|The following diary was written by Alamo Scout Bob Ross and was transcribed by teammate John Geiger Jr. and his wife Betty. Permission to publish this diary online was given by Bob's wife Helene. We would like to thank Helene Ross for this opportunity. The diary is virtually the same as Bob wrote it during his tour in the Alamo Scouts. Keep in mind when writing this he was in some pretty intense situations, so spelling and grammar might not be perfect.
or also know as,
William Lutz, Lt. Leader
Cliff Gonyea, Cpl., House wrecker
John (Handsome Dan) Geiger Jr., Pfc., Playboy - student
Bob Shullaw, Pvt.
Oliver Roesler, Cpl.
June 22, 1944 Graduated from school and retained as Scout on team five. Was glad to be kept-anxious to go to work-sorry I couldn't explain more of the type of work I'll be doing, to Helene-shed like it.
Jun 23rd. Started moving our camp to Hollandia. A lot of work in the next two days. Rode up in an LST which was really packed to the bloody rails. Slept on deck on a cot under a truck. In all one hellova trip! We had to load the damn thing first, and were promised the job of unloading. I read Rats, Lice and History on board. We got to Hollandia, Dutch New Guinea, where Gonyea, Lt. Evans and myself were told we were going to act as a contact team on a mission Lt. Hobbs and team were going on. We went directly to Sixth Army and stayed there until mission had been planned.
July 3rd- I believe it was on this day that we left for the PT base. We flew by C47 to Biak still a rough place- artillery and mortar were still working on Japs in the interior the campaign was almost over- a lot of boys died there. We went by LCM to Woendi Island, the PT base which is an islet free of pests. Issued nice white and comfortable blankets by the Navy. Lt. Hobbs made arrangements with the PTs for his job. We three were to act as contact. His mission was to pick up the captain of a schooner who had been working for the Japs. His boat had been blasted by American planes and natives were holding him at the village of Ansuss on Japan Island. Few tookoff on a PT and when we got there, Hobbs got his man. On the way in on his rubber boat the radar picked up what we thought was a barge tense moments till it turned out to be a little island! I worked our radio on the PT. We then went to Soerrie Bay where two Jap barges had been reported to PTs. Once there Hobbs said his team would go ashore to see what the score was - question natives if any were about. Evans went along - thats where he pulled the asinine trick of lighting a cigar on the beach, not knowing at the time whether or not Japs were around. It was damn foolish! We then went to Nami Island where we left Hobbs team for one day to question natives. We were to pick him up the next night and did so, also picking up a native soldiers wife and two kiddies, cute, all three. When we got back Hobbs went to Holllandia to make his report to G-2. He gave Evans his OK to take his team to Koeraedoe Island where natives had reported 56 ill and partially unarmed Japs. Hobbs team plus Gonyea were to go in. I acted as contact man. Evans relay screwed up on that mission - all he was interested in was souvenirs, an officer too! Phooey! The boys were disappointed. I dont know what happened but I understand it was a mess.
On July 12th, Hobbs returned. He was worried about his boys. And I told him how they felt towards Evans. The pickup was lousy, but we got the whole crew on board after much confusion and noise. Hobbs informed Evans that part of his plans would have to be changed, He Evans, had intended to go to Nawi, for a day-something Hobbs told him he himself was going to do. So Evans went with Lt. Crowell, (Dutch) and the news-correspondent who was along to Soerrie Bay to help blow up some the Japs had left-but shat he really wanted was the souvenirs that might be there. When we left them we returned to the PT base where I found the rest of my team with my leader. Good! They took the pick up of Evans over- that too was messed up- How lucky were the men who went in with him that there were no Nips around not my idea of a good leader at all.
July 13, 1944 This day my team was whole once more we were to stay at the PT base until a mission came up for us. Things were easy there, we did nothing but lay around. We were about to go on as island with a screwy signal outfit fir a week-as bodyguards. Hobbs and team had reconnoitered an island for them just south of Maniknowari, but it was no good. The day we were to leave for an alternate island a message came over our radio from base hold Lutz team for mission for 6th Army That was good news a real mission to be ours. Good. Our mission was this We are taking in an Engineer officer who was to look over area for water supply- possibilities for roads- bivouac areas. We were going in about a week before D-day. Lt. Dove who has been on a mission a few miles form the area we were to cover said no Nips were about. We believed him I know he didnt see any - if he had he and team would have killed them. He is a good guy rough- his team killed 30 Japs- but thats not my story. He was to be our contact man. We were going in on the mainland about 20 miles east of Sansafor about 150 miles west of Manikowari. The nearest American troops on the mainland were at Sarmi about 300 miles away.
