Pilots of the 506th Fighter Group
Pilot: Larry Grennan | Nickname: Larry | Rank: Lt | Plane: 5? Gang Bang | S/N: 472552
Flew in the afternoon with new Captain Benbow. Weather was thick and it restricted my passes and gun sight
tracking. In evening Kloiber and I saw movie Mark Twain at C.B.
March 28 Tinian CAP 1:40
Flew fIrst patrol mission on Benbow's wing and was the only plane landed with ammo ..
MansfIeld and Kloiber second element. Nothing happened. Was signal and target officer on box sighting Benbow's plane in morning. Went to C.B. theater and saw part of a show with service orchestra.
March 29 - Tinian
Today was lovely - slept all morning and went swimming with Benbow in the afternoon at the south,
lovely place with steps down the cliff. On the way back we passed the Jap civilian and were nauseated by the odor. Got close to some of them and were surprised at small sizes.
March 30 -T 1:00
Started the by helping put up group supply tent. Talked with Nemeth, my crew chief, and found he is from Los Angeles, Good boy by the way. The nasty rumor about the pilots killed a Banzai raid on Iwo appears to be true. Flew number three with MansfIeld and Cawleyand Witly and I really clobbered a jug over Saipan. Spent the evening at home or our
March 31 - CAP 1 :40
Flew Major Watters wing on patrol. Weather was thick over Saipan. No interceptions. In the evening ,-j,. & I were guards. I borrowed Murphy's carbine and shot at a cat to break the monotony. There was a fIre north of the fIeld but too deep in the fIeld to risk going over more men.
April 1st - Tinian
Today was Sunday and our Sqds day off so we slept until nine in the morning Benbow shaved his moustache. I cleaned up guns, washed and aired my sleeping bag. At night it like a cow in the cane fIeld. I loaded pistol and carbine and followed it out talking to it. As I got within about twenty feet it came out from behind a clump and it was one of water buffaloes. Too big so I left it be.
April 2 - T 1 :00
Flew wing on 15000 interception. B24's escorted by Corsairs and F6F's. We made one pass from 6
o"clock. Then fought two corsairs for awhile. Went to CB theater in evening saw Howard Hill in a short. Went with Kloiber. Received word today that I am on censorship Tough luck.
April 3 - Tinian CAP 1:35
Flew patrol that was uneventful except for knocking off some smart jokers in P47's that wanted to mix
it up. Benbow, Grennan, MansfIeld, Kloiber. As usual in the evening went to show with Kloib.
April 4 - TINIAN
Did exactly nothing today except read, sweep the floor, shower, eat dinner, read sleep,
eat, drink a lousy beer, go to the show which had included in the program a captured Jap
comedy that was the only interesting thing all day.
April 5 - TINIAN
April 6 -TINIANCAP 1 :40
Flew a belated no. 4 position on Kloibers wing. Thought I would make him quit his
pissing and moaning. Coming in to land there was no wind so everyone was hot as a
firecracker d as a result Kloiber ran into Benbow cutting off the plane behind the
armor, both machines total wrecks. Too bad!
April 7 -TINIAN
We got up a 5 and reported down to the strip, preflighted my airplane, taxied it out to the
end of the s ip for alert. Sat around read and beat the bag at the tent until off duty. In
afternoon cu a piece of wood for a bow in spite of bees living in the sapling.
Went to show in the evening.
April 8 -TINIAN
Today was ay off so I spent a lot of time fooling around whittling bows and arrows to
pass the time . We had a big meeting in the afternoon with Col. Scandrett to get the
April 9 -TINIAN CAP 1 :45
Flew the 10:00 to twelve patrol mission with Kloiber on my wing and messed up on
signals twice . Benbow and Cawley were first element. Although I should accept criticism
I hate to take it from Kloib. During the afternoon I watched the crew working on Benbow
and Kloibers planes trying to make one.
April 10 -TINIAN
I finished a w during the morning and in the afternoon "D" flight was on alert so I spent
the time beating the punching bag and gaining ever needed sack time.
April 11 -TINIAN
Another day pff during which I accomplished nothing I set out to do except get a haircut.
In the after on I went down and assisted Murphy in small measure in putting a flap on
the bastard P 1.
