April 24th, 1943

Radar picked up aircraft.  News over shortwave came in – U.S.S. Reed was attacked by Jap aircraft and submarines just 50 miles away.  Fire watch 00-0200.

April 25th, 1943

Easter Sunday.  Arrived in the Solomon Islands and unloaded our gear in a hurry.  U.S.S. Waters shoved off.  As I set foot on the beach of Guadacanal, my mind was full of memorable fights + battles that went on here when the US Marines landed in August 7, 1942.  But I had work to do.  Put up our tent 200ft from the beach near the Lunga River (known as the Death Hole) both for the Marines and the Japs.  Thousands were known to be killed on crossing this river.  Turned in 1900.  Air Raid Alarm from 1150-1200.

April 26th, 1943

My plane came in 1300.  Glad to see my pilot + crew.  Meals are really rotten and the entire place is a hell hole.  Alert on island 1200-1330.

April 27th, 1943

Air Raid 0400!  Four Jap planes shot down by our fighter planes.  No bombs dropped.  Mother received my Fiji letter.

April 29th, 1943

Air Raid Alert 0430.  Action 0730!  Twelve T.B.F.’s, twenty-five S.B.D.’s,  eight F-4U’s, and eight P-38’s.  Took off for Munda + Pago Pago, 153 miles.  Results - Direct hits on ammunition dump.  My pilot blew up two Jap bombers on the ground.  Air Raid Alert 1900.

Journal - Press News
© Retelasfilm

April 30th, 1943

Early morning raid on Munda - bombed Jap camp area.  0500 Alert.  Twelve new B-24’s came in.

May 3rd, 1943

0430 Raid to Vella.  Twelve T.B.F., twelve S.B.D., and forty F4U + P-38’s.  Bombing 2000 lb daisy cutter.

May 5th, 1943

0430 Raid to Munda.  Eighteen T.B.F., eight Marine T.B.F.’s, eighteen S.B.D.’s, and twenty-five B-40’s.  All our planes returned softly, but one Marine T.B.F. shot down to flames.  T-14 tail shot off, T-8 bilge shot up, T-5 bullet holes in wing.  Gunner and Radioman wounded.  My pilot nearly cracked with an S.B.D.  Bombing mission successful.

May 7th, 1943

Twelve T.B.F’s and S.B.D.’s on a raid for Jap shipping – No success.  Bad weather.

May 9th, 1943

Mother’s Day.  Have sent flowers to mother, and Dottie’s mother + grandmother.

May 12th, 1943 (Last Entry)

Nine T.B.F.’s and ten S.B.D.’s – Fighter escort raid on Munda airstrip.  Another pilot flew my plane.  Ensign Swootser, gunner Whitelead, radioman Cramer.  Plane return shot to hell.  Cramer was wounded in the back, not serious.

Journal - Last Page

"The story of Rattle asses plane, T-15"

She played an important role bombing Japanese bases at Munda, Regata Bay, Vanga Vanga and Kelili Field on Bouganville.  After her crew were killed when flying in a DC3, she was being flown back to New Hebrides, but crashed at sea, some where between Guadalcanal and Esperito Santos.

She flew twenty seven missions and had 78 holes in her, personally counted by George Retelas. George was with her from San Diego, U.S.S. Long Island, Honolulu, U.S.S. Altamaha, Figi Island, New Hebrides and Guadalcanal.

Rattleasses plane - Letter
Courtesy: San Diego Air & Space Museum
"Michael O'Malley Special Collection"