THE SQUADRON PULSE
For the Men of the Fightin’ 3rd Published in the Philippines.
Vol. 1. No. 9 Weekly April 28, 1945 3rd Airdrome Squadron APO 74.
ANOTHER NIP BITES THE DUST
The soft nocturnal hush was suddenly broken by shots on the perimeter. No one paid much attention for it was near midnight & those who were not already asleep, just turned over, grunted & probably thought, “Just some guy’s imagination again.” Matter of fact, there’s shootin’ in them thar hills every night, so why get roused? But, daybreak told a different story. Like wildfire, the news got around that a Jap was killed, with credit going arbitrarily to Whitman & Grether, both having fired. At any rate, the Nip got it square in the guts, which were hanging out, unprettily. Two accompanying comrades, however, got away------darn it. [This incident was also discussed in my father's April 29, 1945, letter. - Ed.]
The recent epidemic of Jap stragglers is due to heavy mountain rains which drive them from the mountains nearby. Rains up there are so heavy, so says somebody that even the Negritos tribes, living there, come down to shelter. So hereon, men it’s happy hunting.........
Late flashes tell us that Robles and McReynolds with four guerrillas shot two more Nips, only this time it was at day and they were out hunting them. Again we say, “Happy hunting” .........
PREVIOUS ISSUES OF THE PULSE COMING UP
Due to a lot of things, such as moving [from Leyte to Luzon - Ed.] and temporary absence of the CIC of the newspaper, the PULSE is running behind four issues. This issue, No. 9, breaks the interval of inactivity since the March 24th issue, No. 4.
Numbers 5, 6, 7, and 8 will be out, though, just as soon as we can get enough paper to carry us through.
Issue 9 coming before four previous issues may be somewhat confusing years from now when Junior thumbs thru the copies. Tell Junior things were rough.
SHORTY SHOOTS A FEATHERED FRIEND
Shorty Long like to shat a Jap the other day. Didn’t quite do it, though. Come about like this, Shorty said:
“Me and Rosenblum was out gittin’ bamboo over that-a-way towards the mountains. Y’all know where I mean. Well, we was foolin’ around out there, when we see this here cave. We get right up to it and then we see two eyes staring at us. Two big eyes shinin’ inside that dark cave! Man! I mean to tell ya, I got a funny feelin’!”
Rosy, he took off like a big bird towards the jeep, but I figures if it’s a Jap & he’s got a gun, he kin pick us off easy as chucks runnin’ in the open like that. So I drops behind a rock and draws a bead on them eyes with my rifle. Then I let her go.
“Ain’t nothin’ happen for a few seconds and I’m just gettin’ ready to shoot again when the eyes sorta turn sideways & then they ain’t there no more.
“I says, ‘Come on, Rosy, let’s git him.’ Rosy, he don’t want to go in the cave, so I creeps up to it, and I’ll be damn, if I hadn’t made a clean hit!”
Wasn’t no doubt about it, all right. Shorty even showed us the little round hole in its side. It was the deadest doggone owl we ever saw.
CAPTAIN MITCHELL COMMENDS---
T/ Sgt. Eastland, for his consistent and untiring efforts in handling parking and alert crews on the strip.
THE SQUADRON PULSE
Vol. 1. No. 9 April 28, 1945
Editor - Pfc. Stringfield, Assoc Editor - Cpl. Calkins, Compositor - Cpl, Drecoll, Sgt. LoMagro - Staff Artist.
This paper may be sent home.
I HAVE RETURNED
On the 25th of this month, your editor returned, with the rear echelon, to find the outfit practically all set up. But my short absence while jaundicing in the hospital, did not let me miss too much of what the 3rd customarily calls excitement....in fact, the excitement commenced on my arrival. With me came such heavy windblown rains, that sacks and A & B bags everywhere took a drenching. This I learned later was the first rain they had. On the same evening, the squadron experienced its first Red Alert. During the nite, about 12 midnight, Whitman and Grether took equal credit on being the first to shoot and kill a Jap in the area. Fact is, I even got here in time to witness the grand opening of the EM’s “Club Carabao,” so what am I----jinx---hoodoo or a godsend.
Anyway boys, I’m glad to get back to our happy family again, so keep your nose clean or we’ll toss you to the PULSE crocodiles.
AS TIME GOES BY
Coming Birthdays and Gray Hair
Bulger 3rd, Low 4th, Corvelyn 5th.
MY LIFE STORY - OR - WHO SAID IT COULDN’T HAPPEN
When I was born I was very small.----Odd isn’t it? When the stork brought me, he kept flying around town yelling, “Will the lady with the lucky number come and get him?” But no one said a word. It was then that the stork started buzzing around looking for a place to drop me. I almost wanted to tell him to straighten up and fly right, but I was just a baby & couldn’t talk.
