor.

07 February

Catapulted planes while at anchor to begin ASP and CAP. Left Majuro at 0600. Lt. (jg) Becker flew his FM-1 into the side of island (superstructure) and plane went into water. He was picked up by DD667. Ens. Goranson and crew went down in water with engine trouble. I went on the search for them all afternoon, but none were found. These were our first fatalities. Gunner was E.R. Bailey AOM3c, Radioman was E.B. Baron ARM2C.

FM hits

FM hits superstructure, goes into water.

Lt. Becker emerges after crash

Lt. (jg) Becker emerges after crash into sea.

08 February

Patrolled Wotje and Taroa. I flew over Taroa and shot pictures of islands. We spotted for cruisers bombarding island. We landed aboard NB with no flaps and bum motor, caught #7 wire and went through both barriers. Plane badly wrecked but no one hurt. 10,000 Jap’s supposed to be left on Wotje and Taroa. AA heavy.

09 February

We bombed radio station on Taroa and spotted for cruisers shelling Wotje. Shot pictures of both islands.

10 February

ASP and CAP all day. We are on the way back to Majuro.

11 February

ASP and CAP all day. Entered Majuro at 1800 to anchor.

12 February

Tanker NECHES pulled alongside at 1000 and refueled us. We gave quite a bit of food to our destroyers. While at anchor, catapulted planes for ASP, CAP, and search of Wotje and Taroa. Pulled out of Majuro at 1500. Took on 4 new FM-1’s. We left VT pilots Lt. Stone, Lt. Cresto, and VF pilot Ens. Brown aboard the INTREPID when we and the INTREPID sailed under quick orders.

13 February

Church services were held for Ens. Goranson, Baron ARM2C, and Bailey AOM3C lost while on ASP Feb 7, 1944.

14 February

I flew today in TBM1C on a strike in which our plane and 3 like TBM’s loaded with 3 300 pound bombs and 400 pounds of incendiaries bombed the supply island next to Taroa (Elsie) and the radio station at Taroa. We also did much strafing. After this was completed we spotted for 3 cruisers shelling Taroa. During the whole time we encountered much AA fire, 5”, and also machine gun which knocked out my plexiglass window. We also had planes over Wotje and they took pictures too.

15 February

Off Majuro ASP and CAP all day. Searched far missing LST which was later found.

17 February

Patrol over Wotje and Taroa. I flew late hop over Wotje to get pictures of reconstruction of runways. AA fire all around us. An FM was hit bad but managed to get back to the ship after strafing trucks on the field. Later we flew over 4 native sailing outriggers and unintentionally scared them very much until we proved friendly. They dropped their sails and waved their hands frantically. Natives are hard to tell from the Japs when only clothed in loin cloths. Truk raided by big carriers. 217 Jap planes shot down against our loss of 17. INTREPID took a fish in night attack and is on way back to States.

Bomb damage to Taroa airfield.

Bomb damage to Taroa airfield.

18 February

Off Wotje. 8 TBM loaded with 1000 pound bombs took off at 1100 and 2 more with 4 500 pound bombs each, to bomb runways on Wotje. 3 fighters and 4 TBM are hit by AA but got back. Lt. Rivers, VT pilot was hit in the leg, but will be OK. I flew on the late hop over Wotje to take pictures of our damage, which put the runways the Japs had fixed, back out of commission. Our plane spotted two Jap boats using palm leaves over them for camouflage. We sank them by strafing. One had 3 Japs aboard. We worked all night in the photo lab printing pictures of Wotje and Taroa for Battleship Div 3. (NEW MEXICO, IDAHO AND MISSISSIPPI) and the flag. Received thanks from BB for our pictures.

Wotje repairs

Wotje, showing repairs to short runway.

19 February

Entered Majuro at 1000. CALIENTE pulled alongside at 1500 and fueled us.

20 February

Out for ASP and CAP.

22 February

ASP around Majuro. Entered lagoon at 1400. The last flight landed on the air strip which is now complete. SBD, F6F, and PV planes now operating off 6000 foot runway. Took on spare parts from the NASSAU which is heading back to Pearl with a broken turbine.

23 February

Took on more spare parts and put off cracked up planes and parts. Left Majuro at 1230 to take on NASSAU’s good planes. Back at anchor 1600. Received “Well Done” from the flag for our part in Marshall Islands campaign.

