SEATTLE, TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 1944
Air Commodore Says:
Paramushiro Raids Put Japs on Spot
" 'What would you think if the Japs bombed Sitka four nights in a row?'
"You'd be demanding planes, troops, battleships -- everything we had to defend the mainland. Well, that's what the Japs are faced with at Paramushiro."
So declared America's first naval air commodore in Seattle yesterday. He is Commodore Leslie E. Gehres of 4550 W. laurel Dr., about whom Vice Admiral Frank Jack Fletcher said:
"Credited more than any other officer with the defeat of the Japanese in the Aleutians, is Commodore Gehres."
In an exclusive Post-Intelligencer interview, given in the presence of Rep. Warren G. Magnuson, member of the house naval affairs committee, Commodore Gehres, skipper of Fleet Air Wing 4, declared:
"We've run a number of bombing sorties over Paramushiro."
Surreptiously knocking wood, he went on:
"And with no losses to date either by enemy action of weather, not a man scratched: only one plane scarred. On the last mission, February 4, we sent a flight of nine planes in three waves: two waves of PBY's and one of Venturas at intervals of 2-1/2 hours.
"This air attack was coordinated with the cruiser bombardment of Paramushiro. And if you want to know what the Japs think about that, just ask yourself:
"What would you think if the Japs bombed Sitka four nights in succession?
"You'd be demanding planes, troops, battleships -- everything we had to defend the mainland. Well, that's what the Japs are faced with.
"But here is the significance of what we are doing there; last summer we tried to get planes through on night bombing of the Japanese homelands." Insisting that full credit go to the pilots, Commodore Gehres told of the "terrific beating" taken by the airmen on the 1,500 mile round trip, among the longest over-water night missions being conducted anywhere in the world.
"After sitting, sometimes for hours, waiting for 50-knot winds to clear the field, the pilots take off, bucking turbulence, icing and below-zero weather for 13-1/2 hours.
"Sometimes over Paramushiro the run into heavy flak, and occasionally night fighters come up. The first plane may draw 20 bursts from ground guns, the second plane may be bounced around by 200 bursts. It's a tough flight."
Image of the original article
http://www.kadiak.org/faw4/meadows.html This page created 2001 November 13