People tell me to this day that they were sorry to see me grow up. My mother liked me. When I first came, mother gave me a room of my own, even though it was little crowded when the coal man came around each month. I was the only kid in the neighborhood that wore cellophane diapers, so my mother could see what was going on. I used to cry a heck of a lot. Maybe that’s why my mother diapered me on both ends. It wasn’t till I was two years old that my mother let me see my brother and sister. She thought that they were old enough so that I wouldn’t scare them. It was then that I broke into society and also my first pair of long diapers.
It didn’t take me long to make friends. I was the only youngster who could shoot crap, (oh yeah!) shooting crap. That was the first time that I met Bob Goelzer. I was really a shark at the game. I won the diapers off his-------. He then accused me of having loaded dice, so I gave him back his bubble gum.
One day he said to me, “Jerry we’re getting pretty old and it’s time we go out with girls.” It was time-------After all, I was four and he was five. The only reason I went around with Bob was because when people saw us together, they would call me Robert Taylor. We were both trying to figure
out a way to get the most girls. He didn’t like my plan. He said, “Count me out,” if I was going to use a rubber hose. It ended up and we decided to do without girls, or maybe it’s because the girls decided to do without us.
My father used to send me out on errands which covered miles & it wasn’t till later on that I found out that he was hoping that someone would kidnap me, so he could see my picture in the paper.
My dad took me aside one day and said, “Son, it’s time for you to think of the future---going to school and learning to write.” I said, “No, Dad, I’d rather be a fish.” So I started school and I guess if war didn’t break out, I’d still be in the third grade.
This story can go on and on---and it will. Don’t miss next week’s thrilling adventures.
DISPOSITION OF CAPTURED DOCUMENTS
As you all probably know, captured enemy documents should, if mailing is desired, be turned in to S-2 for clearance. Once it is passed, it will be returned to rightful owner. Bring all questionable stuff to me (String) in the “I” tent.
FLASHBACKS --- By L.H. Stringfield.
OH WHAT A BEAUTIFUL EVENING---ALMOST
December 6th was our first clear day, and in the evening the bent & shattered ridge of palms, flanking “Fluke River,” glared in lazy black silhouette against a burnished copper sky. [“Fluke River” was probably the Daguitan River, which was about half a mile south of the San Pablo airfield. - Ed.] It was relief from the weeks of almost continual rain and sloshing about in ankle & knee deep mud. With a change in the weather, so changed the men themselves----from glum, sunken, wearied souls to men that could laugh, chafe and jibber-jabber perhaps about---Gloria, the wash-woman, blood flukes, the dog-fight during breakfast, the irksome artillery at night and of course home.
This was the evening of the 6th, when by degrees seven different kinds of hell broke loose, ending in an apocalyptic climax. The unfolding of events leading up to & including the “big moment,” will have by this time been told in so many unrecognizable, personalized forms that for the benefit of those who do not possess a composite picture of it all, this little summary, we hope, will help clear up the confusion.
WE TURN INFANTRY
We’re Air Corps, true---but you wouldn’t’ve thunk it from 6:30 on this particular eve, nor for 60 hours thereafter. We lived Infantry, ate Infantry (with less rations), looked Infantry & suffered Infantry.
This is the story: Here and there eyes curiously stared upward. There was nothing too unusual about the group of medium bombers up there, except that they were in a perfect V formation. This we had never seen before anywhere....They were just “Navy planes flying around like this morning,” someone said, but the spectacle was impressive & more eyes came out to stare, wonder and be glued. Then, like thunder, the evening’s splendor and the men’s wonderments burst into shreds. The right hand side of the V formation broke & before wits could be gathered, planes were twisting and diving everywhere, while the remainder of the V continued its flight. Bombs were dropped, but this brought little attention, for now in the fray were scores of enemy fighters, seemingly from nowhere, joining their brothers in raising general hell. By now, after a moment’s hesitation, our ack ack boomed from scattered places. For about 3 to 5 minutes, it was like a circus. You couldn’t see all the show at once. Some of us just to say we shot at a Jap, took pot shots with carbines at the low diving planes. Some merely looked on, bemused, while others dashed to foxholes with cottontail alacrity. After all, this was not much more than what we were used to seeing every day, so why get all hot & bothered. Then as though controlled by a magician’s hocus-pocus, the Nip planes vanished. Only the hiss, crackles & explosions of a nearby fire bore evidence of the unfriendly visitations--all else was quiet, too quiet for 3 long minutes. The feeling was irrepressibly expectant of something bigger to come.
It did! ---- The climax that could’ve knocked everyone over with a feather. It was an incredible sight. There coming bigger than Job’s turkeys [referring, perhaps incorrectly, to the old saying "poor as Job's turkey" - Ed.], were low flying hedge-hopping transports.....coming right at us. Some of us thought they were bombers, but of course Reinhalter’s surmise takes the cake. He said that they were C-47’s & that we’d have mail on the morrow. His utterances, subsequently proved false---and how false!
