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March '42
March 1, 1942                                                                                                           Magwe

Sunday --  Looks as though we will have to wait a couple more days for parts to fix up Smitty's airplane before we can leave.  I had the mechs take gas out to Neale and he flew his ship in, but they have to send parts from Kunming for the other.  There was little action here all day.  We have taught the N. Zealanders to play Acey-Deucey and they are wild about it.  We went out to Yenangyaung again last evening and got pretty stiff.  It was one o'clock in the morning before we finished dinner.  The British authorities want us to fly Hurricanes and stay here.  No one will even hear of it -- which is only right.  We hope to get off to Kunming or Loi-Wing tomorrow.  Oh how I hope so?

                                                                        GTB

P-40C  F.A.V.G.  Magwe-Magwe  Two alerts and search mission  4:45

March 2, 1942                                                                                                                Magwe

Monday -- The day turned out to be a big disappointment for the anticipated message from the Colonel and parts for the P-40 failed to arrive.  Evidently it was due to a failure of communications.  Neale has decided to send Bond and Blackburn up to Kunming in the morning to talk to the Colonel personally and arrange to get us out of here.  Most of the day was quiet, but, Neale flew in around noon after he got gas for his ship.  We took a bath in the Irawaddy last night and bunked in with the men at their barracks.  The British pilots are having a tough time.  They have been ordered to take Hurricanes with long range tanks and strafe Chengma, and other spots.  It's suicidal.  The A.O.C. is a pure damn fool.

                                                                          GTB

March 3, 1942                                                                                                            Magwe

Tuesday -- Today was quiet and on the easy side.  We had one alert so Smitty and I took off and looked around the vicinity going over as far as Toungoo.  The place looks just about the same from the air except for the large number of bomb craters on the field.  We dispersed the airplanes early and went down to the Irawaddy for a swim.  We found an excellent place and had a fine time.  CRB left for Kunming with Balckie to check on the delays in getting our new parts.  Neale and myself went up to the American Club at Yenangyaung later in the evening and had a couple of drinks.  A cold drink in this section of the world is a luxury you can not afford to miss.

                                                                           GTB

P-40C  F.A.V.G.  Magwe-Magwe  Local patrol, Toungoo-return  2:10

March 4, 1942                                                                                                                         Magwe

Wednesday -- Word finally came through from the old man this morning via four men who brought down parts for Smitty's airplane.  As usual they were short some parts so Neale told me to go to Loi-Wing and pick them up.  We will take the prop off one of our airplanes and use it to get Smitty's airplane out.  We knocked off alert at four o'clock and wen up to the British Club at Yenangyaung for a swim.  I lost my Army ring which I prize so much, and was unable to find it last night.  I am posting a reward.  CRB  came back and the word is that we will be replace by the Third Sq.  Neale wants to stay and is going to ask for volunteers.  I don't much care either way.

                                                                            GTB

P-40C  F.A.V.G.  Magwe-Magwe  Trip to Smitty's airplane  1:20

March 5, 1942                                                                                            Magwe-Loi-Wing-Kunming

Thursday -- Neale told me to go into Kunming today to take a message to the Col. about things here at Magwe.  I was to go by Myingham and pick up Smitty.  I left Magwe about noon and after circling Myingham for an hour they turned the airplane up on it's nose in the sand while taxiing into position for takeoff.  I went on a lone, stopping at Loi-Wing for gas.  It was some of the best navigation I've ever done.  Hit both places right on the nose although it is mighty difficult going.  Reported to the Col. and got the dope.  I'm to go back to Magwe and take two prop blades along.  Little is going along.  Kunming seems very nice after Burma, but most of the men are griping.  That's war I guess.

