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Benjamin Joseph Wood, Corporal T-5
World War II Diary
January 10, 1942 to December 20, 1945

Below is the diary of Cpl. Benjamin Wood during his military service during World War II.  Spelling has been transcribed exactly as originally written.  White font indicates comments from the web author.  Associated images come from items belonging to Benjamin Wood and are also taken from various Internet sources to show the particular place visited or otherwise referenced by him.  Click the image to see a larger version and additional images.
Date Diary Entry (verbatim) Location

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January 10, 1942

Entered the Army January 10, 1942. Jefferson Barracks, Missouri

January 16, 1942 Left Jefferson Barracks (Mo) Jan 16, 1942. Jefferson Barracks, Missouri
January 18, 1942 Arrived at Ft. Francis E Warren Wyoming Jan 18, 1942. Ft. Warren, Wyoming
March 16, 1942 Left there March 16, 1942 Ft. Warren, Wyoming
March 22, 1942 Arrived at Camp Cooke Calif. on March 22, 1942.  Spent nineteen months there. Camp Cooke, California
August 30, 1943 Left Cooke in Sept. of 43 (Aug 30) for Bend Oregon for maneuvers.  Spent a month & a half in the desert in Oregon. Camp Cooke, California
Bend, Oregon
November 13, 1943 Left Bend for Fort Lewis the 13th of Nov. 43.  Spent almost two days driving to Washington in convoy. Bend, Oregon
December 16, 1943 Went to hospital on Dec. 16th for Scarlet Fever.  Spent 23 days in the isolation ward.  Missed my furlough because of it & spent Christmas & New Years there. Ft. Lewis, Washington
January 7, 1944 Left Fort Lewis for my furlough on Jan. 7, 1944.  It was my third furlough. Ft. Lewis, Washington
January 23, 1944

Arrived back in camp on the 23rd of Jan. 

Ft. Lewis, Washington
February 17, 1944

Left Fort Lewis for staging area at Vancouver Barracks Washington on the 17th of Feb.

Ft. Lewis, Washington
Vancouver Barracks, Washington
February 27, 1944

Left Vancouver on the 27th of Feb. for Portland where we boarded a ship (the Pennant) for over seas.  Sailed along the coast for five days & arrived at the post at San Pedro Calif. for oil & shipping order.  Stayed there twenty four hours.

Vancouver Barracks, Washington
Portland, Oregon
San Pedro, California
March 3, 1944

Left there on the 3rd of March (secondary diary says morning of March 4).  Passed the Catalina Islands on the way out.

San Pedro, California
March 11, 1944

We passed of the Equator on March 11th.  Was then made a Shellback. 

at sea - equator
March 17, 1944 The international date line was crossed on the 17th of March & we lost one day. at sea - International Date Line
March 23/24, 1944 No land sighted until the 23rd of March 44.  It was the Corral Reefs.  Sailed along the reefs all day & part of the 24th.  The eve of the 24th we sailed into the harbor at Townsville Australia.  We saw two or three ships & one aeroplane after leaving the states.  at sea

Townsville, Australia

March 24, 1944 We docked at Townsville the night of the 24th thinking it was a stop over for supplies.  Later in the night (midnight) we got off the Pennent.  They took us to a camp called Armstrong Paddock by truck.  It was a staging area for troops going to the front.  Spent 6 months & 18 days at Armstrong doing detail work for outfits getting ready to move north.  Among the detail jobs were: Townsville, Queensland, Australia

