8 December through 14 December 1944

During the period of this report Patrol Bombing Squadron SEVENTY ONE continued long range Black Cat anti-shipping patrols from Morotai, N.E.I. Twenty such flights of 12.5 hours average duration and covering an average sector of 575 miles were made.

In addition a total of eight special searches were flown on December 8 and 9 for Lieutenant (jg) SHELLEY who failed to return from patrol on December 6. No trace was found of the missing plane or crew.

A special Dumbo mission was undertaken by Lieutenant (jg) ALLEN in response to a request from the Fighter Sector Controller at Morotai. On this mission an unsuccessful attempt was made by joint action of the Dumbo plane with crash and PT boats operating under fighter cover to rescue a downed P-40 pilot from the beach in Galela Bay on Halmahera Island where he had been shot down and wounded.

All patrols were cancelled the night of December 13-14 because of unfavorable weather conditions.

Action highlights for the period were as follows:

December 10 - Commander GILLETTE, on a 14.2 hour mission to Sandakan, Borneo, dropped six 250-lb. bombs on three luggers in the ways at the shipyard with one direct hit observed. Five strafing runs were made on the entire waterfront area including three luggers at anchor.

December 11 - Following up Commander GILLETTE’s attack, Lieutenant TURNER visited Sandakan bombing and strafing shipping, the docks and barracks. Of the six 250-lb. G.P. bombs dropped, one was seen to hit and sink a lugger and two direct hits were made on the docks. A second lugger was sunk by strafing.

December 12 - Sanakan was hit again on the twelfth by Lieutenant EMANUEL who dropped six 250-lb. G.P. bombs on the sawmill and scored two hits on the buildings. 2600 rounds were expended in six strafing runs on shipping, docks and barracks.

Lieutenant (jg) LEVY, while flying over Manado, Celebes at 500 feet, was fired on by moderate but very accurate light anti-aircraft guns which scored a hit immediately below the port waist gun position. The p1ane was not seriously damaged but both men in the after station were wounded, REAGAN, J.V., AOM2c sustaining a fractured right leg. Effective first aid treatment was given the wounded men by Ensign WELGE on the return trip to base.




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