Three weeks later my staff and I were at Langley. We were met by Sgt Clancy who saluted, “I see you are an officer again. How long this time.”
I returned the salute and shook his hand , “Good to see you too.” We both laughed.. I introduced my staff and told them if ever they were in need to contact Clancy he had the Colonel's ear. I looked at him and asked, “you are still attached to Colonel Thomas... aren't you? “
He nodded and said, ''That is where we are going. Get in please.'' We arrived at a Quonset Hut on the edge of the airfield. We got out of the Jeep as the door was opening.
A booming voice, “Get in here I am tired of waiting.” The Colonel backed up so we could enter it is about time you....He spied Erica … what have we here.”
Allow me to introduce to my personal staff. “Ssgt Johan Schmitt, Sgt Donald Marfa and Sgt Erica Dormer. As you will notice the stripes on my two fledgling Sgt s are brand new. Thanks to General Whitcomb he said it was a reward for learning basic English so quickly.” (thank you Dotty).
Oh and Colonel Lincoln I am acting Brigadier General in charge of training. I think you know my Temporary asstiant Lt. Carol Green. I turned just in time to receive an armful of beautiful woman. And a scathing look from Erica.
I introduced Carol to my team they recognized her name and Erica calmed down.
Colonel Thomas said we would be going back to school. We would be learning Japanese and Tagalog. It was planned to drop us in to Zambalas in the Philippines. My team would also be learning self defense.
Carol had also married over the past two years and had a little girl 6 months old. Her and her Husband was being transferred to Hawaii next week. While we were training she would be setting up our conduit with Dotty. Louise was being transferred to California they didn't want to strain the conduit.
Dotty was being strained teaching languages she had never seen before. The speaking was fairly easy... but to convey the written language was rough. She told me she had two Japanese and two Filipino assistants.
Erica picked up the languages quicker than the others. Even with Dotty imprinting to their brains she was still faster. I think the only reason I was learning fast was I was used too it.
Radio training seemed to flow quicker into Johan' s mind then the rest of us. Medical training was Donald's forte. They all took to the martial arts training. Johan said he understood now why I had not been worried by his size. This was after I had put him down for the fourth time.
In May of 1943 things were beginning to heat up in the Pacific and the plan was to drop my team into the Philippines to join up with the guerrillas and to pass information back to the states. On the 16th we boarded the Catalina PBY, as the crewman was closing up the hatch a jeep honked and pulled up to the pier. He passed some papers to the crewman.
The crewman closed the hatch and took the papers to the pilot. Once we were airborne the pilot turned the controls over to the co-pilot. “Colonel new orders you need to break out one your cameras. The new orders has us flying over Marcus Island … seems they want a few pictures HQ thinks they are being resupplied by Submarine.”
Erica had hers handy she put film in and put on the lenses she thought she would need. Now it was just time to wait. Eight hours later they were descending so Erica could take the pictures.
Suddenly the plane started shaking, We were taking ground fire the pilot pulled on the stick to began a climb. The plane moved right in to the path of bursting flak. The windshield burst, the glass hitting the pilot and the co-pilot in the neck and face. A crewman ran to me “Colonel the pilot and co pilot are down.''
I got to the flight deck just as the navigator was pulling out the Co-pilot. I slipped in to the pilots seat and took the wheel from the radio operator who had kept us straight. I looked down at the compass... I knew we were in trouble … the compass was broken.
With the windshield smashed we had to lower our height and speed all I could think to do was keep going straight till the navigator could take some sights and tell me where we were. A crewman tells me we are losing fuel. I tell him to get the life rafts ready I am going to set her down.
The navigator had an estimate of our position he had seen an Island to our port side and his best guess by the course we had been on before the Flak. He thinks the Island he saw was Japanese held Iwo Jima. And our only hope was if we could get as far away as possible. I tried to keep flying just skimming the wave tops.
As it turns out the navigator was wrong ... way wrong . Darkness was quickly approaching and we could see the outline of a large Island and a smaller one. The Navigator says, “Oh My God if this is the Bonin Islands then that is ChiChi Jima to port and that is Ototo Jima. On the other side we are headed to the Japanese home islands.”
“ Get every body and all the gear together. Make sure you bring the charts of this area. I sat the plane down and edged into a small island to the far north. From the chart I would guess that it was Mago-Shima It appeared to be uninhabited. We were able to pull the flying boat all the way up on to the Island and as far into the trees as we could go. Then we brushed the sand so as not to give us away.
We had machetes on board they had become standard equipment on the PBY' s. We cut palm fronds to cover the PBY . We spent the night in the plane about 0300 the watch heard a boat engine and woke me up. I looked thru the binoculars at the Japanese patrol boat. I could see the sweep of its twin spotlights one one either side of the boat. To the land side the spotlight passed right over us... no change of the engine noise. After awhile it passed around to the other side of the Island then was gone.
