NEWSLETTER #44 - Fall 2010
EXCERPT FROM JOURNAL OF JULIAN L. CASAS
Submitted by Molly Casas
Julian and his buddies (he's on the far right side)
From: Molly Casas
I won't be able to make it to the reunion this year, I'm going to have to wait until next year's reunion.
If possible, I would love to hear from anyone who knew my father [Julian (aka Julius) L. Casas], I would love to know more about my dad when he was in the military.
Here's my dad's war dairies, it was typed from his original dairies.
Molly F. Casas
Proud WWII Army daughter of Julian (aka Julius) L. Casas
EXCERPT FROM JOURNAL OF JULIAN LOZOYA CASAS
January 15, 1943
WWII Service USAF
[Our 380th history records only show that Julius L. Casas (aka Julian), 19087711, was with Group Headquarters, ground staff. It appears from this narrative that although he was assigned to the 380th, he served with the 315th (20th AF) and 310th Bomb Wings (5th AF).]
Left the States Jan. 15, 1943 on Troop Ship USS Montecello and no trouble coming over. Took 18 days before we arrived to our destination. - Feb 3rd 1944 we arrived in Milne Bay, British New Guinea.
Processed in Milne Bay for almost two months and in the meantime took in the sights which isn't worth bragging about.
March 11 - Boarded Dutch Merchant ship. Left Milne Bay same day. This ship formerly used to transport Jap POW's and it stinks like hell.
March 14 - Went ashore at Buna Beach and proceeded to Lae on DUKW. Same day we left Lae and went to Hadzab by truck convoy arriving at 1300 hours. This was most advanced base but we saw no and encountered enemy. So far we have been lucky.
April 27, 1943 - Invasion of Hollandia Dutch New Guinea. Same day I was assigned to 380th Bomb Group, 5th Air Force and put on D.S. with 315th Bomb Wing. - I flew one mission. Bombed installations at Sentani Strip. Wrecked parked planes. Our crew accounted for five planes destroyed on the ground.
April 30 - I was sent to 92nd Airdrome.
May 2 - Am back with the outfit 310th B.W.
May 15 - Invasion of Wakde - We give support to ground troops.
May 14 - I flew in C-47 to Wakde Island. Arrived on DX2. That night we have very heavy raid. Japs destroyed about ten of our planes and gasoline dump. Slight casualties.
May 18 - I dig my fox hole. At night we have raid. An ammunition dump is hit. I'm beginning to think Japs are pretty good bombers. No casualties.
May 19 - Today I am assigned with 2 infantry men of the 24 div, to seal cave entrance with satchel charges. That night Japs somehow dig their selves out. With a force of 51 men they raid our mess hall and destroy whatever they can find. We are caught with our pants down. They go down the road towards the 303rd Airdrome Sq. The sq. puts up a good fight and every Jap is killed. The 303rd lost 6 men. Among them is my best buddie, Earl Kapstafer.
May 20, 21, 22 - We have raids on the 20th and 22nd.
May 23 - Enemy planes again. This night I'm not fast enough getting in my fox hole. Bomb explodes 10 feet away from me. Am knocked almost unconscious. I fall in fox hole and scratch my back pretty bad on the coral rock. Blood oozing from my nose and mouth from concussion. Nothing very serious.
May 25 - Had raid last night and one today at 3 Pm
May 26 - Raid very bad today. All bombs dropped were daisie cutters, zap anti personnel bombs. Killed 16 men of the 100th Service Sqn.
May 27 - Good day today. No raids.
May 28 - Six of our men killed by booby trap. Raid also.
May 29 June 1 to July 15 - We were bombed almost constantly. Many of our men sent back to states. Bomb happy. (shell shocked)
July 19 - Have had no raids for about 15 days. I don't miss them.
July23 1944 - Left Wakde Island. Arrived at Hollandia same day. Hollandia very good rest place for me. Had no raids all the time I was there. Had one alert but no plane showed up.
Sept 15 - Invasion of Morotai Island, one of the Halmahera islands in the Moluccas group belonging to the Netherlands East Indies. We board the U.S.S. L.S.T.613 on Sept 10 1944. Left Hollandia Sept 13 1944. Arrived in Morotai D + 3. First night on the beach we had raid. This is getting to be a habit.
