Wednesday, December 19, 2007

10-15 November 1944

Have been here nearly a week and our duties have consisted of detail and lots of heavy work. On the 14th we received our orders and some of the boys are moving out to other stations in this region. We are slated to be assigned to this station, APO 565. We will probably be assigned to one of the strips here for further training. Will be glad when we get out of here and back on the job.

In a place like this, where many rotation men are coming back from combat theaters, there is a wealth of material for stories. I plan to keep a list of a few good ones so that I can refresh my memory later.

In the northern portion of Australia there are a great number of snakes. One of the AACS boys was sleeping in his tent one night and his arm got outside of his mosquito bar. He awakened during the night and thought his arm was asleep. He shook it and then looked. There on the end of his arm was a 20 foot boa constrictor. It had swallowed his arm up to the elbow. The boa constrictor has no teeth but swallows its prey whole and depends on its digestive juices to complete the job. The follow let out a blood curdling yell and wakened the whole camp. The boys took to the big snake with axes and machetes and cut it to pieces. It took an army doctor 30 minutes to lance open the snake’s throat and get the man’s arm out. It wasn’t even scratched, but the kid just about died of heart failure.

Many Jap atrocity stories are told in the States, but over here it is believed the Aussies have them beat ten different ways. An American Red Cross pilot tells the story of how he landed at an airstrip on southern New Guinea and an Aussie soldier met the ship and asked the pilot if he would like to shoot a Jap. The pilot said sure. It will cost you £10 said the Aussie. The pilot gave him the money thinking it was a gag, and followed the Aussie into the woods. There in a clearing stood a lone Jap tied to a tree with a rope. The Aussie handed the pilot his rifle and said, “Go ahead, shoot”. At this point in the game, the pilot got cold feet and told the Aussie to keep the £10, and so he (the Aussie) picked up the rifle and shot the Jap, picked him up, and carried him back into the jungle. He had been going out on the prowl, capturing Japs and charging visiting pilots the fee for the privilege of ridding the country of one more yellow “barstad”.

Japanese prisoners are something the Australians don’t care to have. During the first part of the New Guinea campaign when the allies were cleaning up Port Moresby the prisoners were flown back to Australia for questioning. Several times the pilots would start out with 14 or 15 Japs, but when they arrived there would be only 2 or 3 left. Subsequent investigations proved that the playful Aussies were getting out over the ocean, dangling the Japs over the side of the ship and dropping them in the ocean. This practice was stopped by imposing a £100 fine for each Jap the pilots lost on each trip

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