June 26, 1942 (Friday)

Pearl Harbor

My first solo patrol today – a banner day. Am now a full-fledged PPC. Got the “Song of the Islands” for my sector — plenty of good landmarks for navigation checks – Kauai, Niihau, Nihoa and French Frigate Shoals.

Was talking to Luebke tonight and he said he heard from a girl in town that “Buck” Mazza was killed in the Coral Sea Battle. This girl was divorcing her husband to marry Buck. Was damn sorry to hear that bit of bad news. Old Buck, Dahloff and myself had some fun times together in Pensacola and New Orleans. We three almost grabbed ourself off the Lipton Trophy of the Gulf Yachting Association that summer of 1940. Always thought old Buck could beat any damn Jap born.

Luebke also said one of the Enterprise VF skippers (his?) turned in a report to the Bureau of Aeronautics that really “poured it to” the “famed” Grumman F4F-3 fighters.

This lieutenant commander, in reporting that the F4F’s performance in the Battle of Midway, said that the one thing the F4F had on the Jap Zero was the ability to take it; otherwise, the Zero could outshoot it, outrun it, outdive it, and outclimb it. He suggested that, in the event that the Bureau couldn’t produce a better fighter than the F4F, at least they could do is put a copy of the Zero into production! The new Zero, now out, has usual two 20 mm cannon plus four machine guns (formerly two).

Luebke says that the first few minutes, or rather seconds, of your tangle with Zero decides your fate. If you can get the first burst into him, he’s a goner and will always burst into flames, but, if you miss, you don’t get another chance, as he’ll outmaneuver you every time, and you’re damn lucky to get out of it with a whole skin.

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