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.

89) April 1945-- Activities of the 9th Fighter Squadron

9th FS Unit History - April 1945

"April will no doubt go down on record as one of the most productive months in the history of the 9th Fighter Squadron insofar as sorties flown, bomb tonnage dropped, and damage to the enemy ground forces is concerned. The Flying Knights devoted nearly all their efforts to tactical ground support work on Luzon, dropping, in one month, a tonnage of bombs greater than the total previous commitments since activation. The actual figures, 293 tons of demolition bombs and 68 165-gallon bombs of napalm."

"The second large group Officer's party was held in the club on the evening of the 11th with a larger attendance of nurses than previously. Music was furnished by the 86th Fighter Wing Orchestra and Manila-side whiskey was sold at the bar for the sum of sixty centavos per drink. Guests at the party included seven members of the VH Squadron 4, the "Playmate" boys of the Naval Air Force. The following night, the Enlisted Men of the 9th held another party of their own in the spacious EM Club next to the Squadron Orderly Room. A successful bridge-busting mission at Santiago was flown on the 12th. Two direct hits were scored and completely destroyed the bridge."

"Friday, the 13th. The world was shocked by the news of our Commander-in-Chief's sudden and unexpected death. With the U.S. forces only 57 miles from Berlin and American landing ever closer to the Japanese homeland, it was evident that the President had died on the eve of victory for the country he was "First Man" for over twelve years. The news was received in t he squadron about 0800 on the morning of the 13th and an immediate confirmation was requested from the 308th Bomb Wing before any such serious "Rumor" could travel far. Unfortunately, the "rumor" was fact and all personnel in the organization were stunned by the news. If the Japs hoped the demise of the "Chief" would effect the efficiency, they were doomed to bitter disappointment; all scheduled missions were completed in good order."

"In the period 1st to 20th of April, a maintenance percentage of 86.8% was attained by the Engineering Department under the direction of Captain Davidson, squadron Engineering Officer. This was accomplished with a 30% shortage of enlisted personnel and a 50% shortage in tools and equipment, under the stress of continual daily commitments of twelve to sixteen planes, operating off of a rough, uneven, metal strip, hard on landing gear and tires and exposed to constant, fine blowing sand and salt spray, and scourge of carburetors. Incidentally, the percentages for February and March of this year were 85.2% and 80.9% respectively. The difficulty in obtaining parts and replacements was also an obstructing factor to the high record, and transferring parts from one ship to another, or plain "scrounging", played an important part."

"On the 26th personnel could be seen carting all varieties of chairs to the reserved area for members of the 49th at the new theatre stage just completed at the west-end of the ball park. The event: "This is the Army", the famous Irving Berlin, all G.I., show opened at 2000 hours and for one and one half hours, thousands of people crowded the grandstand and vigorously, sincerely, applauded one of the finest pieces of entertainment the 9th has yet seen. Just winding up an 18-month tour around the world, "This is the Army" was the largest show to play in the vicinity of the 9th since Bob Hope's show on Biak and can well sustain its fame and well-deserved reputation on a top-notch performance. Some of those "girls" were really beautiful! Five minutes after the final act, with the crowd well dispersed, a Red Alert was sounded which lasted for about twenty minutes. This was the first alert in many weeks and couldn't have been timed better to cause the least trouble."

"A softball league was established the previous month and the various teams were battling it out on the diamond. In the typical game between the "Rams" (9th Officers) and the Sparks (9th E.M.), the game was a close, hard, match bringing a rally by the Rams in the last inning but not enough to bring them on top. Final score: Rams- 6, Sparks- 7. The "Red Noses", enlisted men of the ninth, were leading the league."

---Ken Clark’s Unit History posted on

  1. Franklin Delano Roosevelt ( Jan. 30, 1882- April 12, 1945) The unending stress and strain of the war literally wore Roosevelt out. By early 1944 a full medical examination disclosed serious heart and circulatory problems; and although his physicians placed him on a strict regime of diet and medication, the pressures of war and domestic politics weighed heavily on him. On March 30, 1945, Roosevelt went to Warm Springs, Georgia, to rest before his anticipated appearance at the founding conference of the United Nations. On the morning of April 12, Roosevelt said, "I have a terrific headache." He was to never speak again. The doctor diagnosed that he had suffered a massive cerebral hemorrhage. Roosevelt's death was met with shock and grief across the U.S. and around the world. At a time when the press did not pry into the health or private lives of presidents, his declining health had not been known to the general public. Roosevelt had been President for more than 12 years, longer than any other person, and had led the country through some of its greatest crises to the impending defeat of Nazi Germany and to within sight of the defeat of Japan as well.--Wikipedia
  2. This Is The Army--Irving Berlin’s all-soldier show was written by Berlin to be a wartime morale booster. It was first performed on Broadway in 1942 and then made into a movie in 1943. In early 1944, Berlin took his performers to do the show in London and other locations in the British Isles. From Britain they went to North Africa, Naples and Cairo. From there they traveled to the South Pacific, performing in New Guinea, the Philippines, Guam, Okinawa, Iwo Jima and then Hawaii.--Wikipedia
  3. Napalm Use in WW 2 Video: Click this link

Monday, September 5, 2016

88) Busy busy Betty….. --- April 20, 1945

From Betty (Louisville, KY)

April 20, 1945
Friday afternoon

How do you like this stationary. My sorority mother gave it to me for initiation. She also gave me a barrette with the Pi Phi crest on it.

I’m over at the house now. It’s about 1:45 and I have one more class at 2:30—softball. I have been studying in the library every afternoon and I’m tired of it.

Time out for a game of bridge. More latter

Well, I’ve played bridge, gone to softball, messed around and now I’m sitting out on the campus waiting for someone. It’s a beautiful Spring day. I’ll finish later.

Saturday night
I stayed out at school ‘til late last night. I went to a U.S.O. show for the sailors. It wasn’t very good.

I went to school this morning. Got home about 1:30, took a bath, dressed and went to the Service Club. I met two 5th Air Force Corpsmen, but neither one was in the 49th. They left their outfits on Leyte. Both of them were awfully nice. I talked to one of them a long time.

I got home from there about 6:45. Anne had gone over to a friend’s house for dinner and to spend the night. Mother and I had dinner and she went to bed. I did the dishes and then washed my hair. Mother has been cleaning house today and she’s worn out.

She wouldn’t let me go out tonight because I have a test on “Anna Karenina” Tuesday and I have about half of it (500 pages or so) yet to read. I don’t think I’ll have a chance to finish it. Better get started. Bye now. Be good. Miss you.

All my love,

P.S. We’re having mid-term exams. You know what that means. Not much time for writing. They’ll be over next week, so that won’t be bad.

  • The stationary has the Greek letters Pi Beta Phi embossed in red on the corner of the page.