24 February

Took on more spare parts and planes from NASSAU. 14 FM-1 and 12 TBM altogether. New YORKTOWN took some of our TBM-1C’s and gave us TBM-1’s in return which made everyone very mad. Smoker in the afternoon with boxing, wrestling, and swimming followed by a swell chow and a couple of bottles of beer for each man. Talent show and sing in the evening, followed by a good movie.

26 February

CV and BB back from raid on Truk and islands north of Guam.

27 February

Meeting of all shellbacks in preparation for ship crossing the equator.

02 March 1944

Still at anchor in Majuro. Field Day. Captain’s inspection in the morning and a smoker with the ENTERPRISE in the evening. We won 5 bouts and the “E” took the other 4. Ice cream and cake finished off the evening with the ENTERPRISE’S band furnishing the swell music.

Band from Enterprise

Band from Enterprise entertains Natoma Bay crew.

03 March

Anchored in Majuro. General work through-out the ship. MANILA BAY (CVE—61) came in from Kwajalein where she has been operating. CVE 57 and 58 broke down and headed back for repairs. Swimming in the afternoon and a movie in the evening.

07 March

0600 Pulled out of Majuro with the MANILA BAY (Flag aboard) and 3 2100 cans (DD555, 556, 557) and headed for Espiritu Santo. ASP, glide bombing and gunnery practice. Several sub contacts. ENTERPRISE, CVL, and number of cruisers and cans going same place as us and stay about 20 miles away.

08 March

Finally lost this day because of being over the date line which we crossed 30 Jan 1944.

09 March

This is the day in which “Neptunis Rex” reigns. Brawls from one end of the ship to the other. We shellbacks were outnumbered 7 to 1 and took kind of a beating making the pollywogs pay for their crimes. Just about all men on either side had their hair cut, were greased, etc. ASP and brawl continued into afternoon. At 1646 we crossed the equator at 171 degrees East longitude. We are the first ship of this class to cross equator.

10 March

Fighters sent up for gunnery practice. MANILA BAY has ASP and CAP.

11 March

ASP in the morning. Flying stopped when rain squalls became too bad.

12 March

Sighted New Hebrides at 0800. Pulled into north bay Espiritu Santo at 1400. Immediately fueled and began taking on stores. ENTERPRISE and her force pulled into south bay. Lt. Strong, Cresto, and Brown returned aboard after being on INTREPID during Truk raid.

13 March

Liberty for 2nd section at recreation center from 0900 to 1500. Took on much stores, meat, spare parts, etc. until 2400. Had bad fire on water at #1 sponson. It burned a lighter of stores and the paint on the side of the ship all the way up to the island where it burned the signal flag boxes and flags. It was caused by gasoline overflow into water. Jap reconnaissance planes flew over during the night, dropped flares and took pictures. All ships at GQ, but no shooting-to be left to fighters.

Fire of starboard side

Fire off starboard side is extinguished with foam.

14 March

Still taking on stores. I went to recreation center on Maffia Island (Espiritu Santo harbor) where there was good swimming, sports, and two bottles of beer. I shot pictures of natives, their village, and chief who is 104 years old. Normally no one is allowed to see the natives so it was quite a privilege to get back there. We took them rice, sugar, and eggs for their feast celebrating one of the chief’s son’s killing his first wild pig. The natives are friendly and nice, speak very little English, and are very black.

chief, wife, & son

104 year old chief, a favorite wife, and his 1 1/2 year old son.

15 March

Pulled out of Espiritu at 0930 with MANILA BAY and 3 cans. Took on all new fighters, FM—2’s end some new TBF1C’s. This gives us 15 fighters and 10 torpedo planes. Joined another task force at 1600 having 4 BB (TENNESSEE, NEW MEXICO, IDAHO, AND MISSISSIPPI) and 14 cans. We are heading northwest in the direction of Rabaul or Bougainville where we are to take part in a major strike. Flew late ASP. Lightning storm all night.

16 March

Worked all day getting planes ready. Jap reconnaissance coming within 35 miles of us. Lightning storm at night.

17 March

ASP and CAP all day. Steering a course right by Solomon’s (Guadalcanal and Bougainville), about 40 miles off from them. 8 Jap subs and 2 destroyers ahead. Lt. (jg) Wiegand makes the 1000th landing aboard NB.

18 March

Still going northwest. ASP and CAP all day Lt. Douglas crashes into water in a new TBF1C, his 3 depth charges explode, but all four got out of plane and were picked up by DD483. Scuttlebutt says we are to attack north end of New Ireland (Kavieng) which has two airfields.

