NOVEMBER 1943

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NOV '43 THRU JAN '44

 

 

 

The F Company journal during this period is in summary form rather than being a series of dated entries, suggesting it was written retrospectively. 

 

Six Officers/one hundred Enlisted Men made their first combat jump in the Southwest Pacific area on the 5th of September, 1943, in the vicinity of Nadzab, New Guinea (Markham Valley).  Three men were injured as a result of the jump.  The companies first mission was accomplished by capturing Gabsenkek, native village.  Company “F” was the first company to capture Japanese equipment.  No enemy opposition was met on company patrols.

First Sergeant Hostinsky transferred & Sgt. Wilson was appointed in his place.  Company & regimental problems and marches with intensive training filled October, November,  & December.  Lt. Parks was promoted to captain in the month of December.  Preparations for a change of station occupied the month of January.

At Port Moresby our Army Post Office number is APO # 704. 

 

  Coincidentally we shall have the same APO number assigned much later. 
 

 

 

3 November, 1943

 

 

 

1st Lt. Cole commanding company promoted to Captain.

 

 

 

 

 

24 December 1943

 

 

 

 

      

 

 

 

 

25 December 1943

 

 

 

 

     

Doesn’t seem like Christmas. Did have a day off from duty. Slept most of afternoon. Hiking and running in this climate really wears us down. Camp very quiet. Movie at night. Saw “Reunion in France” Good story. Rained very hard during movie and harder after returning to tent. Read a book titled “Claudia” for a while by candle light. Finally dosed off to sleep.

 

Extract from
Lt. James Mullaney's Diary

 

 

 

 

 

 

November '43 - January '44

 

 

 

   

"I arrived at Milne Bay in December in a group of sixteen lieutenants. We'd been shipped to Oro Bay to catch the 503d as it came through staging for the Cape Gloucester jump. [1]  Our mission with the 1st Marine Division and the 32d Infantry Division to invade New Britain at Cape Gloucester was cancelled, though the amphibian landings proceeded. With the cancellation of the this jump, the 503d remained in Port Moresby and we new lieutenants arrived there just in time to go on a three day field problem. 

We young green lieutenants were not joining a happy outfit. To those who haven’t been there, this is difficult to understand. The word was that Tokyo Rose has announced on the radio that the Japs had prepared a welcome at Cape Gloucester for 'my old friends in the 503d,' and that the landing zones had been specially prepared in defense against our arrival. Hell, yes, we'd been primed and ready! Why would any sane person want to rush into a life or death situation which might be their last act? After spending untold hours, weeks, months, and even years in back-breaking, gut-wrenching, physical labor training to kill the enemy, the alert had sharpened us, given us focus, purpose and good cheer. In our case as parachute infantry the training had been intensified to an unbelievable degree which, though almost an institutional torture, had been a necessary hardening process. When the Gloucester mission was cancelled disappointment almost consumed the 503d, and from the pinnacle of readiness, the great drop in morale presented problems for we new arrivals. [2]

  At this time the unit was the 503d Parachute Infantry Regiment with a strength of about 1824 men, 5 warrant officers, and 140 officers.  Our camp site at Port Moresby was about seven and a half miles inland and about half a mile from the 5th Fighter Command Headquarters of the 5th Air Force.  This was a large complex with many facilities.  The closest route to the theaters at this headquarters was down a trail, over a log spanning a creek, up the hill passing a barbed-wire fence enclosing worn out airplanes waiting to be salvaged, and up a hill to the headquarters area.

The country was not a tropical rainforest buy rolling hills with lush grasses, scattered trees, heavier along the streams.  Rainfall in this area south of the Owen Stanley Mountain is too little to support heavy tropical growth.  The trees are mostly the Eucalyptus type.

The roads were surfaced with gravel or coral.  Port Moresby, a  small town on number of small hills overlooking the bay, looked out of place in New Guinea, because it was built in open country with neat looking, painted frame buildings and homes. Native soldiers from the Papuan Battalion guarded the Australian Army Headquarters at the edge of town. When any officer passed the guards snapped sharply to the position of attention.  Even though they were barefooted you could almost hear their heels click.