Camp Armstrong's Paddock, Australia

September 3, 1944 (Sunday) loaded timber Camp Armstrong's Paddock, Townsville, Australia
September 4, 1944 (Monday) Motor Pool Camp Armstrong's Paddock, Townsville, Australia
September 5, 1944 (Tuesday) off Camp Armstrong's Paddock, Townsville, Australia
September 6, 1944 (Wednesday) Kangaroo AMO(?) - (Kangaroo Ordnance (Ammunition) Depot at Kurukan, Australia, north of Townsville - Benjamin Wood may have helped load/unload or work on construction of buildings at this site - thanks to Peter Dunn, Australia At War) Camp Armstrong's Paddock, Townsville, Australia
September 15, 1944 Day Off.   Malaria lecture at Red Cross.  Had work done on one tooth - go to work. Camp Armstrong's Paddock, Townsville, Australia
September 18, 1944 Have been ready to move for a few days now.  We seem to think we will go to Atabie (Aitape) New Guinea. Camp Armstrong's Paddock, Townsville, Australia
October 3, 1944 Left Armstrong Paddock at 8:00 PM in busses for jetty at Townsville, got on ship J. Murrice (Maurice) Thompson a Liberty ship that night.  Stayed in harbor all night & left the next morning. Camp Armstrong's Paddock, Townsville, Australia
October 4, 1944 headed north destination unknown at sea 
October 4, 1944 (night) The ship had to lay over all night off the coast of Cairens (Cairns) Australia because they couldn’t go thru the Great Barrier Reefs in the dark. at sea near Cairns, Australia
October 5, 1944 Started again at 6:15 A.M.  Saw the last of Australia.  The sea is rough. at sea
October 6, 1944 Had two four hour shifts of guard last night.  The boat rocked badly & the wind was very strong.  One wave drenched all of us in this section.  Had to stay on the bed all day to keep from getting seasick. at sea
October 7, 1944 First sight of New Guinea this morning.  Cloudy with very rough sea. at sea near New Guinea
October 7, 1944 Sailed thru the China Straight into Milna (Milne) Bay.  Anchored for one hour for shipping orders.  Left at 1:15 P.M. Milne Bay, New Guinea
October 8, 1944 (Sunday) Sailed with in sight of coast of New Guinea all day.  Passed several reefs & small islands yesterday evening. at sea near New Guinea
October 9, 1944 (Monday) Sailed into harbor at Fincheven (Finschhafen) New Guinea last night about midnight.  Left the next morn at 10:00 A.M. Finschhafen, New Guinea
October 9, 1944 (afternoon) First sight of New Briton (Britain) Island on the starboard side.  The mountains can be seen in the haze. at sea near New Britain, Papua, New Guinea
October 9, 1944 (evening) came in sight of a huge mountain off starboard.  It looks like a volcano.  The high mountain turned out to be part of Long Island at the tip of New Brition (Britain)  Island. at sea near New Britain, Papua, New Guinea
October 11, 1944 (morning) Sailed into harbor at Aitopa (Aitape) N. G.  All ready to leave boat.  5:00 P.M. still waiting to go ashore in landing barges. Aitape, New Guinea
October 12, 1944 Starting our new company area among a grove of coconut trees.  Building shower & latrine.  Very Hot.  Ate a coconut this evening - saw my first native climb a tree - evening.  Starting to bring our company supplies & tents into camp from the boat.  Eating the best chow since leaving the states.  Writing my first letter in New Guinea to Barbara (future wife) tonight.  Had plenty of mail waiting for us here.  I got 13 so far. Aitape, New Guinea
October 13, 1944
October 26, 1944
Spent this time fixing up the company area.  Tents are up.  Mess hall finished & our new day room opened on the 26th my birthday.  We called the day room “The Hut”, the home of the tailess monkies.  Have been working in the shipping & receiving dept. for over a week.  The work is interesting but hard.  Have seen a lot of Jap equipment that is being sent south & then to the states.  The food is very good, pastries almost every meal. Aitape, New Guinea
October 28, 1944 Several of the boys almost drowned when a large wave knocked them off a Bujflo (?).  Four were hurt very bad.  Shortie was the worse hurt.  Now we can’t go any where near the beach. Aitape, New Guinea
October 29, 1944

I spent my first day off sleeping & reading.  Went to the show tonight & saw The Lady in Dark.  We slipped down to the beach & watched the surf for a while before the show started.

Aitape, New Guinea
November 4, 1944 (Saturday) Cut the back of my left hand and went to the hospital. Aitape, New Guinea
November 8, 1944 (Wednesday) Left Atape (Aitape) by plane to go to a general hospital at Lienchhaven   (Finschhafen).  Ended up in Nabzob (Nadzab) N.G. in a hospital.  Went to the show & heard that Roosevelt had won the election.

247 General Hospital
Nabzob N.G. 1790-713-1

Nadzab, New Guinea
November 9, 1944 (Thursday)

Had the cast taken off.  Wrist is sore & stiff.  Wrote to Capt. Worthington.

Nadzab, New Guinea
November 10, 1944

They took the stitches out this morning.  Been laying around doing nothing but writing a few letters.

Nadzab, New Guinea
November 14, 1944 Had my first treatment at the Physical Therapy this morning.  The Capt. took off the bandage for good - I hope.  Hand is very stiff & dead. Nadzab, New Guinea
November 29, 1944 Left Nabzob (Nadzab) N.G. at 12:05 noon in ambulance for Lae.  Thirty mile trip here.  Staying at a staging area in Lae.  They expect to ship me out for Atope (Aitape) in a day or two. Nadzab, New Guinea
Lae, New Guinea
December 1, 1944

Left Base E. staging area at 7:30 for airport.  Ended up at Nabzob (Nadzab) again.  Came here in an army bus from Lae.  Spent all day at a transit company waiting for a plane ride.  Was told to be at A.T.C. office at 2:30 in the morning.