July 22, 1944 - Just one month from graduation we left Woendi. Our party in addition to team included a Dutch boy, Billk, to act as interpreter and Lt Hodges, The engineer. The trip was a long one. We stopped at Noemfoor to refuel the boats. We were swimming in the bay, on land in the interior small arms fire was going on. The boys were still getting Japs. We left there about five in the afternoon. We had 200 miles to go. Just about sunset we saw something on the horizon, which we thought was a Jap barge. We all expected to see a little action, but the damn thing turned out to be a tree! We were disappointed because we didnt get to see a show. We got to our landing point about midnight. The sea was calm- visibility too good !! We got into our rubber boat- opened our radio and headed for the beach. I guess we were all a bit tense- Look where we were! We got in all right We signaled the PT and they took off- we were to be alone in Jap held territory for two days. Lutz gave Cliff and I the job of deflating the boat. There on the beach with the damn boat hissing- we rolled it up and hid it just off the beach. Then we slept as best we could at that spot. Bugs ate all of us up. At dawn we hid our boat, moved off and had breakfast, Good! 10 in 1 rations. We then took off parallel to the beach and 400 yards inland. We moved toward the east and once stopped for a break in the bush just off the beach. Lutz had just finished relieving himself- I was smoking as all, when Geiger saw four Japs coming down the beach- then came three more. I wasnt close enough to see them- they didnt see us. We tood off again and soon reached the river which was our east boundary. There we saw another Jap walking down the beach in shorts. He shouted to someone across the river whom we couldnt see. Roesler was about ten feet from him- the Nip looked right at him but didnt see him. He didnt know close to death he was! We then went inland more- found water and filled our canteens. We crossed a trail full of Jap tracks. We then went up the hill a way and returned. As we were about to cross the trail again, Roesler leading- he motioned us to stop- two Japs carrying huge packs came down the trail- then they were unarmed- evidently they were stragglers trying to get out of New Guinea. We let them go by and preceded westward the rest of the day. We soon stopped for supper- ate very well roast beef, corn, and peas-some rations! I didnt mention lunch, but we had that too. Just as we finished our supper- Shullaw pointed- four Japs walking down that same trail! We didnt know we were that close to it! Roesler and Gonyea went down to look it over- four more passed. Cliff said they were armed. We took off to find a spot to sleep in. We were tense, could hear Japs shouting, but we bedded down in our ponchos. Geig and I shared one and two half blankets. It poured- we both got soaked. We had guard, one hour and fifteen minutes apiece. The night seemed endless- sleep! Hell no! At dawn we had another good feed. Hodges said he had all the dope he needed so we headed back toward the hidden boat and radio. We got to them about 11:30. Bob and I kept watch on the beach awhile. Geig and Roesler went west about 500 yards, saw nothing. We ate chow and it started raining again. We watched the beach all afternoon- saw no Japs- lucky for them, we were out to kill or capture some because we had to wait till midnight to be picked up. At dusk we got our radio and pumped up our boat- then wait-wait-wait for the PT. They came on time- gave us the O.K. and we shoved off. What a night, rain and rough but no surf luckily. What a relief to get on the boat! We went below, stripped and had some hot cocoa. We tried to sleep but the boat was bouncing around like a top. The upper bunks kept spilling men down to the lowers. We got to Noemfoer, refueled and changed boats. No lunch the generator was on the blink. A long ride back to Woendi- because the boat hit a log, bent the screw, hence slow going. When we got back we found Lt Sumner and team. Our tent had been changed again- 3rd time !! We were in the 23rd and 24th- got back to Woendi the 25th. Lutz and Dove went to Wadke to bring the dope to the task force commander. We stayed at Woendi till august 7th- left that morning and caught a plane to Biak in the afternoon and went to Wadke. Lutzs, Cliffs and Roeslers outfit was at Sarmi, so we stopped to visit over night. They were camped on the perimeter. A Jap machine gun fired into camp at dusk-overhead, then a Jap shell landed on the beach. All night long our artillery kept us awake. We left after breakfast- rode to Wadke- caught a plane direct to Hollandia and got back to camp on August 8th. Had 19 letters from my honey. Wow am I in love! And how! Now Ill lie around till the next mission comes along.
Today is Thursday-August 10-tomorrow General Krueger pays the camp a visit. My legs and ankles are a bit infected yet but are clearing up. Those bites and scratching them did it. Even got crotch itch, but its going too. Major says well go out locally, well see.
Monday August 14, 1944. We are to go inland to the village of Arso, about 20 miles. Reports are that the air corps has boomed the place and that there might be a Jap radio there. We are to go in, reconnoiter- see amount of damage done- if we can handle the Japs we are to destroy them. If too many we are to report back. Some reports say there are 200 Japs there- I doubt it. We plan on being gone five days and we decided to carry 6 days K rations. We will sleep in hammocks and carry dry clothes to sleep in, several changes of sox and a lot of ammo. Waterproof bags and cigarettes. Some of the boys have been half way there; they say the trail is mud up to knee- deep and the water not too good. We found later they were only half right. They also said there were no Japs around- we found out about that too! Monday morning a truck brought us to the beginning of the trail. Our packs were plenty heavy- rations et all. We took off down the trail, found that a patrol of a squad of engineers was going to the Tami River to set up a strong point. Dont know what againstthere were no Japs fighting in the area! They were going to follow us- we were going to go fast as possible- We wanted to make the village of Isobo by night (about half way). We walked for fifty minutes- ten minute breaks. We ate at noon a few miles from the Tami. We took off after chow and just as we got to the Tami Lutz leading, waved us down. There were two Japs coming down the trail! So soon! We didnt expect it. We saw they wanted to give up. Very tired. We stopped them, covered them with our carbines. They said they were from Taiwan, and not Japanese. Taiwan is Japanese for Formosa. These men said they were members of a labor unit and as we surmised, were on their way to give up. They had big jungle sores all over their legs and smelled like holy hell! We waited for the patrol behind us to catch up- turned the two men over to them for return to Sixth Army- We then crossed the Tami and left it about 2:30. The trail was very muddy- each foot weighed a ton. I had on a pair of Aussie hob nail shoes. The first hour out of the Tami the mud pulled the back bottom of my left shoe loose- that left it open for the mud. I didnt invite it but in it came! We got to Isobo about 4:30, went on for a little while then decided to bivouac there at Isobo. Someone had stuck a Jap scull on a stake at the village which was deserted. There was a good stream there and we wanted to wash out our camouflage suits, shoes, socks and have enough water for supper and breakfast. While we washed one of us guarded for we didnt know what was about- this side of the Tami was country Japs were supposed to be roaming about in. We ate supper- one doesnt stay up late- it got dark about 7:00- so we tried to sleep. About dusk we heard what sounded like American rifle fire- we couldnt figure it out. Something made a loud noise just after dark. The boy on guard called two others and they sat up waiting and listening awhile, I was a bit jumpy, but stayed in my sack trying to sleep, something I finally accomplished- till it was my turn at guard. Guard in the jungle- you hold your hand two and one half inches from your eyes and you cant see anything! But oh how you listen! The slightest noise sounds like a regiment of Japs! So goes the night. Normally we dont have a guard, but we had one because of that screwy firing.
Tuesday August 15- We got up at dawn, ate our delicious KsAnd hit that muddy?!! Trai at 8:00. After going along for about 45 minutes, Lutz in the lead saw someone ahead. There was a bend in the trail right on a bend in the trail right on a bend in the river- I found out, and saw a man wearing Jap clothes getting water from the river- about 150 yards ahead. Lutz told Cliff, John and myself to try to encircle him and we were about to take off when, thinking he would get away they opened fire on him. The man fell into the bush along the trail. We ran down and found him there trembling with fear, his back up against a big tree trunk. Bullets hit all around him, one thru his pant leg. Quick examination showed he hadnt been hit. Thank God! I say that for God was on his side and ours for he wasnt a Jap! He spoke in Malay which I can understand and can speak, good thing I did for the others couldnt. He said he was Japanese- 17 years old and that he had been on New Guinea for 10 months, he also said there were 10 Japs in Arso. He knew where and said there were 8 rifles and didnt know about pistols. He wanted to know if Americans were yet in Java. The lad was very thin, sick from malaria- so we fed him some Ks- plenty of atabrine and decided to take him along to Arso for information.