                                                                     GTB

P-40C  F.A.V.G.  Magwe-Loi-Wing      Trip to Kunming to take message  2:35
P-40C  F.A.V.G.  Loi-Wing-Kunming  to Col., Smitty nosed up airplane  1:30

March 6, 1942                                                                                        Kunming - Loi-Wing - Magwe

Friday -- Before we left to go back to Magwe this morning we were treated to some terrible news.  Yesterday Boyington took five ships to escort Generalissimo Chang Kai-Shek to Chan-Yi -- 75 miles to the northeast.  The whole damn shooting match got lost completely and landed wheels up near Win-Shan, which is over 200 miles S.E. of Kunming.  Five ships lost.  Little and I left around 11:30 and stopped at Loi-Wing for lunch.  It was exceptionally good.  We got into Magwe around six o'clock.  Just in time for supper.  We will be here for a day or two -- at least, according to Neale.  However, he changes his mind so damned often you can't ever tell.  So much for that.

                                                                    GTB

P-40C  F.A.V.G.  Kunming-Loi-Wing    Brought prop blades back to  2:15
P-40C  F.A.V.G.  Loi-Wing-Magwe       Magwe, Little came along  2:05

March 7, 1942                                                                                                                     Magwe

Saturday -- Well, instead of going right back, Neale has decided to hold out here a couple of days to get our confirmations.  Little and Blackburn went back at noon and McClure and I loaded the ships full of Sherry, Gin and Scotch.  The British are evacuating all of lower Burma today so we went down to Zygon and patrolled the place to protect the Hurricanes while they gassed.  The Hurricanes took shifts in protecting the dock area at Rangoon and the Pegu fork of the Burma road.  No action developed though. Black Mac and I went up to Yenangyaung for a swim, drink and dance when we came back from our patrol.  Had a darned pleasant time.  Just a social evening.

                                                                         GTB

P-40C  F.A.V.G.  Magwe-Magwe  Two local patrols  2:40

March 8, 1942                                                                                                                   Magwe

Sunday -- Got a big kick this morning.  Five B17-E's -- all U.S.A.C. came in this morning ferrying personnel from India to here.  Flying the first ship was no other than Eddie Carmack from Mac Dill field, one of the best guys around.  Really it was one of the biggest stimulants of the war to see those ships and see all the Air Corps pilots -- particularly Eddie.  He gave Bond and I lots of dope about the boys at home, but even he has been gone for nearly three months.  Eddie went back to India right away but he is making another trip over here tomorrow and he is going to bring some late magazines and the like.  Neale is sending me to China again, so I will probably be leaving here for good by noon.

                                                                                GTB

P40-C  F.A.V.G.  Magwe-Zygon-Magwe  Patrol to cover Hurricanes refueling  3:15

March 9, 1942                                                                                                            Magwe-Loi Wing

Monday -- Finally, without a single change in orders, it came to pass that I finally left Magwe for good at 2:30 this afternoon.  It was a big day for many reasons -- mainly because six B17-E's came in from India this morning and Eddie Carmack, Fountain, Keenan and others were the pilots.  What a glorious sensation to see the old A.C. boys again.  Eddie gave me all the news from Mac Dill and Fountain told me he had met Betty at Tampa on Christmas.  Wonderful news.  They had to leave right away but it was good to see them even for a short time.  I left Magwe in the afternoon and made Loi-Wing through some bad weather.  This is a wonderful spot to relax.  Hot water, cold beer, soft beds.  You couldn't ask for anything better.

                                                                        GTB

P40-C  F.A.V.G.  Magwe - Loi-Wing  X-C with McGarry to return home  1:45

March 10, 1942                                                                                                           Loi-Wing

Tuesday -- The day started off slowly but wound up in all kinds of excitement.  We slept late and enjoyed complete leisure until early afternoon when an urgent air raid alarm was given and Mac and I rushed to the field to get our airplanes off.  We cruised around for an hour or so and then came in.  The alarm later proved to be a result of 5 P-40's from the Third Sq. who were lost about 95 miles S.E. of here.  Later in the evening we learned from the radio that all five had made emergency landings near Kol Long and Meng Ting.  I am going out to look for them first thing in the morning.  The 40's were headed for Magwe.  Lord, what a mess.  10 airplanes in less than one week.  The Colonel will die.

