In May of '44 we packed up, once again, loaded onto an LST and headed for Hollandia, Dutch N.G. We arrived about two weeks after the initial landing, and came upon one jammed up beach. The air strip was about 20 miles inland in the vicinity of Sentanni Lake. There was about 50 yards of beach and it was right up against swamp area. There was but one road off that beach and congestion was the name of the game. We got our equipment unloaded on to the beach by late afternoon, but we weren't going anywhere until the next day. That meant spending the nite on that beach amoung stacks of 500 lb. bombs and 90mm canon shells.

      Jack Heyn  Hollandia

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Our LST pulls up to a very congested beach at Hollandia.

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Two Photo Section guys try out a native dugout on Lake Sentani.

Since the initial landing the beach had been hit three times by Jap bombers in nite raids. The engineers had just taken bulldozers and pushed the litter back into the swamp. Needless to say there were a lot of prayers said that nite, for the Japs to take a nite off. Fortunately our prayers were answered and the next day we moved on out to our camp area. After the usual hustle-bustle of setting up a new camp, getting the Photo Section back in action, digging the ever present slit trenches etc.- back to normalcy.

Targets were pretty much the same with one new variation. We were now within range of the oil fields at Boleo, and that made for some interesting and different mission photos. Our six months at Hollandia were highlighted by 4 events worth noting. By this time the original Ancon men had been over there 2-1/2 years, and the powers that be finally started a rotation system for ground troops. The combat crews had always been sent home upon completion of 50 missions, as opposed to the 25 in the 8th Air Force. [ Photographic equipment ]


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My good buddy Tack was in the first group to leave. Due to a shortage of photo-lab techs in the area I would be in the last group. Another good friend of mine, Bill Marnell, was in one of the early groups, but would never sail back under that Golden Gate Bridge. The road from the camp area to the port at Hollandia was a curvy mountainous one. On the way to the ship the truck he was riding in went over a cliff and he was killed -- another hell of a way to go.

While at Hollandia in the summer of '44 we recieved four of the new Douglas A-26's, the first ones to be checked out in combat. Back in the summer of '42 when I was still in Gp. Operations at Charters Towers, we had a visit from a Douglas Tech Rep. and he had photographs of the prototype of an improved light bomber to take the place of the A-20. Took them two years to perfect it and get it into production. Our pilots tested them on missions. At first they tried sending them out with the A-20, but the A-20 couldn't keep up with it.

The pilots did find some bugs that needed ironing out, and after a couple weeks they were gone. Just before the war ended in the summer of '45 (after I had come home) the Gp. was at Okinawa and was changed over to the A-26, would finish the war out with them -- and fly them thru the Korean War. I believe they flew both the first and last mission in that war.

While at this base we had the good fortune to have a visit by Bob Hope and his troupe. Which consisted of Frances Langford, Jerry Colona, Patty Thomas and a guitarist, whose name slips this old memory. Once again I got the job of photgraphing the show. It was about this time that we got the first of two blows to our pride. Along about mid-summer they moved a contingent of WACs into Hollandia. MacArthur had moved his Hq. from Brisbane and I guess they came along as office personell. This was getting to be a hell of war when they had to bring the girls in to help out. But for a bunch of jungle-bound G.I.s. who hadn't had contact with the ooposite sex in months and months ,they were a welcome sight. The officers threw a big party at the Officers Club to welcome them - once again I was there with camera in hand. Also had occasion to double date with another guy one afternoon. Once was enough. I was still carrying that torch for my high school flame, and wasn't particularly interested.

The second blow was of another sort. Being a light-attack bomber outfit, we were always the first Gp. to move uo, so we could be close to the action. Came time to follow MacArthur on his return to the Phillipines, we were leap-froged by the 38th Bomb Gp. It was a blow to our pride, but we dodged a bullet. While sitting in the harbor at Leyte waiting to unload the 38th got hit by Jap bombers, and suffered casualties. But we were only about a week behind them, and Leyte Island will be Step 5

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