Feb. 3, 1942 (Tuesday)

Netherlands East Indies

Took off at dawn and headed north for the East Coast of Borneo in company with another PBY-5 (ex-Dutch) whose unenviable job was to investigate Balikpapan, while our job was to patrol the center of the Makassar Straits and the west coast of the Celebes. As we crossed the southeast tip of Borneo, a group of B-17Es passed over us at 27,000 feet on the way to Balikpapan with presents for “Mr. Moto” — however we didn’t see them pass over us. When the other PBY finally neared Balikpapan they found a hornets nest of angry, bombed, Japs out for blood. They had to take to the clouds in the mountains of Borneo to shake the swarm of Zeros after them. We covered the straits and West Celebes without seeing anything. On our way back to Surabaya, we got word that an air raid was going on there! Finally got back after 12 hours in the air, only to see our anchorage sprinkled with sunken planes and burning wreckage. The Japs came over with 27 two-engine bombers and about 20 fighters (Zeros). The bombers stayed high and did a poor job of bombing with a fairly light bomb (one fell in a hanger and only hurt the tail assembly of one plane! — several hit shops in town.) P-40s got four bombers, while the fighters, who were strafing us with their cannon down low, lost seven to the Dutch interceptors. Our losses 0 or 2 P-40s and 2 to 10 Dutchman — know for sure later. Deede’s PBY shot down a “Zero” at the east end of Moedura Island. He landed beside the floating wreckage and retrieved a job chart — the pilot he hoped to capture was drowned. Not a bad day.