                                                                               GTB

P40-C  F.A.V.G.  Loi-Wing  Loi-Wing  Air raid patrol with McGarry  1:30

March 11, 1942                                                                                                             Loi-Wing

Wednesday -- In spite of the handicap of very short sleep, caused by a poker game last night, I checked out of here a 8 this morning and hunted up the crashed airplanes.  The two I found near Kil Lung had landed on a sand bar and looked O.K.  The other three were further up the valley.  All had attempted landings on the river bed.  Two were on their backs, and one on the belly.  We sent a message to the Colonel and then took the CAMCO Stinson and tried to go over and land there and take food and things.  The Stinson couldn't get over the mountains though, so I had to give it up after one very close call.  I sent Mac over to drop a message late this afternoon and now - of all things - he's missing - down somewhere by now - but heaven only knows where.

                                                                             GTB

P40-C  F.A.V.G.  Loi-Wing Loi-Wing  Recon to locate 5 lost planes  2:40
Stinson 105  CAMCO  Loi-Wing Loi-Wing  Attempt for lost pilots  2:55

March 12, 1942                                                                                                                 Loi-Wing

Thursday -- News of Mac came in this morning while we were eating breakfast.  He is down at Kutlzai, a little village half way between here and Lashio.  The landing gear is wiped out but otherwise everything seems O.K.  As soon as the fog lifted enough to get off I took the Stinson and went to Lashio to take a crank down there for Bob Prescott who was stuck there.  I was going to pick up Ed and Bill Pawley too but they had already started for Loi-Wing by car by the time I arrived Hedman and Brouk also pulled into Lashio while I was there.  They were the only two of the five from the Third that got lost who didn't tear up their airplanes.  The other three were Fish, Overend and Reed.  I've been feeling very badly all day.  So early to bed.

                                                                            GTB

Stinson 105  CAMCO  Loi-Wing  Lashio  X-C in Stinson to take crank  1:20
Stinson 105  CAMCO  Lashio  Loi-Wing  down to Prescott - bad weather  1:05
Stinson 105  CAMCO  Loi-Wing  Loi-Wing  Local in Stinson                  1:30

March 13, 1942                                                                                                   Loi-Wing to Kunming

Friday -- After what seemed like months of worry and waiting we finally got off this noon for Kunming.  The weather was terrible but I watched myself closely and we came out right on the head.  CRB and myself and Little, Neale and Sawyer met at the Col.'s office.  I reported the dope and he was very nice, even about McGarry's getting lost and breaking up his airplane.  Spent most of the afternoon getting my room straightened out.  This evening Little, Bond, Neale, Sawyer and myself were guests of the Col. and Mr. & Mrs. Greenlaw at a Cantonese dinner.  It was really wonderful.  Much better than my last experience with Chinese food, it's good to be home again - if you could call this home.

                                                                       GTB

P40-C  F.A.V.G.  Loi-Wing Kunming  Trip home with McGarry on my wing  1:50

March 14, 1942                                                                                                                   Kunming

Saturday -- Started out the day with the proper attitude by staying in bed until 10:00.  This life of ease is the stuff -- in more ways than one but it probably won't last long.  We are planning on getting under way next week and I've been working on the engineering setup.  The entire Group is going to run it's engineering setup like our squadron always has.  Little is temporary Group Eng. officer during Peret's absence so I believe things will move smoothly.  Went over to the First Hostel this afternoon and picked up my new shirt from the tailor's.  It's much darker than I had anticipated but will serve well over here.  I'm finding Kunming quite pleasant.  No doubt about it, I won't want to go back to work.

                                                                          GTB

P40-C  F.A.V.G.  Kunming-Kunming  Local - Engineering hop  1:00

March 15, 1942                                                                                                             Kunming

Sunday -- Little wakened me this morning with the stunning news that a CNAC plane out of Kunming had crashed near here during the night.  Greenlaw wanted me to get a crew and go find the wreck.  After hiking about the countryside and much touring in a Jeep we located it.  The remains were horrible.  Four people out of 21 survived.  The dead were mangled and burned beyond all description.  As quickly as I could - bingo - scram!  CRB and myself fixed our radios up and are now enjoying the fruits of our labors - honest and otherwise,  Matter of fact, Frisco is on the radio right now.  Earlier in the evening we listened to Milton Berle, and the Fitch Bandwagon.  What a wonderful improvement a radio makes.

