Fourth of July, 1944

July 1, 2017

From George Pitts’ diary:

From Frank Studenski:

July 4, 1944:  This morning at 0500 our planes were launched to bomb the bases and air strips of Iwo Jima.  At 1530 hours the Boston, Canberra, San Juan, Santa Fe, Mobile and about 15 destroyers went in to bombard the island. We fired our 8″ and 5″ guns.  We got in close to fire 5″ shells.  We launched one of our catapult planes for spotting duty over the target.  We were hitting the southern airfield where almost seventy aircrafts were lined up.  We also hit gas storage tanks.  We were hitting all our assigned targets.  Looking through the binoculars, I could see a lot of planes on the field blowing up.  There was a lot of large fires and explosions.  The smoke was thousands of feet into the air.  A ship was sighted leaving the harbor, so we immediately opened fire on her, a destroyer went in to finish her off.  One of the planes from the Santa Fe that was spotting for us was shot by three Jap fighters.  The crew was picked up by one of our submarines.  All together this day 116 Jap planes were destroyed and five ships were sunk and several damaged.  This was a great way to celebrate the Fourth of July, killing Japs.

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