The PACIFIC PROWLER was one of the original 37 planes that went overseas with the 71st and 405th Squadrons in July and August of 1942.
The date, October 5, 1942 and our 3 plane flight was off the coast of New Guinea between Buna and Salamaua looking for Japanese shipping and barges . Bud Thompson was leading with Larry Tanberg on left wing and Bill Tarver on right. I was Tarver's navigator. We had jumped over the Owen-Stanley Range pass from 17- mile strip and were skirting the coastline checking the coves and small creeks entering into the sea. We were at about 6000 feet, the weather was good with about 4/8's alto-stratus below.
I had my head stuck in the bubble behind the co-pilots seat looking for targets. Bombardier Jim Crag was in the nose and Ralph K. "Robbie" Robinson wa co-pilot, Paul Lane our gunner, was on the alert as usual. Our radio operator was a new man named Jordon.
Through a break in the clouds I saw a flash of sun on metal and in a few seconds counted four Zeros climbing fast. I called over the intercom, "Four Zeros at three o'clock low climbing fast." Robbie Robinson looked out his window and as fascinated watching them when suddenly he shouted " hey those S_O_Bs are shooting at us".
Somehow we closed ranks and got the hell out of there. Gunner Lanekept the Zeros away from us all the way to the Owen Stanley Range. We did pick up a few bullet holes near the bomb bay but fortunately no one was injured.