“June 20 – Senick got shot by our own guards at Biak, everybody is trigger happy. Still hear gun blasting away at Japs. Our planes go over to bomb them everyday.” Alright so we are very confused as to what or who “Senick” is. We are guessing it is someone in his unit that he knew, as to why he got shot or the context of this we know nothing. He does not mention “Senick” or anything about this day in other entries. So apologies from us that we can not tell you any more about this.
Don’t worry the part that looks colored is not actually colored, it is digital to cover up the next entry.
“June 17 – Had raid at 10 P.M. my first one.”
“(OWI) June 16 – APO 920 – Moved from Biak to neighboring island of Owi, reason was that planes couldn’t operate from Biak, engineers built strip on Owi in five days. Could hear artillery booming all night long. Japs dug in caves. Owi is a very small island, about 2 1/2 miles long and a mile wide but is a nice place. While at Biak we thought we’ed be attacked by Japs, were on alert all night. Dug my first slit trench.” Alright so “OWI” is an island right near Biak island, formally known as Pulau Owi Island. Like mentioned in the journal an air strip was built there, the reason being to give the Army Air Force a better place to operate from. It was built under General MacArthur’s command. A “slit trench” also known as an individual prone shelter, is just what it sounds like, a small, narrow slit dug into the ground. Typically big enough for one soldier to lay inside to protect themselves form any fire and fragments from explosions (although sometimes they are made bigger to accommodate more soldiers).
Here is an illustration of what a slit trench looks like:
* Please note that we do not own this image, here is the source for it: https://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/ref/FM/FM7-10/FM7-10-I.html *
If you would like to find out more information about Owi island and the airfield there, you can go to these websites: http://www.pacificwrecks.com/airfields/indonesia/owi/index.html ,
“(BIAK) June 11 – Unloaded liberty boat on to Lst’s and arrived at Biak Island June 14. Had plenty of alerts but no raids while un – loading. Got quite a scare, artillery was still on beach and Japs not far away. Strips were still in Jap hands.” “Lst’s” are landing ship tanks, the amphibious vehicles military uses that can go in water and then land on the shore to deploy troops, vehicles and supplies. When he said he “had plenty of alerts but no raids” he means he had alerts that the Japanese were going to attack (whether it be by bombing or a ground attack) but they did not. Artillery is weaponry used by the military to fire munitions with more power and range than guns can provide. When he says “Strips were still in Jap hands” he means the air strips were still controlled by the Japanese at the time.
Alright so we think that Mike’s unit was a part of the 162nd Infantry Regiment, because from what were are finding online the 41st Infantry Division arrived to the battle first then the only other troops to arrive later on in the battle were part of the 162nd Infantry Regiment, leading us to believe he was part of it.
Here is what an LST looks like:
*Please note we do not own this image, here is the source for it: http://www.navsource.org/archives/10/16/160134.htm *
“April 16 – Boarded Liberty ship Lyman Beecher and went to Finshafen to pick up convoy. This is advance echelon. We then went to Humboldt Bay and stayed there till June 11. Couldn’t get off boat, worst trip we ever had. Nothing to do but eat and sleep. Supposed to go to Biak which was invaded May 27.”
Alright so there is quite a lot to go over for this entry, so if you don’t like reading I apologize. So “Liberty ship Lyman Beecher” was a supply ship named after the famous Presbyterian Minister who lived during the 1800’s (at least we think it was, if it was named after another ‘Lyman Beecher’ feel free to leave a comment down below correcting us). Liberty ships were another name for supply ships and troop transport ships.
“Finshafen” is a town in the Huon Peninsula in the Morobe Province of Papua New Guinea (which is where he was at this time). He either spelled the name of this town incorrectly or that might have been what American troops called it at the time, because the town is actually spelled as ‘Finschhafen’.
When he says that they went “to pick up convoy” he means that they went there to get more troops, supplies, and vehicles to go with them. We are not entirely sure what he means by “advance echelon” we think he means that it was a special, advanced formation of him and the rest of the troops he was with (if it means something else feel free to leave a comment below correcting us).
“Humboldt Bay” also known as Yos Sudarso Bay, was a small bay on the Northern Coast of Papua New Guinea.
“Biak” is a small island in the Cenderawasih Bay in the Northern Coast of Papua New Guinea. As he mentioned it “was invaded May 27” by 12,000 American troops to fight the Japanese troops controlling the island. This became known as the Battle of Biak. It was fought from May 27th – July/August ? 1944 (every website says a different end date so i’m not sure which one is correct). It was done under General MacArthur’s command, meant to clear Papua New Guinea of Japanese troops so the U.S. could have a better position to invade the Philippines. When he arrives there, the battle is still going on (which you will more about that out in the next entry).
“April 14 – Left Nadzab and went to Lae to stage” “Lae” is the capital city of the Morobe Province in Papua New Guinea(which was where he was at), it is the second largest city in Papua New Guinea. When he says staging he means him and his unit are being processed to ship out into combat.
“April 12 – One year in Army.”