The Allied Officer’s Club extended out over the water built on silts or piers.  The walls were made of palm thatch including the hinged window coverings.  These covers were very long and formed most of the upper half of the wall.  The roof overhung several feet so that the covers were seldom closed.  503d officers went there mostly to play cards.  Sandwiches made with some bland tasting paste were available on order.  Australian cigarettes were available.  They were terrible.  Little alcoholic beverages were available.  Lemonade was plentiful.  I don’t remember, there may have been Australian whiskey for sale, but who could drink that varnish remover?  I never found any good alcoholic beverages such as beer there.  It was a good place to relax and play cards.

Wallabies were plentiful, so were centipedes, and scorpions.  There was an asp which lived on the Eucalyptus trees, just as they did in Australia.   The furry worms had quite a sting and a disquieting effect on a person’s nerves

Captain Harold R."City" Parks was commanding officer of "F" Company.  1st Lt. William N. McRoberts was executive officer, 1st Lieutenant William E."Red" LaVanchure was the 3rd platoon leader, 1st Lieutenant Arthur E. Schruder was the 1st platoon leader, and 2nd Lieutenant Clinton D. Miller had joined the company about a month before I got there.  I was assigned to the 1st platoon as assistant platoon leader.  As I said before these were not happy times, so the best thing a newcomer could do was keep quiet.

On 11 February "F" Company went aboard the “SS Robert J. Walker” about 1600 hour.  Approximately half the regiment loaded on this ship.  The rest loaded on another ship.  Our destination was Australia.  The “Walker” was a cargo ship, I believe it was a Liberty ship.  There were no troop facilities aboard. The battalion mess section set up their field ranges on the deck to prepare our food, and it was just as bad as it had been ashore.  It was not the cooks or the ranges, it’s just hard to make dehydrated potatoes and carrots taste good and impossible on bully beef patties.  Latrines were simply built, 2” x 6” boards hung over the side of the ship.  We had our choice of sleeping quarters.  We could go down in the hot, airless holds and sleep on the bottom of the ship, or we could sleep on the covers over the holds.  Large sheets of canvas had been strung from boom to boom covering the hold covers.  The trouble with this was that it rained almost constantly and the canvas sheets caught water and sagged down on the hold covers.  The passengers were a happy lot, though.  We were going to civilization, Australia.

 On 17 February we arrived at Brisbane, Australia.  The concrete arches of Grey Street Bridge were a beautiful sight to behold.  We unloaded from the ship and onto rear wheel drive trucks operated by a colored transportation battalion.  Passing through Brisbane we quickly noticed the large number of places advertising American hamburgers.  We soon found out, to our chagrin, the Aussie idea of a hamburger bun was a tough English muffin.

Soon we were out in the country traveling on a two lane asphalt surface road.  We would pass through an area of farms and then several miles of no habitation or land use.  We were told there was still land here which was available for claim.  We continued on to Camp Cable.  This camp consisted of hastily thrown up kitchens, latrines, and a few other auxiliary buildings.  The troops were quartered in pyramidal tents.  It was a great place, though.  We were just about thirty miles from the city of Brisbane.

Replacements for the 503d had arrived about two weeks earlier.  Among them was a new first sergeant to replace 1st Sgt. “Pinkie” Wilson who was being rotated home.  The new topkick was 1st Sgt. Albert Baldwin.  There was some resentment over a senior non-commissioned officer coming in to the company direct from the States.  Baldwin took some diplomatic action and settled this resentment in a hurry.  Capt. Parks and Lt. Schuder were soon rotated home. I became platoon leader of the 1st platoon.  1st Lt. McRoberts became the company commander.  Unknown to me, Schuder remained in the rear base section for some time. 

The conduct of jungle warfare was alien to the conventional US military doctrines of the time, and rather than learn by limited experience, it was clear that the better means was to learn from the experience of the Australians, who had been doing most of the fighting in New Guinea. Shortly upon our arrival at Camp Cable, half of the platoon leaders and assistant platoon leaders were sent to Land Headquarters Training Centre (Jungle Warfare School) operated by the Australian Army since 1942 at Canungra, up amongst the cedars and rainforests of the Darlington Ranges. The area there closely resembled the New Guinea environment, and the training was both intense and realistic.

