May 1, 1942 Karachi
Friday -- Checked with the Republic representative about the 43's this morning and found that the first one will not be ready before tomorrow at the earliest -- also that the Chinese pilots have not yet arrived. Spent the rest of the afternoon looking around and then picked up Bill Bockman and we went to town to do it up brown. Met Frank DeLong, who is now with the 88th Recon., and he gave us all the dope about home, having left there just a month ago. The paper today said the A.V.G. shot down 22 planes at Loi-Wing so the boys must be keeping busy. Bob Wertz, CAMCO man, Bill B., Dick, Jim and myself went over to Van Deusen's and finished the evening potted as usual.
May 2, 1942 Karachi
Saturday -- No P43's available today again, so we had another free one to spend. Fooled around at the field talking and so forth and then went to town. There was a dance at the Gym Club and we met Marge and the Van Deusen's there. Afterward we out to the Van's for the finest meal I have had since we left America. It was a very pleasant evening in many respects. Col. Logg and Bill Bockman went with us. This afternoon we went shopping and I bought a pair of summer gabardine trousers and a solid silver cigarette case. Hot stuff. Jim and Dick bought new watches, and in general we acted like a bunch of plutocratically rich citizens. Karachi is not a bad place except for the dust.
May 3, 1942 Karachi
Sunday -- Oh boy -- this life of the idle rich!! Up late and was going to check out in the P-43 but Col. Sanders got hold of me and I was so busy talking to him and members of the 51st Pur. Gp. that it was to late to fly when I was through. Nothing daunted, Bill Bockman, Jim and Jeffry Bird -- one of the few really top-notch Englisher's I've ever met -- went swimming at the Karachi Boat Club. A swell spot. Later we had drinks and chips at the Gym and sat through a terrible show - made about 1930. We all had a few more drinks at the Gym before turning in. Rossi had a date with Marge, but appears to be doing very little good. Must fly tomorrow for sure.
May 4, 1942 Karachi
Monday -- Checked out in the P-43 this morning and found it a pleasant task. Flew for an hour or more and tried a little of everything. It handles very well -- slow rolls fine and climbs like hell. It also lands easily and buzzes pretty well. Gave Marge's place a good buzz as did Dick a moment or two later. After landing I was called in by Ben Brady who mentioned the matter to me as I am in charge of the group. The three of us moved into town and hired a car this afternoon. The accommodations here are much better and it is more convenient. Saw another show tonight much better than last night -- and saw Greg Boyington and George Paxton who just got in from Calcutta. Paxton is going to Bombay on A.V.G. business and Greg is going home.
P-43 C.A.F. Karachi - Karachi Check out in Republic P-43 1:30
May 5, 1942 Karachi
Tuesday -- Paxton left for Bombay today but Greg is still around. There was no flying to do as no more ships had been signed for by the Chinese. After sleeping late we tried the Boat Club for a while and loafed away the afternoon. We were invited out to Van Duesen's for dinner but preceded that with a call on General Brady in his quarters. Brady is a good egg. He served several drinks and we all talked of this and that for over an hour. General Russel was also there. Later we went over to Van Duesen's and had the finest dinner we've had since we left America. It was really wonderful. Ate so much that I got sleepy and excused myself early to go to bed.
May 6, 1942 Karachi
Wednesday -- Went back to work this morning when Dick and I flew a couple more hours in the P-43's. Had a short dog fight with Dick and fussed around with the ship. Tom Riley went out with us and seemed to enjoy himself thoroughly just looking around. I have a bad sunburn from the swimming yesterday, so had to lay off today. We went over to Van Duesen's again for lunch and had a wonderful steak. I spent the afternoon sleeping, reading and doctoring my Karachi Krud. Spent the evening with the whole bunch of us going to the cinema!! Marge came over to the hotel for dinner as did Jeff Bird, and they all joined us at the show.
