Responce to “The Japanese Surrender of Wake Island.”

Dear Arnold,

I enjoy every issue of the M/M newsletter and read them all cover to cover. I read with great interest in your latest edition, Captain Floyd Harris’ article “The Japanese Surrender of Wake Island.” I’m sorry to say however, I think he had his Hollywood references in error. John Wayne never defended Wake Island, it was Brian Donlevy who portrays the beleaguered USMC Major Geoffrey Caton in the movie Wake Island. John Wayne I think was off playing other heroes of WW II, Korea, Vietnam, etc.

Also, and I hate to do this, Captain Harris’ reference to the F3F was also in error. The F3F was a Grumman carrier based biplane that was phased out before we got into the war and was replaced by theGrumman F4F-3 which was the aircraft that defended Wake Island. This was probably the aircraft Captain
Harris meant but misplaced the 4’s and 3’s. Looking up other facts and myths about Wake Island on the computer Google web site was very interesting. The other facts in Captain Harris’ article were very accurate. My experiences flying PBM’s was far less dramatic. I got my wings in the summer of 1949 and was
assigned to VP-34 in Norfolk, V A. When the Korean War started no one knew whether WW III was on the horizon so patrolling the North Atlantic seemed to President Truman the thing to do. Thus the squadron was transferred to Trinidad in October 1950. Another Norfolk PBM squadron was sent to Bermuda for the same reason. Thus I was flying PBM patrols about as far away from bullets and fighting as one can get. About the only thing we found interesting was watching the giant manta rays gather for their mating season just north of Trinidad every few months.

Anyway, kudos to Captain Harris for his recollections of something that happened almost 67 years ago. I hope he forgives me for pointing out his “Hollywood” errors. By the way, I fancy myself somewhat of an artist and the drawing at the top of this letter is one I did in colored pencil. The original is about 12” x 8” which I sold it at local art show for a few hundred bucks. The one at the bottom is a creation I did in the paint program that is in every PC. Artists, even pseudo artist like myself, like to show off.

More articles are found in the Summer 2012 MMA Newsletter.

MMA Association’s 2013 Reunion – Branson, Mo
Official Record: Third VP-44 / Dictionary of American Naval Aviation Squadrons – Volume 2, by Michael D. Roberts
MMA 2012 Reunion at San Diego
Airborne Mariner / August 1997, WINGS MAGAZINE
Appointment at Aparri / By Louis M. Guerrieri

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