James "Roy" Malone, Sr.
Goose Hollow Tree Farm
1851 Roy Malone Road
After graduating from Kite High School in 1938, I attended ABAC in Tifton, Georgia for two years. I was nineteen and working with Lockheed in an Aircraft plant in Los Angeles, California on December 7, 1941. While assembling wings for the Lockheed Ventura Bomber, I heard the report of the attack on Pearl Harbor on the radio. I thought about enlisting, but I was in a critical work situation, plus I was paying my Dad for a farm in the Mt. Carmel Community, near Dexter. I continued to work for Lockheed until October 1942. With the farm paid off, I went to the recruiting office and told them I wanted to fly. They told me I could take the exams and continue to work or I could go ahead and join the Air Force and take the exams after I had joined which would speed things up by about six months. So I joined October 10, 1942.
After processing in California, I was sent to Roswell, New Mexico. I took the exams, stayed there unassigned until late March and then went to Randolph Field in San Antonio for pre flight training. I was there until I moved to Vernon, Texas for primary flight training in the PT19 Monoplanes. The PT19 had a 175-hp engine. After completing training, I was sent to Garden City, Kansas for ten weeks where we trained with the PT13's (440 hp). From Kansas, I was sent to Victoria, Texas for training in AT6 and P40's where I got my Wings and was commissioned a Second Lt. on February 8, 1944.
After graduation, and two weeks leave, we reassembled at the base awaiting orders to ship out to fighter school. Nine of us took planes up to do some simulated dog fighting. Each of us was trying to position himself on the tail of another plane and at the same time not allow someone else to line up on him for a shoot down. I had gotten into position on one of the planes. Another plane coming from above and behind me closed on me too fast. He struck my right wing with his left wing as he tried to break away. The impact threw both planes into spins. We were both able to get out. My chute opened about two hundred feet off the ground and I landed in an oak tree about twenty feet up. The other pilots chute was streaming out but did not open fully in time to break his fall. He was killed instantly. I was in the hospital seven days, but was dismissed from the hospital the day before the class shipped out so that I could make the trip to fighter school with my group.
At this time, I was shipped to Tallahassee, FL. and was processed and assigned for Fighter training in the P40 at Venice, Florida. There I did my Aerial Gunnery, strafing and dog fighting along the Gulf of Mexico. To teach us aerial gunnery, we would go out over the Gulf. Another plane would pull a target; we'd shoot colorized bullets. We'd know by the colors on the target which planes hit the target and the number of hits. In addition, we practiced dive-bombing with 100 pound dud-bombs. We completed our Fighter Training and all reported back to Tallahassee and sixty of us were selected for Tactical Reconnaissance Training with the P51 at Key Field in Meridian, Mississippi. We were a happy bunch because everyone that was a fighter pilot wanted to fly a P51. We went there and flew our Aerial Gunnery over Lake Pontchartrain and Navigational training over Louisiana, Mississippi and parts of Arkansas. We did close support with ground troops on maneuvers near Alexandria, Louisiana.
This included directing their artillery fire, simulating dive-bombing and strafing of troop positions and fighter intercept missions. Occasionally, we'd fly under a bridge on the Mississippi River. R. C. Little and I used to fly in formation under the bridge. R. C. Little, my best friend in flight training shot down the last German plane in World War II with his P51. There were two pages written about it in an authoritative book, that I have on the P51.
Finally, we began to be dispatched to various overseas locations. I was sent along with three or four others to Hunter Air Force Base in Savannah, Georgia to be processed to the West Coast. I was traveling under SEALED orders not to be opened until I arrived at Lae, New Guinea. So we left Hunter Air Force Base by train going through Macon to Hamilton Air Force Base in San Francisco, California. I was there for about a week waiting for a flight overseas.
Then, two of us were put on the Manifest to go to Hickham Field in Hawaii, adjacent to Pearl Harbor. Grady (Sandy) Sanders, one of my fellow pilots and I landed there and spent the night. The next day, we went on the flight line to board a C54. Some of General Douglas McArthur's staff was there to board the C54 causing every other person to get struck off the Manifest in order to allow his staff to go to Australia. I happened to be the one kicked off for a later flight and had to wait thirteen days before being placed on a flight to Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands. From there I flew to Lae, New Guinea and there my orders were opened. I was assigned to the 82nd Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, part of the 71st group of the 91st Wing of the 5th Air Force.
