New Guinea

April 21, 1944:

VF-31 was assigned to bomb three air fields several miles inland off of the north shore of New Guinea.  These air fields were named Hollandia, Sentani, and Cyclops and were the main staging areas for Japanese air power in the region.  These attacks were over land that was mostly jungle with native tribes that were not friendly to anyone so the prospects of parachuting or ditching a plane in these jungles was something that none of the pilots wished to experience. VF-31 and VT-31 did not run into any enemy opposition as most of the planes had already been destroyed by Army medium and heavy bombers who had been targeting these bases days earlier.  The air fields, barracks, hangers, and gun emplacements were targeted and destroyed.

April 22, 1944:

This day brought another round of bombing and strafing of the air fields around Hollandia. While returning from Hollandia to the USS Cabot Lt. Scales and his wingman Ens. Bowie came across a Japanese Oiler (1,000 ton tanker) anchored and camouflaged in a sheltered cove.  They proceeded to make several passes strafing it and set it ablaze.

April 23 - 25, 1944:

The target given to VF-31 and VT-31 was two air fields about 100 miles west of Hollandia called Wakde and Sawar. Here they ran into more opposition from ground AA guns and Lt. Wirth took fire and had his engine damaged. He was able to make it back to the Task Force but had to ditch his damaged aircraft.  He was picked up uninjured by the Destroyer USS Hull (DD 350) who demanded 20 gallons of ice cream from Cabot for his return.  On April 25th Lt. Wood's TBM missed the arresting wires while landing and his plane crashed through barriers 2 and 3 and crashed on the deck.  Lt. Wood and his crew were not hurt in the crash landing.

After the amphibious landing was over Task Group 58.2 sailed north with orders to once again attack the Japanese stronghold of Truk on their way to the new fleet anchorage at Kwajalein Atoll.

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