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February 1944


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9FS Unit History

January 1944


January 1944 was a quiet month for the 9th. Routine patrols over Gusap and Dumpu occupied the first nine days of the new year, but on the ninth our P-47's escorted P-40's to Uligan Harbor, flying cover while the P-40's strafed. No enemy aircraft were seen.

Dengue fever struck many of the men during the month, but all recovered and returned to duty. The monotony of patrols was again interrupted with a fighter sweep to Karkar Island on 12 January, but the mission proved uneventful as did another to Alexischafen on 16 January. However on 15 January at dawn the Japs strafed Gusap and dropped anti-personnel bombs. Two of our planes were damaged and the Communications and Engineering tents were hit. A jeep load of our men was strafed on the road, but fortunately none of the men were hit because the enemy plane was so close that the fire from its wing guns hit on both sides of the jeep, missing the vehicle itself when the crossfire converged beyond it. The only casualty was pilot McElroy who was jumped on by other men joining him in a small trench, and he was not badly injured.

The squadron was given a surprise mission on 18 January - a fighter sweep to Wewak. Fourteen of the 9th planes arrived over the target. Major Gerald Johnson, C.O., was leading the squadron when a single enemy fighter made a pass at Green Flight from above. Johnson turned into him and followed him in a dive toward Wewak. Johnson fired a long burst from dead astern, closing to about 50 yards while still firing. There were bright flashes as his fire hit the plane's left wing root, tail and fuselage. The Jap twisted to the left, diving straight into the jungle, smoking and out of control. Johnson was diving at 500 miles an hour, and pulled out at 5,000 feet.

Patrolling Gusap and Dumpu was resumed, the only deviations being fighter sweeps to Nubia on 23 and 28 January. Major Johnson, C.O. of the 9th since 27 August 1943, was made Deputy Commander of Group, and Capt. Wally  Jordan became 9th Squadron Commander. With high hopes of encountering a little enemy opposition in the coming month, the 9th faced February of 1944.


New Guinea natives - 1944

Native tribesmen of New Guinea, 1944 
(c/o Warren Fowler)



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