Meridian, Mississippi
Feb. 2 - May 10, 1943
 
Tuesday, February 2, 1943
 
Arrived in Meridian at 1530 and we went directly to the field. Returned to town and spent the night at the Lamarr Hotel.
Wednesday, February 3, 1943  
Checked in at Key Field. Received my quarters and visited Finance, Personnel and Squadron Headquarters.
Thursday, February 4, 1943  
Spent the day getting adjusted and checking out the Officer's Club. I'm rooming with Jack Adams.
Friday, February 5, 1943  
Received dog tags. Collected half pay for Jan - $107.
Saturday, February 6, 1943  
Shot one round of skeet and got 8 hits, no more. Liquor at the "Club."
 
Sunday, February 7, 1943  
Day off. Wrote letters and played ping pong with Don Rauch.
Monday, February 8,1943  
Morning - ground school. Link - 1:00. Got typhus shot. Sent Anne $40 money order for a hope chest.
Tuesday, February 9, 1943  
Ground school. Sex lecture. Gave $1.50 for "Group Whoop." Collected travel pay from Marianna - $26.62
Wednesday, February 10, 1943  
Ground school. Stayed in at night and read.
Thursday, February 11, 1943  
Ground school. "Group Whoop" held at Country Club. Much liquor, gambling and girls. Also went to Woodlawn.
Friday, February 12, 1943  
Day off - I needed it! Went to movie in town at night.
Saturday, February 13, 1943  
Still waiting to fly. Link trainer 1:00. Shot skeet, 18 hits.
Sunday, February 14, 1943  
Flew in the gunners seat of an A-24. Pilot Lt. Tiemy. Played ping pong with Rauch.
Monday, February 15, 1943  
Routine. Jack Adams and I went into town and shot pool and bowled.
Tuesday, February 16, 1943  
This place is getting on my nerves - I want to start flying. Link 1:00
Wednesday, February 17, 1943  
I spent most of the morning at Air Corp supply. Listened to lectures. Went to Country Club in the evening. Southern girls are good dancers.
Thursday, February 18, 1943  
Shot skeet in the morning, 20 hits! Took a ride in the gunners seat of an A-24.
Friday, February l9, 1943  
Day off. George, Jack and I spent the day shooting pool and drinking beer. It's a tough war!
Saturday, February 20, 1943  
Got to fly the A-24 today! I logged 2:00 day transition. Link 1:00. George got taken for $100 at the Woodlawn Inn.
Sunday, February 21, 1943  
Started to fly but it was canceled as I was preparing for take-off. Logged :1O. Country Club at night.
Monday, February 22, 1943  
Morning - ground school. Logged 2:05 day transition in A-24. Stayed in at night - no money.
Tuesday, February 23,1943  
Ground school. Link 1:00. An A-20 cracked up five miles north of the field. Two bailed out and the pilot was killed.
Wednesday, February 24, 1943  
Day off - wrote letters and read. Beat Rauch at ping pong!
Thursday, February 25, 1943  
Logged 2:10 day transition in A-24. Three accidents today! #1 - A-24 pilot bailed out at 400' and lived. #2 - Lt. Haynes and enlisted man killed flying too low. #3 - A-24 pilot made forced landing in road. Country Club at night.
Friday, February 26, 1943  
Ground school in the morning, P.T. in the afternoon. Shot skeet, 20 hits.
Saturday, February 27, 1943  
Logged 2:05 day transition. Went to show in the evening. Borrowed $10 from Ralph Parker.
Sunday, February 28, 1943  
Went to dispensary and got treated for a cold. Rumor is that we'll be getting some P-39's soon.
Monday, March 1, 1943  
Logged 3:50 day transition in A-24. Navigation lecture. Got paid $280. Usual pay plus flight pay for half of Jan.
Tuesday, March 2, 1943  
Morning - three hour lecture on flight medicine. I've had enough schooling during the past year to qualify me for a college degree!
Wednesday, March 3, 1943  
Day off - hung around and wrote letters. Went into town in the evening with George and Jack.
Thursday, March 4, 1943  
No more ground school! Flew 2:00 day transition. Went to Country Club in the evening.
Friday, March 5,1943  
Rain - no flying. Shot crap and lost $50. Ralph Parker got engaged. Went to movie.
Saturday, March 6, 1943  
Rain - no flying. Shot crap and won $70. Ralph Parker got disengaged.
Sunday, March 7, 1943  
Loafed around all day. Went to movie in the evening. What a way to fight a war!
Monday, March 8, 1943  
Logged 2:20 in A-24. Flew to Birmingham and had breakfast with Lt. Lee. Got cholera shot.
Tuesday, March 9, 1943  
No flying. Went to Country Club.
