Tom Davis, Jr.
I obtained some copies of The Wing-ding newsletters earlier this year to look for any reference to
our beloved Thompson. This was the newsletter of the 91st Photo Reconnaissance Wing when
stationed in the Philippines during World War II. It was quite fascinating to read about "the greatest
generation" during the Pacific campaign. Make no mistake about it, the men and women of this
United States Armed Forces were in that war to win. Killing "Japs" was the only objective; nothing
else mattered. In the May 7, 1945 newsletter, the following story is told:
Making The Most Of Five Minutes
Luzon (CNS) - In his first five minutes of action, Sgt. Clifford G. Harmon, 27, killed a total of 29
Japs - 26 with a flame-thrower, one with a blow from its butt, one with a grenade and one with a
tommy gun.
Interestingly, the word "fair" or any reference to rules of engagement were lacking in all the battle
stories. It was as if the end justified the means. The December 18, 1944 newsletter tells of an arial
attack on a Japanese convoy: "... Capt. R.V. Archulet's flight sank three barges loaded with
personnel and equipment and strafed two lifeboats full of survivors from the previous attack."
Again, the objective was to win this war. The June 24, 1944 newsletter has a story with a similar
Jap Corrected About Condition
(Cape Gloucester, New Britain) ..."I'm shot", screamed a Jap in English, on being winged by
Marines on patrol. "Shot, hell! You're dead!" yelled back Marine Sgt. Phillip Mattola of Brooklyn,
sending home a burst with his tommy gun. And it was fast, too, adds a Marine combat correspondent
who witnessed the incident.
In today's wars, you don't find the local military newsletters reporting about the strafing of survivors
in lifeboats. Nor do you hear of news correspondents bragging about the killing of wounded enemy
soldiers. Perhaps, this is the mentality necessary to win wars. Whatever the answer, these soldiers,
sailors and marines certainly had the best submachine gun.
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