I made my report to the girls, They were going to mount a immediate rescue. I told her to wait I wanted to look around.Dotty told me not to be stupid there were over 5000 Japanese troops on ChiChi Jima. I said yes but there are no permanent troops on Ototo Shima so I can traverse it without to much problem. Then I can plan what to do next. Next was to bury the pilot and co pilot who had died during the night.
That night I took Donald with me and we made our way end of Ototo Shima. The small strait between Ototo Shima and Ani Shima is shallow and can be waded. From the tip of Ototo Shima to the southern tip of Ani Shima is just under 4.5 miles or 7 Klicks, between Ani Shima and ChiChi Jima the strait is less than a half mile, half of which is wade able. The Japanese are being nice and has marked the deeper parts with buoys.
We swam across once we set foot on ChiChi Jima the danger tripled. Their were many Guards walking Post and constant Patrols back and forth. Suddenly the siren went off announcing an air raid. The chaos was amazing from calm to frantic in an instant. Under the cover of darkness and and the sheer panic of the Japanese soldiers we were able to make it all the way to the Sea plane dock. I looked around then we got the hell out of there before one of the bombs landed on us by mistake.
We had to wait for the patrol boat to pass through the straits. Once it was past we swam across, it was still in sight but their focus was ahead and skyward. They had turned off their spotlights while the air raid was going on. I had an idea... it was time to get back to the plane.
The others were worried because of the air raid. There was no reason to worry the Bombers were trying to knock out the radio towers a top Sakajura. While we had been on their base I had noticed a large sea plane with enough room for all of us, I had read about them. A Kawnish H8K2 Allies code name Emily.
In 1942 Two H8K2s Flew from Japan met with a submarine and refueled, the plan was to bomb Pearl Harbor a second time but because of low visibility the attack was canceled.
The Emily was quite a toy... it had 5 x 20mm guns mounted , 1 each, in the Bow, Dorsal, Tail Turret and port and starboard Waist blisters. After that it carried 5 x 7.7 mm in the fuselage hatches. Had my mouth watering.
Dotty and I had a pissing contest when I told her what I had planned. She finally gave in and would notify me when it was approved. I talked to my crew and explained what was going to take place. While Donald and I was gone they were to get one of the Life rafts and load it with all our gear in it.
Once the sirens began blaring they were to drag the raft to the waters edge then lay low.
Donald and I had made our way to the edge of the jungle. We watched the guards... finally one walked just close enough. I stepped out and grabbed his chin and the top of his head one twist and his neck snapped. We pulled the body behind some pallets and stripped the body. Donald undressed and redressed in the guards clothes. I took his clothes and put them in the pack I was carrying.
The Flight engineer had shown me the pack on the pby that contained C-2 Which was an improvement over RDX and detonators and trigger switches. The idea was for Donald to work his way around to the Wooden Control tower. He would place charges on two legs of the tower then walk back around to Sea plane dock. We had already chosen the 'Emily' we wanted.
As soon as the siren began to sound off we would make our way to our Plane. The pallets we were hiding behind had Gasoline and parts so we added a couple of bricks of C-2. The Sirens started I began making my way to the Sea Plane, Donald met me there. We climbed aboard I started the engines.
I blew the charges on the tower and began to take off the bombers were making their run at the radio towers. Two light bombers came right down the harbor. They ignored us. While we were taxiing Donald set off other charges. He blew the pallets and two sea planes. As we went over the mountain Donald started speaking in the radio in Japanese. Saying we were hit and going down.
We scooted up the coast to Mago Shima where I sat the plane down and and moved as close to the life raft as I could. We loaded everything aboard and took to the air. I again skimmed the wave tops … “Dotty we are on the way.”
Carol and Louise sends their love and they still don't know how you pulled it off. You are to set down 300 miles south west of Iwo Jima. You will be met by a Catalina … your team will off load to the Catalina and they are carrying a pilot and Co pilot to take the Emily to Australia..
A little over three hours later we set down in calm almost still waters. Ten minutes later the Catalina set down and taxi up near us and open their hatch and out came their rubber raft with two seamen rowing and two officers sitting in back.
We exchanged positions when all of my team and our gear was on board the Catalina. We began to move I looked around to my team and smiled “ I think I am going to miss 'Emily'. We are back on schedule. Tonight they will drop us on a low altitude jump there will be three red lights in a triangle. Inside the triangle is where you need to land.”
We landed on a small island still in allied hands there we spent the day resting and preparing ourselves for a long stay. We loaded the plane ready to make our jump, the plane takes off we load our packs and don our parachutes, step to the door … and away we go...