Army and one Navy pilot at the controls, and the remainder of the crew evenly divided between Army and Navy personnel. The outstanding mission of this type was on December 1, when Ensign Paul H. ORRIS, USNR, landed in the open sea north of Mindanao, under unfavorable conditions of sea and weather, and spent one and one-half hours picking up seven survivors of an Army Liberator. The take-off was made under instrument conditions and the survivors returned safely to Morotai.
On December 6, Lieutenant (jg) Richard W. SHELLEY, USNR, failed to return from patrol. Special searches which were conducted for several days found no trace of the missing plane or crew. Not until December 16 was it learned that the plane had crashed in Sarangani Bay, Mindanao. Lieutenant (jg) SHELLEY and two members of his crew were killed in the crash but the others made their way ashore and eventually were taken to the headquarters of friendly guerrillas from where they were picked up by PBY and returned to Morotai.
During the entire stay at Morotai the base was under frequent night air attack and members of the squadron soon learned to take cover in ~heir foxholes in the minimum amount of time when "washing Machine Charlie" cane over for his almost nightly visits. These attacks reached their peak during the Christmas season with six alerts Christmas Eve and a total of fifteen over a three-day period. Added to the hazard of bombs, which did in fact kill personnel in adjoining encampments, was the danger from falling shrapnel and spent ammunition as well as ricochets or pre-mature bursting of shells from depressed anti-aircraft guns firing at low-flying planes. With all of Morotai in enemy hands except the small
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