First on a PBY search/scouting sector searching for the enemy at Midway.
in the Solomons when U S bases were being built and improved and like Henderson Field on Guadalcanal were being fought for.
The third tour started at San Diego and took the new crew to Tarawa Betio Island, landing on Hawkin’s Field after the combat died down in early 1943. They rolled to park near the commanding Admiral’s C. P. That crew’s ARM Radioman had been at hangar 6 on Ford Island and survived the Surprise Sunday morning attack. He saw and heard the thundering carnage. The men in service and on the front line back then were a proud bunch. They went through a lot together and the war deaths touched them deeply. Adm. Halsey was aboard the USS Enterprise CV-6 when it was allowed to enter Pearl Harbor as the sun set on 8 December. The Adm. was heard to say : 'Before we're done Japanese will be spoken only in hell.'' Dad, in my mind, and according to the very few letters I got from his Navy friends in the past, had that feeling too. He wanted to fight back in a big way. He has been gone for decades but I remember him and his and all the other crewmen. They all had the opportunity to fight back and they did.'' I was fortunate in 1997 to find and meet the PBY Hawkin’s Field Radioman and he had the same photo print my family had of the Catalina crew posed aboard the plane near the C.P. quanset-hut for the Admiral’s PR picture. This time I saw all the crew’s names on the back - which started a new journey for me to locate them. One doesn’t waste time with this sort of project, but only four were still alive, reminding me of everyone’s mortality. Today I know of one, the Radioman, still with us.
[MY BUDDIES & ME
We're down in the mess deck finishing breakfast.
Dressed in our whites ready to go on Sunday liberty, my buddies & me.
It's just a few more minutes now until "Colors" then a launch across the harbor and a bus into town.
Today is a special day for my buddies & me.
I'm really looking forward to this day's liberty.
Many of us will go our separate ways today,
but not us, we'll be together, my buddies & me.
What was that explosion - - what was that jolt?
What's happening - - WHAT HAPPENED??!!
Silence now - - we're here in the mess deck, my buddies & me.
How long has it been - - an eternity?
We're still in our whites now soiled and ragged by our blood, fuel oil amid the toll of the sea.
I wish we could have made our Sunday liberty.
I would have been nineteen today.
Mom and Pop don't grieve for me - - a battleship sailor is what I wanted to be.
Skeletal hands entwined in our grave at the bottom of the sea.
Hey it's me, it's me and my buddies and me!
I. BUDD NEASE, USNR RETIRED