Find the journal entry of Marine Lloyd Fuller, covering Nov. 15 & 16 1942, below.
Fuller enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1941 and, assigned to Marine Fighting Squadron 121 (VMF 121), served as the ordnance man for Joe Foss– the leading Marine fighter ace in WWII– who allowed Fuller to name two of the squadron’s F4F Wildcat fighter planes “Miss Irene” and “Miss Irene II” after his hometown sweetheart, Irene.
Fuller details the aftermath of the Second Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, where the Japanese battleship Kirishima was sunk, and the general atmosphere of the famed Cactus Air Force operating from embattled Henderson Field in the darkest days of the campaign.
“November 15, 1942
Mike still throwing slugs. 2 came within 20 yards of me. Close shave. Yesterday afternoon we received 9 B26’s, 12 P38’s, and some F4F’s from Enterprise. Enterprise, Washington, So. Dak., etc. hit Jap convoy making their naval escort flee. We sank 7 transports and 5 are burning fiercely on the beach. P39’s set ships on fire with incendiary bombs. FBF’s, SBD’s, P39’s, P38’s, B26’s, F4F’s have been hitting hard. B26’s left for Roses & 10 F4F’s are going out to their ship, Enterprise. We destroyed approximately 12 Zeros & 1 bomber. Enterprise downed 21 bombers and unestimated number of Zeros. Tojo’s convoy was not successful. Miss Irene II got her first Zero. Col. Bower lost 14th in sea. Mann returned. Joe Palko was found dead with a 20 mm in his neck.
November 16, 1942
Quiet day for a change. General Woods’s statement said: “During the past 5 days, our air forces on Cactus destroyed 2 carriers, 2 battleships, 4 cruisers, 4 cruisers badly damaged, 8 destroyers, 12 transports and 30,000 men. He commended ground forces for “working untiringly, day and night, under constant shellfire and bombing, reducing danger to Cactus and assuring victory of Guadalcanal.” We destroyed 69 planes in 5 days. No supplies were landed. 155’s sank transports that were burning yesterday. Latest word is that Japs landed 5000 troops and 4 field pieces.”
VMF-121 produced fourteen fighter aces, more than any other Marine squadron in history, downing 208 Japanese aircraft.
As for Fuller, he survived the war and left the Marines as a Master Sergent. Lloyd and Irene were married following his return from the Pacific.
Don’t underestimate that aging vet in his big cap…you never know what he has seen.