Diary of David L. Obert

December 18, 1941

An officer was supposed to be on duty at Nichols as airdrome officer and spend the night there. I pulled the first night. The next day I spent checking on maintenance and having the men dig fox holes where they had to work. This was in case they should be caught in a surprise raid. We had our regular eleven o’clock bombing raid that day, but I found a hole to crawl into during this one.

By this time most of the buildings had been destroyed on Nichols and none of the bombs were doing any further damage. The bombers seemed to be trying to hit the runways and what few planes we had left, but they did a very good of missing. They had done an excellent job of bombing the first few days of the war, but now they never seemed to hit their target. I think they used their most experienced pilots at first, and then started using a bunch of greenhorns.

That night I found another officer to stay on the field, and I went home a little before dark. After dinner Dorothy and I decided that we would like to go dancing and have a few drinks. She put on an evening gown, and I put on a civilian suit for the first time since the war had started, and off we went to the Manila Hotel which was about the only night spot that was still operating. The place was crowded to capacity with officers in uniform, and I was informed several times that I was breaking regulations by being in civilian clothes. It didn’t hurt my conscious all though, because it was such a relief to get out of uniform and forget the Army for a few hours. We danced and sipped Scotch and sodas until midnight when we decided that since both of us had to go to work early in the morning, we should go to bed. Everything in Manila was completely blacked-out that night. To move about, we had to creep along and feel our way.