|K e n s m e n : 4 3 r d B o m b G r o u p (H), 5 t h A A F|
Log Entry of Sam Commons, 65th SQ,
for 1 September, 1944:
The First Daylight Raid on the Philippines
Today's mission is one we shall all remember. First daylight raid on the Philippines. We were flying in the lead ship so we were the first ones over the target.
Bombed Liganan air drome on Mindanao Island. We carried 90 frags and destoyed three planes and two trucks. 60 planes took part in the raid. Bombed from 12,000 feet. Had 100% coverage of target.
This was Lt. Simson's last mission and he bombed those three fighters as they started down the runway.
Ack ack was heavy and accurate but no planes were hit by it.
Then came the fighters. Must have been at least 45 of them. We had no fighter cover so we had one hell'va battle which lasted 45 minutes. They got 'way above us and dropped 7 or 8 aerial burst bombs on us. No one was hit, however. Then they dove down at us and the battle was on. Since we were leading the whole wing, they tried to get us mainly. Hell, they were coming in at all angles. We had all the guns blazing at one time. One came straight in at us from the nose but the nose gunner and I had such a wall of fire out there he couldn't line up on us so good. So he climbed up and over us. All the time I could see my traces getting right in there. Almost directly over my head he turned upside down making a lovely target. I cut loose with several bursts and I could see the tracers going right at the cockpit. Jack saw him go into a spin and never pull out so I'm pretty sure I got the pilot. Anyway, I have a definite to my name. We didn't get a hole, so we kept them off us.
Plane 056 had two men shot up and a pilot in the 403rd Sqd. was killed. The 22nd Grp. lost two planes. Hope Bud Phipper got by OK. Capt. White was pilot and the Group Commander Colonel H. J. Hawthorne 0-385412, and War Correspondent Lee VanAtta of International News flew with us.
This is one mission I shall never forget. The Philippines are really lovely although I didn't have much time to look at the target and surrounding area.
Ship was 776. Time was 12:10 giving me a total of 249:30 combat time.