Steve; I was a member of the 3rd Bomb. Gp. We left the States 7 weeks after Pearl Harbor.Spent 10 months in N.E. Aust., 2 years on New Guinea, on to the the Phillipines and Okinawa.I left them in Jan.'45 from Mindoro in the P.I.
The 32nd Inf. Div., I believe, was the first Inf. Div. to see action in WW II. After the Coral Sea Battle stopped the japs from taking Port Moresby, N.G. by sea; in the summer of '42 they were trying to take it by land - coming across the Owen Stanley Mts.That summer the 32nd Div. joined the Aussie 7 & 9th Divs. in stopping them and driving them back across the Mts. and out of the Buna-Gona area.
My outfit flew air support for the ground troops in that endeavor.It was during this time we, sadly, learned the meaning of "friendly fire".The jungle canopy was so thick the pilots could not see where they were droping the bombs.They would have orders to drop them at a given time on a given sector.A time or two the ground troops broke thru ahead of schedul, unbekownst to the pilots and got caught in our bombs.
I don't know when your uncle joined the 32nd, but if he was with them from this time to his death he would have had battle stars for the "Papua Compaign", "New Guinea Campaign" and the "South Philipine Campaign"Hope this is a bit of help to you. Jack, Photographer-Labtech, 3rd Bomb. Gp.