Monday, November 21, 2016

91) May 1945 from the 9th FS Unit History

9th FS Unit History - May 1945

May was a month of historical importance the world over, an outstanding month in the history of the "Flying Knights", and one which will not soon be forgotten. The daily news from Europe was watched intently, for various signs of the crumbling German War Machine were evident in each new dispatch. The Americans and Russian Armies were closing in on the last bastions of Nazi resistance, Hitler was reported, by German radio, to have died in Berlin and Admiral Karl Doenitz declared himself official head of the German Government. The Australians landed on Borneo, and Yanks steadily pushed the Nips back on Okinawa, the ground fighting Yanks on Luzon continued their slow laborious advance, and the 9th Squadron's work-horse P-38's continued their steady pounding of enemy installations on the island. Mussolini was killed by Italian patriots in Milan, Italy; Berlin fell to the Russian Army after a twelve day siege; President Truman confirmed the death of Hitler; and on 2nd May, all German Forces in northern Italy, southern and western Austria, surrendered unconditionally to the allies. In this background of world shaking events, the "Flying Knights", operating from the shores of Lingayen Gulf, joined other units of the V Fighter Command in a relentless attack on the entrenched Japanese Army in the Balete Pass, Baguio, and Ipo Dam areas.

The summer squall season was setting in, with the first really bad rainfall and accompanying windstorm occurring 4 May and lasting only a few minutes. These infrequent cloudbursts were to continue through the entire month, accompanied by hot, sultry days and nights relieved only by the proximity of the bathing beach.
Jerry Thorp, correspondent for Daily News Foreign Service, was a guest of the 9th Enlisted Men's Club early in the month and wrote a brief story about the men in the 9th.

The surrender of German forces in Holland and Denmark was announced on the 5th, as well as the fact that Hitler's once famed hideout at Berchteagaden was in Allied hands. Captain E. Stumpf, Squadron Communications Officer and 1st Lt. Bellan flew down to Biak island to observe a demonstration of Ground Controlled Approach, a radar set-up used in the European Theatre to guide aircraft through weather to a landing at their home base. They returned the following day. Then it happened. The news the world had been waiting for, the surrender of the last German Forces. The news of the cessation of hostilities in Europe was received joyfully but with very little celebration. All men in the organization realized that a very big job still lay ahead of them and there was no relaxing in the destruction of the enemy in the Pacific. The same day, 2nd Lt. W. Koby, returned to the squadron from an eight-day sojourn with guerilla Forces after he bailed out near Santiago, North Luzon, on 27th April. He was none the worse for wear and the boys were "Damned" glad to see him.

Around 1500, 11 May, the boys were treated to a little excitement in camp when a battery-charging set-up in the Motor Pool ignited a can of gasoline nearby and the resulting conflagration burned the roof off the "garage". It was quickly extinguished, however, with no further damage. Major Petrovich and Captain Davidson, journeyed to Manila for a day or so of rest. The Enlisted Men of the outfit have been enjoying three day passes to the Manila area, about five or six going at a time. Apparently Manila is a very satisfactory rest area for all reports indicated the men have a thoroughly enjoyable time.

The softball league broke into prominence when members of the 9th's Red Noses, leading the group league, joined with players from the other two squadrons to make up an all-star team, challenging any comers. The first challengers were from the 35th Fighter Control Squadron and all hands gathered at the ball diamond to watch the show. M/Sgt. Blackwell, Assistant Flight Chief, and first baseman for the All-Stars, hit a home run with the bases loaded in the first inning to start the game off royally. The opponents scored four runs in the following inning by a fluke play at second base, but the All-Stars forged ahead in the remaining innings while the King-Newmann combinations of pitcher and catcher held the Fighter Control boys down to four runs. Final score - 8 to 4.

