On June 6, 1944 I was half a world away in Hollandia, Dutch New Guinea - participating in a war that had been sitting on the back burner for 2-1/2 years.When we heard the news of the Normandy invasion we were jubilant, figuring the sooner they got it over on that side of the world the sooner we would get some help on our side of the world.The Third Bomb Gp. was the first Bomb Gp to be deployed after Pearl Harbor, shiping out of Frisco Jan. 31, 1942 -- sans aircraft.We borrowed (stole ?) 25 B-25s from the Dutch and started 43 months of continuous combat duty.The first year there were times when we could only put a half dozen planes in the air for a mission.
I take nothing away from the importance of the Normandy invasion.I take nothing away from the valiant men to fought and died on those beaches.It was undoubtedly the largest amphibious invasion in the history of war fare.BUT in the Pacific and Southwest Pacific we were having one of those invasions on sandy beaches about every six months; from Guadalcanal to Okinawa.Percentage wise Tarawa was probably the costliest invasion - casualty wise - in the war.
There were thousands of valiant men who lost their lives on the beaches of the Pacific,There are hundreds of airmen that were shot down and now rest in the waters of the Paicfic and the jungles of the south sea islands.All due respects to the European Theater, I think a little more attention should be given to the second class war that was fought in the Pacific. Jack