February 17, 1944 (Thursday)

Torokina, Bougainville, Solomon Islands

Went swimming this afternoon on a beautiful volcanic sand beach just off of Torokina fighter strip. Towering among the peaks in the background is an ominously smoking volcano, with white steam shooting from gashes down her sides. To the southeast stretch the shores of Empress Augusta Bay. Only a mile or so down the beach can be easily seen the mouth of the Torokina River, beyond which is Japanese held beach and hinterland. Squadrons of New Zealand P-40s (with white tails) and Navy F4Us were returning from a strike on Rabaul. We rode the waves and watched them come in, as though there were no war in the world and no bestial enemy only a few miles away — virtually within sight. 

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