April 12 -TINIAN CAP 1 :45
Flew second element leader for Major Watters and nobody knew what the other was
doing so our mutual support was second but to say the last. From 12 to 3 pulled the trick
in Marigold t wer.
April 13 -TINIAN
Spent both m ming and afternoon censoring mail at the base censors tent. It was a
sterling opportunity to pry into other peoples affaris and proved very interesting especially
the thoughts about army relations with its men.
April 14 - TINIAN
Today was day off so I slept, went down to the line, completed a small fishing rig,
explored mt emergency provisions and tried to figure out what I would need. Played
volleyball, went to a squadron meeting and ended the evening by going to the club tent
and taking a I ok at C flight dates.
May 3 - TINIAN
Went down to north field and got the parachute fitted and we gave a ride back to three 417th guys. One seemed pretty nice and one was big blowhard. In the afternoon I went back and got my chute. Kloib and I went to show in the evening.
May 4 - TINIAN
Funny how a person can waste time. That is exactly what I did today; ate three meals, played catch, got a letter, took two showers, shaved, argued, went to a show, came back wrote this and went to bed.
MAY 5 - TINIAN Test :30
We were briefed for 8 ship flight but on run up Nemeth blew the coolant so we filled it up with water and changed gauges with carbureter air. I then went up and flew around
looped and spun the airplane for the first time with a full fuselage tank at that.
May 6 - TINIAN
Today Hinkle and I planned to go fishing but actually spent it running allover the north field after Hinks parachute.
May 7 - TINIAN
Today Hinkle, Kloiber and I went fishing and a Jap dove down and untangled Kloibs line for him. The other boys caught some red ones and a yellow one with blue stripes, very pretty. We played a little softball and went to a movie in the evening.
May 8 - TINIAN F 1 :20
This morning I stayed home during the mission and sent a couple packages for Benbow and myself. After dinner we flew down to Depot Field, Guam to pick up some auxiliary gas tanks. After all manner of discussion we finally got them on and then beat everybody else back to home - Leave for Iwo tomorrow.
May 9 - TINIAN
Didn't leave today and the rest of the planes went down to get belly tanks. May 10 - TINIAN
We packed our things and sent them by C46 but nevertheless we stayed on the ground because of weather. Went to a show in the evening and then slept on a bare cot.
May 11 - TINIAN F 3:50
Today was the beginning of an era to come, my life on Sulphur Island or the forsaken hole Iwo Jima. Benbow Kloiber, Grennan, Hinkle was the lineup. We took off barely staggering into the air with a full load, rendezvoued with our dreamboat escorts and flew between clouds most of the way. We circled a long time but as soon as I taxied in there was old Jatczak big as life.
May 17 10 Shima
Had a good time today, went over to the 21st barber shop with Jatczak and we both got a haircut although he didn't need one, his hair is 1/4" long. Then we went swimming in the cold sulfurous sea water that washes Iwo's black sand.
May 18 Iwo Jima
Well today we hit the jackpot - Cream of the 58th took off with a sputtering engine, made a circle to the right, pulled a tight approach with no power and very little flaps stalled, crashed and burned. After the meeting at 10 o'clock we were outside again watching when two ships of the 62 came in pulled tight pattern in the crosswind and went around. They came in again hot as ever number one went around and two tried to pull a tight turn which he had to make because of the strong crosswind. He never leveled out bounced up and threw the tail and engine and wings off and scattered himself all over and finally caught fire after a few seconds. My friend Carter was the pilot.
May 19 - Iwo Jima
Went to the briefing this morning for the mission to Chichi Jima but Benbow and I were struck from the list. We were originally scheduled for air sea rescue with me as escort. We sat on alert all afternoon, Murphy and the rest of the ground crew from Tinian arrived. I talked to Nemeth and cried on his shoulder about how the airplane had gone to hell since he had last fooled with it.
May 20 Iwo Jima
Nasty weather today. No flying.
May 21 Iwo Jima
Sat on alert half the day but didn't fly.
May 22 Iwo Jima CAP 2:10
Today I flew element leader with Clamwinkle, Kloiber and Hinkle on the 7:15 mission. Clam's radio was out so I did the talking - big wheel. During the afternoon I was on runway control at which time Bozarth was killed in a mid air collision with a 21st boy. At dark we had a Jap air raid. Two were definitely destroyed and there were some probables by night fighters. One man on the north island was killed.
