THE DAY THE AIR FORCE BOMBED OUR LORAN STATION
By Allen J. Neal
It all started on July 19, 1954 when we received a "May Day" from a weather recon B-29 out of Guam with engine trouble requesting permission to land with one engine out.
They landed on Anquar's 6,900 foot runway with no trouble. The Coast Guard sent a plane the next day from Guam with aircraft mechanics and the plane was fixed and gone the same day.
The crew spent the evening at one of the native's homes drinking, "jungle juice" and enjoying the company of some of the native girls which us Coasties introduced to them. After Guam, the Air Force thought they were in heaven and some wanted to take leave and spend time on Anguar.
The B-29 crew flew over on July 24th and parachuted a bunch of magazines for us as a "thank you" for their good time on Anguar.
On July 27th, another B-29 requested landing with their #2 engine out and #4 rough. They were from the 54th Weather Recon Service and out of Guam. I think word got around the Air Force what a great place we had and they just wanted to stop for a few days.
The B-29 spent a few days on the runway as an Air Force C-47 had brought down mechanics and spare parts. Needless to say the crew had a great time what I saw of them. I think some of the girls adopted them. Anyway the Aircraft Commander said if we didn't have any planes due at Christmas time they would bring all of our Christmas mail and packages down on their run and parachute them to us.
Fine! We all agreed.
As no monthly Coast Guard "Noon Balloon" was due we thought that would be great.
On Christmas the B-29 informed the radioman they were coming and would be over the runway at noon. At noon, everyone on the base except the watchstanders on the scopes jumped into our two Dodge Power Wagons and beat it on down to the runway, about a mile away.
Here came the Air Force only about 150 feet above the runway, just screaming along at low altitude. They started kicking the mail and magazines out the door. The chutes never opened and they dropped like rocks. The mail bag broke open and it looked like it was snowing as the letters bounced off the runway and blew individually into the jungle. The packages split open and stuff was blowing all over and everyone was running down the runway trying to catch stuff.
The plane did a quick 360 and here they came again. I swear the B-29 was going wide open.
We were all hollering and cussing and of course no radio. The radioman jumped into one of the trucks to get back to the station radio but it was too late.
Another batch of mail and magazines were kicked out the door like streamers, came down like rocks, busted up all over the runway. Thank god they didn't have more. We spent a lot of time picking up our mail, busted presents, and crappy magazines. We found that most of the magazines were "Better Homes and Gardens," "Good Housekeeping," "Ladies Home Journal," etc. The Air Force had apparently gone through the magazines and taken all of the good ones out for themselves. We had a full pickup load of magazines which we promptly took to the dump. Most of the mail was saved. Almost every Christmas presents including cameras, were smashed. The only thing to survive was a glass jar of hard candy my aunt sent me. We put it on a shelf in the rec room with a sign on it reading, "Too tough for the Air Force to break."
It was a real nice gesture of the Air Force to bring our Christmas Gifts out to us but bombing us with them was a different matter.
Editor's Note: There seems no logical explanation for the conduct of the Air Force personnel in this incident unless one of the pretty little island maidens gave the Aircraft Commander a present during their visit in July, which he took home to his wife.
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