July 4, 1943 (Sunday)

“Cactus,” Carney Field, Guadalcanal

Patrolled 810 miles toward Ponape again. Weather north of Solomons clear. No sightings. VB-102 playing over Kapingamarangi was jumped by five float Zeros, which which have just been sent down, probably from Truk, to protect the radio station. The plane eluded the Zeros. Solely as a result of our small raids, the Japs have been forced to install and maintain five floatplanes at this outpost. And this at a time when they are sorely pressed for planes.

Results of the last five days air fighting over Rendova:

June 30 101 — Jap planes destroyed

July 1 — 24

July 2 — 5

July 3 — 5

July 4 — 18 (12 Bettys, six Zeros)

The first two days we lost 26 planes, 17 of which were fighters. This figure includes operational losses, which are not included in the Jap losses. Most of our pilots were recovered. The natives liquidate all Jap airmen they run across.

The Japs have become very timid (understandably) lately. On the third of July in a dogfight over Rendova the Jap pilots were very touchy about getting close to any of our fighters. One New Zealand P 40 pilot found himself chasing six Jap Zeros. Jap piloting and marksmanship has slumped amazingly when compared with pre-Midway times.

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