The  remainder of the junior officers, along with the rest of the regiment, proceeded to enjoy themselves.  This was real rest and recreation, R&R.  There were nightly trips to Brisbane, some taking the train which took almost a day, but most went by military vehicles, jeeps or trucks, which took about one hour.  Some visited nearby townships.  Beaudesert was on one side a few miles away and Logan Village was a few miles away on the other side.  They each had a pub which operated at odd hours.  They both had a large general store.  The owner of the store in Beaudesert was kind enough to spend part of an afternoon searching his large, cluttered stock room for a case of canned coffee had he received by mistake several years before.  Most Aussies do not drink coffee, but the ones who did at that time though chickory was a necessary ingredient.  He received the plain coffee by mistake.  He finally found the coffee and sold it to us.

After about two weeks the officers who had completed the Jungle Warfare School returned to Camp Cable, and the rest of us junior officers were sent to Canungra.  We stared 20 March and ended 1 April.  It was go, go,go -  all day and well into the night.  Even as a paratrooper, I had never been through a more intensive training. This was an excellent school taught by Australian soldiers, most of whom had been with the AIF’s 8th Division on the Malayan Peninsula.  They had escaped through the jungle and made their way home, some in small boats, island hopping and others through China.  The latter group had spent some time as military advisors to the National Chinese Army.  There was training in setting ambushes, defense against ambushes, assaults in the jungle, patrolling,  camouflage, use of explosives, and survival in the jungle.  Problems lasted days, involved climbing mountains and living in hot, steamy rain forest, It was a real test of physical stamina, but this created no problems. We were airborne trained.

They would issue us a few bars of compressed fruit, and we could get by on these and be hungry.  If we were hungry enough, they told us, there were carpet snakes which were plentiful.  We found bones of this type of snake around some of the old camp fires, so there were those who had come before us tried this form of rations.  Carpet snakes were members of the Boa Constrictor family. The reached length of about six feet.  They were very slow moving, not poisonous, making them easy to catch.

There was more to "jungle craft" and "jungle lore" than fighting and acclimatization. Everyone became an expert at tea making.  We learned to build a fire of twigs, boil a quarter of a cup of water in a canteen cup, drop in tea leaves, and drink in ten minutes, or we could finish it on the walk.  The Aussies were very punctual with their ten minute breaks, which they called "Smokos".  A lightly constructed tin "billy," Australian style, with lid and carry handle, soon became a part of the US paratrooper's equipment in the SWPA, and we quickly learned to drink the tea without touching our lips to the canteen cup.

Some of the trails twisting along the tops of the mountain ridges looked down into the valleys far below dotted with farm buildings reminded me of pictures I had seen of the European Alps.  In many places the forest covered  the higher portions of the mountains.  In the open areas the grass was about knee high.  In places where the grass was continually wet, leeches were prolific.

In camp the few meals we ate were in the Australian mess hall.  Lamb was always served in some form.  All except a couple of meals were breakfast.  Creamed lamb on muffin was the breakfast meal.  This was very similar to our creamed beef, SOS, with the exception that the Australian food was very bland with little seasoning.  We were in camp only the latter part of one afternoon, the last day.  Beer was available then.  It was not at all the good Australian beer we liked.  It was green and drew your mouth up like green persimmons.  Before we leave the creamed lamb, let me add the worst. It was dehydrated.

