Wednesday, March 16, 2016

18) Gusap Airfield, Ramu Valley, New Guinea- Early Dec. 1943 - April 1944

9th FS Unit History- December 1943 
In early December of 1943 the 9th squadron began moving to their new headquarters, Gusap airfield, in the Ramu valley of New Guinea. The base was located inland from Saidor and south of Madang, New Guinea. The 9th unit history notes that the ground echelon set up at Gusap first and on Dec. 10th some of the pilots brought up the new Republic P-47D Thunderbolt single engine fighters that had just been assigned to the squadron. When the flight crews reached Gusap they immediately engaged 16 Zeros that had been flying back and forth across the airstrip and shooting it up. At least 20 other Japanese fighters circled high above to protect their comrades below. Two planes were badly shot up, but eventually the Japanese formation began to leave and all four of the planes landed safely. Four enemy planes had been destroyed.   (From: Ken Clark’s Unit History posted on the website

Jack must have arrived at Gusap sometime before Dec. 9th, the date of his next letter.
Dec. 9th, 1943
New Guinea

Dear Betty,

I just received your swell 8 page letter. Letters like that should come more often. Especially from you. Why don’t you write to me regularly?

We have had some changes in our location as you can see from my new address. We are and have been working hard to fix up a comfortable place to live. The climate here is swell. The sun is hot but there is the nicest breeze that blows most of the time.

I guess Christmas will be dull every place this year. Remember last Xmas we couldn’t see each other. Well that was bad enough, but being so far away from you all. Every once in a while I get to thinking how lucky I was to live in a swell place like Louisville and have swell friends like you and all the others we used to go around school with.

True I miss home and my friends and family. But somehow I know that when I come home everything will be the same if not better. I only hope that there won’t be too many of those pals of mine gone or changed so that they will never be the same. I’m not afraid of this war or anything about it. The only thing that scares me is that those things I love and the people I love will perhaps be gone or changed.

Life over here is going along as smooth as you could expect under the circumstances. The food here is the best I’ve had since we hit New Guinea. And with the new dry climate and the swell breeze that blows here I think that I will come out O.K.

When did they close Bowman Field to civilians? Is it still a glider training school?

I hope you and Bob will make up or that you will find another nice boyfriend soon. Things go like that so don’t feel disappointed about it. That certain someone will come along someday. I sure hope you have a lot of luck with your school work. But don’t study too hard.

Well I have just written the masterpiece of bad English Grammar & sentence structure, to say nothing of penmanship. You will just have to take it like it is. Remember that I do know better.

Well thats all for now I will eat now and try to answer 3 or 4 other letters.

Yours as ever,

  1. APO 713 --- Base E, Nadzab, New Guinea 
  2. Bowman Field-- During World War II Bowman Field in Louisville was the busiest airport in the country, following an investment of $1 million for construction of barracks and other facilities-including nine mess halls. The already cramped airfield added more troops in 1943, when Glider Pilot Combat Training opened. The gliders, which carried 15 troops each into combat, were a familiar sight in the Louisville skies during the last two years of the war. The facility became known as "Air Base City" when a bomber squadron moved in, and more than 1600 recruits underwent basic training in a three-month period. During the war years, a large variety of Air Force and Navy aircraft could be seen passing through Bowman Field. Bowman Field also was home to the Army Air Force School of flight surgeons, medical technicians and flight nurses. Graduates of the school were responsible for evacuating and treating a half-million sick and wounded from war zones around the world by the end of 1944. (

Again--many thanks to Ken Clark and others for their extensive information on posted on

17) Advice For Betty- Be Careful---Summer 1943

Dobodura Airfield. The letter is not dated but the APO address is the same as the previous letter.

Dear Betty,

I received your V-mail yesterday afternoon. It sure did seem good to hear from you again. I hope you will answer this and then start writing regularly like you did last year when I was in Denver.

I’ll bet you and Ann have a terrible time around a school without boys. Don’t you find it dull?

Just where do you live in Cresent Hill? Why did you all move from Westport Road?

Do your cousins still stay with you? How is the family aviator coming along?

I don’t think you need worry about me getting hurt. I have faith in Libby and feel that every thing will as you say turn out for the best.

I’m glad you have met a boy who you really are crazy about. But let me give you a bit of advice. Don’t become too serious before you are absolutely sure of it’s lasting. I have regreted the several times that I have done that, only to have it all shatter and one morning wake up and find it just isn’t. Please for you sake be very careful. I would hate to see you hurt again. I am deeply sorry for anything I ever did to hurt you. I know it probably won’t help you to hear that now but, I am sincere, and that counts some. Anyway I hope so.

We are having it pretty good over here right now. I just hope we get into somthing soon. We can’t win the war if we don’t get to fight. It looks like the war in Europe will be moving pretty fast as soon as we can get a few 100,000 men over there. They will probably just give up in time. They can’t stand that incessant bombardment for very long.

Well I will sign off for now, write soon.

Be sure to give my regards to Ann & to your mother & grandmother.


Supply Department- Jack on the far left in the back row.  From: The Flying Knights-Photo History of the 9th Fighter Squadron (privately published). Posted on the website:

  1. APO 503 = Base B, Oro Bay, New Guinea 
  2. June 1943- A combined British and American offensive ("Pointblank") consisted of a constant onslaught on German industry through British raids at night and American raids during the day. 
  3. In July of 1943 U.S. and British troops landed on Sicily and by September Allied troops had landed on the beaches near Naples.

Again--many thanks to Ken Clark and others for their extensive information on posted on