P-43 C.A.F. Karachi - Karachi Local flying for familiarization 1:15
May 7, 1942 Karachi
Thursday -- Knocked off flying this morning and laid in bed until nearly noon while Dick and Jim went out and tested three ships. At noon the Pan-Am boys and Greg came along with Dick and Jim so we breakfasted on beer. Pleasant way to open up the day. We went swimming down at the Boat Club all afternoon and I collected some more sunburn -- as if I didn't have enough already. In the evening we all went to a show in the usual wild evening. Dick and Jim both had dates so Dale Perry and myself hit the show. There was a party at the time the show was out. These days are hog heaven to us.
May 8, 1942 Karachi
Friday -- Went flying this morning, all three of us, and had a big time. We spent about an hour fussing around and playing games and such, then came back to the hotel for the morning beer. Went swimming and sailing in the afternoon but came home to get quite a jolt in the form of a message from Gen. Chennault saying to come home right now -- airplanes or no airplanes. Checked with the Chinese and learned that their pilots will arrive tomorrow morning so I am planning to pull this outfit out of here Sunday morning. After getting over the excitement of the message -- sending wires and what not -- we took in a show and then to bed.
P-43 C.A.F. Karachi - Karachi Test hop 3 P-43's for Chinese 1:05
May 9, 1942 Karachi
Saturday -- Up and at `em early and late trying to get organized to leave here by tomorrow morning. The Chinese pilots arrived on the morning train so I spent the rest of the day getting arrangement finished. Maj. Lai, Chinese representative here, helped get things organized. We spent the late part of the afternoon getting our maps ready. We went over to Marge's place for a farewell supper and took along a couple of quarts of hooch. A pleasant time was had by all including the Pan-Am boys who got double drunk. Everything is set to leave except that the expense account will never cover everything we've spent. It was still a damn fine stay.
May 10, 1942 Karachi
Sunday -- Attempted to get off this morning, but the double effect of news that Passage and Kristoffersen were both coming in at noon forced a postponement. The Chinese were all set to go, so we flew about one hour with each flight to get them used to formation and a little more experience with the ship. Pat, Jim and the rest of us went to the Boat Club for the afternoon and had a very pleasant swim. In the evening Kristoffersen, Weesner and the other Pan-Am boys came in for dinner. Kris told both Jim and myself to come along and that we have jobs. A swell evening -- one of the best since we have been in the orient.
P-43 C.A.F. Karachi-Karachi Formation with my Chinese pilots 1:00
May 11, 1942 Karachi to Jodhpur
Monday -- Finally got started on the great journey this morning. All got off but Cross who had to take another airplane which later proved costly. Going into Jodhpur we hit a bad dust storm and I missed the field and had to turn around and come back about 10 miles. The three men of Cross's element kept on going and the next we heard of them they were down without gas about 75 miles west of the field. Two of them were cut up a little and the third one bruised. One ship killed 31 sheep in landing. The British have arranged to take me out there to look things over in a Tiger Moth. One plane landed safely and can be flown back in.
P-43 C.A.F. Karachi - Jodhpur First leg of trip home, 3 Chinese lost 1:40
May 12, 1942 Jodhpur
Tuesday -- Today was my birthday and we spent it at Jodhpur in a pleasant way. After rounding up Capt. Lee's ship from where he landed we sat around and more or less enjoyed ourselves. Took a very pleasant swim in the Hotel pool before dinner. The Chinese wanted to show their appreciation for the aid given them by the British and had them to dinner. They presented each of the men with a cigarette case which I picked out early in the afternoon. It was a very nice dinner and a pleasant evening. Fletcher, Godwind, and S/L Bishop were the special guests. Later "Fletch" showed some lovely Kodachrome pictures of the Maharajah's block.
May 13, 1942 Jodhpur - Alwar - New Delhi
Wednesday -- Weather looked a little better this morning so we headed out for New Delhi. It was deceiving though for we hit a whale of a sandstorm about half way and I circled south to get around it. It got so bad I finally landed at a little place called Alwar, 120 miles due south. Four of the Chinese pulled off from the formation and went through the storm. Three of them made it but the forth was killed when he flew into the trees about 30 miles out of Delhi. The rest of us went into New Delhi in bunches of two and three from Alwar. The weather was very bad. One ship didn't make it. Saw Col. Old, Col.. Caldwell and had my first date in months. A big evening.