The training ended with a firing problem using live ammunition and appearing and disappearing targets.  We used their weapons and there was much argument over collation of the BAR and Bren guns, the M1’s and the Enfields, etc.  We hated it when we had to take time out from the fun and revelry in Brisbane, but "jungle craft" would mean so much to us all and our men in the months to come.  We would spend much time drilling the fundamentals of jungle warfare into our men in the hot, humid, mosquito infested swamps of Oro Bay and Dobodura.[3]


Learning jungle craft

The 503d made a practice jump while we were at Camp Cable.  The regiment moved to Archerfield, Brisbane's secondary municipal airport.  We had a long wait for the C-47’s to come in.  While we were waiting a B-25 came in from the north moving fast at low altitude straight for the control tower.  At the last instant it veered off and up, circled the field, and landed.  A Jeep with the Army Air Force operations officer tore out to the B-25 as it taxied to a halt.  The LTC who was the A-3 dressed the pilot down asking him, “Major what do you think would have happened if a motor had cut out during your pass at the tower?”  Soon the B-25 took off heading north, then suddenly he did a 180 degree turn and came back on the same path he had originally used, again heading straight at the tower.  Near the tower he cut off an engine and feathered the prop, veered off, turned, and headed north.  The 503d had just witnessed an exploit of the legendary "Pappy" Gunn. [4]

When we left Archerfield we went out some distance and jumped in the country.  Many Australian families were gathered out there picnicking waiting to see our jump.  Captain Charles "Doc" Bradford, 2nd Battalion Surgeon, was a large man.  When he landed it sounded like an automobile collision.  Those of us nearby were surprised to see Doc rising up from the dust.  One of his medics came running up calling for Doc to come tend to a trooper who had broken his keg in landing.  The last thing we heard Doc say as he went off to tend the casualty was that he could not understand why in the world experienced jumpers could not land without getting hurt.

Soon after we arrived in Camp Cable several of the old 501st Battalion members who had been in Panama were rotated home.  With the addition of our group of replacements the company had a lot of new faces, but the majority were still the old veterans.  The officers were now 1st Lt. McRoberts, Company commander, 1st Lt. Tom Clyde, company executive officer, 1st Lt. William "Red" LaVanchure, 3rd platoon leader, 2nd Lt. "Sleepy" Miller, mortar platoon leader, 2nd  Edward  T. Flash, 2nd platoon leader and 1st platoon leader. 

Shortly before we left Camp Cable the 462nd Parachute Field Artillery moved in.  Soon "C" Company, 161st Airborne Engineers would be there, too.  After the Noemfoor operation we would become the 503d Parachute Regimental Combat Team.

While we were enjoying Australia there were numerous wrecks of vehicles.  Col. Jones really laid the law down.  Anyone involved in a wreck would not drive again plus other assorted penalties.  That same night Col. Jones wrecked his own sedan car.  This did cause some chuckles.

Our battalion CO, Major John Britten, was issued a C&R Car.  Captain Lawson Caskey, battalion ex., was issued a jeep.  They preferred to use the jeep, and Maj. Britten let his staff use the C&R.  One Sunday afternoon we were riding around in Brisbane.  The car was packed with six of us.  We had beer iced down in two large insulated cans.  Lt. Wilburn “Bitsy” Grant was driving.  On the edge of town he passed through a speed trap and were pulled over by Brisbane police for speeding.  Grant was an extremely gifted speaker, and had talked the policemen out of the ticket when those of us in the car broke out with a loud rendition of “Jesus Loves Me.”  Grant got the ticket which meant a visit with Col. Jones, and we got Grant’s wrath.

Lt. Thomas McNerney, Battalion S-1, had the car assigned to him one Saturday night.  A  group of us went up into the mountains to a two story frame hotel and spent the evening singing WWI songs with a group of elderly ladies.  McNerney drank too much beer, but he insisted on driving 'his' car.  All of us helped him drive down the mountains around the sharp turns until we reached the flat lands.  We all breathed a sigh of relief and then sat back to relax.  Tom promptly straightened out a curve, bounced across a deep, wide bar ditch, and ended up in a pasture.  The car was driveable, but with a struggle.  The front wheels angled out.  Tom got to visit with Col. Jones, too.

On 7 April the regiment was in trucks headed for Brisbane and Bretts Wharf where we loaded on the “USAT Sea Cat”.  Compared to our last ship, the “Walker”, this was a luxury liner.  It was outfitted to transport troops.  The food was good and the trip pleasant.  The only distracting factor was the Merchant Marine’s crew.  Their inclination to strike on a moment’s notice did not sit well with the troopers who looked at this as a serious matter.  There were two or three times when strikes of a few hours duration occurred.  I believe at least once we went without fresh water for a short time.  All in all, though, we had a pleasant trip on a good ship.

