March 5, 1943 (Friday)

“Cactus,” Guadalcanal

We raided the Tonolei-Buin area last night. Five planes carried flares and four carried bombs. I dumped my flares from Tonolei Harbor to Buin at 13,000 feet in a good, unhurried pattern. Dropped 20 flares set to go off at 3,000 feet. Counted 13 Jap searchlights trying to pick me up. Was caught once for a few seconds, but managed to flick the plane out of it. The AA was light (I think the flares confused them). No shipping was spotted by the bomb planes so they dumped on the Kahili and Ballele strips. Weather was clear. No moon.

Lehman (of VP-14, but operating a B-24 with us) and “Fuzzy” Fisler failed to return. I suspect a collision between the two of them. Wally Jones and “Meathead” Gallagher flew with Fuzzy, who was, without doubt, one of the squadron’s finest pilots. He held the Navy Cross (first in the Pacific war) and the Air Medal for rescues at sea.

Wally Jones was one hell of a fine kid and one of my best friends. We weathered many a drunken brawl together in Hawaii.

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