I was on my own from there to get up to my Squadron based at Morotai in the Halmahera's, Netherlands, East Indies. I caught a flight from Lae, New Guinea to Biak, and spent Christmas night, 1944 there in a tent in a transient camp. My Christmas menu consisted of canned garden peas, bread and syrup. Man, I poured syrup on everything!
I got up with my Squadron in Morotai about December 28th. We stayed in a foxhole part of each night since the Japanese were bombing at night. During the day we were airborne, bombing and strafing. Three days after arriving, they had a taxi strip completed over at Mindoro in the Philippines and we flew up there. Then most of our missions were over the Philippines, primarily the big Island of Luzon where Manila and Clark Field were situated. We stayed there and covered the Invasion of the Lingayen Gulf, which were the first ground troops that we placed on Luzon, the main Island.
My first flight was on the wing of our Squadron Commander, Captain William Showmo. We destroyed three Betty Bombers on a dirt airstrip and shot up a troop truck convoy going north out of Manila.
A few days after my first flight with him, he and Lipmon were up on the home islands; I was flying the executive officer, Captain White's wings and the four of us went up north of the Lingayen Gulf. We were flying that mission out of Mindoro before we moved up to the Lingayen Gulf. Showmo told Captain White, the executive officer to take me and go down to the West Coast and strafe items of opportunity and that he and Lipmon would fly down the central part and skirt Clark Air Force Base on the way back to Mindoro. Captain White and I shot up several small boats flying the Japanese flags, nothing significant. But as Showmo and Lipmon were on their way out of the mountains, they saw a Betty Bomber and twelve fighters escorting it. Lipmon and Showmo had the altitude and element of surprise and they came in on them and each one of them shot down one fighter plane before it broke up into a dogfight.
Out of that encounter, Showmo shot down six Tony fighters and the Betty Bomber and Lipman shot down three of the fighters. Showmo was awarded the Congressional Metal of Honor and Lipman, the Silver Star. General Whitehead, Commanding Officer of the 5th Air Force came down and the Squadron fell out for the very impressive ceremonies. We were so proud that our CO and Lipmon as his wingman accomplished these honors. I have pictures of the awards event.
As a Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, we were always moved as near to the front lines as they could secure a field to fly off of. In Mindoro, the island between Leyte and Luzon, we were flying off a dirt taxi strip as bulldozers were still working on the main runway. On hot dry days we would kick up a blinding cloud of dust when we touched down, making it mighty hazardous for the next plane in. On rainy days, it would be one long mud puddle causing us to cancel flights and plans. Those poor take off and landing conditions accounted for many accidental deaths. In the mornings with planes flying out and in the evenings with the planes coming in that was a very busy strip. We had a truck mounted control tower along side the taxi strip.
In the later part of January 1945, I was given orders to report to Leyte to command a flight of L5's that was being detached from the 25th Squadron and attached to the 13th Air Force Fighter Command. Our mission was primarily search and rescue operations in support of the fighter commands. My pilots were all enlisted men from Staff to Master Sergeants. All were excellent pilots and could land those light L5's on beaches and small clearings to rescue and deliver personnel and supplies to isolated units. While at the 13th Fighter Command Headquarters at Taclogan Air Field on Leyte, I spied a duffel bag with the name Lt. B. G. Malone, a cousin of mine that I had not seen since childhood. Neither of us knew the other was anywhere in that part of the world. It turns out that B. G. was in photo intelligence. Of course, I had to show him what that L5 would do. I took him up for a ride and almost lost him when he 'bout fell out when I went into acrobatic maneuvers but got his safety belt refastened in time.
While at Leyte I had an emergency appendectomy and while in the 18th General Field Hospital, I saw some of the first of our men and women who had been prisoners of the Japanese who were liberated being admitted to the hospital. How terrible an ordeal they had endured. Very little flesh remained on their bones.
While in the hospital, I received orders relieving me of command
Of the 25th Liaison flight attached to the 13th fighter command and to report back to my 82nd fighter squadron that had moved from Mindoro up to Lingayen on Luzon. Was I ever glad to be returning to my squadron and my P51!
I named my P51 the Georgia Rebel. These P51 planes, which were the fastest, fighter pursuit planes of the time with 1800hp Merlin engines, carried only one pilot. It would do four hundred seventy miles per hour straight and level at its optimum operating level of around 21,000 feet. It was maneuverable, and superb in dogfights as proven so often against enemy planes. A dream plane for acrobatics. On these planes we had six 50-caliber machine guns. There were three in each wing with the outer ones carrying four hundred rounds of ammunition and the inside ones about four hundred fifty rounds. If we were strafing and two outside guns quit firing, then, we would hold the inside guns in abeyance in case we encountered fighter opposition on the return. We also had the capability of slinging rockets underneath the wings although, generally, we took exterior wing tanks because of the long missions from Ie Shima which could take from six to seven hours, sometimes eight. In about every fourth plane in our squadron, we had a K24 oblique camera so that we could take pictures in sequence when we crossed an area.