Sept 16, 17, 18, 19 - During daytime everything OK at night we hit the fox holes. We have a few casualties during this time.
Sept 20 1944 - Our camp area was given the alert for ground invasion. We were threatened by a force of 3000 Japs from the South of Morotai on Gila Point. We were prepared for them and were equipped with regular infantry gear. Tonight we are all too scared stiff to talk. No enemy showed up. Our Torpedo boats kept a few enemy landing craft away although a few succeeded in landing troops to the North.
Sept 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 - Had raids the first five nights. Next two were quiet.
Oct 7 - A day raid today. No harm to personnel or installations.
Oct 8 - Made my second mission. Hit the main island of Halmahera. Met little fighter opposition. I took a shot at Zero. Missed. They're too fast. Very heavy flak. We lose 7 planes. My knees are shaking. Probably stage fright. Nothing happened Oct 9 & 10.
Oct 11 - Third mission. We bombed installations at Balikpapan in Borneo. Met heavy flak and fighter opposition. Enemy fighters climbed up to 1000 feet and let drop phosphorous bombs. We lost 11 of our planes. We destroyed 21 fighter planes but I still can't claim any kills for myself.
Oct 12, 13 - Went to show tonight. What a stinker!
Oct 14 - One light raid. No damage done.
Oct 15 - Made my fourth mission but was not completed. On our way to bomb Borneo. We climbed to 30,000 ft. My oxygen mask broke and so did the navigator's. Our bomber turns back to base, mission unaccomplished. I am not in such a bad shape compared to navigator. It think he lost one of his lungs. I froze my left lung. Doc says it's heal up but I'll have to be grounded permanently. A very bad piece of news but I guess its for my own good. Stayed in hospital 10 days (Very heavy raid at last day in Morotai)
Oct 20 - The invasion of the Philippine Islands. First assault wave lands at Blue Beach in Dulag, Leyte. Island of Samar occupied same day without opposition. We were quite late in going in the Philippines.
Nov 9, 1944 - Board the U.S.S. Biddle - Merchant ship.
Nov 10 - Everything unusually quiet at sea.
Nov 11 - We rendezvous in the Philippine Sea. Convoy now 40 ships. 28 transport ships. 12 L.S.T.'s-not counting 1 aircraft carrier 1 heavy & 1 light cruiser. 10 destroyers and 4 escort carriers.
Nov 12 - 72 miles from Leyte in the Philippines. At 1500 hours 7 jap planes sighted, headed toward our convoy. Planes identified as torpedo bombers. At 1510 hrs ack-ack on all ships start firing at planes. One plane is hit and he joins Davey. A second one starts diving at a destroyer. Lets a torpedo go and he is hit at the same time. Torpedo keeps coming. Misses the destroyer, comes within 50 yards of our ship and keeps on going out to sea. Remaining jap craft head back to their bases. No damage or casualties on our side. - We are now 60 miles from Leyte Island. P38, & P47's gives us air cover the rest of the way. - We are now in Leyte on Blue Beach in the vicinity of Dulag. We pitch temporary camp on the beach. No raid tonight, I hope.
Nov 13 - We move up to San Roque, 7 miles North of Dulag. At 0700 hrs, 7 enemy craft come in unexpectedly. Everything is thrown up at them. Six planes knocked out and last on take off.
Nov 14, 15, 16 &17 - We have raids 24 hrs a day. Enemy craft show up at all hours of the day.
Nov 18, 19, 20 to last day of month, with exception of the 22nd we have continuous raids.
Dec 1 - We move to a new area. Barauan. Thirty miles North east of Tailaban. Here are many dead japs and we have to dig graves for them which I didn't mind doing. The more graves dug for japs the better not to mention Filipinos.
Dec 2, 3, 4 - Raids in Taelaban and pretty quiet here.
Dec 5 - Everything OK so far. - 2000PM We are told Jap parachutists have landed in the Vaanits at Barauen. All roads are blocked by MP's. - It's 2230 hrs and still nothing happens. All we have is a raid. A lot of flak goes up and plenty of planes come down. Beginning to think this is false alarm.
