WWII in the Pacific


Here is a map of part of the Pacific Ocean.

The distance from Oahu (of the Hawaiian Islands) to Saipan is in excess of 2000 miles.

I was assigned to a crew (pictured below):

The officers (standing) are (left to right): Hodges, Paine, Rimmer, and Thomas
The enlisted men are: Marsh, Pennington, Parmigiani, LaFara, Moss, and Shemitz

I was the tail gunner, shown here inside a tail turret.

Here is an outside view of a tail turret (no, I didn't ride on the outside.)

We were sent to Saipan and assigned to the 819th Bombardment Squadron of the 30th Air Group.

We lived in a quonset hut

Our squadron had its own mess hall and an outdoor movie theater (see below):

We flew from an airfield called Kobler Field. Here is a picture of the control tower.

The planes in our squadron were B-24's (the stripe on the tail identified our squadron)

shown below is part of our squadron flying in formation.

The plane that I flew the most missions in was, Jeeter Bug

Most of our missions were flown to bomb Iwo Jima

At the far left (Southernmost tip of the island) is Mount Suribachi. Note the runways for fighter planes.

After the American invasion of Iwo Jima, we flew the plane, Evasive Action,

to Kwajalein Atoll to conduct a sea search. Before the American landing on Kwajalein Island, the island had a significant stand of palm trees. Due to heavy bombardment, very few trees were left as shown in this picture.

Later, myself, and other crew members, were awarded the Air Medal for our combat missions.

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