Diary of Vincent Perrone

25 October 1944

General Quarters at 0500. Nothing happened, although there were enemy planes in the vicinity. We secured at 0730 when the boys were about to have breakfast Flash Blue was announced and two minutes later GQ. One Val was seen and was fired on by 5″ batteries in the area. He made smoke to let the boys believe he was hit. Last I saw him he was still going. I imagine one of our planes picked him off, as they were in the vicinity. The Val and Betty seem to be Duck bait to our fighters.

Destroyer still afloat. At 0900 about 20 more Jap planes came in. Four dived on ships lying off our port side near the beach. Evidently they missed their target. They are now in the beach area doing damage. Can’t tell from here whether our fighters are in there. Its raining now and hard. Can’t see a thing. Just heard some more AA fire. We fired our guns again. One plane seemed to be hit and another seemed out of control. Must have hit the pilot. It layed out and rolled over. I guess the other Jap got her under control. What a target she made only the ships were firing at the planes diving in. The crippled Destroyer shot down one Val.

NOTE: Received word the USS PRINCETON (Carrier) had an explosion and was scuttled because the Jap Task Force was too near. Our PT Boats were out last night. Don’t know just what damage they did to the Jap Force but they emptied their torpedos and came back in. It is believed that 3 Jap Carriers, 4 Battleships and 6 Cruisers and a number old Destroyers are out there. ADMIRAL HALSEY is moving in for a position. The latest information received was that three Jap planes made suicide dives on 3 Carriers out there and prevented planes from landing or taking off. The planes did come in here and landed on the air strip. Things really seemed grave for all concerned, with a task force out only 60 miles from here. The other Carrier planes did damage to the Japs all day. The latest was that all told 2 Jap battleships were going down and lay dead in the water. One Destroyer sunk and another crippled. “Bull” Halsey and his Third Fleet was chasing another Jap Carrier Force. He sent up four of his fast Carriers to us along with 6 Cruisers.

The air-raids continued all day and one of our small boats (LCVP) got a Zero up on the beach. It seems the Zero attempted to strafe the boys and came just a little to close as they sat in there behind their 30 caliber machine guns and let him have it. They brought back the Red Insignia and were going to bring the Jap back only his body was a mess. The only damage the Japs did a plane came in and crashed into one of the oil dumps on the beach. I saw one dive-bomb an oiler and missed. The two bombs dropped right off the stern of a small boat, Boy, I can just see the fellows in the small boat.

We had six air raids today. The only time of leisure was at 1400 and 1500. All the other was mostly at General Quarters. Zitzman, one of the storekeepers came real close to a slug. It was right through his shirt and down on the deck. Another fellow was wounded by shrapnel in the hand and leg. All told, there are about nine of ours wounded.

Boy, we really have been kept busy for the last two days.