The ship put into Townsville for a few hours and then proceeded to Cairns for a few hours.  Security was heavy here.  The old timers who had been stationed here would have given anything for a short time ashore.  We traveled on to Port Moresby for a short stop, then to Milne Bay for a short stop, and finally to our destination, Oro Bay.  We offloaded onto Docks and were taken directly to our camp site at Cape Sudest.

This was an old and cleared camp site, so all we had to do was to set up our pyramidal tents.  We went into intensive jungle warfare training in a heavy rain forest adjacent to our camp.  It was an excellent training area where we could practice using the principles we learned at the Canungra school.  Day after day we would set ambushes and then run the platoon through in squads.  The principle taught here was “if they can see you, you can see them”.  The men became quite proficient at their work and gained a lot of confidence.  It was hot, wet work, and the mosquitoes were fierce, and everyone carried a bottle of citronella.  The anopheles mosquitoes had been virtually eliminated by sanitation engineers, but they had not bothered the others.

After several weeks at Cape Sudest we moved inland toward Dobodura to a camp site across the road from the 31st Infantry Division.  There were good rainforests with several streams running through them just behind our camp, and these made a good training area.  We were introduced to the bazooka here.  In one class the instructor loaded the weapons, pressed the trigger, and to everyone’s great surprise the weapon fired.  Those near the front thought they had been incinerated.  The round headed straight for a tent in the 31st Div. Hq. complex.  No problem though, the instructors assured us.  The safety pin had not been pulled, and the round could not explode if it hit a solid object.  The HQ area was enclosed by a burlap fence about six feet tall.  When the hole in the burlap was examined there was the arming pin caught in the burlap.  The round was armed!  Fortunately it had dropped just enough to go under the wooden tent floor and had come to rest without hitting anything too solid.

A number of replacements were assigned to "F" Co.  Among these was Lloyd G. McCarter.  I was looking for scouts.  If 1st platoon had a weakness at that time, it was in experienced scouts. The old scouts had rotated home, and there was a definite lack of promise in the ones we were trying to train.  I examined the records of the new arrivals and McCarter’s jumped out at me.  He had grown up in rural Idaho and was a professional lumberjack -  a woodsman by gosh!  I called him in and told him I wanted him to train as a scout.  He replied that he had no Infantry training, as his training had been in Field Artillery.  Actually a mistake had been made and rather than being assigned to the 462d Parachute Field Artillery Battalion, which had come into Brisbane shortly before we left, he  has ended up in my infantry platoon.  Furthermore, he had never fired a Thompson Sub Machine Gun, I told him I had made my decision, and that he was to try out as a scout, and he said he’d do his best.  I suspected that in finding a place where he was valued, he was tickled to death. 

We were preparing to have our scouts tested by putting them  through a course which had been set up by regiment.  The test course followed a stream with high banks through the dense rain forest near our cantonment area.  I had one of the sergeants take McCarter into the rainforest and familiarize him with the Thompson sub-machine gun.  The first time I ever saw him fire the gun, I noticed his unconventional, yet natural approach to the weapon. He used a unique method which was very effective for him. A short, stocky man, with the powerful arms of a lumberjack, he fired one handed with the stock resting on his very large and muscular forearm.  He always fired two or three round bursts, and he was very accurate.  I don’t know if his instructor had taught him this method or not, but it did take a powerful man to handle the gun in this manner, and there was never any doubt as to McCarter's power.

The problem was set up with appearing and disappearing targets.  Several light machine guns were set up along the course to fire bursts in front of the approaching scouts.  The gunners had deep foxholes dug alongside their guns for their protection.  The first LMG was set up in a “V” formed by the junction of two streams.  The banks were high and the position was about fifteen feet above the streambed.  It was planned so that as the 1st scout rounded a bend in the stream the LMG would fire a burst into the six inch deep water in front of him,  throwing water all over him.  The set-up was very impressive.