                                                                         GTB


March 16, 1942                                                                                                           Kunming

Monday -- Leisure time by the load.  Except for about two hours this afternoon when were functioning as a military guard for the funerals of the four Americans who died on the CNAC plane yesterday.  Three of them were officers of the US Air Corps and Army with the Chinese Military Mission.  One of them was Lt. Colonel George whom I knew well.  He had been at Kunming for nearly three months.  My men in the Engineering Department started working today.  They are checking our serviceable ships and then the whole squadron will begin operating as a unit next week.  Sold my bicycle today for $3,500 Chinese money or $350 Rupees.  Not bad.  I only paid $115 Rupees for it originally four months ago.

                                                                              GTB

March 17, 1942                                                                                                                     Kunming

Tuesday -- You can't beat a vacation.  Each day of loafing proves the truth of this to me more and more.  Had a big time this afternoon when CRB, Smitty and myself went hunting with 22's and depopulated the crow and magpie families in this region.  It was a great deal of fun, and probably the most exercise I've had in the open in months.  The radio was exceptionally good last night and we listened to Frisco for a couple of hours.  They mentioned the A.V.G. a couple of times - rather proudly, I thought.  They also announced the landing of an A.E.F. at Australia and told of General MacAuthur's arrival in Australia as Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces.  This is all great news to us.

                                                                           GTB

P40-C  F.A.V.G.  Kunming-Kunming  Local Flying, Engineering hop  1:00

March 18, 1942                                                                                                             Kunming

Wednesday -- Showed unusual ambition today when I didn't get any further than the Hostel dining room and my room.  Wotta' life.  Probably won't last more than one or two more days, but while it lasts it certainly is great.  CRB an myself played solitaire and drank Sherry (Walnut Brown) most of the afternoon and wound up with a terrific appetite and a mild buzz on, and I don't mean perhaps.  There have been rumors that we are going to move to Chungking for the rainy season.  Suits me.  Tonight we heard that Jernstedt and Reed made a dawn trip from Toungoo to Moulmein and shot up 15 Jap planes and three more probables this morning.  A wonderful job -- and nervy.

                                                                         GTB

March 19, 1942                                                                                                                 Kunming

Thursday -- More news drifted in today about the shindig Jernstedt and Reed put on a Moulmein yesterday.  Of the 15 planes they destroyed on the ground, four were heavy fighters.  Some clean-up. There was actually nothing doing all day except for a trip over to the First Hostel to get our rank insignia placed on our blouses.  We have been kidding CRB about his green blouse -- calling him "forest ranger Bond".  Sawyer was placed back on flying status by Doc Gentry, which gave us another fine pilot.  Tonight we had a big heart game and CRB learned the game, at a cost of $80 Chinese.

                                                                      GTB

P40-C  F.A.V.G.  Kunming-Kunming  Air raid alarm at dusk - no soap  1:20

March 20, 1942                                                                                                               Kunming

Friday -- While we didn't know it this morning, today was the last day of our holiday series.  Tomorrow morning, CRB, myself, Smitty, and Bartling are on the schedule.  Had a pleasant time this afternoon, going crow hunting.  Fifteen bombers and four fighters hit the dust during the afternoon.  I was doing the best shooting I have ever done.  Clyde Box, the Air Corps Captain who used to be on the Ferry Command in Longbeach, and who is with the A.C. military mission in India, stopped over today and I had dinner with him.  it was very pleasant and he passed on a good deal of news.  Afterwards we went to see "Hollywood Hotel" at the Nau Ping theater.  A very excellent show despite being four years old.

                                                                              GTB

March 21, 1942                                                                                                                Kunming

Saturday -- Back to work today and it hasn't changed a bit.  The day was quiet and dreary up until time to go home.  About four o'clock we got the news that a huge Jap raid had been made on Magwe at 1:00 earlier this afternoon.  Fouts, a crew chief, was killed by bombs and Swartz, 3rd squadron pilot, was seriously injured.  There were 60 bombers and 20 fighters.  The A.V.G. shot down two Navy Zeros, and Jernstedt was shot down with a bullet through his canopy.  About 5:30 we got an alarm here and the Col. thought the Japs were making a dusk attack.  It failed to materialize however and we finally knocked off.  Wonderful evening by the radio.