We used our cameras on reconnoitering missions, such as one I recall in Korea when we took pictures of the Japanese installations just to see what the Japanese were up to for our Intelligence people. Later, after the war, when we got up in Japan, we flew the coastline, photographing the coastline of the military installations and Boy! They had some big guns backed off in those caves on those cliffs. That would have been something else if we had had to go ahead with the planned invasion of the Japanese home islands in November of 1945. They appeared entrenched for a tenacious defense of their homeland. We would have lost so many men.
Near the end of the war, we were airborne when they dropped the bomb on Hiroshima and Intelligence had told us we could not go within a seventy-five mile radius of that particular area. We were completely ignorant of what was going to occur. We could see the effects of the bomb the mushroom cloud. Of course, three days later, they dropped the second bomb on Nagasaki. Three days after that bomb was dropped, I was acting flight leader and I took my flight up and flew a P51 with a K34 camera. Intelligence wanted pictures of Nagasaki at two hundred feet so I went across taking a sequence of pictures and Boy! you're talking about desolation down there. It looked like it pulverized everything down there. There would be a building here and there. I have a group of the aerial photos I took.
As P51 pilots, we were strafing, dive bombing and picking up things of opportunity during our missions. We did some fighter cover for B25's and A26's and other bombing groups that went up there. When we were flying fighter cover, we were usually always above the bombers so that we would have the altitude advantage. Then, when the bombers would finish their bomb runs and get back out to sea, we would go in and strafe and do our thing.
We had missions over Formosa, when flying out of the Philippines, which lasted six to seven hours. We were on one eight-hour mission to Hong Kong off the China Coast. We didn't do anything over there but reconnoiter and take some pictures for Intelligence. We did a lot of strafing and dive-bombing on the Philippines; we lost a lot of pilots. The ground forces many times commended us for aiding them with our strafing, dive bombing and directing their artillery fire.
I vividly recollect a couple of incidences that I will share.
Sanders got hit and he bellied in on the beach. We were strafing the enemy north of Lingayen near the coast. Sanders was a big fellow about two hundred ten pounds and the Filipinos ran out and put him on a caribou and took him up into the hills. He was safely back with us and in the field hospital within three days after that encounter. Of course, our people were very gracious to those people who rescued a pilot. They were our ardent friends because the Japanese had mistreated them so badly while the Japanese occupied the country. The Japanese were especially vengeful toward pilots, vowing to kill any they found. Incidentally, our emergency kits, which were lodged in the seat of our parachutes, contained letters in the native dialects offering rewards for returned pilots who were found stranded.
When our troops landed up there in Ryukyu's Islands, they secured a small island off the Main Island of Okinawa named Ie Shima. Ie Shima is two and one-half miles long and a mile wide. It was nothing but bivouac areas, coral runways, and revetments and aprons for the planes. Our squadron moved up to Ie Shima to start doing our work on two of the three main Islands of Japan (Kyushu and Honshu).
Over the Japanese home islands, we would follow their highways and railroads right down on the deck to avoid their radar and gain the element of surprise. The Japanese threw a lot of small arms fire at us as we were going in strafing truck troop convoys, air fields and trains and railroad yards. If we had to go in high, they'd get us with ack ack, too. Our planes were hit numerous times but often they were not vital hits and most of the time we made it back all right. We had several that bellied in because they couldn't get their landing gear down.
Every night about twelve or one o'clock, there would be one or two Japanese planes fly over as high as they could just to interrupt our sleep, I guess. The Japanese would drop phosphorus bombs then head back to Japan if they were not shot down by our night fighters who were usually airborne. That phosphorus would stick
and burn when it hit. One night, one hit pretty close and a piece of phosphorus caught Sanders on the toe. We had a time trying to get that off him. He thought he'd been near 'bout killed.
Ernie Pile, the famed war correspondent was killed by a sniper about two or three hundred yards from where we set up our bivouac area on Ie Shima.