Wednesday, March 10, 1943  
Flew 2:00 cross country in A-24. Went into town with George and saw movie. A-36 cracked up. Pilot Lt. Shaw killed.
Thursday, March 11, 1943  
We have two A-36's in our squadron and I hope to check out in it soon. The A-36 is a P-51 Mustang modified with dive brakes for dive bombing. Went into town with George and Don.
Friday, March 12, 1943  
Went into town and bought some summer uniforms. Jack and I went on M.P. duty in town in the evening. It was a quiet night for which I was glad. M.P. duty isn't my cup-of-tea.
Saturday, March 13, 1943  
Went into town with George and Jack. Stood retreat. Wrote letters in the evening.
Sunday, March 14, 1943  
55th squadron divided up into flights A, B, C, D and E. I will fly the A-36 as I'm in "B" flight. Went to Country Club.
Monday, March 15, 1943  
Filled out questionnaire on A-36. Shot skeet, 19 hits.
Tuesday, March 16, 1943  
Received cockpit check of A-36. Movie at night.
Wednesday, March 17, 1943  
Logged 1:00 day transition in A-36. Beautiful airplane! Country Club in the evening. Danced all night with Robin.
Thursday, March 18, 1943  
Link 1:00. Logged 1:30 day transition in A-36 and 1:10 in A-24. Country Club at night
Friday, March 19, 1943  
My birthday - 23 years old. George, Jack and I went to the Country Club and had a ball. I'm glad that everyone isn't fighting the war as I am. Still, I might as well enjoy it as I'm sure that my time will come.
Saturday, March 20, 1943  
Rain all day, no flying. Read and played cards.
Sunday, March 21, 1943  
Went on a five ship flight to Monroe LA, Jackson Miss. and back to Key Field. Logged 4:25 in A-24. Link 1:00.  Stayed in and read in the evening.
Monday, March 22, 1943  
Scheduled twice but didn't get off the ground at all, 1 got stuck in the mud when the left brake on my A-24 gave out. Country Club at night with Phillips and Lee.
Tuesday, March 23, 1943  
Flew to Birmingham for breakfast with Lt. Lee, Logged 2:30. M.P, duty in town. No more A-36's will be assigned to Key Field.
Wednesday, March 24, 1943  
No flying. Played pool and ping pong all day.
Thursday, March 25, 1943  
Shot skeet, 22 hits. Lt. Bowen of the 55th bellied up his plane today - pulled up his wheels instead of his flaps! Country Club in the evening. Stayed at the Lamarr Hotel overnight.
Friday, March 26, 1943  
Flew 1:00 formation in A-24. Pilot and gunner of the 56th squadron killed while night flying.
Saturday, March 27, 1943  
No flying. Went to dance at the Country Club and stayed at the Lamarr.
Sunday, March 28, 1943  
Flew to Montgomery Miss. and landed. New aviation cadets were impressed with the "Dauntless Dive Bomber."
Monday, March 29, 1943  
Logged 3:10 cross country in A-24.
Tuesday, March 30, 1943  
Logged 1:00 gunnery and bombing in A-24. Wrote letters in the evening.
Wednesday, March 31, 1943  
Link 1:00. Got paid $240. Played poker, won $20.
Thursday, April 1, 1943  
Logged 1:00 formation in A-24. Went into town with Lee and saw a movie.
Friday, April 2, 1943  
Flew cross country to Jackson, Biloxi and Lacross. Logged 4:00. M.P. duty in town.
Saturday, April 3, 1943  
Link 1:00. Went to R.E. Parkers birthday party, met the I-licks girls. Stayed at the Lamarr overnight.
Sunday, April 4, 1943  
Went to Crayco Lake with R.E. and party. Link 1:00. Stayed in and read at night.
Monday, April 5, 1943  
Passed instrument flight test in A-24. Logged :45. Played ping pong and pool with Don Rauch.
Tuesday, April 6, 1943  
George Phillips and I went to New Orleans. I rode in the gunners seat of Rauch's plane and George went with Adams. We ate at Antoine's and stayed overnight with George's friend. New Orleans is a fun city.
Wednesday, April 7, 1943  
Rauch and Adams picked up George and I at 11:00 and flew us back to Key Field. Logged 1:45 aerial gunnery in A-24. Pilot and gunner of the 56th squadron killed while trying to take off with the controls locked!
Thursday, April 8, 1943  
Flew to Camp Shelby and made a mock air raid. All personnel at the camp are supposed to carry their gas masks with them at all times on Thursdays. It's a real fun job to buzz the place and watch everyone run for cover. Went into town with Fred Lamer. Logged 1:45
Friday, April 9, 1943  
Went down to Pachuter bomb range as range officer. M.P. duty in town at night. Pilot from 56th squadron lost in A-36.
