On April 15, 1945 John wrote to his Mom about his first mission:
“I got my first peek at the Empire of Japan – one hour of it, I guess. Frankly, it looks better on postcards. Our crew chalked one up on the April 12th daylight raid on Tokyo. A nice warm one for a start. It was a bit hazy but clear enough for plenty of flak. Ida, it’s quite a show. Cecil B. DeMille is a bum! Sweat? Might as well have poured my canteen into my shoes. I tried my darndest to make my body conform to the size of a ribbon, but it’s impossible. Some guys where flak suits – I sat on mine – I figure the Japs are shooting up. I thought we’d never get past Fujiama (the big volcano) on the way out. A minute seems like an hour. An awful lot goes on outside your window, believe me! Much better you don’t look outside. Pieces of everything are whizzing past. We made it out OK, but fuel consumed was too much so we landed at Iwo Jima on route back. What a hole that is! Every inch of ground has been pulverized by the action there. And, it still isn’t the safest place on earth, believe me. We slept in our ship – one man on guard and all of us with our pistols handy.”
After several months of disappointing high-altitude attacks, General Curtis LeMay issued a new directive that the daylight attacks will be replaced by low-altitude, high-intensity incendiary raids at nighttime, being followed up with high explosive bombs once the fires were set ablaze.
On May 28, 1945 John wrote: “You cannot imagine the havoc by these fire raids unless you visualize cities the size of New York, completely gutted.”
The chart below is a summary of John's 18 completed missions. There were other maneuvers, training exercises and aborted missions, but he only completed 18 of his anticipated 25-35 missions before the Japanese surrendered in August 1945.
John kept a detailed flight log of his training and missions. These are the first six pages in his flight log which shows the monthly details of date, target, ship number and time. T = Training, C = Combat.