P-43 C.A.F. Jodhpur - Alwar Second leg hit bad sandstorm and stopped 1:55
P-43 C.A.F. Alwar - New Delhi Went into New Delhi when weather cleared :40
May 14, 1942 New Delhi
Thursday -- Slept late and then went around to see Col. Old and Col. Caldwell, both full Colonels now, and get the dope. Learned a lot about the plans for the A.V.G. but they are still very nebulous. Dick tried to go down to Alwar and take a battery to Chen but the weather was too bad. McKeown, Jim and myself went to a show in the afternoon and then Jim and I went again in the evening with Col. Old. He surely was nice to us. He hasn't changed a bit since the days when he had the old 43rd bomb. We came home from the show to find that Capt. Chen came up from Alwar on the train. Now we'll have to send him down again, Paxton can pick him up when he comes through.
May 15, 1942 New Delhi - Allahabad - Calcutta
Friday -- Decided to leave the three Chinese behind who were having trouble with their ships and Paxton will pick them up and bring them along. Got the rest together and left for Allahabad. Everything went well except that one of my Chinese turned his ship over in landing -- leaving us another one short. Saw Carmack, Keenan, Keiser, Rogers, Blankenhorn and DeLong and bought a .45 from Keenan. Got out of there at 2:20 and went into Calcutta after circling some very bad weather. As soon as we had rooms we all went to see the show "Louisiana Purchase" with Bob Hope. Really good. Later I went down to Margo's and spent the night there. Big holiday.
P-43 C.A.F. New Delhi - Allahabad Third leg-Lost one Chinese on landing 2:05
P-43 C.A.F Allahabad - Calcutta Forth leg-went around big storm 2:40
May 16, 1942 Calcutta
Saturday -- Slept late at Margo's and woke up in about the best shape of the year. It was really great after such a total abstinence. In the afternoon we all went to a show and fooled around doing practically nothing -- as befits one in a British War town. Had cocktails with Margo at Firpo's and the Grand. The New Zealand boys joined us as well as "Poncho" Brandt and his fiancee and we all went to dinner. The rest shoved off to the "300" Club, but I went to bed. I am finally beginning to realize my limitations. The maintenance work isn't nearly complete on the ships so we will not be going tomorrow. How very, very sad.
May 17, 1942 Calcutta
Sunday -- With nothing of any importance to do and our take off delayed until at least Tuesday or Wednesday due to maintenance difficulties here we spend the day loafing. Late in the afternoon the three of us went over to see Bob and Chris Angle for a few drinks. They took us over to the Saturday Club for a swim. The swimming club was really nice and we had a fine time. Later we had a big dinner at the Hotel and Dick and myself fooled around down town. Saw Margo and had a drink with her but came back to the Hotel shortly afterwards. We are going to buy some stuff tomorrow to take back.
May 18, 1942 Calcutta
Monday -- Slept late and then went shopping for a while before dinner. Jim, Dick and myself went over to Angle's for curry at Tiffin time and had a good meal, several beers and a lot of chit chat. We left shortly after dinner so they could take a nap. Dick and I slept until six and then went to see a Tarzan picture. Had dinner at the Grand and then went out to the Winter Garden to have a drink and see the floor show. From the social life in this town you wouldn't think there was a war on any where around. Typically British and typically disgusting. Went to bed early because I couldn't stand it any longer.
May 19, 1942 Calcutta
Tuesday -- Got word today from Maj. Yuin, the Chinese in charge here that all the planes will be ready to leave in the morning. This is O.K. with me because I am fed up with Calcutta and have seen all the shows. Dick and I went out and bought radios on speculation for resale in China. I also bought some cigarettes and will try to recoup some of the money I have thrown away on this trip. We went to the early show and then went back to the Hotel for dinner and a few drinks in the Winter Garden -- what a hole. Oh to be back in the states. Tampa, Sunbury or any of several places I can think of at a moment's notice. Wishful thinking no doubt.