Saturday, April 10, 1943  
Looked for lost A-36. Don Rauch rode in my gunners seat. The plane was found 50 miles south of Selma - pilot dead.
Sunday, April 11, 1943  
Flew to Birmingham with Fred Lamer as observer. Logged 2:00. Aux tank ran dry on the way back.
Monday, April 12, 1943  
Dropped 10 bombs and shot 200 rounds of 50 caliber bullets at Pachuter range. Logged 2:00. M.P. duty in town.
Tuesday, April l3, 1943  
No flying. Stood retreat. Went into town with Fred Lamer in the evening.
Wednesday, April l4, 1943  
Lt. Lee and I flew our A-24's to Birmingham for breakfast. Logged 2:10. M.P. duty in town.
Thursday, April 15, 1943  
"Hit" Camp Shelby again in mock air raid. Logged 1:30. Fifteen pilots from 55th assigned to Baton Rouge.
Friday, April 16, 1943  
Flew cross country to Jackson and back. Logged 1:30. Stayed in at nite and read.
Saturday, April l7, 1943  
Logged :30 T/I 8 in A-24. Front moved in after take-off. Went into town with Lee in the evening.
Sunday, April 18, 1943  
Rain - no flying. Stayed in all day.
Monday, April 19, 1943  
Flew to Tuscaloosa and Columbus with Jack Adams on my wing. Low altitude. Logged 2:00.
Tuesday, April 20, 1943  
Morning - went to small arms lecture.
Afternoon - flew 2:00 formation in A-24.
Nite - went to town with Lt. Lee.
Wednesday, April 21, 1943  
Went to Pachuter as range officer. Went into town at night.
Thursday, April 22, 1943  
Went back to Pachuter and qualified as an expert with a sub-machine gun. No flying. Link 1:00.
Friday, April 23, 1943  
No gas - No flying. Went into town in the evening with Lt. Lee. We met a "queer" and had a long talk.
Saturday, April 24, 1943  
Flew X-C to Greeenville and Vicksburg. Logged 3:00. Review for new colonel of 48th bomb group.
Sunday, April 25, 1943  
Morning - 2:00 x-c in A-24
Afternoon - Logged 2:10 practicing dive bombing. Dove once without the dive brakes open and almost got killed - pulled out at treetop level!
Night - Logged 1:45 night transition.
Monday, April 26, 1943  
Morning - Shot skeet, 20 hits.
Afternoon - Logged 2:15 dive bombing at Pachuter. Dropped five bombs. Stayed in at night and wrote letters.
Tuesday, April 27, 1943  
Logged 2:15 dive bombing at Pachuter. Played ping-pong and pool all afternoon with Don Rauch. Logged 2:30 night x-c
Wednesday, April 28, 1943  
Took Lee to Birmingham for breakfast. Logged 1:45.
M.P. duty in town at night.
Thursday, April 29, 1943  
Day off - played chess and wrote letters. Logged 1:30 night transition.
Friday, April 30, 1943  
Got paid $239. Flew to Mobile and landed. Logged 2:10 x-c.
Saturday, May 1, 1943  
Logged 2:20 bombing and gunnery. Went into town in the evening with Lt. Lee.
Sunday, May 2, 1943  
Filled out questionnaire on the A-25 - it's a Navy plane they call the "Vultee Vengeance."
Logged 2:30 formation - unit mission.
Monday, May 3, 1943  
Logged 4:30 unit mission. Went into town at night. Remember the story about Lt. Hom buzzing the wharf at Biloxi.
Tuesday, May 4, 1943  
Logged 4:10 T/27 combat. Went into town with Lt. Lee.
Wednesday, May 5, 1943  
Logged 5:10 glide bombing and gunnery at Pachuter.
Stayed in and read at night.
Thursday, May 6, 1943  
Lt. Lee left for Biloxi. Went on A.O. duty at 11:00. Met Colonel Pratt in the evening and also called off night flying. Big stuff!
Friday, May 7, 1943  
Logged 2:15 glide bombing and gunnery, also 1:10 unit mission.
Went to Country Club to a dance in the evening, I'm glad that I'm a pretty good dancer - it helps a lot!
Saturday, May 8, 1943  
No flying. Lt. Adams, Lt. Burton and myself are scheduled to leave Tuesday for Orlando, Fla. We are going to spend a month at the "Air Force School of Applied Tactics" (AFFSAT for short). At least I'll be getting a change of scenery. I've been in Meridian too long already. Rich McNamara is in Orlando so maybe I'll get to see him.
Sunday, May 9, 1943  
Flew down to Biloxi to see Lt. Lee. Logged 4:30 x-c. Country Club in the evening.
Monday, May 10, 1943  
Stayed on base all day getting things packed for my trip to Orlando.
 
Part 3