Dec 6 - This morning, at 0620 hrs we are awakened by gun fire. Sounds like a jap woodpecker is raising hell. - At 0616 hrs a runner tells us japs have infiltrated and a force of 150 parachutists are having it out with a signal outfit and Negro engineer camp. Heavy casualties are inflicted on the two service outfits. Japs headed toward our way. I think we're going to do a lot of fighting before this thing is over.
It's 1800 hrs now and japs can be seen crawling down below. Fortunately for us. Two days ago we moved up to the hill. We were down in the valley where the japs are now. The hill gives us a great opportunity.
1835 hrs. Japs bombarded us with knee mortars. Did damage to the area but personnel is still intact.
1840 hrs. A message is sent to us that two companies of infantry men from the 11th airborne and two squads of the 960th combat engr. are on their way to give us help. Very good news because by this time my pants need washing in the rear end.
1850 hrs japs tried a banzai charge with an estimated 25 men. Twelve are killed and the rest go back to think it over. I think I hit one because I was in the first trench of the perimeter. It was kind of dark to see but whatever was coming at me didn't get up again.
1923 hrs. Nothing has happened yet. Everyone on edge with nerves.
2005 hrs. Still nothing happens. No word has been heard from the infantry or the Engrs. Two men from an artillery outfit, 2 from ours and one from special service volunteer to go out and try to contact the em. They don't get very far because a woodpecker cuts them down. Two of the men come back.
2040 hrs. I don't know what goes on in the other side of the perimeter because we are too busy bringing in our casualties. So far we know one of our men has been killed and 7 wounded in the first night.
Dec 7 at 0713 hrs - No fire has been heard from either side. Thinking everything is OK three of our men volunteer to be litter bearers and bring back the dead and wounded. They start down the hill and before they get down a woodpecker cuts loose. Kills two of our men and one is hit bad. He dies later on. Almost out of ammunition. 3 more men, this time from an ack ack outfit volunteer to go down and get ammo. They succeed in grabbing a few boxes but a woodpecker goes off again. One man is wounded an two make it back alright. 8 more men volunteer to act as rescue party. Five from our outfit and three from an ack ack outfit. By this time the japs are getting impatient. They open fire as a rescue party reaches level ground. We are given orders to start firing. Japs probably get scared because they quit firing so we cease too. Save ammo. Out of the rescue party 3 more men are killed. Sgt. Carmine, our first Sgt being one of them. Again these deaths are caused by the woodpecker. - Lt. Col. H.R. Imbt our communications officer finally silences the woodpecker with four well placed grenades. 2937 hrs. Still no word from 11th Airborne & Engrs.
1100 hrs. Got message from 11th Airborne that they had to mop up a jap artillery position that's the reason for the delay.
1407. We send message to our artillery to help. They throw up an artillery barrage but the shells land in our area. Gen. Crabb our Commanding Gen. is pretty well mad about it. We radio back and soon the shells land on the jap's side. We get another message that 400 more jap infantry are on their way here from the West of Barauen. That's bad. Our casualties are high now and we're low on ammunition.
1620 hrs. We eat chow. Pretty good.
1533 hrs. Another message comes in saying Filipino guerrillas and a few American Inf. Men of the 37th Div. have ambushed the 400 japs that are headed this way.
1703 hrs. We can see more men coming up from the Valley from the South of Barauen. The CO has just told us those men coming up the Valley are the men from the Engineers. That's music to every body's ears. Now things will start breaking loose WE have just received word to start firing so as to attract the jap's attention to us. Now the japs are firing back at us. Their fire is too close for comfort. The japs that are left are estimated at 115 men but by the fire they are throwing at us it sounds like 200. We are 155 strong. Our casualties today are four killed and twenty four wounded. The dough boys have signaled us to hold our fire till dawn. We quit firing and everything is quiet again. Japs haven't spotted our infantry yet.
1919 hrs. All is quiet but by the sounds below the japs are bringing mortars.
1925 hrs. Two japs infiltrated just 20 ft from our left flank. They threw grenades. One man was wounded in his fox hole and another in his tent. This brings total up to 26 wounded. The two nips escaped.