May 23 Iwo Jima
Today the new system was inaugurated so we were on some kind of alert all day. We were briefed for ChiChi mission that should come off tomorrow.
May 24 Iwo Jima
Benbow and I aborted this morning because after shutting off high coolant engines Bens plane cut out on takeoff so I didn't take off either. In the afternoon after the Tokyo briefing was called off Jatczak and I went swimming and had a big time riding the breakers out on the sandbar.
May 25 Iwo Jima CAP 1 :25
Bad fog kept us on the ground first mission this morning. Standby all day but we flew last mission at 5:45, Kinvig, Grennan, Moore, with Jatczak going back to the line. We almost had to make instrument landings the stuff was so thick over the runway. At 1 o'clock and at 8 this evening we had briefing for the Empire raid tomorrow.
May 26 Iwo Jima
The big deal never materialized. We got into the airplanes when the fog was so thick that it hid objects on the other end of the ramp. It was funny, everyone was nervous - I chewed my gum at a terrific rate - the boys on the ground all wished us luck and tucked us into the airplanes with as much attention as possible. After a couple hours the Col. called it off. Stonier we had a review at 8 o'clock.
May 27 Iwo Jima
This morning we never got near the airplanes before they called the mission off. It is postponed until tomorrow but the roster has been changed to include me among others.
May 28 Iwo Jima
Today the big raid finally took off. Alston crashed on take off and miraculously escaped death because it burned like a torch. We, J atczak and I, worked on the quonset most of the day and went swimming at 4 o'clock. Capt. Miller of the 62'nd is missing. Carmody got one confirmed and Lawrence got a probable.
May 29 Iwo Jima TEST :30
Got up at 4 o'clock this morning and was on alert until 7:30. Sat around most of the morning flew test hop in the afternoon with Johnson and Ertman tagging along. Worked on quonset until time to go swimming.
May 31st Iwo Jima
Spent the day at the line on alert. We were relieved early for the mission to Osaka tomorrow - at briefing we learned how big it was to be . Another air raid late at night.
June 1 Iwo Jima VLR 5:10
Today was the big day - we assembled on the bombers and climbed on course over some low weather. About 500 miles out we hit a big front. After going in the bombers started zigzagging to miss the really thick places and that really screwed us. I was flying second element leader with Kloiber on my wing - Fletcher and Harville were first element. Two planes came diving out of the soup and Fletcher turned sharply to avoid a collision. I turned but lost him and Shortly lost me. I stayed on instruments until I hit a clear spot where I looked back and saw a plane at the bottom of a pullout. After going through another cloud I found a B29 which I tacked on to. After circling a few times and flying down low in the soup for an hour we began to climb and my engine started to act up. For what seemed like a week until we had Iwo in sight I was sweating it out. I kept my altitude until I was almost over the island and it was good thing I did because the engine cut. I fooled around for a couple of thousand feet and then bailed out. Some navy guys picked me up and treated me good. They even gave me a coca cola a rare luxury. Kloiber along with a bunch more are still missing
June 2nd Iwo Jima CAP 2:10
Still sore from the jump. I went down to the line for alert. We flew a CAP mission from 10:45 until about 1 o'clock. Benbow, Grennan, Kinvig, Gardner. The wheels had me write up statements and forms. I also arranged matters with the flying equipment sergeant. No word about the missing men.
June 5 Iwo Jima
Got up early this morning and went down to field number 2 and took off for Guam.About five hours passenger time and we landed on the beautiful green island. It looked and smelled like heaven. We went to air sea rescue briefing came back to Harmon field took a shower ate in grand style.
June 7 GUAM TEST :30
Griffo and I flew our planes today. Mine ran a little rough at low rpms. We have moved over to Orate and the quarters are excellent.
June 8 GUAM
We went down to the line but waited around all morning for our auxiliary tanks to be drained. Major Mannons orders. Same situation this afternoon so we took off. Dietz, Millner and I rode all over the place getting down to the beach. We had a good time, husked some coconuts, gave one to a painted red cross girl, went up to Depot ate, I cracked a nickel jackpot with three coins then hitch hiked home with the nuts.