19 March

Large ASP and CAP all day. We are off the north end of New Ireland. BB left at sunset to get into position for shelling. Two barrier crashes in which FM—2 stood up on noses.

20 March

“D” day. Our 4 battleships and 12 cans heavily shelled Kavieng while we spotted for them and did ASP and CAP. I flew early hop and there was much AA fire. Also shore batteries were shooting back at ships. Lt. Dinneen shot down a “Toni” (Jap fighter resembling our P-51) making him the first FM-2 pilot to shoot down a Jap plane, and first one in our task force. Later a MANILA BAY plane shot down a Jap observation plane and let one get away. Sub contacts and bogies all day. A torpedo was fired at us but NATOMA BAY made emergency turn and the fish went astern of us. GQ from 0500 until l600 and from 1800 to 2000. Our marines also landed on Emirau, an island about 70 miles north of New Ireland.

21 March

Large ASP and CAP up all day. Headed southeast.

22 March

ASP and CAP about 100 miles off New Ireland. TBM spotted sub crash diving, but was unable to get there in time. Battleships left our force at sunset.

23 March

ASP and CAP. About the same position as yesterday. One of our destroyers dropped 11 depth charges on a Jap sub and think they got it.

24 March

Fueled at sea. MANILA BAY had ASP and CAP while we fueled, then we reversed. Our 6 cans also fueled and took on stores from tanker.

25 March

Sub contacted 500 yards off and DD dropped 12 ash cans on it last night. ASP and CAP. GQ during day. Our fighters chased Jap planes until our planes had to come back for lack of fuel. Many bogies and sub contacts. Two of our TBM’s dropped 6 depth charges on sub. We are about 25 miles off New Ireland and headed for Emirau where our troops have landed.

26 March

ASP and CAP off Emirau. Last night we had 4 different GQ’s because of Jap planes, but all were chased away. Troops still landing on Emirau.

27 March

ASP and CAP. We are going to Buka Passage where we are to pick up a convoy headed for Emirau.

28 March

ASP and CAP. Picked up large force of LST and LCI at Buka. Headed for Emirau where CB’s are to build an air strip and naval base. Convoy’s speed is 8 knots, so we are running circles around them.

29 March

ASP and CAP. No wind except from ship’s speed (18k). FM-2 broke #9 wire which hurt 2 men on the deck badly. Plane went into the barrier.

30 March

ASP and CAP. Off Emirau. LST and LCI completed unloading by dark and we headed back for Guadalcanal.

31 March

ASP and CAP. TBM sighted whale and sank same. B24 went into the water just ahead and a DD picked up the crew.

01 April 1944

ASP and CAP. We left the LST and LCI off of Bougainville and headed out to fuel and rejoin the MANILA BAY.

02 April

ASP and CAP. Our “cans” fueled and we headed for Tulagi.

03 April

ASP and CAP. Squalls and bad flying all day. PBY out of Tulagi brought (showed us the way) back to the ship.

04 April

Sighted Santa Isabel at dawn. Gunnery practice in the morning. Dropped the hook in Tulagi harbor at 1430. Lots of mail.

05 April

Liberty for the first section at the recreation center on Purvis Bay (Florida Island). The refreshments consisted of 2 beers a piece. The natives are rather unfriendly around here and throw spears at anyone who ventures close. We fueled, took on stores, and put off some wrecked planes.

08 April

SAVO ISLAND (CVE78) came in and brought us spare parts and supplies. We had a smoker with the MANILA BAY in the evening and beat them.

09 April

Pulled out of Tulagi at 0800 with the MANILA BAY and 4 Fletcher class (2100) destroyers. ASP and CAP. Sunset landings in heavy rain after dark. TBM went into the catwalk. No one was hurt, but the plane and 2 20mm mounts were ruined.

11 April

The MANILA BAY, us and our cans fueled at sea. We are about 80 miles off Emirau. The CORAL SEA (CVE57) fighters shot down a Jap “Betty”.

12 April

Off Emirau. ASP and CAP covering the landing of supplies and building of the air strips on Emirau.

14 April

ASP and CAP off of Emirau. Weather closed in very bad and one fighter landed on the partially finished strip on Emirau, and one in the water off Emirau. Both of these pilots were all right, but the third fighter is missing with “Red” Lange pilot. Our hop got lost. We finally made our way back with radar and only 15 minutes of gas left.

