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May 1944 - Part 1


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9FS Unit History

April 1944


Until the 9th of April, 1944, our missions continued to be of an uneventful nature. The Wewak area was pounded regularly by the bombers, but we drew only one escort mission and one barge hunt to this area, and both proved uneventful. Tadji was beginning to take frequent attacks as our operations moved up the coast. Hollandia began to come into the limelight as many large scale daylight raids took place. The expected push northwest up the New Guinea coast seemed to be shaping up. The fighters escorting thse strikes were running into interception comparable to that experienced in the Wewak area in the past. The long range P-38's were getting into the Nips that the bombers had not destroyed on the ground. We escorted mediums on their return April 3rd and 4th by picking them up near Tadji and accompanying them to Gusap. The 9th flew its last patrol in P-47's the ninth of April. The long awaited and hoped for event of going back to our old friend the P-38 actually occurred. Morale soared and expectations were great. Until the 15th of April our pilots were busy becoming reacquainted with and checking out in the P-38's.

This period was not without mishaps. April 9th, Lt. D. Fisher, while landing with electrical trouble, crashed into an A-20 on the approach and washed out his plane. There was no injury to personnel nor was there any when landing gear and brakes caused 3 other accidents. On the 12th, Lt. R. Harper dove in while on a routine training flight. The cause of the tragedy was never determined. April 17th we flew our first patrol in the new 38's, and the day following went on two search missions to the Sepik River area. Routine valley patrols continued until the 23rd, and during this period of relative inaction for us, Hollandia and Tadji were receving the attention of what seemed to us to be the entire 5th Air Force - with the exception of the 9th squadron. Other P-38 outfits added to their scores, the bombers damaged ground installations and we patrolled Gusap and Dumpu. April 22nd landings were made at Tadji and Hollandia. We flew on uneventful mission covering transports to Tadji. From then until the last of the month we ran four routine patrols over Tadji and two weather reccos. Operationally the month was dull compared to what was taking place in other quarters, but we all felt we were ready and due for something more interesting. During the last half of the month preparations were made for the move that was sure to come and which we were sure would give our pilots a chance to add to their scores. On the 19th, the ground echelon which consisted of two-thirds of the ground personnel, left by air for Finschafen to await water transportation to our destination, which by this time we knew to be Hollandia. This ground echelon mucked around in Finschafen mud while the air echelon at Gusap prepared for their move. Even speculation as to the workings of the new personnel rotation plan was shoved into the background by the major events that were taking place in New Guinea.





Animated example of P-38 fighter plane



[Animated P-38 fighter plane.]


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