Although the 9th Squadron, as part of the 49th Group received many commendations during the month of May, including letters of commendation for operations on Leyte, particularly activities over Ormoc Bay, one commendation was directed at the 9th alone. In recognition of bagging 274 Nips, top score in the Army Air Forces in the Pacific, a civilian organization presented an unusual gift for military achievement, a $500.00 rod and reel. Brigadier General Smith, Commanding General, V Fighter Command, made the presentation to Major J. Petrovich at Fighter Command Headquarters, Clark Field. As a representative of General Kenney, Commanding General, FEAF, General Smith passed on the following letter from General Kenney: "It is with a great deal of personal pride and pleasure that I present your squadron with this prize rod and reel. The Fishing Tackle Committee of the San Francisco League for Servicemen donated this rare outfit, to be awarded to the highest squadron of the FEAF. Your unit has been outstanding in that you have achieved more victories in aerial combat than any other squadron under my command. Best wishes for continued success and good fishing."   Captain H. Norton, Operations Officer, was put in the throes of creative endeavor in writing a thank-you note to the San Francisco League for Servicemen's Fishing Tackle Committee. The result was worthy of the gift in the mind of this narrator, even if it was a "fish story".

The point system for discharge published immediately after V-E Day, with the film "Two Down, One To Go" was being shown to all personnel two days after the surrender. Naturally the system became the main topic of conversation throughout the organization and the orderly room was busy preparing the required cards on each individual and getting them to initial same. Captain Gorham, Squadron Executive Officer, had a busy couple of days explaining why this person didn't get that campaign star and why not. When the smoke and dust had cleared the squadron had thirty enlisted men and eight officers above 85 points.
The one bad factor in the system was, as General Arnold pointed out to the boys in his moving speech, the Air Corps was number one priority for staying in, points or no points. Also there was the conjecture that rotation would cease when the system went into effect, but at this writing, higher headquarters had not committed itself as yet.

The battle on Okinawa was sixty days old with American troops occupying the capital city of Naha, reduced to ashes as a result of our assault. Almost daily pounding of the Japanese homeland by carrier borne aircraft, P-51's from Okinawa, and 20th Air Force B-29's. Three hundred and seventy-eight thousand Japs had been killed in the Philippines and the remaining Nips on all fronts were devising, scheming, improvising and inventing strange, tricky, and sometimes fatal (to us) means of halting our inevitable advance. We ruled the air, the sea, and had bases in easy striking distance of Japan. We subjected them to daily, devastating air attacks and foot-by-foot we bombed, burned, blasted and dug the Japs from their positions. It was a slow and tedious process and we could only hate them more for each allied life given to destroy an already beaten enemy who lingered on to kill, destroy and despoil.

The article above taken from Ken Clark’s Unit History posted on

  1. V-E Day: May 8, 1945 the Allies celebrated the defeat of Nazi Germany.  The previous day, in France, the German General Alfred Jodl had signed an unconditional surrender.  By this date most of Germany had already been taken by allied forces.  On April 30, 1945 Hitler had committed suicide as the Soviet forces took Berlin.
  2. Film- "Two Down, One To Go"

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

90) "Probably the minute I see you I’ll know that it’s you and you alone that I’ll want for the rest of my life. "--- April 27, 1945

From Betty (Louisville, KY)

April 27, 1945
Friday morning

My darling,

I’m in Biology and should be taking notes, I guess, but I’m too sleepy. Anne and I went out to Fort Knox last night and we had a wonderful time. I met more crazy men and I just cut up with them. I always have so much energy that at the end of the dance when people begin to wear down, I’m still going strong. It’s good for a girl’s morale to go to a dance like that. You don’t get to dance but about three steps and then somebody breaks in. What a night!

I have something good to tell you—I got a B on my test on “Anna Karenina.” I’m so encouraged. He doesn’t give A’s or B’s very much. I think I’m going to make my mid-term grades. We still have to make a C average even tho’ we are active now. If you don’t make your grades when you’re an active, you can’t vote or hold office in the sorority. You also have to study 10 hours a week in the library. I hope I make mine.