May 20, 1942 Calcutta
Wednesday -- Expected to be far from this place tonight but no soap. Went to the field early and had to hang around for about four hours on account of weather. We finally took off in an attempt to make Din-Jan or Tezbur but I turned back about 200 miles out because the ceiling was getting so darned low and it looked worse ahead. We got back to Calcutta shortly after 1 P.M. and after taking care of the planes we checked into town and stayed with Ned Potts at his place. Had a quiet evening, a few drinks and early to bed. Nine o'clock to be exact. These damn Chinese pilots will be the death of me yet. I won the toss for the only available bed and Jim and Dick slept on couches. Hah.
P-43 C.A.F. Calcutta - Calcutta Tried to make Din-Jan weather n.g. 2:10
May 21, 1942 Calcutta
Thursday -- Tried it again today and still couldn't make it. Left around 8:30 and headed for Din-Jan but couldn't get over the mountains south of the river. We were out 320 miles when I turned back and we got into Calcutta with only about 40 gallons of gas left. Glad I didn't fool around any longer before turning back. They are beginning to kid us that we don't want to leave Calcutta. It was terribly hot and we were flying very low for over 3 hours. When we went into town Jim, Dick and myself went into the Milk Bar and drank $9 worth of milk shakes. Sort of expensive, hey? Stayed at the Grand and hit the hay after an early dinner. Try again tomorrow.
P-43 C.A.F. Calcutta - Calcutta Tried again but weather worse 2:50
May 22, 1942 Calcutta - Din-Jan
Friday -- Desperation set in today so we finally made it even though we had to go 2/3 of the way just off the tree tops. We got into Din-Jan with the ceiling at about 200 feet, light rain, and getting steadily worse. It was one of my best efforts of navigation so far despite the several difficulties provided by the weather. Layher was here and looked after us well. We ate and stayed with the Army outfit which is living at a former tea plantation. Pretty good. Met a lot of former airline pilots and several of the army men who were sent on the Tokyo bombing raid. There were 16 B25's and they evidently did a swell job. All got the D.F.C. and Doolittle got a C.M. P.S. They won $6 at poker.
P-43 C.A.F. Calcutta - Din-Jan Made by detour by Tezpur 3:05
May 23, 1942 Din-Jan - Kunming
Saturday -- Luck was with us for a change. After raining most of the morning it cleared up enough for us to get off for Kunming. Max Fennell, and old Ferry Command friend, was going over in a B-24 and he had a good navigator so I arranged to tag on. Everything was fine except he went through some thick stuff and I had to leave him on account of the Chinese found a big hole and went through it and then over a solid overcast for 400 miles. Hit Tali and Kunming right on the nose. Made me extremely happy. Was good to see Neale and all the fellows. Was here only a few minutes and saw the Col. when I heard I was to go to Chungking in the morning by transport, our squadron is moving up.
P-43 C.A.F. Din-Jan - Kunming Last leg 430 mile over overcast 2:40
May 24, 1942 Kunming
Sunday -- Got up early and packed to leave for Chungking but the thing fell through late in the morning as a result of a request on the part of the Generalissimo to stay here until the situation on the Saloween front is stabilized. Charlie and Jim went out on the Ferry transport around noon. Jim is playing possum to get out of flying for the remainder of the time we are here. Can't say that I blame him. Spent a pleasant day loafing around and fixed up my expense account for the trip. Back on the schedule tomorrow so will hit the hay early. We had a couple of drinks with Fennell, Neale, Jim and Charlie and fought the war to a standstill.
May 25, 1942 Kunming
Monday -- Back to the old grind again, up at 4:00 A.M. and over to the Generalissimo field to bring back airplanes that were dispersed there for the night. Each Squadron has 8 planes on alert, which is a pretty good slug of ships. Would like to see the little yellow bastards start something with us now. Had a check flight with Loane, an instructor who has been assigned to our Squadron for duty. He flew pretty darn well. The second squadron went down to the Salloween on a bombing mission but failed to accomplish very much. Am going to sell my camera and radio and should make out pretty well at the current exchange.