June 9 GUAM Test 1: 15
This morning we started off to Iwo but I had a pretty rough engine so I turned back and landed at Harmon. I tested it again with same results after dinner. Mechanics started plug change and so on. I met Grannen from C.T.D.in the club tonite and had a good talk mostly about the war. He is Saipan based and has 20 trips as co-pilot.
June 10 GUAM Ferry 4:15
We finally got under way today and after fooling with the plane it ran smoother.! peeled off and landed with the cloud layed down to 500 feet with no radio and the boys coming home from Tokyo. Gardner, brave lad, got a confirmed Tojo.
June 11 Iwo Jima
Stayed in the sack all day and got briefed for big strike tomorrow. June 12 Iwo Jima Test 2:00
Mission called off - we flew a gas consumption test in the mom with eight ships. Read the "thin man" and loafed down at the alert tent.
June 13 Iwo Jima
Slept all morning wrote a few letters, went swimming with Jatczak and Strain and had a good time in the high surf. I swam naked even though it isn't approved of. More fun anyway.
June 13 Iwo Jima
Up at 4:30 for alert all day. This noon Knisely and I got some Jap rifle & ammunition out of a cave. We shot his rifle down at the line and it works satisfactorily enough for a Jap weapon and a bolt action at that. This evening we went back and got another case, this one unspoiled.
June 14 Iwo Jima VLR 4:40
We took off and flew as far as the big weather front and then turned back. I flew Kimballs airplane with 165 gal wing tanks on Kinvigs wing on submarine cover. Two 62nd boys flew second element. We climbed up to 24 thousand in the soup before turning back.
June 19 Iwo Jima Boring 3:00
Again we aborted because of the weather front and every day since the last attempt we have been on schedule for take off but it has been postpned every day. Today I flew Benbows wing leading red flight. On the way home we decided to hit ChiChi Jima We circled over the place long enough to give them all warning and then went in to strafe. Benbow and I went in line abreast toward the harbor. Just as we came out of the clouds they put some shell bursts behind Johns tail but we kept going down and I shot up a big fishing boat and pulled through and sprayed the town trying to discourage and AA. I pulled up in formation and saw they shot Johnies left wing tip off. We circled then while the rest went in for a couple more passes.
June 20 Iwo Jima CAP 2:05
June 23 Iwo Jima VLR :45
I was scheduled to fly Benbows wing on fighter strike on the Empire. We taxied down the Navy strip so we could take offwest. I had 541 and on takeoff! noticed the left flaps vibrating and before I knew it the thing was headed off to the left 30". I chopped the throttle and (left brake locked) got it under control. I then jumped into Maj. Watters airplane and tried to catch then but they left rendezvous before time so no soap.
June 24 Iwo Jima Test :30
Tested 541 today with Veitenheimer in 538. June 27 Iwo Jima VLR 6:00
Today Green flight rode up in front. I flew the wing of Maj. Watters, Kinvig and Jatczak, second element.. It was the same old story of trying to find a hole in the clouds without success. Boy was I tired tonite.
July 1 Iwo Jima VLR 6:30
We have been sweating this mission out since June 28. They postponed it every day until now and two hours this morning. We flew Blue flight. Benbow, Grennan, Kinvig, Veitenheimer. The 15th got to the target before we did and couldn't see anything because of the clouds so after hitting the coast we turned around. I get closer every time, maybe next time we will hit the target
July 2 Iwo Jima Scramble CAP :45
Today I committed the unpardonable sin. I stole the squadron commanders airplane. Right after dinner the siren sounded so we jumped into a truck and took off in record time. I don't know what happened to the bogies but they called it off just as we got our altitude. When we got on the ground Anthony found out who stole his airplane. Jatczak is leaving for Oahu tomorrow on rest leave.
July 5 Iwo Jima VLR 7:50
Flew Lawrences wing today. We made landfall too far south, down by Tokyo and the land was covered by a low deck of clouds. Only the bay and the shore line were open. We went in dodged some flak couldn't see anything so came back out circled too damn long at rally point and came home.
July 7 Iwo Jima Test :35
Took up 539 for a test and cleaned the plugs a little. Lawrence and Winn were up at same time but I didn't look for them.