15 April

ASP and CAP. 6 TBM, 3 PBY, and 3 cans searched for Lt. (jg) Lange without success. Thought to have spun in.

16 April

Cresto pulled a tail hook, went into the barrier.

17 April

TBM broke a tail hook, went into the barrier and balanced on its nose.

18 April

ASP and CAP in the morning. Fueled in the afternoon. Pushed wrecked TBM over the side.

19 April

Joined up with Carrier Division 22, giving us 8 CVE (NATOMA BAY, MANILA BAY, CORREGIDOR, CORAL SEA, SAGAMON, CHENANGO, SWANEE, SANTEE), and 14 destroyers. They brought us some new planes, spare parts, and mail.

20 April

Our force of 8 CVE and 14 cans joined with a landing group of over 125 ships consisting of 3 US cruisers, Australian cruisers, LST, LCI, LCD, AK, DD, DE, etc., with over 45000 troops. We passed Manus Island of the Admiralty group in the morning, and are heading for the north coast of New Guinea to land troops and capture airfields.

21 April

ASP and CAP. Planes readied for the attack.

22 April

"D” day. Our fighters (12) and torpedo planes (10) took off at dawn to bomb the airfields and strafe the beaches at Tadje, New Guinea. Our forces had the air full of planes all of the time and caught many Jap planes on the ground. Our troops made successful landings and secured a beach-head. The Coral Sea lost 2 fighters, and the Manila Bay one TM. (More detail included in Air Department Plan Of The Day.)

23 April

Twelve of our fighters and ten of our torpedo planes took off at dawn and again at noon to continue the strike on Tadje. Troops who landed were making progress. Two Australian cruisers, HMS Australia and HMS Shropshire joined our force making 4 CVE, 2 CA, and 12 DD.

24 April

We fueled 3 destroyers, and so did the other carriers. ASP and CAP when we finished fueling. We are going to Hollandia to help there for a couple of days.

25 April

Patrol off Hollandia, 6 TBM loaded with 500 pound bombs for- strike in afternoon. 12 fighters to go along with them. ASP and CAP.

26 April

Patrol off Hollandia. ASP and CAP. Big carriers ran into trouble north of here and we sent planes to help. Ten Jap torpedo planes attacked and were scared away or shot down by our cans.

27 April

ASP and CAP. Headed for Admiralty Islands.

28 April

Entered Seeadler Harbor, Manus and Los Negros Islands of Admiralty group at 0700. Man overboard -was picked up. Took on fuel and stores. Wonderful harbor with many ships. Taken from Jap’s one month ago with heavy losses. 1800 Jap’s still remain.

29 April

Most of the BB and 5 CVE pulled out at dawn leaving us the only carrier in. No one allowed ashore because fighting is still going on. Large numbers of planes (mostly B24) leave here every day to bomb Truk, with a few failing to return each trip. Australians in “Spitfires”, “Hurricanes”, and P40 furnish CAP here and put on a real show for us this morning.

1 May 1944

Still at anchor. Memorial services for Frank Knox, Secty of Navy, who died 4-28.

2 May

Jap sniper killed an officer on one of the other ships at anchor.

3 May

Transport planes (R4D) flying wounded out every day.

5 May

Still at anchor. CARDIV 22, Sangamon bunch pulled in.

7 May

Manila Bay, us, and 3 cans (398, 485, 486) pulled out at 0600 headed for Pearl Harbor for repairs.

10 May

ASP and CAP. Sub contact 500 yards and “cans" dropped many depth charges.

12 May

ASP and CAP with little wind. Fighter hit the barrier and flipped over on it’s back. We flew over Makin Island (Gilberts) on our ASP and took pictures of air strip. Many Marines, CB’s and soldiers lost in taking this island.

13 May

Manila Bay had ASP.

13 May

Crossed date line. ASP. 34 knots of wind across deck.

14 May

High winds and heavy seas.

15 May

ASP. Taking water over flight deck and 42 knots of wind across deck.

16 May

550 miles from Pearl Harbor.

17 May

ASP. Sea and wind subsiding. Pulled tail hook out of TBM and it went through the barriers demolishing 2 planes.

18 May

Entered Pearl Harbor at 1100 and tied up at the Navy Yard. The Squadron flew off and were going to NAS Kaneohe.