P40-C F.A.V.G. Kai Shek - Kunming Ferry ship back to field :20
P40-C F.A.V.G. Kunming-Kunming Combat checkout for Loane 1:15
May 26, 1942 Kunming
Tuesday -- Looks as though I am to be acting Vice-Squadron Leader while CRB is laid up with his burns. Neale was off today and he put me in charge of the Squadron. Attended all the staff conferences and such like and in the afternoon took a flight of four on a escort mission with two Chinese bombers at Yunnanyi and gassed up and picked the others up when they came over the field. Mighty long mission and very tiring since it produced no excitement at all. Was lucky at cards tonight and won 480 R's. This sort of thing would put me back on the gold standard if continued. Day off tomorrow what a heavenly thought.
P40-C F.A.V.G. Kunming - Yunnanyi Escort mission to cover Chinese :45
P40-C F.A.V.G. Yunnanyi - Kunming bombers at front line. 2:50
May 27, 1942 Kunming
Wednesday -- Spent the day off without any difficulty, showing that I am in good form. Slept late and then did nothing but fool around all afternoon until the fellows came home. We all checked out and went to the show at the first hostel tonight. Test pilot was the name of it, and although old it was pretty good. Saw George Paxton before the show and got things pretty well straightened out on the expense account for the trip. Everyone is counting the days until July 4th. That is independence day for the A.V.G. Very few are planning to stay over. Not more than four or five pilots at the most. Work again tomorrow. What a drag.
P40-C F.A.V.G. Kai Shek - Kunming Ferry from dispersal :45
P40-C F.A.V.G. Kunming-Kunming Two engineering hops #7 #22 1:15
May 28, 1942 Kunming
Thursday -- Back on the schedule, but not too eager. Very little was doing today other than card playing and sun bathing. There was an escort mission down to Mang Shih but Wolf's flight took it and we stayed home to look after local defense. It is might lonesome around here with both CRB and Jim gone. I wish we would either go to Chungking or decide to stay here -- either one suits me, but this sitting on the fence is tiresome. Max Fennell and the B-24 are in again and tonight Max got drunk as a goat. He wants to bomb instead of ferry generals around ant they won't let him! Army style.
May 29, 1942 Kunming
Friday -- Spent the day on alert but all was serene. Neale took his flight on an escort mission to Lungling and the second squadron bombed. Did a pretty good job too -- I hear. Neale had a forced landing in #7 and barely made the field at Yunnanyi. They fixed it up so he could fly it home. In his absence I attended the staff meeting and heard the good news that a squadron of B-25's and two squadrons of the 51st Pur. Gp. at Karachi are to move in here within the next ten or twelve days. Welcome news. Quarters and messing facilities are all that's holding them up.
P40-C F.A.V.G. Kunming - Kai Shek Ferry trip for dispersal :20
May 30, 1942 Kunming
Saturday -- Today was a big day. Out of the clear blue sky I learned from the Colonel -- pardon, General -- that he could predate an application for a permanent commission and that there is an excellent chance for me to get it. The board for permanent commissions is meeting at Chungking tomorrow at 2 P.M. so I have decided to try. Maybe it is foolish, maybe it is wise, but it is one thing or the other. Sawyer, Schiel, Schilling, Raines and Loane are also going to try. We were to go on a transport this afternoon but the weather was bad and we couldn't make it. Tomorrow we are going to try to leave at 8 A.M.
P40-C F.A.V.G. Kunming-Kunming Local patrol - combat hop 1:35
May 31, 1942 Kunming
Sunday -- Was supposed to go to Chungking this morning to meet the board about a permanent commission but the weather wouldn't cooperate. Sawyer, myself and the others sat around the field all morning and waited but finally had to give up. The ceiling at Chungking has been right on the ground all day. Col. Scott, from Din Jan, is going to take us up tomorrow if the weather improves. Rosbert put us on the alert in the morning to give the others a rest from the early morning rising. They will relieve us when and if we leave. Not much of anything doing tonight as everyone is packed to leave on an hours notice.