July 9 Iwo Jima VLR 7:20
Flew Benbows wing today - We went in as top cover while the other sqd strafed Hamamatsu then we went in on Toyohashi. I was testing my guns and shot a power line. After going over the target Benbow and Morrison shot up a bunch of transformers that really set off some pretty sparks.
July 10 Iwo Jima CAP 1 :00
We were scrambled at about 5 o'clock. My oxygen mask came loose so I had to take my helmet off and put them together while staying in formation with Winn on my wing.
July 14 Iwo Jima VLR 4:15
Damn it we did a repeat performance in more ways than one. First of all we have been briefed and ready for three days and when we finally did go we turned back because of weather which we knew was very bad before we took off. Only thing to warm my heart was the way Jow Nemeth has Gang Bang running. I always feel like smiling around him he is that kind.
July 15 Iwo Jima CAP 2:00
July 18 Iwo Jima
We were a proud group when we left Lakeland. Benbow, Mansfield, Kloiber and myself. Off to fight the war to battle glory and fame. However our eyes weren't closed, we thought we realized what could easily happen. Off the carrier, Guam was green and far from the war. Tinian was the same and we lived like gentlemen flying patrol and eating on covered tables. What a shock it was the day Mansfield was killed. Just a little error at a wrong moment and all the crash boat crew could find was a piece of the face and one of the rump. The three of us would have to carry on.
June 1st Iwo Jima
Dawned bright and fateful. From Iwo Jima that naked rough pile of ashes and sulphur permeated rocks we took off for Japan.What a show I said to myself as the swarms of P51 's started on course. Kloiber on my wing, we were Fletchers second element. Into the weather, a plane hurtling straight down at us, a frantic turn, and Klouiber was never again seen. A parachute jump completed the day for me.
Two of us left and neither apt to go unless it be me. A lot of successful missions and we began feeling better. Then the day Jatczak got back from rest leave we started kidding him about his airplane. "You know 538 spun in don;t you" we said. Within an hour we found out Benbow was missing in 538.
One of us left.
July 19 Iwo Jima VLR 8:00
It always takes three days of postponing to get a mission to the target. Today we hit an airfield in the middle of Osaka. Coming in the 62nd picked some bogies off our tails. The flak was dense and mean, machine guns, auto weapons, big stuff and phosphorous mines all at once. We shot hell out of some kind of boat on the way out. Landed with about 20 gallons.
July 21 Iwo Jima CAP 1:55
Had a day of rest yesterday and went to the opening of the 21st Ftr theater. They had a band and comedians, etc .. Today the same accept Morrison and I flew Cap with a couple of P47 majors from the 414th. They did alright except for mutual support.
July 24 Iwo Jima VLR 7:30
July 29 Iwo Jima CAP 1: 1 0
Today we went down and got decorated. Mostly air medals were given out, me too. This evening we stumbled on or inta the Charlie Ruggles show and he has some nice girls in the show especially the acrobat or dancer or whatever she was.
July 30 Iwo Jima CAP 2:30
Early morning mission 10 to 20 thousand feet.
Aug 1 Iwo lima CAP :40
tested Gang Bang for tomorrows mission.
Aug 2 Iwo lima VLR 8:20
Top cover to Osaka, Kobe. Yellow flight, Kinvig, Grennan, Gardner, Miller. Kinvig led the section and Maj. Waters had to stay with the dreamboat.
Aug 5 Iwo Jima VLR 7:10
Tokyo area - started as a spare ended as Yellow three We ill, Gardner, Gardena, Miller. We shot up cars trains factories - Hank Ne ff went in doing a low turn on the water.
Aug 8 Iwo lima Test :30
tested 527 this afternoon for tomorrows mission Aug 9 Iwo lima Slow Time 2:00
Went down this afternoon put the first flying time on Gang Bang's new engine. Took off with 37 in a lot cumulous clouds in the area. Made two hops.
Aug 10 Iwo lima VLR 7:10
Escort mission to Tokyo with about 70 bombers, B29's. We made landfall east of Hamnmamaki asd went up around the cone Fujiyama - Our flight red, never went down but Aust got two and so did Newcomb - two others were shot down - no losses.
Aug 24 Iwo lima CAP 1 :45
Aug 31 Iwo lima VLR 7:50
Sept 2 Iwo lima CAP 1 :50