I picked McCarter as my first scout and Nevit Powell as second scout on the first team to go through.  As the two started the course General Walter Krueger, 6th Army Commander, and Col. Jones came up and followed them.  McCarter went into a fast moving skip on the balls of his feet which would always be characteristic of his movement in scouting.  The course was much too easy for him.  He was amazing, negotiating the terrain like a gazelle.  This short, heavy built man moving like a ballet dancer, was a natural. His reactions were lightning fast.  His marksmanship was great.  Soon after entering the forest he threw a short burst of TSMG fire.  What was he shooting at?  The first target area was 50 yards away - and in dense jungle!  The man at the 1st LMG was sitting beside his gun, unprepared, outside of his foxhole.  Suddenly he was under fire.  One slug knocked the bolt handle off his gun.  McCarter had spotted him and, thinking he was a target, fired.  They stopped the problem until all gunners could be warned to get in their foxholes and stay there.  Powell scored high as a second scout.  We had a platoon scout team.  General Krueger was most complimentary in his praise to the two men, to Col. Jones, to Maj. Britten, and to me for doing such a good job training them. It made up for the times that, in Army parlance, shit rolls downhill.

The battalion went on an overnight problem and bivouacked in a charming little green valley below a general hospital perched on a hill top.  We moved in mid-afternoon and pitched our pup tents along a small swift running stream of crystal clear mountain water.  Heavy, dark clouds hid the mountain tops in the distance, but the local sky remained clear.  My tent was on the bank of the stream.  After dark I laid down for the evening. With my head down only about 15 or 20 minutes,   water suddenly washed up against my face.  I jumped and ran to McRobert’s tent to alert the company.  Right on my heels was a wall of water 6-10 inches deep.  The race was on for the battalion to get to the safety of the hospital access road at the top of the embankment near us.  From this point it ascended rapidly to the hill top.  We got to the road in our underwear, with whatever we could carry at a race.  The battalion had lost its weapons, equipment, and clothing.  A few of the men did not get out in time and spent the night in trees.  The entire valley was covered with a raging torrent of flood waters.  By now heavy rains were falling to add to our misery.

Two of the men in the 1st platoon, who would not be with us long, were missing at chow that evening.  They showed up fully clothed.  McRoberts spent the better part of ten minutes chewing on them.  They stood at attention and “Tiger” was in his underwear.  Even though we were in a driving rain the dressing down was a masterpiece.  After a wait of some time we moved up to the hospital and were allowed to go into the hospital mess halls.  They were tents on wood frame with screened sides and wooden floors.  We were wet and shivering, but it was better than being in the rain.  Sometime just about dawn, they brought us new fatigues.

After a few weeks our regiment was moved again. As an independent regiment not specifically attached to a regular chain of supply, the 503d often found that moving camp meant that special means were required to "make ends meet", supply wise.  We were nearer the air strips and at the foothills of the mountains. We had to clear a new site here.  Second platoon leader, Ed Flash, was a great procurer.  He and John Pulos and Angelos Kambakumis, along with my reluctant aid, transferred a lot of government property.  An MP unit at Oro Bay had been issued lumber to build tent frames and floor their tents.  The lumber was stacked in the middle of their cantonment area.  After the Greeks located the lumber Ed organized a group of us, we “secured” a deuce and a half one night and got away with a full load.  We went back for another load and were almost caught and had to take off.  One certain 1st Sgt. almost did bodily harm to an MP that night.  We had enough lumber to build overhead storage racks in all the tents but no nails.  Pulos and Kambakumis located nails.  An Australian Air Force unit had plenty of nails, and the lance corporal in-charge was a Greek.  The Australian supply officer did not wish to part with any of his nails, but the corporal stacked some against the fly at the back of the tent.  We came in from the rear and obtained several sacks of nails.