Lae, New Guinea, New Guinea
Nadzab, New Guinea
December 2, 1944 Got up at 2:00 & went to strip to get plane.  No soap.  Waited all day.  No soap. Nadzab, New Guinea
December 3, 1944 Finally got a ride.  Started at 5:00 from Nabzob (Nadzab) .  Arrived at Atapi (Aitape) at 8:10 A.M. Nadzab, New Guinea
Aitape, New Guinea
December 24, 1944 Christmas Eve.  The temperature is over a hundred.  Nothing looks like Christmas here.  We are almost ready to move to the Philippines.  Will leave here Tuesday morning at 3:00 they say for the ship.  Christmas set ahead one day so today is our Xmas. Aitape, New Guinea
December 25, 1944 The real Xmas day today.  We took our tents down this morning.  Am all ready to leave in the morning at 3:00 A.M. for the landing ship.  Went swimming at the beach this after noon. Aitape, New Guinea
December 26, 1944 Got up at 1:30.  Had chow at 2:00 A.M.  Left about 3:30 in trucks for landing strip where the troops assembled.  Marched at 5:30 from landing strip to Ship No. 1.  Waited several hours.  Rode to ship in small barges.  The ship we are on is the “Cape Johnson” a good troop ship.  The best ship of the three I have been on. Aitape, New Guinea
December 27, 1944

Still in harbor in convoy.  Many ships.

Aitape, New Guinea
December 29, 1944 Sailing. at sea
December 30, 1944 Sailing. at sea
December 31, 1944 Sailing. at sea
January 1, 1945 Still sailing.  Starting the new year out in the water.  Hot as hell. at sea
January 2, 1945 First Jap plane sighted. at sea
January 3, 1945 Another Jap plane showed up. at sea
January 3, 1945
January 8, 1945

Several General Quarters sounded during this time.  In all at least eight Jap planes were shot down.  One Jap destroyer sank, at least two subs sank.

at sea
January 9, 1945 - 4:00 (AM) S-Day (“Sugar Day”) - Got up at 4:00 AM for chow.  The invasion of Linguyen (Lingayen) Gulf, Philippines. Lingayen Gulf, Philippines
January 9, 1945 - 9:30 The first of our troops landed on the beach.  Lingayen Gulf, Philippines
January 9, 1945 - 9:45 No opposition at 9:45.  No Jap planes.  Battleships have been shelling the beach for three days & nights.  The cannon fire is deafening on top deck.  We are several miles from land & the air is heavy with smoke. Lingayen Gulf, Philippines
January 9, 1945 - 9:50 The report came in just now that the first seven waves have landed with out opposition.  Lingayen Gulf, Philippines
January 9, 1945 - 12:00 noon We landed with good luck (on White Beach).  We left the boat at 12:00 & landed at 1:00 P.M.  Just as we landed 2 Jap Zeros came through.  They shot one down & they think they got the other.  We worked on the beach until after dark.  Just left before it got real dark the Japs came over. The ack ack was thick but beautiful in the darkness.  Several raids during the night.  The gunfire from the ships lasted all night.  A mortar outfit (heavy) set up 100 yds. in back of us during the night.  The gunfire kept us awake all night. San Fabian, Lingayen Gulf, Philippines
January 10, 1945 Worked all day at the beach.  It is now almost dark.  The Japs were over once already.  After dark the report came in that the Japs had broken through & were 1 ˝ miles from us.  We entrenched around the beach and spent the night there.  Cold night. San Fabian, Lingayen Gulf, Philippines
January 11, 1945

One Jap air raid this morning.  Was to work on the beach but so far have been sitting around.

San Fabian, Lingayen Gulf, Philippines
January 12, 1945 Worked on beach.  A few air raids morn & night. San Fabian, Lingayen Gulf, Philippines
January 13, 1945

off all day.  Another division took over the work at the beach.  We are to move in a few days.  

A few Jap heavy artillery pieces have been firing at us from the hill that hasn’t been taken.  Our 155’s opened up on them for a while.  none of the shells landed near us but several men were killed near here.

San Fabian, Lingayen Gulf, Philippines
January 14, 1945 The Japs are getting hell on the hill.  Our dive bombers are hitting it & at the same time the heavy pieces are hitting it from here.  So far have had day off.  May go to work later. San Fabian, Lingayen Gulf, Philippines
January 16, 1945 Worked to day on the Victory ship  Navajo Victory unloading rations.


San Fabian, Lingayen Gulf, Philippines
February Sometime ago we moved to a town called San Jacinto.  Left there in a week. San Jacinto, Philippines
February 6, 1945 We are now in a town called Bulongao. Bulongao, Philippines
May 18, 1945

Still in Balongoa.  Working on Motor Pool building.