As though on an electric frequency, voices cried in unison, “Paratroopers!” Yes, Jap paratroopers----scads and scads of ’em floating down like Mauritian mushrooms, showing a pinkish orange in the still glimmery red sunset. Ack ack roared, belched and spewed--carbines cracked, Tommies burped & sputtered. But the big grey, sinister transports still came over, bearing the brazen Rising Sun insignia, with greenish silver spurts of exhaust from the engines. They buzzed directly overhead, about 300 ft in groups of 3 and 5’s and still the Japs dropped. About all I can remember at this point is emptying a clip, inserting another & with Bill Butto taking off, like raving maniacs, to reconnoiter “Fluke River,” & get some Japs. Not wanting Purple Hearts, we rocketed back amidst a hail of bullets and sensibly got into foxholes. Night descended fast and perimeters were set up in no time. The men responded like seasoned vets that they were. After the troopers landed, no shots were wasted and the time was devoted to entrenchment and circumspect defense. We were alone against unknown numbers of the enemy, only later to learn that 200 dropped----each loaded down with 175 lbs of equipment, grenades, mortars, etc.
After a night of volley and thunder, listening to the bop-bop-bop falsetto of Jap machine guns, our own growling rat-tat-tats and the swish of mortar shells, et al., we realized the “Battle of Fluke River” was well under way. As sun bit thru the dawn greyness, it revealed a bunch of haggard, mud-caked, mosquito-welted GI’s, each with a sadder tale to tell than the other. But before we could crawl to our breakfasts, which consisted of a flapjack and a half cup of coffee (tasting like a Marzetti’s dinner in Columbus), the Nips decided to pester us some more. Zeros first strafed the area, but our fighters were hot on their tail and drove them away before any damage was done. Some of the fellows saw one of the Nips burst into flames, but by this time the chief concern of the rear (Bloody Gizzard Ridge) perimeter was the fusillade of hot lead coming from beyond Fluke River. I saw Basso hit the dirt with his perennial stub of cigarette hanging from his mouth, but nails scratching away dirt furiously. I saw Hofer, Butto, Ivanick & J.T. Goodman preparing for the worse. Somehow we were visualizing an Alamo. Like always, shooting stops as quickly as it starts. The lull found us milling around to see what if anything reshaped our area during the nite. Near our latrine (Fort Maggot) was a dead Jap Sgt Major shot thru the neck, slumped in a cluster of nipa with his Luger still in hand and his parachute tangled about his body. He got his promotion which made him Warrant Officer 2nd Class. Before too many sights could be taken in....shooting started again, and we took off like striped-buttocked pterodactyls. Later in the day we got word that a battalion of Japs broke thru from the mountains and were heading our way. Of course this meant more excitement. With nerves on end as they were, even a swaying coconut high on a lofty palmetto, made one swear that it was a Jap sniper...so patrols, armed to the teeth, investigated, only to find the milked fruit (or is it vegetable) doing the suspicious swaying.
It is beyond the scope of this paper to list everything or even a partial list of things happening during this now-famous attack. Censorship forbades [sic] us to mention some of the particulars, but of course some of these things are not lively subjects to talk about…rather things to be remembered in a hallowed manner. Nevertheless, the 3rd turned Infantry, held perimeters and showed we had the guts to take it. The Battle of “Fluke River,” at any rate proved Yamashita’s words were said in vain. Quoting, “We are squeezing the Americans out of.....” All we can say is horse dung, brother. [This quote cannot be found elsewhere. The source is unknown. - Ed.]
MAC STANDS OFF THE 480TH
Probably nobody will ever forget (least of all McDonald) the day that Mac stood off the 480th. One of our boys shot a Jap. One of our boys shot what he thought was a Jap. But Mac is the only man in the 3rd Airdrome thus far to hold off an entire squadron of the AAF.
Most of the details are hazy & unimportant, anyway, but one day last week R.J. McDonald stood in the open area between the 3rd & the 480th. He had his carbine with him. It was broad daylight. Some reports say Mac saw a Jap or possibly a Field Director. Mac let loose.
Before you could say “Red Cross Canteen,” the CO of the 480th came over the ridge, pistol in hand....leading his men. Well, you know the rest of it.
Mac is nervously waiting. He’s not sure whether he’ll get the Silver Star or a week’s restriction.
VET OF THE FIGHTIN’ 3RD RETURNS
Capt. Tremblay, on a tour of 5th AFSC Inspection, has been a distinguished guest of this squadron in recent weeks. Most of us remember him as a Louie [lieutenant - Ed.] down in Brisbane-----the days when the 3rd just beginning to get famous. Welcome Captain!