2000 hrs. Knee mortars start firing at us. This goes on for 2 strait hrs but no casualties are inflicted although our mess hall is wrecked. Will have to heat K-rations tomorrow.
Dec 8 - At 0635 hrs. Real battle for Baraven starts. Inf. & Engrs start advancing on japs from the West. In a moment we will be given orders to start firing again to attract attention.
0638 hrs. We are given the order to fire. We start firing and we pour plenty of lead in the jap lines. I think I fired 100 rounds in 10 minutes and my rifle is almost too hot to handle. - Now the inf is within range and we quit firing. Now the inf is firing but I am too far down in my fox hole to notice whats gong on. All I know is the japs are caught in a cross fire and if any of them come out alive they're plenty lucky.
0111 Battle has been going on for almost two hours. We fire down occasionally to keep japs away from our positions. 1100 hrs Firing has ceased now and everything is quiet. Men are coming out of their holes to see what's happened. By the looks of it I think the battle has ended. I think it is over because an infantry officer is talking with our CO.
1110 hrs The fighting is over and the casualties are coming out. From our outfit 4 men killed, 24 wounded seriously, 3 wounded slightly, 9 men missing. The Inf. lost 7 men killed, 30 wounded, 3 or 4 missing. From other Units: 960th Engs: 12 men wounded, none killed; AAA BTTY 5 men killed, none wounded. Altogether 16 men killed, 69 wounded, 13 missing.
Dec 10 - Orders have been given us that we are going in on an invasion. We start packing up and about 12 midnight everything is loaded on the LST, we shove off at 0430 Dec 11, 1945. LST 612 - On this convoy we have over 200 ships with 6 aircraft carriers, 4 battleships, 60 destroyers, and 20 destroyer escorts. The purpose of this invasion is to act as decoys. To center the enemy's attention on us. Reenforcements would probably be flown from Luzon and it would weaken that island for the second invasion.
Dec 11 - Everything is quiet. We are in the Visayan Sea.
Dec 12 - 0700 hrs. We are passing Negros Island. Jap shore batteries are opening up on our convoy but we are at least 1/2 mile out of their range. We keep on going.
Dec 14 - Nothing has happened this day. We are in the Sulu Sea now between Panay Island and Negros.
Dec 14 - I am woken up at 0430 hrs to go on KP. I come out on deck and to the port side I see a big fire. A sailor tells me that a jap tanker got in the way so they just threw a few shells at it.
11:30 - There's a commotion on deck and I rush out just in time to see a plane dive head-on into a heavy cruiser. Here come two more planes. One attempts a dive on the same cruiser but misses. Two more planes are coming from the north. I think they're all around us. The sky is full of black smoke from ack ack. A plane drops a few bombs on a destroyer but misses. There goes one plane, into the drink.
1145 hrs. Things are quieting down now. Six planes were shot down, but not from Navy gun. We hear later on that P-38's did the work. The cruiser is still smoking but the fire is under control. The name of the cruiser is Tennessee.
1200 We're all at chow and once again, everything is quiet.
Dec 15 - We have sighted the Island of Mindoro now. It is 0600 hrs and everyone is on deck. At 0616 the Navy starts firing on the beaches. Rockets and up to 16 inch guns are fired. On the LCI's the first assault is lining up. The Navy is pounding the shore harder. Two assault waves are on their way to the beaches.
0700 hrs. The first wave 24th Inf. Div. lands at White Beach. Twenty minutes later the second wave hits Red Beach at San Jose. The remaining 3rd and 4th waves are landing at other points.