I got a B on a Biology test I took Tuesday. I haven’t gotten my mid-term exam in that back yet. Here’s hoping!

We’re cleaning house at home and it is a big mess. You can hardly move from one room to another. Also out here at the house, we’re cleaning house today—all day. We only have two pledges (the two girls who didn’t make their grades) so the actives have to clean too. We’re having a Founder’s Day tea tomorrow and the house has to be clean.

I’m in charge of getting the Pi Phi’s down to the Service Club on Saturday afternoons. It’s a job. On Saturday afternoons, the Service Club is open for U of L hostesses only. We dance, play ping pong, cards, etc. It’s fun. I get so mad at the girls ‘cause they won’t go. I’m going to start fining them if they don’t go when they’re supposed to. Those poor kids need somebody to talk to. So many of them are barely 18 and they’re homesick. The girls go down there with the idea that the boys should entertain them. Then they gripe ‘cause they don’t have a good time. I can’t convince them that they’re going to entertain the men. I always have a good time. So much for all this. I always feel like I can write what I think to you. You always understand. I seem to let out all my pent up feelings in a letter to you. That’s why I feel so close to you even though the distance is pretty far. I feel like whatever I feel or think you’ll understand. It’s nice to have someone like that. When you come home we’ll be even closer.

Class is almost over. Will write more soon.
Love ya,

Have you ever run into the 33rd Special Sea Bee”334rd Special Sea Bee Bn. Or the 11th Bn.? The boy who’s sitting next to me told me to ask you that. The 33rd was his old outfit. His name is Joe Goodman.

Jack, honey, I’m awfully sorry I haven’t mailed this before, but it was in the back of my notebook and I forgot I had written it.

Friday night, Anne and I went up to the Crescent to the show. Saturday we had our tea and then 7 of us went down to the Service Club. I just asked if somebody wanted to go and got 7. I’m so pleased with them. There were about 150 people down there all afternoon. I’ve never seen so many men there at once. We had loads of fun.

Four of us girls went to the Vogue last night and then Betty Anne Matthews spent the night with me. I went to church this morning and then this afternoon we had softball practice at 1:30 and song practice at 3:00 out at the house. Anne has been sick in bed all day with a bad cold. She’s going to stay home tomorrow and I think she’ll be O.K.

I think I’m going to be on the first team for softball. Also, they want me to go out for the swimming meet, but I’m afraid to do too much because of my darned old appendix. I’ve played volley ball, basketball, and now softball, so I don’t think I’ll try any more.

I’m finishing this letter on this paper cause I didn’t want to have two different kinds of paper in one letter. Haven’t heard from you for quite awhile. I guess you’ve been pretty busy. I’ll try not to worry about you. It’s hard not to. I’ll be so glad when you come home. I want you to meet all of my friends and I want them to meet you. I’ve talked so much about you out at the house that all of them want to meet you.

I think when you come, I’ll be able to get a lot of things straightened out in my own mind. There’s nothing I’d like better now than to have you send me a ring in exchange for my class ring, but I want to be sure it’s the right thing to do. Probably the minute I see you I’ll know that it’s you and you alone that I’ll want for the rest of my life. I hope you’ll still feel the same way. I’m sure I will. I do love you. Gotta do some Spanish that should have been handed in yesterday. I didn’t have my homework so I cut my Spanish class. Now, I have to do it for Tuesday.

Goodbye again,
Still love ya:

  1. Crescent---This movie theater was located at 2862 Frankfort Avenue in Louisville. Only about a half mile from where Betty lived with her family, she could have easily walked there. Standing Room Only and The Master Race were playing that Friday night.
  2. Vogue---This movie theater was located at 3727 Lexington Road in Louisville. It was about 2 miles from where Betty lived with her family.  Man About Town and The Great Man's Lady were playing that Saturday night.