From: Chicago, Illinois
Gramps arrived in Salamaua on the USS Monterey, and was immediately involved in the 41st campaign in Dutch New Guinea, with landings at Hollandia, Wakde, and Biak. Flying low in a L-4 could be dangerous work, as the plane is unarmored and vulnerable to ground fire. It also can't outrun anything, though with a stall speed of 40 mph, not an easy target for a fighter plane. Because he was trained in artillery, he could radio in coordinates immediately, which was the best protection against ground fire; Japanese troops quickly learned that shooting at L-4s would invite 155mm retaliation, so they often sat on their hands.
Because the Japanese were often hiding, it was often a game of hide and seek. Rice has to be cooked, and they always cooked at night, but he would look for smoke hanging high in the trees in the morning, and call on those coordinates. He would bring grenades to throw out the window too, though he admitted that was probably not too effective and more for fun than anything.
Gramps almost perished 4 times during the war, in all different ways that soldiers die.
First, he was taking off from a small airstrip from Hollandia, and someone drove a jeep accross the runway right at that moment. He swerved to miss and crash-landed the plane. Nobody was hurt, but yes, that guy was reprimanded!
Next, he was chased by a Zero over Biak Island. The fighter was going fast and missed first pass, but was coming back around; he immediately flew low and over what he knew to be a US AA implacement. The Zero came low to follow, and was blown away by the 40mm guns.
He spend 2 months in a hospital in Zamboanga with Hepatitis. Was not in great shape, but did recover from that tropical disease.
Finally, right after the war he was assigned to the island of Ita Jima, in the Inland sea near Kobe. The island was an academy for the IJN, and also had a large cave full of naval munitions that his unit was slowly disposing of. On Thanksgiving Day, 1945, the CO went over to Kobe to have dinner with a general, leaving Gramps in charge as commanding officer as everyone had the day off. As he was shaving for dinner, a huge explosion rocked the island: The cave blew up. Had that happened the day before, or day after, dozens of men would've been killed working in and around that cave, including Gramps.
That's the short version of his story; he wrote it all down, and kept flying Piper Cubs after the war. He died in 2006.