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By Christine Dugan

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In fact, he believed that his own staff could take over and run the Air Force out here better than it had been run so far. Finally he expressed the opinion that the air personnel had gone beyond just being antagonistic to his headquarters, to the point of disloyalty. H e would not stand for disloyalty. H e demanded loyalty from me and everyone in the Air Force or he would get rid of them. At this point he paused and I decided it was time for me to lay my cards on the table. I didn’t know General MacArthur any too well as I had just met him a few times when he was Chief of Staff of the Army six years before, but if he was as big a man as I thought he was, he would listen to me and give me a chance to sell my stuff.

There was no combat interception. T h e fighter-group commander seemed a bit proud of the fact that he had gotten ten P-39s off the ground before the Japs arrived overhead. With forty P-39s on the airdrome, I didn’t think that was a very good percentage but I found that most of the rest were out of commission because they couldn’t get engines, propellers, and spare parts up from Australia to replace stuff that had worn out or been shot up in action. Due to the lateness of the warning, which only gave four minutes’ notice, the fighters, of course, could not climb to twenty thousand feet to engage the Jap bombers, which did their stuff and left for home without interference.

I stayed around Washington for three more days, absorbing all the data I could find in regard to the Southwest Pacific Area, I knew Arnold didn’t think much of the P-38as a fighter plane, so it wasn’t hard to get him to assign me fifty of them with fifty pilots from the Fourth Air Force. I intended to make sure that a Lieutenant Richard I. Bong was one of the pilots. While looking around for anything that was not nailed down, I found that there were 3000 parachute fragmentation bombs in war reserve.

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