Sept. 8, 1945 --Flew a sort of a mission today. Of course it won't be counted as one. Ferber and Hinkle and I again. We went to the little island of Minami-Daito-Shima, one of the islands we by-passed on our way here from Guam. The one with the fighters, and radar, and flak, and small arms fire. We dropped four packages of instructions to them from General Stillwell. They were just several papers folded into a small package telling them what they were supposed to do with their equipment and stuff.
They gave Ferber a camera and he was supposed to take pictures of the runways, because they wanted to land Cubs and C-47s there sometime. Another Lieutenant, a cameraman with our Squadron, came with us. He had a movie camera rigged up in the camera hatch. They didn't know if the Japs would shoot at us or not. They were supposed to have been notified by radio that the war was over, but we weren't sure if they knew about it or not.
So I had all the guns loaded on the ship. Of course I wasn't supposed to shoot unless they shot at me. Major [ James C. Jr.] Robinson made that very emphatic. He didn't want me to cause an international incident by shooting first. I was supposed to go over and circle the island at about 5,000 ft. just to look it over and to let them know I was friendly. Then I was supposed to go down about 500 ft. or so, fly over the runway, drop the packages, take some pictures and get the hell out of there.
We went out there at about 5,000 ft. Its only 22 miles from here and took us about 55 min. We circled the island once and let down to the deck. We went screaming over the runway at about 50 ft. going around 400 mph. Hinkle opened the little camera hatch in the rear and tossed the packets out while Ferber, up front, took several pictures. There were several people around, but they all ducked when we came over.
No one shot at us so we decided to make a few more runs to get some more pictures. We made about eight runs altogether. Never got below 300 mph. There were a lot of people out now. Mostly soldiers. They had two trucks standing by the runway with a lot of soldiers and flags in them. People were all over the little hills and gun positions along the edge of the island. Several beat-up planes were parked off to the sides. The east-west runway looked to be in pretty good shape, but the north-south one was all blown to heck. People ran out on the runway to pick up the packages.
On about the 6th run, there were a bunch of soldiers standing next to the east-west runway. As we came over, they all hit the dirt; then one would get up and wave a big white flag. I got a big kick out of that so we made a couple more runs just to see him do it again. Ferber got his picture. We took about 35 pictures, but Photo Lab only printed the ones they wanted of the runway. We took pictures of guns, planes and stuff, but they didn't print them.
When we got back we found out we were supposed to have had an escort of eight
F4Us [U.S. Marine Corps Corsair fighters]. Major Robinson didn't know about
it 'til after I left. We didn't need them anyway, and I'm glad I didn't have
them. They'd just have been in the way. Had a good time. The flight lasted
2 hours and 45 minutes.
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