Re(2): OKINAWA...THE FINAL STRAW! IP: 184.108.40.206 Posted on April 1, 2017 at 01:42:07 PM by John R.
The Battle of Okinawa April 1st, 1945
CBMU - 617, United States Navy CB’s attached to MAG 31.
The skipper of the USS Menard made a talk after we left the P. Islands & told us what to
expect & made it clear that our mission was to kill Japs & we were going all the way.
He told us that each man had his own life in his hands along with a great responsibility. That
we were sailing real close by Japanese. Truk and Wake islands which was held by the Japs &
could expect almost anything. We went through abandon ship drills, fire drills & etc.
several times. From there on I stayed on deck all I could. The night of Mar. 31st we got to our
destination. We maneuvered around & around the island. April 1st 1945 At day break we
were on deck wondering just what was on that island. No one seemed scared. But
still there was something funny about this Okinawa that we were so near to. We could
see towers smoke stacks, trees & every thing was so still & clear. At 8:30 thousands of big
guns went into action. You could see the shells burst on the beach & Youtan airfield &
our planes diving and dropping bombs. - At 7:00pm Japanese air attack all round us. Monday
April 2nd air attack at dawn . Japanese suicide plane dropped a bomb off our fantail. Missed
& then tried to smash our ship. But missed again & hit on the deck of K.A. #53 right along
side of us. 4 dead & 46 wounded. Some of our men went ashore as things were going
ahead of schedule & our job was at Yontan air field. We slept in cemetery on Yontan
with heavy artillery behind us. I would no sooner get to sleep when a shell from our
long toms would go over my head & wake me up. We got off ship at 4:15 P.M. & were on
beach at 5:PM. A Rhode Islander & I picked a bomb hole for our fox hole & done a lot of
digging in. The next morning we went to our camp area which was across the airstrip right
on the west end of the run way.
Thursday 5th Apr. 3 night raids -Friday 6th 3 day air raids - A.P.A. 201 our ship was hit by
Zero at 11:00 noon - Friday night 3 raids - Saturday 1 air raid & 2 night raids - We Apr.
11th plane crashed near our tent & killed the Flight Surgeon 2nd Marine Div. Thursday
12th. A dog fight between a Japanese Zero & a Corsair the Zero came down in flames at the
time I was building the General’s tent for the 2nd Marine Air Wing. Sat. Apr. 14th a Hell
Cat crashed at 5:00 P. M. 100 yds or so from our camp. The plane was in flames the
minute it hit the ground. It hit the radar & the pilot was burned up. - Sunday April 15th.
At sun down two Zeros came in strafing. One went down in flames ½ mile before it got
to our area. The other came over head & crashed into a ship below us. This raid
lasted 3 ½ hours 2 of our planes burned on the ship south of our camp & 2 north.
May 24th. 9:P.M. 5 Japanese Bettys tried to land with troops aboard at Yontan air field. The
troops were heavy armed with mine explosives. All were shot down but one. This one
landed near the tower & they destroyed 6 planes including P54s & the gasoline dump.
C.B.s & Marines who were working near at the time killed ones that had the job burning
planes. One got into one of our planes & when some guys came in the next morning
pulled the pin out of a hand grenade & killed himself & two Marines. 3 of these planes
went directly over our camp & one crashed into a gun position at the same place where
the Hell Cat crashed a few days before. It fell over a dug out where 7 Marine gun crew
were. We worked for 3 hrs. to free them. 2 were dead -- at Yontan they came in every
five minutes all nite long. They draped a string of bombs before we could get out of the
tent. So I dove in the hole & hit flat on my belly with 3 other guys & on top of me. June
19th we moved C.B.M.U. #617 and Marine air Squadron #31 from Yontan to Chiun air
field a Kerr. (Kerama).
Thursday June 21th. 10:00A.M. we were at camp. Dog fight between two Corsairs &
Japanese plane. They were very low and it took only a few seconds for our Corsair to get him.
He burst into flames. Crashed into the water & exploded _____ All organized resistance on
Okinawa ceased. Worked on air strip all burning Japanese dead & cleaning wreckage. –
Thurs. June 8th Chief McMerriman died at 11:00 P.M. several others sick - Friday 9th 3:00
P.M. Johnny Grey died. Both were buried Sat. 10th at 1:00 P. M. in the Marine Cemetery
1 mile away.
Saturday June 17th Japanese plane shot down over of our camp at 2500 feet high. It came
down in a dive & “that’s all.” - Night raid Japanese bomber shot by big 90 gun which was
located almost in our camp. This plane came in once before that at 40,000 feet, the search
light picked him up directly over our head but he dove out of the light & at that time the only
gun that we had there on Yontan airfield that would reach him was the 90 & it wasn’t
accurate at 40,000 ft. He was gone about 3 minutes & slipped in again. This time they had
layed a smoke screen but our boys got a hit on him & he went into a dive. He was over
our camp area down with all the speed he had. It was so high when it started & got so fast
that it vibrated to pieces. Parts were scattered over a radius of at least ¾ mile one
engine, a battery, guns & magazines, clips, gasoline tanks, & the six Japs that were in
the plane fell in our tents & garage. The bodies were torn to bits. The gasoline tank & a
machine gun magazine fell by our fox hole. The parts & bodies flying over our heads
made a very funny sound. We had no way knowing just what was going on as what
was flying where. The smoke screen made it impossible to see any distance. We knew the
whole thing was coming straight at us but we didn’t know how many bombs & etc. the plane
had left to explode. The gasoline tank hit along side our fox hole. There was 7 of us in
the hole at the time. We had been expecting the Nips to use poison gas, so when we
smelled the gasoline we thought ---“Well a lot of things. My tent was about 3 long
jumps from the fox hole and I ran in the tent & got my gas mask & had it on before I got
back to the fox hole. I took pictures of all these Japs my self. One of them fell in our
water truck cab bending the steering wheel & windshield to pieces. Replies: