WWII Memoirs – 1944 – Not All Fun And Games

When you have lived in Paradise, which is what I often called Hawaii, you tend to remember the days off in Honolulu, the good times on Waikiki, diving into the breakers at Wiamea, playing ball, playing poker, and always the balmy weather.

But even in “Paradise” it wasn’t all fun and games. We reported to our work stations daily; our pilots flew “missions” regularly, though the “targets” were usually the Islands. Our squadron could be called into combat at any time, and everyone’s skills and work habits needed to stay sharp. This applied to as well to units from other branches of the service. For example, it was not unusual to see two fighter planes, come twisting and tumbling across the sky, locked in a mock “dogfight.” I quietly wished both pilots “happy hunting” in the “not so friendly skies” in the days of real combat ahead.

Lest we get too complacent with our generally good life and the “resort-type” of atmosphere, we also had plenty of reminders of war. The incident in the foregoing paragraph is a good example. The worst was the damaged and sunken ships in Pearl Harbor.

But the ultimate in reminders of war was the two pilots who crashed on the Islands. They never saw combat, but they would have performed admirably under any condition. They were two fine pilots and two excellent men. Capt. Bratschi and Lt. Caldwell will never be forgotten.

Next Entry: WWII Memoirs – 1945 – The Entire Squadron Enters Combat
Someone in the higher echelons had decided that it was time for the 28th Photo Reconnaissance Squadron to go to war...