Diary of Vincent Perrone

24 October 1944

This has been a day I will never forget in all my days. At 0500 enemy planes appeared and were shot at by AA fire, but at 0800, 30 enemy planes were heading our way and all hands went to GQ. They were first sighted by our fighter planes who put at least 5 on fire who came over the mountain toward the ship. One plane slid down the mountain side in a large envelope of flame. Another on fire made a suicide attempt to crash into one of our Liberty ships and succeeded. It rammed forward of the superstructure in flames, starting a fire causing quite a lot of damage. Another plane came in on fire in an attempted suicide and rammed a tug, bounced off her into the engine room of a Liberty ship. Another still burning rammed an LCI and a large fire started which resulted in the sinking of the LCI. Almost the whole crew got off but with sever burns. We received the casualties from the LCI and the Liberty ships. The burns were due to not wearing shirts. This should be a lesson to the boys. These planes seemed to have been set afire and shot down all at the same time. Then the planes came our way and we opened fire on them. The boys almost shot down two of our own fighters who were on the tail of a Betty crossed aft of the superstructure where I was sitting. They sure came close and probably put a few holes in the Betty. The fighters must have gotten her later as they were on top of her. During this, several other Jap planes crossed our bow. We suffered 5 casualties on our ship. The Jap bomber strafed our Flag bridge and wounded 5 of the fellows. They missed the Admiral but got his messenger who was standing along side the Admiral. In fact, the Admiral caught the boy when he fell. One of the suicide planes rammed and sank a tug. The Tug lost 5 men. We have all the casualties on board. We also have the rest of the survivors. About 200 yards off the ship lies one of our Destroyers. Her name is the USS ROSS. She was out on patrol and ran into a mine and to top it off, backed down into another. She was towed in close by a Tug and is still afloat. They are going to pump water and beach her, patch her up and go back as did the Australian Cruiser and the Cruiser USS HONOLULU. All told, it is believed for the days work, both our fighters and our ships knocked down 32 of the Jap Betty’s and Vals. Most of them were shot down by our Grumman Hellcats. There is a sea battle going on tonight about 200 miles from here and one report I received was our Carrier planes had already sunk a Jap battleship with torpedoes and damaged a Cruiser.

During the afternoon our bombers were dive-bombing Jap positions here on the island. We have advanced 16 miles to date.

One of our most serious cases died at 2100. He was burned almost from head to foot. His hair was all gone and face swollen.

We went to GQ 5 times today. It really wears a guy down.