February 28, 1943 (Sunday) 

“Cactus,” Guadalcanal

TBF raid on Buin-Kahili came off last night. No torpedoes were taken as we did not wish to show our hand with only four Jap AKs at Buin-Tonolei. Each of us (PB4Ys) carried 120 20-lb. “daisy cutters” for use against Zeros (parked) and personnel at Kahili and Ballale strips. My radar went out (as usual) after takeoff (0100) and the moon was weak, hence navigation was not too accurate. (The overhead haze precluded star fixes.) Approached Bougainville from the south. Mistook Empress Augusta Bay peninsula for Shortland Island and turned NW. Recognized my mistake at Buka Passage and reversed course to SE.

Saw flares is going off over Buin–Tonolei area. AA and searchlights. At 12,000 ft. I cut my engines back and glided in at 200 mph to 7,000 ft. for release over Kahili revetment area. Caught in searchlights for 2 to 3 minutes (seemed like an eternity). Ack-ack was excellent – right on my tail all the time. Escaped between Buin and Shortland, to the south. Left fires burning at Kahili. TBFs sank two ships with one loss to themselves.

The sunrise on the way home was beautiful. The sea, and a flat calm, mirrored perfectly the hundreds of small fantastically shaped cumuli.

Swim in river and slept. Read magazines and mail from home.

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