WW 2 (PTW)



In the Pacific Theatre, Marines were called upon to stem the tide of Japanese aggression.  They stormed the shores of Tarawa (where, on 20 November 1943, the survival rate for the first wave of groundpounders was 20%) and Iwo Jima (23 February 1945).



                                           Diamond Head, Honolulu, Hawaii (1985)                            Elmer Geiges helping me with my rod and reel;

            (the U.S. was drawn into WW2 just behind me at Pearl Harbor)                      Mr. Geiges fought on Iwo Jima



                                           On the Island of Ie Shima, eating          The Coral-Rimmed island of Okinawa, Japan (1983);

                               C-Rations (Ernie Pyle died by sniper                site of the bloodiest battle in the PTO

                                   fire on the island, 18 April 1945)


Early in the war, the Japanese surprised the Americans at Subic Bay and drove them to Bataan (I'm sure you've heard of the Bataan Death March, where the Japanese captors force-marched their allied prisoners 60 miles, bayoneting any who could not make it).  Americans were also here at Subic Bay in 1898, driving the Spanish out of the Philippines during the Spanish-American War.  After WW2, the U.S. left behind many jeeps in the Philippines.  Filipinos stretched these jeeps (Jeepneys) to carry more passengers and have now become the workhorse of the Philippines, carrying everything from people to chickens to coconuts.



                                          Jeepney, Olongapo City, Philippines                              Subic Bay, Philippines (1982)



                                               Subic Bay, Philippines (1982)                               Dad (second from left), with the crew of the "Gopher"


My dad, Charlie Fields, served in Central and South America, Canada, and States during the first part of the war.  "We flew from Churchill on Hudson Bay to below Rio de Janeiro on the East Coast of South America to below Santiago, Chile, on the West Coast."   This "pic is L to R Ralph Bauer, M/SGT crew chief of our aircraft, the Gopher, a B-34 Lockheed Vega Ventura, me S/Sgt aerial photographer, George Geary. S/sgt radio operater and 1Lt Don Cooper, the pilot.  Our navigator 1Lt Ardis is not in the pic.  Picture was made in Central America or South America.


During the summer of 1944, Dad went to the South Pacific for one year.  The aircraft they used in the Pacific "was a B24 with a crew of 10.  The pilot, co-pilot and navigator were commissioned.  The crew chief (engineer) was usually a master sgt, assistant engineer, radio operator, two gunners, photographer and assistant photographer.  These were all enlisted.  I was the photographer but all the enlisted crew could operate the guns having been to gunnery school at Harlinger, Tx.  I remember one thing we had to do at school was take apart and put back together a 50 cal machine gun while blindfolded.  For the aerial gunnery practice we did out over the Gulf of Mexico shooting at a sleeve target being pulled by another aircraft.  We used colored rounds so could tell how many hits.  En route to our destination of Hollandia, New Guinea, one incident made an everlasting impression on me.  We landed at Tarawa. It had earlier been secured by the Marines. I visited the beach and looking out from the beach to where the Marines had to wade in because of low tide and the Japanese mowing them down with machine gun fire, it just made you want to cry."  From New Guinea and Australia, the crew began moving up the island chain secured by the Marines and Army. They flew out of bases in the Philippines after the islands were retaken from the Japanese. Finally, the crew ended up on Okinawa.  "I was in a phot outfit (4th Photo Mapping Sqd) and on the occasion of Tokyo we were photographing the fire bomb damage. There were vast areas of destruction in Tokyo.  There were just a few standing brick chimneys. The firebombs simply destroyed Tokyo. The houses were so flimsily built they easily burned. The destruction in Tokyo seemed much greater than in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but not as far-reaching.  In the case of Hiroshima I am sure the damage was greater at ground zero but not as larger of area as the fire bomb.  The same with Nagasaki.  These three missions were flown from Okinawa and dated from 25 Aug 45 to 8 Sep 45."  Today, the 4th Photo Mapping Squadron is known as the 4th Space Operations Squadron, based at Falcon AFB, CO.


The Enola Gay (Dulles, VA), the B-29 Superfortress which dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, 6 August 1945. 

Truman ran the numbers and determined that fewer would die from the atomic bomb than would die in a protracted war.

Furthermore, Truman wanted to use the technology first, before it was used against the U.S.



Note:  While I make every effort to produce an error-free document, errors occasionally creep in. I would appreciate you bringing any to my attention so that I may make the necessary corrections.



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