                                                                            GTB

March 22, 1942                                                                                                                    Kunming

Sunday --  Slept in late and was awakened by Neale who wanted me to get five ships ready to go on strafing missions to Chengmai and Lambhun.  Neale, Boyington, McGarry, Bartling and CRB are going and it is one of the most dangerous assignments so far.  Chengmai and Lambhun are over 175 miles in French Indochina.  After seeing them off for Nau Sang where they are going to spend the night, I went hunting with Smitty and Sawyer.  Had a swell time.  When we came home we were greeted with the beautiful sight of four P40-E's, the first of the 12 A.V.G. P40-E's now enroute from the west coast of Africa.  They look like a million bucks and have six free firing fifties.

                                                                             GTB

March 23, 1942                                                                                                               Kunming

Monday -- First news of the day was that the Japs hit Magwe twice more yesterday and in the two attacks got 8 of the A.V.G.'s P40's on the ground.  It was the worst blow we have suffered in the whole war.  Luckily, however, they killed no more of ours although they got 70 British.  In one raid they had 75 bombers.  Terrific odds.  Talked with Link Laughlin and Joe Greene who just returned from the African ferry trip.  Link said he met Pat Passage in Kartoum.  Gosh, how I'm looking forward to seeing that old boy when we make a trip which may be soon if all indications are correct.  Nothing much doing tonight except a game of hearts.  I'm off the schedule again tomorrow.  Some break -- I'm not complaining.

                                                                          GTB

P40-C  F.A.V.G.  Kunming-Kunming   Engr. hop to test new breathers  :30

March 24, 1942                                                                                                                     Kunming

Tuesday -- The last few days have not been good ones for the A.V.G.  News today was that the Third Squadron had to leave 8 planes at Magwe when they withdrew to Loi-Wing.  That's the worst blow of the war to the A.V.G.!  Then today the boys went on the strafing raid to Chengmai and Lambhun.  More bad news.  Neale's bunch got 7 certains and several probables but McGarry got a bullet in his cooler and had to bail out about 15 miles short of the Saloween river in Indochina.  Newkirk's outfit saw no planes at Lambhun but they saw a motorized column on the road.  When they went down to strafe it Newkirk was evidently hit by ground fire and dived right in.  The cost in men was terrific for that soiree.  Work tomorrow so early to bed.

                                                                          GTB

P40-C  F.A.V.G.  Kunming-Kunming   Local flying with Sawyer  :45

March 25, 1942                                                                                                                Kunming

Wednesday -- The dope we had yesterday about the raid a Chengmai was not very accurate.  The boys came back today and they actually destroyed between 30 and 40 planes.  The place was lousy with airplanes, many of which were turning over with pilots getting in them.  Some party.  Black Mac was gotten by antiaircraft fire.  I was on alert today.  It was a long day -- 12 hours -- after the easy life of the last week or ten days.  We are still operating as one unit with the pilots of the 1st and 2nd Squadrons pooled.  Smitty and Sawyer got off for Karachi this afternoon.  I gave Sawyer 100 Rupees to buy some shells and stuff while he is in India.  They should have a fine trip and a good vacation.

                                                                        GTB

P40-C  F.A.V.G.  Kunming-Kunming   Engineering  hop in "27"  :45

March 26, 1942                                                                                                                  Kunming

Thursday -- Thought I was going to have the day off but they came by for CRB and myself at 8 o'clock and we had to go to work.  Eight men went down to Loi-Wing with planes for the Third Squadron.  The third is going to operate from there.  Before they left I bought R.T. Smith's 22 rifle for $75.  He threw in 500 rounds of ammunition.  Chuck Older and Erik Shilling came in from India with P40-E's later in the afternoon.  Older had a message from someone in Africa for me.  It said that Veve is getting married to an Air Corps man.  Wonder if it is the straight dope or someone giving me a good kidding.  I should be hearing from Veve by cable soon anyway.  Jim came home tonight from Calcutta and we pitched a big drunk.