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Cloths out, hid them. He began to cry fearing we were going to leave him. I reassured him we were friends and he felt better and strung along. I carried his pack awhile. We found water about three and pushed on. By nightfall we hadnt found more water- so we stopped, used water out of the footprints in the trail. Muddy. I made bullion and the water didnt even change color! But we used lots of halizone and drank it. Jr slept under my hammock and again guard- another night theyre the worst!
Wednesday Aug. 16. We left our area again about 08:00. Jr was eating my rations- OK- it made my load lighter every meal a bit. My shoe was still playing host to a hell of a lot of mud. We walked till about noon, past dead Japs all along the trail, just bones and rotten clothes. We got near a stream when Jr got all excited and said Arso was just ahead. While the rest of the team ate lunch and waited in the bush, Lutz, Jr and I went to reconnoiter Arso. We crossed the stream, went thru the jungle, came close to the clearing but Jr said Arso was further up. God that clearing was long. In and out of the bush for what seemed like hours. Jr was scared, I was tired! We finally decided to stay in the clearing, in the low grass- crept and crawled about an hour and finally saw the first house at Arso. We went in the bush again and came up close to the house and could hear two Nips talking. Jr said there were two there and five in an other hut in the center of Arso, and two at the other end. That was as far as we got for we didnt know what it was- five was our deadline- then the team would move back to our rally point, several miles back. We didnt want to separate. We hurried back thru the bush, came into the clearing a distance from the village and used the trail for speed. On my way back, we found a lot of Jap things, picked out some papers and other odds and ends. Found a brand new pair of black oxfords- in New Guinea. Those Japs carry the strangest things. Jr took them and discarded them soon afterwards. We saw their former owner- two very very dead Japs, bones, another one in the trail and many in the village according to Jr. We reached the other boys at 4:00, they were worried about us, gone for four hours and all we saw was one house and heard two Japs. We ate and washed near the stream- slept there and planned to hit the village at break of dawn. Really couldnt sleep at all that night- what brings tomorrow? I was guard from 2:00 to 4:30- our watch, (we only had one), which was screwy, and as I came off guard it was beginning to be light so I woke everyone- we dressed and made ready to leave.
Thursday Aug17. Leaving our packs and hammocks we took off up the trail with intentions of getting Nips early. The first two had to be killed silently. We got near the first house and began crawling to it. The weather was with us, misty and raining. Lutz, Bob, Jr and I went one way- he rest another. The grass was only about knee high- we crawled on, tense- for now we could see the Nips fixing breakfast. Lutz planned to have Shullaw and I strangle them while he knifed them but as we got closer- we saw they were facing us- we had to rush them to surprise them. We three were only now about 20 feet from the house, lying behind a little wall around the well; a foot high and we could watch them thru the cracks. The waiting was terrible- I was anxious to get with it. Cliff was up close- covering them with his weapon. Geig and Roesler hadnt come up yet because they were to stay back further. Once one of the Nips walked through the house- it was long and it was open- he came about parallel to us. We were visible and I still cant see how he missed us. We decided to rush them! I was to take the one on the left- Lutz the other one. On a signal we jumped up- rushed up to the house- jumped onto the floor- my Jap was fooling with the fire- he had two knives in hand but when he saw me he was stunned and before he could do anything I hit him with my rifle barrel. I hesitated a moment, then struck him thru the heart, he didnt stop moving- I hit him several times in the throat, his death rattle sounded too loud. Lutz was sticking his man over and over- they were both soon dead. I had killed my first Jap and didnt feel any different, just another part of my job. Geig said I did a good job- that I looked fierce while doing it. I dont know how I looked, only how I felt- it had to be done this way- so I did it. There was blood on my hand and knife- I scrapped my knuckle on my knife and it was bleeding- wiped it off on the Nip. We took off, looked into more of the houses but saw nothing. Since no noise had been made, we knew there where eight others around somewhere so we were cautious. Shullaw said he saw smoke. We couldnt see a house and said it was just mist. He insisted so we decided to investigate. Coming up behind a hedge that hid the house we split up as before. The Nips heard us- shouted a warning and we opened fire. Six