Bulongao, Philippines
July, 1945 Left Balungao for Bauang - La Union prov. Bulongao, Philippines
Bauang, Philippines
July, 1945

Left Bauang for Balungao

Bauang, Philippines
Bulongao, Philippines
July/August, 1945

Left Balungao for Baijon?bong (Barongobong) north of Babtie(?) Pass.

Bulongao, Philippines
Barongobong, Philippines
July, 1945

Left Bauang for Balungao

Bauang, Philippines
Bulongao, Philippines
August 6, 1945

(first atomic bomb dropped by United States on Hiroshima)

assumed Bulongao, Philippines
August 9, 1945

(second atomic bomb dropped by United States on Nagasaki)

assumed Bulongao, Philippines
August 11, 1945 still unconfirmed assumed Bulongao, Philippines
August 15, 1945 (Japan announces surrender to Allied forces on this date) assumed Bulongao, Philippines
September 10, 1945 getting ready to pull out. assumed in Lingayen Gulf, Philippines
September 13, 1945 Left company area this evening & boarded L.S.M. assumed in Lingayen Gulf, Philippines
September 17, 1945 pulled out with large convoy for Japan. assumed in Lingayen Gulf, Philippines
September 25, 1945

First sight of Japan this morning.

Still in harbor.

at sea off coast of Japan
September 25, 1945 - night

beached L.S.M. at high tide.

assumed Wakayama, Japan
September 26, 1945 - 2 P.M. Went to work unloading vans(?) assumed Wakayama, Japan
September 26, 1945 - 5:00 A.M. Went back to bed.  Unloaded L.S.M. all day. assumed Wakayama, Japan
September 26, 1945 - 7:00 P.M. left beach for temporary housing in Jap steel plant where bombs were made. assumed Wakayama, Japan
November 13, 1945 - 8:00 A.M. Left Barracks at Company area for train Depot at Wakajama Japan.  Boarded train at 9:45.  Went north to Nagoya at Disposition Center.  Arrived at 8:00 P.M.  Spent all night getting papers in order & finding barracks.  Cold. Wakayama, Japan
near Nagoya, Japan
November 14, 1945

Raining all day.  Waiting.

near Nagoya, Japan
November 20, 1945 Received my shipping number to day - at last.  #105  R.K. 1209-34(V).  Tonight ends one week here hoping to get going soon.  Chow poor. near Nagoya, Japan
November 22, 1945 Had Thanksgiving dinner here in the 11th replacement center.  Very poor turkey. near Nagoya, Japan
November 23, 1945 Still here at replacement center.  Hope I get out shortly. near Nagoya, Japan
November 27, 1945

Received shipping orders at last.  Left center at 12:05 for area.  It took a couple of hours to get going.  left center in trucks for train station at Okazaki.  Boarded train there. 

near Nagoya, Japan
Okazaki, Japan
November 27, 1945 Arrived in Nagoya at 8:00 P.M.  Boarded ship U.S.S. General W. G. Haan. Nagoya, Japan
November 28, 1945 Sailed at 1:00 P.M. at sea near Nagoya, Japan
December 3/4, 1945 Crossed the international date line.  Half way mark this eve. at sea - International Date Line
December 5, 1945 We are 1576 miles from Seattle at 8:00 A.M. this morning - getting closer. at sea
December 10, 1945 Sailed into Puget Sound this morning.  Sailed along sound all day.  Pulled into dock at Tacoma Wash about 8:00 P.M.  Went to Fort Lewis from there.  Red Cross gave us milk & candy & donuts when we got off.  Our living quarters is in the North east Fort. at sea in Puget Sound, near Seattle, Washington
Ft. Lewis, Tacoma, Washington
December 13, 1945 We are to board train to night at nine oclock & then we will be on the way to J. B. (Jefferson Barracks, St. Louis, Missouri) Ft. Lewis, Tacoma, Washington
December 13, 1945 We boarded train at 1:30 at Fort Lewis. Ft. Lewis, Tacoma, Washington
December 18, 1945

Arrived in Jefferson - 12:30 noon.  started our processing.  First: Our clothing was checked and they took away everything we didn’t need.

Next:  Cloth issue.  I got an over coat.  Then, we filled out a few forms & had a dental check.  Next was bedding issue & a place to sleep.

Jefferson Barracks, St. Louis, Missouri

December 19, 1945 had Physical exam today.  Went through several other Depts.  Saw Kitty (sister) & Joe (cousin) this evening. Jefferson Barracks, St. Louis, Missouri
December 20, 1945

Last day in the army.  Almost four years in.  We get out about 12 noon.  Joe & Kitty will come & get me.

Jefferson Barracks, St. Louis, Missouri
  The End    Finee  

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