Five days, less than a week before the end of the war, four of us, Huck, Allen, Sanders, and myself, were strafing a troop train. We knocked the engine out. The soldiers started piling out of the cars, diving into the ditches and firing at us with small arms stuff and we were strafing them when they got Lt. Huck. They cut his fuel line but he was able to make it out over the water and bail out. Before missions, Intelligence, at our pilot briefings would always give us the radio frequencies of PBY's, B17's, and submarines that would be available for possible rescue on the several hundred miles of ocean we had to cover from our base to the targets over the Japanese home islands.
Our first call for Lt. Huck was to the nearest PBY. The PBY responded and came up there but the seas were rough. They made two or three passes; and finally they called us and said they couldn't risk their crew given the condition of the sea. So we called a B17 with a boat slung under it and it was good for rescue. The boat drop was successful; Huck got out of his dinghy and swam to the boat but couldn't get the motor cranked. We made contact with the submarine for him but they said they could not come in that close to shore. With the danger of the shore batteries, would open up on him we stayed with him to give fighter cover until we had just enough fuel to get back to Ie Shima. Of course, he was never heard from again.
We had group, wing and Air Force insignias, but we didn't have a squadron insignia. Pappy Burrud, (called Pappy because at the age of twenty-six he was the oldest pilot in the squadron), and his dad, Vice President of Hearst Newspapers, were close personal friends of Walt Disney. So Pappy Burrud said he would write his dad and see if Walt Disney would design one for us. Walt graciously agreed and did a superb job of depicting everything that our squadron did by drawing a flying, haloed character with legs floating out behind him. He is clothed in brown flight gear with white wings, carrying a rifle, and blue binoculars, camera, and bomb. The name Strafin' Saints in black cursive flies over a blue cloud that travels beneath him. This shows in relief against a bright orange diamond, which is encircled in white with a black border.
Pappy Burrud died just three days before peace. We were up there strafing a troop train. I guess he got locked in on a target and stayed too long. He ricocheted off the top of the train engine; hit a little burrow and his plane set some of the buildings on fire. We went back the next day and took photos. It burned up practically the whole town.
After the bomb drop on Nagasaki, two Japanese Betty Bombers landed on Ie Shima on their way to the Philippines. We were sitting on the wings of our P51's and I got some pictures on Sunday, August 19, 1945 when part of the Japanese surrender delegation were transferred to a C-54 en route to Manila to meet with Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Theater, General Douglas MacArthur.
We stayed on alert for several weeks after the peace treaty because we were not sure whether the Japanese would honor it. As soon as they got the airfields secure in Japan, we flew into a little dirt field at Irumagawa about forty miles out of Tokyo. I was a flight leader in the squadron during the last days of the war and was squadron commander for about two weeks before orders were cut for my return to the states. And was I every happy when I got those orders to come home!
We were still at Ie Shima after the war when a typhoon came and the winds were clocked at two hundred two miles per hour. It blew everything down in our squadron area except for one or two tents that were tied between two of those trees that lean with the winds. The guys were getting in caves on the cliffs and seeking out other places of haven.
I boarded the General Sturgis (a 21,000-ton ship) at Yokohama, Japan on November 11, 1945, bound for home. Eleven days later I debarked at Tacoma, Washington. We had two typhoons while on the ship and almost everyone got sea sick, but I didn't. I got in a friendly poker game, sitting in the center of the ship, way down so we didn't have much motion. I gained about ten pounds during that eleven days. It was the best food we had eaten since we left the States. I took a train from Tacoma to Atlanta, Georgia and was transferred to the Air Force Reserves at Fort McPherson in Atlanta. A couple of days later, after clearing the base, I took a bus to Dublin and caught a ride to Dexter. I was home!
After completing my World War II duties, I attended the University of Georgia to obtain my B. S. Degree in Agriculture. While at the University of Georgia, I went over to Dobbins Air Force to do flight time on weekends in order to keep my reserve status current.
Upon returning to Dexter, I taught a class of veterans on farm training. I had three sharecroppers to tend the land I had purchased in parcels from the time I finished high school.
My father was Allen Cleon Malone, Sr. from Jasper county, Georgia who came to Laurens County in 1899 at the age of fourteen. My mother, Bessie Lyles Malone from Wilkinson County came to Laurens County with her family about the same time. After marrying, they lived down a dirt road about one-half mile from Mt. Carmel Baptist Church near Dexter, Georgia.
Sarah Weaver, a registered nurse at the Dublin VA, and I were married January 19, 1950. She did not return to nursing after marriage so that we could work together toward our common goals of family and farm. Sarah's parents were James Jackson Weaver and Pauline Duggan, both from Dudley, Georgia.