                                                                                GTB

P40-C  F.A.V.G.  Kunming-Kunming  Local hop        :30

March 27, 1942                                                                                                              Kunming

Friday -- That drunk last night was a prize one.  This morning demonstrated that Jim, Blackie and myself were still woozy.  Slept in for a while and then spent the rest of the morning talking with Jim and catching up on the news.  This afternoon we did all our errands in town and at #1 Hostel.  Then went hunting.  The rifle I bought from Smitty is pretty darned good.  It shoots very accurately but the trigger action is sloppy.  Neale, the armorer, is going to fix it up for me.  CRB and myself are on the schedule again tomorrow.  Not looking forward to the 4:30 A.M. rising.  The general feeling around here is that we will be lucky if we get that ferry trip to Africa -- or even India.

                                                                       GTB


March 28, 1942                                                                                                                 Kunming

Saturday -- Tonight I am probably the most homesick I'll ever be.  This was the best evening since we left the States all because we got a New York station on the radio, and in rapid succession heard Bing Crosby and the Kraft Music Hall, Bob Hope, Jack Benny, Shep Field's orchestra, and the Aldrich family.  What a sensation.  It was impossible to describe how powerfully it affected me.  It will take days to recover.  Was on alert today and had one alarm, late in the afternoon.  Otherwise there was nothing doing.  Was scheduled to check out in the P40-E but the alarm canceled the hop.  Heard the news that the Chinese have recaptured the Toungoo airport.  They are fighting rascals.

                                                                             GTB

P40-C  F.A.V.G.  Kunming-Kunming  Engineering hop on "18"  :30

March 29, 1942                                                                                                             Kunming

Sunday -- A day off so we slept in until nearly noon.  The entire day was unsuccessful or rather uneventful.  We went crow hunting this afternoon and the four of us, Neale, Little , Bond and myself were so rotten in our shooting it was actually pitiful.  This evening we had a good hearts game in addition to listening to Frisco.  The news was encouraging.  The Chinese are fighting hand to hand with the Japs at Toungoo.  The old town is right in the middle of it.  Hard to realize all that is going on where we were located for more than three months.  Hear that Chuck Older got an observation ship (Jap variety) near Loi-Wing today.  Glad to hear about that.

                                                                            GTB

March 30, 1942                                                                                                                      Kunming

Monday -- On alert today and checked out in the P40-E, the Curtis Kittyhawk.  It is a great airplane with lots of speed, and much better visibility and lands more stably.  Flew it for an hour and became quite enthused over it.  I was #4 in my squadron to be checked out  and I think that I rate about in that position.  I've been fairly lucky so far and just hope it holds out.  Neale is cooking up a big raid on Mingal and Zed, at Rangoon, by full moon.  CRB and I are full hot for it.  It will probably be the first night fighter strafing raid ever attempted but there is no reason why it shouldn't work.  The more I think of it, the better it sounds.  Pretty sure I'll be included in on it.  May luck be with me -- with us all.

                                                                         GTB

P40-E  F.A.V.G.  Kunming-Kunming  Checked out in the "E" Kittyhawk  1:00

March 31, 1942                                                                                                              Kunming

Tuesday -- Day off today and spent it very quietly.  Went over to the First Hostel after lunch and received a wonderful cablegram from Carrie.  Made me feel very good -- and I've reread it at least five times.  Man what I wouldn't give for a few short hours at home to talk to Dad and Carrie, and to see Murphy and Betty.  For that matter I would damn well like to see Romayne too.  Funny, but that's the way I'm feeling tonight.  The night raid on Rangoon is definitely "on" as soon as we get pictures and information about Magwe.  Neale, Little, Lawyer, Bartling and old CRB and me have been selected.  It actually is quite an honor -- if you disregard the danger.

                                                                              GTB

P40-E  F.A.V.G.   Rangoon-Rangoon  Familiarization in Kittyhawk  1:15