Flash had the ability to bull his way through.  He caused me many anxious moments.  Many times I swore I was through, but as I said, Ed was an excellent talker.  At one of the camps at Oro Bay or at Dobodura, the  regiment was issued a 220 volt generator.  We had bulbs for 110 volts.  Base commands habitually gave us the cast-off equipment which no one else wanted.  The light bulbs we needed were not to be had.  The Greeks searched the base.  If they were anywhere they would find them, and they did.  They were in a large RAAF supply depot.  There were several large buildings here with roofs supported by posts and heavy gauge wire covering the sides.  They did have wooden floors.  The light bulbs were in a very secure place.  The entry was to a long room across the front containing desks for the various clerks.  The rest of the building was walled off by a fence about thirty inches tall, with a gate in the middle.  A supply officer’s desk was sitting by the gate.  The Greeks had located the shelves holding the bulbs.  It was near the fence.  This was a tough one, but Ed rose to the occasion.  Ed told me to go in and engage the supply officer in a conversation about blue goose ammunition, .30 cal. incendiary bullets, and not to know him when he came in.  We'd picked ammo, because we knew they would not have ordnance supplies here.  I went in and introduced myself and told the officer of our need for blue goose ammo, necessary for sighting our hits.  The man was very nice and helpful explaining to me where the Air Force ammunition was located.  It was a plausible story, because only the RAAF used .30 cal. MG’s.  As he was showing me exactly how to get to the ammo storage Ed walked by and through the gate unnoticed.  Ed walked back out with an arm load of bulbs.  The Australian officer noticed Ed as he got to the entrance.  He jumped up yelling, but it was too late.  Ed drove off.  The Aussie asked me if I saw what happened, and I said "yes," thanked him for his information, and left.

When we set up camp at Dobudura we needed a shower system for the outfit.  There was a heavy rainforest to our rear with a clear mountain stream coursing down through it.  The Greeks located a large water pump with a GMC truck motor to power it and along with this pumping unit was a complete shower system.  This was the shower system at base headquarters.  The Greeks said the best time to strike was noon while they were having chow.  Ed organized the raid.  He and I, the Greeks, and a truck load of men standing in the back of a deuce and a half with two large iron pipes to use as skid poles drove up, unhooked the pump and motor, took the system apart, loaded up the truck, loaded back on the truck covering its contents and drove back out past the mess tents.  We set up the system and got orders to prepare to change stations.  We were going to Hollandia.  The showers we'd set up are probably still there today, so well did we hide them.

By now  MP’s were nosing around our area almost every day.  Many of our private jeeps were discovered although they too had been well hidden in the grass.  We even had to keep our extra typewriters for the orderly room hidden.  One day an MP stopped me in our company street and asked me who the man was at the desk, that he looked like a man he’d almost caught stealing lumber from them.  I told him that was out of the question, that man was 1st Sgt. Baldwin.  He apologized and left.

 

   
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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       F  O  O  T  N  O  T  E  S    

 [1]                  By mid-1943 American planners had begun thinking in terms of recapturing the Philippines, but the presence of the Japanese in the Bismarck Archipelago prevented such an undertaking. To breach this barrier necessitated the opening of the Vitiaz and Dampier Straits, separating New Britain and New Guinea, and the occupying of western New Britain by American forces. The control of the Straits' would give General MacArthur's forces an opening into the Japanese bases along the New Guinea coast and a secure approach route to Philippines. p

 [2]                 Calhoun recalls only one other time when the mood of the unit approached the mood they were in after the Gloucester jump cancellation.  At Hollandia there had been a series of on again-  off again alerts and cancellations.  "It is well that war is so terrible, otherwise we should grow too fond of it." (General Robert E. Lee to General Longstreet during the first battle of Fredericksburg, 1862.) p

 [3]                  The Australian Army still operates the Jungle Training Center at Canungra, and it was a requirement for all Australian troops to complete the course prior to being posted in Vietnam.  The school still trains troops of ASEAN nations, and some specialist US troops as well.  (Photo: WWII troops in full pack jump into a deep creek and are required to exist without assistance. This exercise is still conducted today.) p

 [4]                  So much has been written about Paul Irvin "Pappy" Gunn, and so many stories told,  the word legendary is almost an understatement. It was Gunn who got the idea of adding multiple .50's to the A-20's and B-25's to make the planes more deadly.  He equipped the B-25's with fourteen forward firing .50 cal machine guns,  and himself developed and flew a "Flying Tank" B-25 equipped with a French .75 cannon. p