from the wartime diary of
Charley Madison Plummer
USS Wake Island (CVE-65)
The following entries are, wherever possible, direct quotes from the personal wartime diary
of Chief Quartermaster Charley Madison Plummer, U. S. Navy.  To facilitate understanding,
misspelled words have been corrected and abbreviations spelled out.  These excerpts cover
the period of January 1945 through March 1945 and describe combat operations occurring
in the Lingayen Gulf area of the Philippines and Iwo Jima in the Volcano Islands.    R.A.K.
(3 Jan 45)  Entered central Philippines.
(4 Jan 45)  USS Ommaney Bay lost due to Jap plane diving into her (west of Panay).
(5 Jan 45) Jap air attack (Jap's used suicide tactics).  Jap dived into the USS Manila Bay
-- ship was saved.  One destroyer lost, one cruiser hit.  We have eight Jap planes to our
credit in this operation, so far.
(6 Jan 45)  Commenced assault on Luzon Island.  We are operating in the Lingayen Gulf
area furnishing air coverage to the sweepers and bombardment group.  This is S-3 Day.
(7 Jan 45)  The bombardment group has had pretty tough going.  Twelve of our ships have
been hit by suicide planes so far, but they are still slugging it out.  Our group was attacked
this A.M.  We got credit for two Jap planes.  One destroyer escort hit during this attack.
This was S-2 Day.
(8 Jan 45)  This is S-1 Day.  Things have been going pretty well with the bombardment and
underwater demolition groups.  Today has been like what you might call the calm before the
(9 Jan 45)  This is S-Day.  The invasion of Luzon started at 0930 this morning -- with very
little opposition -- in fact, so little that all hands are wondering just what the Japs have up
their sleeve.
(10 Jan 45)  This was a very quiet day with the invasion progressing nicely.
(11 Jan 45)  The beachhead has been consolidated.  The bombardment group has moved
out with us.  A quiet day.
(12 Jan 45)  Things picked up a bit today.  Two air raids in the gulf, and enemy activity
has picked up ashore.  The bombardment group headed northwest at sunset to intercept
a Jap task force that is reported heading this way. 
(13 Jan 45)  The morning started off with a Jap suicide plane diving into the Salamaua
(CVE).  The fire is under control.  We lost a fighter plane today -- hit a tree and exploded
while strafing.  On the last flight this evening, our squadron commander knocked down a 
Jap transport plane (total 11).
(14 Jan 45)  This has been a very quiet day.  The wagons rejoined us today.
(15 Jan 45)  We are still supporting the beachhead.
(16 Jan 45)  Supporting beachhead.
(17 Jan 45)  Three Army Air Squads moved in today.  Expect we will be leaving soon.  1930
hours departed for Ulithi via Leyte.
(10 Feb 45)  Departed Ulithi for Iwo Jima (Volcano Islands) via Saipan.
(13 Feb 45)  Arrived Saipan to pick up two cubs.
(14 Feb 45)  Departed for Iwo Jima.  This is -5 Day.
(15 Feb 45)  En route to Iwo Jima, a quiet day.
(16 Feb 45)  (-3 Day) At dawn this morning, bombardment and air attack on Iwo Jima..
(17 Feb 45)  (-2 Day) Several of our planes shot-up and one shot down -- "AA" fire from
the island has been very heavy.  (Pilot lost)
(18 Feb 45)  (-1 Day) The bombardment continued through the night and all day today.
Two of our ships have been hit.  (Pensacola)
(19 Feb 45)  ("D" Day) At 0900 marines commenced landing.  The Japs are putting up a
pretty good fight.
(20 Feb 45)  We held our beachhead throughout the night.  Progress today has been slow.
The 4th Division has suffered 60 percent casualties.
(21 Feb 45)  This is the toughest thing the Marines have had so far.  Our lines are slowly
advancing.  At 1710, air attack.  The USS Bismark Sea was lost (by suicide plane).  Three
suicide planes hit the USS Saratoga.  Several hours later, while she was burning, another
one hit her.  The Lunga PT was also hit, but not seriously.
(22 Feb 45)  The Japs tried an air attack with little success.
(23 Feb 45)  We spent the day about 150 miles southwest of Iwo fueling.  Just after
sunset, Iwo had eleven air attacks.  We will be on station in the morning.
(24 Feb 45)  On station.  A bit rough out, but we are giving air support.
(25 Feb 45)  Continuing air support, but it is a lousy day (rain, wind, and mist).
(26 Feb 45)  The Japs are putting up a tough fight.  We have about half the island.  The
going is slow and costly.
(27 Feb 45)  This was the ninth day of the landing.  This has been the toughest assignment
the Marines have ever had.
(28 Feb 45)  Still slugging it out.
(11 Mar 45)  Departed Iwo.  The island is ours.

Source: wartime diary of Chief Quartermaster Charley Madison Plummer (SN: 380 09 65)

United States Navy, Retired.  (Born 1904 Los Angeles, CA / Died 1973 Medford, OR) 

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