little carbines throw a lot of fire! Five of them ran out and were dropped in their tracks. One in the hut had a pistol, (luger), in his hand. We all fired and I know my bullet hit him in the head for I saw his head jerking- he stopped moving. The others were moving, crawling- I got excited I guess- hit one with my rifle which broke off my folding stock. We knifed the rest- picked up a pistol and took off again. Six Japs killed in about 30 seconds! Eight down, two more to go. We went thru all the huts, saw many more dead Japs- no live ones- we got to the last hut in the village, a fire was still going- breakfast ready for the Nips, but they fled, possibly two or three- looked around the area, three of us, the others guarded- no trace of them so we decided to leave. We went thru their belongings- took anything of value. Went back to the six dead- searched them blood and all, took their stuff- papers and etc. Went looking thru the houses all the way back- found rifles, pistols, watches and lots of papers. Then the other two dead were searched- one evidently a doctor- a lot of doctors things around. Took all we could carry including a saber. A lot of dispatch papers and leather cases- pens, a hell of a lot of wallets and money etc. We left Arso at 9:30, job done. Went back to our area, washed. The smell of Jap doesnt wash out easily. We ate breakfast, separated the Jap stuff, looking thru the wallets, one sees pictures of families- it hurts- poor devils- they are on the wrong side and this damn war was brought to us by them. All packed up we left that spot at 11:00. Walked like hell all afternoon. The sole on my right shoe gave out- mud came in there too. I had repaired the left- mud still came in. The tendon at the back of my leg was hurting pretty badly. I was tail man, behind Jr and carrying a Jap rifle in addition to mine, then two when Jr dropped his. Plucky kid, Jr- my boy- hung around me all the time and fetched water for us. We made very good time- walked till five thirty- the mud never let up- tired as the blazes. Others said we should go slower- some of us wanted to get back fast, by Saturday morning. We spent the night on the banks of the Arso, past our bivauac of Tuesday, so we were ahead. The water was mud but we washed our clothes- slept without a guard, but I couldnt sleep well- rain, Jr rolling around under me. There were thoughts of dead Japs with me. I reasoned that I had done my job- it helped but I still had killed a man. Couldnt get over it, probably Ill never forget how he looked. The nights out there are the worst for me- cant help it I guess. Finally slept fitfully and night did pass. I had repaired my shoes again and hoped they would carry me as far as camp.
Friday August 18. Our fifth day out, we were all hurting. All carrying a big load and going fast- the Japs rifle stuck to me like a leech- others carried it a while but it came back to me. Talking of leeches- all around us. Lutz got two in his mouth. We were dirty, unshaven, tired, footsore. Jungle sores on our legs, crotch itch and etc. Walked all morning- halt hour for lunch- rations were getting low. Jr was holding out well. We found a can of powdered milk at Arso- left by US troops. They was his in addition to Ks and he kept up with us well. We passed Isobo- spent one half hour there, drank plenty of water, filled up our canteens and took off for the Tami. The back of my left shoe fell off again- at the next break I took it off threw it away- foot felt a lot better- and I kept my right shoe on, both leggings, must have looked funny. I slipped more in mud but walking was easier. My other shoe was rapidly falling apart. In two hours we hit the Tami - An engineer outfit was on the bank. We told them where we had been and they told us Sixth Army wouldnt let less than a 30 man patrol go beyond the Tami. Ha! Softies! Amazed at what we had told them. There we gained about 45 minutes because our watch had been set by guess. Rested one half hour, ate some raisin the boys gave us. We crossed on the same log jam. I still had the Jap rifle! Trail was very muddy, and it was getting late. We were waiting to get good water, to sleep. Jr just ahead of me at one spot on the trail kept pulling on a phone wire strung along the trail- it kept pushing me out into the deeper mud. Tired, I blew my top- took off down the middle of the trail, slipped and fell on my side, both my rifles got full of mud and I was screaming mad! Geig said he would take the Jap rifle- said I looked at him so fiercely he thought Id really blown my top. Soon we found water, I washed everything, rifles and all. Fed Jr and myself- apologized to Geig and all for blowing up and threw away my other shoe which was useless. We figured we could make Sixth Army headquarters by 11 in the morning. No guard but couldnt sleep a wink- thinking about getting back. Jr was being eaten up by the bugs- after a while I got up, gave him some repellant and he stopped thrashing around and I slept a little again.
