Skip to content

March 2, 1942 

Busy day. Radio control at Cabcabin, then about dark flew with Capt. Dyess. Straffed Grande Isl. Straffed tanker, Dyess blew it up. Wrecked plane landing at C.C. , lot of damage.

General George had received a report on the buildup of Japanese supply ships in Subic Bay, which suggested the Japanese would be trying a renewed landing on the west coast of Bataan. He ordered his pilots to take their remaining five P-40s at Bataan, Mariveles, and Cabcaben fields and attack the vessels. Round the clock strafing and bombing missions were mounted as from 1:00 p.m. As daylight was fading, Dyess and his weaver, John Burns, took off for the last attack at 6:40 p.m, Dyess in his P-40E “Kibosh” from Bataan Field and Burns in a P-40B from Cabcaben. After shooting up the dock area of Grande Island, Burns and Dyess strafed a large ship in Subic Bay and on the return flight Dyess in darkness spotted and strafed another vessel. Preparing to land at their Bataan fields, the twosome were fighting a heavy tail wind. Dyess made a rough landing, but Burns, tricked by the tail wind, came in too fast at Cabcaben and on each bounce his six .50s sprayed fire down the field. Continuing to roll past the far end of the field, Burns ran into stumps, swerved, and flipped over on one wing, tearing out the landing gear and damaging the wing and propeller. Unhurt but shaken, he slid down from the cockpit and asked, “Has anyone got a cigarette?” His armorer checked the cockpit and saw that Burns had forgotten to turn off his gun switches after the strafing attack and had inadvertently pressed the trigger switch on the stick on each bounce. His ship was the last survivor of the 31 P-40Bs received in the Philippines.