0145 hrs. Planes have just been sighted in the horizon. They must be enemy planes. Gun crews are getting ready. They are enemy planes. They're coming in from every direction. One is circling above over LST and coming down. Hits LST 673. Another plane takes a dive on the same LST. For sure that ship is doomed. I can see solider and sailors jumping off. - There must be about 30 planes. Almost every ship is firing up at the planes. The sky is dotted with flak smoke. There goes another plane headed for LST - 710 - It crashed and LST 710 is also hit and burning. So far our LST has been fortunate. More planes coming. Everything is being thrown at them. One plane is circling in front of us. This ship is firing at it. Now the plane climbs for altitude and is heading right straight for our ship and its time I get ready to jump in the water. I tried to get under the forward 40MM gun for protection from strafing, but other guys beat me to it. All I can do now is wait. It seems like 20 minutes - that this one plane has been diving at us. He is strafing now and I'm praying as hard as I can - The plane is headed for our ships midsection. Every shot these sailors fire into it seems to be hitting but still the plane keeps coming. its ready to crash on us. These sailors are damn good gunners. - There's more planes hitting the water. We have experienced a show by the famous Kamikaze corps.
Its 0830 now and all is almost quiet. The rest of the Jap plans have turned tail. - We are pulling up to shore now ready to land. Two hours after the Inf on D-Day0900 hrs - Our LST has beached and we are already unloading. The Inf patrols are watching for snipers while we bring in supplies. So far this invasion has gone smooth. Hardly any Jap Inf opposition has been encountered but plenty of air opposition. We lost 3 LSTs and one destroyer sunk today by the Kamikaze corps. Two hundred & 26 air corps personnel killed in this action. 107 wounded, 30 missing. Our unit lost 6 men killed and two wounded.
1000 hrs. We are still unloading and a lone jap recon plane has passed over. Dropped a couple bombs but did no damage. Plane got away.
1200 hrs. We're on our way inland going to Truck. We have to follow bulldozers to pave a road. Camp site is only 20 miles from first beach but it takes us all day to get there.
1800 hrs. Start pitching camp for the night. Our radar isn't working so we have to be on lookout for enemy planes.
2200 hrs. In the sack. Everything OK so far.
Dec 16 - 0200. Planes come in. Go over our area. Drop a few daisie cutters and head for the ships anchored. Can't see what goes on from where we are but it looks bad. Phosphorous bombs are dropping everywhere. - We are kept awake all night.
0700 hrs. Eating chow where all of a sudden a "Tony" drops in on us unexpectedly. We hit the dirt. The A A (Ack Ack) batteries shoot him down. Now everything is quiet again. 1600 - Nothing new, went out on patrol.
1700 hrs. Looks like we all have another busy night. Planes are starting to come in again. They give us a busy job and doing so three are knocked down by A.A. The rest are going. Will probably be back later.
2100 hrs. Planes are back and this time not one is shot down but they bomb hell out of our camp. No casualties. -- Went to bed at 0300 hrs Dec 17.
Dec 17 - Japs are getting bolder. They payed us a visit this morning while we were having chow. Nine Came in and three went back. P38's from Leyte gave us help. They shot down 5 planes & AA accounted for one.
0900 hrs. Half our outfit moved to new location. We are to follow later the next day.
Dec 18. We moved today.
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Notes (Source: Wikipedia):
The 315th Bombardment Wing (315th BW) was part of the 20th Air Force. The 315th BW engaged in very heavy bombardment B-29 Superfortress operations against Japan.
The 310 Bombardment Wing, Medium was a command and control echelon of 5th in the Southwest Pacific theater, controlling numerous fighter and bomber groups and squadrons until the Japanese surrender in 1945. Its attached units flew missions against Japanese shipping, coastal installations, gun positions, airdromes, and troop concentrations. Fighting in New Guinea and later the Philippine Islands, attached fighter units flew escort for bombing, supply, and reconnaissance missions. Inactivated in Japan during early 1946.
Landing Ship, Tank (LST) was the military designation for naval vessels created during WWII to support amphibious operations by carrying significant quantities of vehicles, cargo, and landing troops directly onto an unimproved shore.
White phosphorus (WP) is a material made from a common allotrope of the chemical element phosphorus that is used in smoke, tracer, illumination and incendiary munitions. As an incendiary weapon, WP burns fiercely and can set cloth, fuel, ammunition and other combustibles on fire. Since WWII, it has been extensively used as a weapon, capable of causing serious burns or death. White phosphorus is used in bombs, artillery, and mortars, short-range missiles which burst into burning flakes of phosphorus upon impact.
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Last updated: 01/28/2011 01:00 PM