Saturday August 19. Ate the rest of the rations- packed and took off. Took Jrs bayonet myself. Trail was as muddy as ever, I was still at tail, slipping around with only a couple pair of socks on. Lutz took pictures of us. I took some with him in. We really looked ragged! Six days beard, mud!, packs! Phooey. Cliff and Roesler took off like deer. We couldnt keep up- Jr hurt his foot badly so I took his pack. Going thru a lot of ruts, my feet hurt. We bandaged Jrs toe up and he kept going. We caught up to Cliff and Roesler at Gova - fired our rifles to get rust out-mine was falling apart. Now Cliff lagged behind, sore feet we went slow. Soon Jr couldnt go on. Cliff carried him awhile, then my turn till we reached the truck trail- only about two miles from Sixth Army! Then Geig lugged him- then Lutz, Roesler, Shallow. At 11:30 we stopped to take a rest- we heard a truck! Geig and I went after it- old them story- they said they would ride us in! Glory, what a God, truck saved us a lot of work! We told them we would have murdered for the truck- desperate men! Off our feet and riding again after five and one half days of rough stuff! We got to Sixth Army and everyone stared- we reported and turned Jr in. Now they tell us they wanted prisoners, phooey! Also said they didnt know we were out there- they strafe that area at times! We got transportation back to camp. All at camp pleased and amazed at mission. We really hit that shower- got shaved and into clean clothes. Went to the dispensary to get fixed up- sores all over- sore-sore-sore! Afternoon we split our booty. Lutz got saber, three boys got pistols. I got watch, medal, chain, wallets. We all got what we wanted- turned the rest over to the school for barter purposes. Jap souvenirs mean fresh meat from Liberty ships in bay! Came out loosing quite a few pounds, tired but OK. Mission accomplished. Now we lay around till we go out again. We all want a good mission- last one too much like work. We want to take it easy for a week or so. How good felt the bed- now I sleep nights.
Stayed around camp till the 28th of August. Went to Aitape to pay the old outfit a visit. All boys had a rough time, lost weight. Sixteen friends killed, 40 wounded. Too bad- good guys all. They still cant see my job, though. I told them Im a lot better off than they. They think Im nuts but no foxholes for us and the Japs dont know we were there, we hoe! Before we left Lutz said we had a job coming up for the Division. We were to get it. The outfit was preparing to move and since I was anxious not to miss the mission, we went back to camp.
August 31st. Once back at camp more of taking it easy and spent my time making big map for school. Lutz told us we had a mission, a good one, coming up. He left the 5th to fly over area. Right now it is September 8th, 1944 and am waiting for a plane for Biak and PT base. Our next mission is here. Geig is in the hospital with yellow jaundice- cant be with us so Bob Schermerhorn is taking his place, damm good guy and valuable man. Hope we have good luck! Got to Woendi Sept. 9th. The place is big now- crowed with sailors and ships. We are to be here until the 12th. We are then to into the task force which will hit Morotais the 15th. I do think my Division is going in theater- We are to get there on D+1- and stay at the PT base to be established there till our mission comes up. Right now I am on the PT tender Mobjack.
