Feb. 4, 1942 (Wednesday)

Netherlands East Indies

About 0900 we receive word from Makassar that two waves of Jap bombers (totaling about 60) were passing over in a southwesterly direction. (They must be coming from Kendari.) We immediately concluded that they were headed for here, and made preparations to give them a hot reception from the ground, at least. Could barely stagger around with all the Colt .45 ammunition I was carrying. The morning dragged on, and no bombers. The truth slowly dawned on us — the fleet was somewhere north of Lombok or Sumba? Sure enough, I got the hot, and confidential, dope in the early afternoon that the Asiatic Fleet had gotten a terrific pasting. The #3 turret on the Houston was afire, the Marblehead was severely damaged and radioing to us in plain English for fighters — as if we had them. I know positively of only 12 fighters (P-40s) on this whole island — o’ shameful truth — what a feeling, knowing that these poor fellows out there are helpless and are being slaughtered by the hundreds, all because the fatheads back in Washington won’t sent us a few of those thousands of planes lying around.

The torpedoes used by ourselves to prove themselves just about useless. One officer told of seven sure shots on Jap transports, which failed because the torpedoes’ faulty mechanism. Also the tails fall off the aircraft bombs in flight. My God, is this the U.S., or another France? Pendola got back okay from Balikpapan. Picked up crashed B-17 crew from island.