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. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . c h a p t e r t h i r t y - f o u r ........................................................... winding down the war Early in 1945, we got word that a base was ready for us on Tinian (one of the islands in the Marianas) and that we were to move from our bases in India and China to Tinian. This was good news for several reasons. It would put us closer to Japan where we would be able to carry much bigger bomb loads, and we would no longer be faced with the job of ferrying everything over the Hump before we could fly a mission. Also, we would be part of a bigger effort. General LeMay, who had been with us in India and China, now was on Guam commanding the 20th Air Force. There was a wing of four B-29 groups flying out of Saipan and another wing flying out of the other field on Tinian. Two more wings were in training in the States and would be coming out to fly out of Guam. This meant that instead of the raids of a few dozen B-29s that we had been flying out of China, the 20th Air Force would be able to put 1,000 B-29s in the air on a mission. The war in Europe had been won, and the B-17 and B-24 outfits were being brought home, retrained in B-29s that were pouring out of three factories, and sent to the Pacific. Equally important, we were now being served by a short pipeline that ran directly from the United States, across the Pacific Ocean to us, instead of being on a supply line that ran three-quarters of the way around the world. We were going to be a lot more effective, and that meant that the war would be won that much sooner. We were hitting with power where it hurt, instead of nibbling around the edges. And the capture of Iwo Jima by the Marines meant we now would have fighter escort over Japan from the long-range P-51s being moved into Iwo Jima. And our loss rates went way down. We used to kid that the loss rate of the transport guys flying our B-29s out to us from the States was higher than ours was when flying combat. And of course, I was now closer to Lee. Our letters got back and forth in a few days instead of a few weeks. Things were surely looking up. PAGE 193 ................. 17575$ CH34 10-14-09 12:25:05 PS Letter to Lee, May 16, 1945 Golly, Sweetheart, it’s been a long time since I’ve been able to write. Just yesterday, they cleared us to use our new A.P.O. number, and for the present, that is just about all they will okay. We can say we are in the Pacific Ocean Area, which should be pretty obvious since we now have a San Francisco A.P.O. number and, as a great favor to us, they gave us special permission to say we are on an island. You should know that also already, since you are well aware that these airplanes of ours are not very well adapted for Carrier landings and take offs. It’s sure a shame that censorship regulations are always so far behind schedule, but that’s the Army for you. It’s like old times to have a San Francisco A.P.O. number. Somehow it seems as though I was nearer to home than when you were writing to the New York number. Actually it is closer to home, too, and mail service should be much quicker than it was. Mail is already being diverted to us here from our old address, and I’ve already received a most wonderful letter from you, my darling wife, and one from the folks. We are very happy in our new home, Darling. The food is better than it ever was in India or China and is getting better all the time. The climate is perfect, and as it was 120 degrees in the shade on the day I left India, we are sure pleased on that score. Our camp area is still rather rough and is under construction, but already we are having it better than we ever did in India, and in another couple of months, this will be like the Waldorf-Astoria...


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MARC Record
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