It is Sept. 13th and we are at Amsterdam Island- the new PT base off Snasapor on the mainland- a few miles from where we had our first mission. We will be on this boat some days yet. We are all anxious to get going on our own mission which we know will be an important one. A real step toward the Philippines where we all hope to be in a few months. All is well with me now, but waiting is no fun. Am reading The Story of Mankind- Van Loon
Sept. 14th, 1944- Still on the PT tender at Amsterdam Island. We leave for Morotai tomorrow which is D-day there- should get there the next day. Not much to do on board, but chow is very good and Im getting back some of the tan I lost in the jungle. Tonight I wrote to my honey, but I dont know when Ill be able to mail the letter. Tomorrow makes 22 months we have been married. How unfair we have spent so much on that time apart. My desire to do my bit brought it on, but I know Helene is with me and Id never felt right had I stayed home exempt. I guess my ego couldnt take it, but much as I hate being away, Im glad to be doing my part. This job of mine as a scout entails a lot of running around and a lot of irregularity, but Id not trade it for any other job this side of the big water. Someday Ill be able to tell Helene more about it, and I dont like to keep her in the dark, Good girl- has a lot of faith in me and Ill not ever let her down.
Sept. 17thgot to Morotai the 16th as scheduled- As yet we have not been able to land. Things are easy for us and our mission is soon due. Chow on board is excellent- I ate 8 eggs this morning, am getting tan reading a lot but cant write. This morning we had a general alarm. A Jap observation plane flew over us. There was ack ack all over the sky from all the ships around. It got away but I still cant see how! Nothing much to do but read and Ill go back to it now. Did nothing more spectacular than watch air raids for the next few days- then word came that our mission was to start the 20th. Good! We got our gear ready and planned it all out.
Wednesday- Sept 20th Our mission is to go by PT to the island of Salebaboe in the Saloud Island group, 150 miles south of the Philippines. We are to kidnap some natives in order to turn them over to Sixth Army.
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Whole family. Returning to the boat by 4 am of the 21st, and being picked up by the PT at the same spot. If we can’t make it by four the two men and officer with the boat are to return to the PT- picking us up the night. That was our plan. Just a few hours on the island, which is small - 3 miles wide- 15 miles long. However things didn't work according to plan. We had alternate take off plans and a final resort plan which were made to cover any possobility of being stranded there. Our plan was complete as are all our plan for missions. We were ready the morning of Sept 20th and boarded our PT about 1:30 in the afternoon. At 4:30 our boats pulled out. There were 3 PT’s going along - it was a long ride, and really in dangerous waters. We all wore our life belts and after supper when it began to rain - we went below to try to sleep a bit before landing. Then at approximately 8:00 pm we had to slow up for one half hour because one of the boats fell behind. That made our plan schedule late. We got to our little island - still pouring cats and dogs with occasional flashes of lightening. We got into the rubber boat and hit shore. I was in the bow and was supposed to secure the beach on my side. I jumped out and fell into a hole- there was no beach at all- it was deeply rutted and sharp coral. I proceeded as fast as I could across the 40 or 50 feet of coral - taking such a very long time and falling down four times. I crouched in the bush at the edge of the beach and waited for the rest of the team to come up. All was quiet. They left the rubber boat at the edge of the beach, it was now 3:15 sept 21. The three men at the boat were to take off at 4:00 if we did not return. My team and the Dutch officer struck out for the trail which we knew was only several hundred yards inland. It was so dark we couldn’t see a thing and had to hold on to the man in front. The jungle wasn’t thick, but there was a lot of bamboo lying around which made a lot of noise. So how we got mixed up and before we knew it, we were back on the beach, having gone in somewhat of a semi-circle! We decided to go back to the rubber boat to make further plans. We all did a lot of stumbling around on the coral till we finally got to the boat. The radio was there and as yet the men hadn’t returned from making their beach reconnaisance. By this time we were all wet thoroughly and quite disapponinted at how our plan was going hay wire. Lt Lutz asked us if we should keep the boat with us, for we knew now we would have to stay in all day. Several of us were in favor of sending the boat back, for it was so very big and heavy, difficult to get it over the reef and hard to camouflage it. I wanted to keep only the radio with us, as did a few of the others. When the rest of the men returned the final decision was made. Lutz called Lt McGowen on the PT and told him we would stay in, all ten of us, keeping the boat and radio and telling him to return for us the night of the 21st at about 11:30. The boat had to be rolled over and over across the reef. I took care of the paddles and had three rifles in addition to my own Someone relieved me of 3 paddles and two rifles, but I fell into several hoes in the…
TO BE CONTINUED
This is only one tenth of Bob Ross' Diary.
We are in the process of making the rest of the diary available Someday.