Photographer's Diary continues with Part 2 (18 May 1944 - 30 December 1944)


Saturday 22 April 1944 Dog Day

AIR DEPARTMENT PLAN OF THE DAY

H — hour is 0645

0400 Call all Air Department Personnel
0415 Breakfast for Air Department
0445 Flight Quarters
0545 Launch Strike #4(a) (5VT) Notes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 17, 18, 22, 23, 24, 25.
0600 Launch ASP #A (6VT) Notes 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 17, 18, 21, 23, 24, 25.
Launch CAP #1 (12 VF) Notes 11 and 19
0730 (or upon return) Land Strike 4a (5VT) Notes 12 & 17.
0915 Launch ASP #B (5VT) Notes 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 13, 17, 18, 21, 23, 24, 25.
0930 Land CAP #1 (12 VF)
1015 Land ASP #A (6 VT) Note 17.
1230 Launch ASP #3 (4VT) Note 14, 15, 16, 17, 20, 23.
Launch CAP #3 (12 VF) Notes 11 and 19.
1300 Land ASP #B (6VT) Note 17.
1600 Land CAP #3 (12 VF)
Land ASP #3 (4VT)

C. T. FRITTER
Lt. Cmdr.
USN, Air Officer

NOTES

1. Be on station at H—30 (0615)

2. These VT to be armed with 12—100# G.P. bombs (inst. fuzed) Target: Dispersal Area No. 360. (This target designation is subject to change based on later photographs.

3. Attack from H-15 minutes to H-3 minutes. (0630-0642 unless H-hour is changed)

4. Go to Point EASY (5 miles north of surface raft at objective) and report to Air Coordinator (call Locket).

5. One plane of this group carry a photographer.

6. Be on station as soon as possible.

7. Maintain ASP to a distance of fifteen miles from origin which is Kanako village. There will be six 30 degree sectors number from 1 to 6 clockwise. All search sectors will be terminated on the landward leg by a line 2000 yards to the seaward from TUMLEO ALI and SELEO Islands. All sightings are to be reported giving bearing and distance from the nearest island and the island is to be referred to by it’s code name.

8. ASP’s will be relieved on station.

9. Upon taking station report to Support Aircraft Controller giving sector to which assigned and upon being relieved report to Support Aircraft Controller (Call Sinker) on Emergency Support Air Direction frequency VHF Channel #1 (140.58 Mcs.) for ground target assignment.

10. These planes to be armed with three or four depth bombs as directed.

11. This CAP over Task Group 78.2. Fighter Director in MANILA BAY (call Turkey Base) standbys in following order NATOMA BAY (Call Niblick Base) CORREGIDOR (call Pelican Base).

12. Arm these planes with 3 or 4 depth bombs as directed and prepare them for launching at 0915.

13. Be on station at 0945.

14. This patrol around Task Group 78.2.

15. Be on station as soon as launched.

16. Use ASP plan.

17. Returning aircraft shall return at altitude 3 - 4000 ft. IFF must be turned on at all times. If enemy air attack is in progress or imminent own attack aircraft take position on disengaged side of own formation to clear radar screen.

18. VTB on support mission and lettered ASP when reporting to SAC use 6835 Kcs. (P), 4475 Kcs., (S), VHF Channel #1 140.58 Mcs. Alt.

19. CAP over own disposition: VHF Channel #2 142.02 Mcs. (P), 4475 Kcs. (S).

20. ASP over own disposition (numbered) VHF #4 142.74 Mcs. (P), 3000 Kcs. (S).

21. ASP over objective (lettered) and Hunter Killer planes use 3000 Kcs. (P) 3460 Kcs. (S).

22. This patrol will reconnoiter SELO (Metronome) Island, TUMLEO (Goldfinch) Island, ALI (Narcissus) Island, and SISSANO LAGOON and report results to Support Aircraft Controller.

23. At about 0900 4 APD’s will depart Blue Beach to act as additional A/S vessels for convoy arriving Dog plus One Day. These APD’s will probably pass through areas in which CVE’s are operating. DO NOT ATTACK THESE SURFACE CRAFT.

24. ALLIED AIR FORCE bombers will attack PERSECUTION AREA between 0830 and 1030, D Day. REMAIN CLEAR OF THESE AIRCRAFT.

25. Two Cub Artillery Liaison planes will be assembled on the beach and will be ready to fly about H plus three hours. DO NOT ATTACK THESE PLANES.