Sarah and I truck cropped, row cropped and tended livestock. I taught a class of reservist at the ROTC building at Mercer University in Macon. The last ten years of the Reserve, I was Liaison Officer with the Air Force Academy in Colorado.
Sarah and I have four children: Pamela Ann, James Roy, Jr., Gail Marie and Patrick Duggan. We have thirteen grandchildren nine in college now, two more entering after next year and the younger two planning to follow within a few years.
Sarah and I retired from livestock and row crops in the early 1990's. We are now fulltime tree farmers. In 1997, Sarah and I were honored to be chosen as the Georgia Tree Farmers of the Year, and in 1998 we were the Southern Region Tree Farmers of the year and were subsequently the first runners up for the National Tree Farmer of the Year. We were honored by Representatives DuBose Porter of the 143rd, Coleman of the 142nd and Murphy of the 18th and the Georgia House of Representatives with a resolution of commendation along with the senate resolution of commendation by Senators Hugh Gillis of the 20th, Hecht of the 324th and Williams of the 6th and others for the Georgia State Senate.
In the year 2000, we were named recipient of the National Arbor Day Foundation's Good Steward Award.
We were alone in those P51's but for the success of our missions we depended on each other. We all flew for a common cause freedom. We all have our war memories that are indelibly etched in our minds. Sarah, my wife, had the foresight to save and organize my war memorabilia so that memories come alive of a war that was horrible but that our side won. Sarah and I, out of our deep love and devotion to each other and a common cause, have tired to leave our children and grandchildren a legacy of godly values, imbued with a love of the land they grew up on, and a hope for enduring peace.
We have displayed in our home many items pertaining to my time in the service. Sarah encased and labeled with descriptions on brass plates many of the items listed below.
Year Books from Training
Flight Log Book
Wooden box in which I sent home to Dexter war items
Letters home which my parents saved
A multitude of original Air Force papers and forms pertaining to each step in the process of becoming a pilot and ultimately being discharged
Navigational equipment used on long missions
Clock off my P51
Needle and Ball
K34 camera photos of Philippines, Japanese home island showing the effects of war
Membership certificate in the Caterpillar Club
(earned from having to parachute from plane)
Numerous pictures including one of the Japanese delegation going to meet MacArthur pertaining to surrender
Flight gear hat
Uniforms with insignias kept in a trunk
Framed Silk Map 36" x 32"
Two Japanese Rifles with Bayonets
Clock off new Tojo Japanese plane
Compass off a new Tojo plane
Japanese cigarette container (with writing translated)
Two Japanese flags
Sword recovered from dead Japanese Sergeant
(exchanged for a fifth of combat whiskey)
Footnote: I was one of five brothers, four of us were in service during the war. Two of us were in the Air Force. Two were in the Navy and the oldest brother was in the Georgia State Legislature representing Laurens County.
Footnote #2: The emergency kit contained two flasks. These two flasks were filled and labeled as follows:
Chocolate Rations-Eat slowly as desired.
Chewing Gum-use as desired.
Bouillon Powder-Dissolve contents of one envelope in hot or cold water. Shake well and drink.
Razor Blades - Use as desired.
Leader Kit-Use gut leader for small fish and steel leader for large fish.
Fish Hook Kit-Use as desired.
Fishing Line Kit-Use as desired.
Sewing Kit-Use as desired.
Compass-Use as desired.
Saw Blade-Use as desired.
Prophylactics-For waterproofing purposes.
Sharpening Stone-Use as desired.
Matches -Use as required, keep lid tight, conserve.
Flask-Remove contents to pocket, and use as water container.
Note: When no longer needed, destroy or hide flask and all wrappers.
Sulfaguanidine Use as directed on the vial.
Halazone Use as directed on the vial.
Atabrine Use as directed on the vial.
Salt use as directed on the vial.
Benzedrine Sulfate Use as directed on the box.
Sulfadiozine use as directed on the package.
Adhesive Compress Use as desired.
Sulfanilamide Pour into wound and bandage.
Tooth Brush Use as desired.
Adhesive Tape Use as desired.
Iodine Use as desired.
Tweezers Use as desired.
Ophthalmic Ointment Instill to relieve severe pain.
Eye Ointment For irritation, raise eye-lid and apply.
CAUTION-Eyes should not be rubbed after ointment has been applied or the cornea may be severely damaged.
Flask-Remove contents to pocket, reseal and use as water container. NOTE: When no longer needed, destroy or hide flask and all wrappers.