B-24 Co-Pilot in WWII. Geologist, Paleontologist, NSF Program Administrator, Husband and Father.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Flight Log of First Lieutenant John F. Lance 1944-1945

This is my father's flight log, somewhat faded over the years. The map below shows the area where his outfit operated. I know that at least part of the time he was stationed on Biak, an island just north of northwest New Guinea; and at Noemfoor, between Biak and New Guinea. The first missions were to Bosnek, on the eastern tip of Biak island. According to Don Erwin, a Facebook correspondent, his wife's grandfather flew into Bosnek (Biak) on his way to his base on Morotai. Since the first three missions in my father's log were to Bosnek, it appears that his earliest missions paved the way for Mr. Erwin's father-in-law's later journey to his primary base of operations.

Most of my father's missions were to places that are so small they do not seem to show up on most maps. A notable exception is Balikpapan, the oil depot on the east coast of Borneo. Note also that on 11/18/44 my father recorded a "Special Search," which was the fruitless attempt to find his missing comrades after his plane and its crew disappeared without a trace.

Below is my transcription of my father's Flight Log:
5/19/44   10:20  Bosnek
5/24/44   10:05  Bosnek
5/26/44   10:00  Bosnek
6/1/44     8:30    Dublon Island
6/3/44     8:20    Dublon Island

6/7/44      9:45    Dublon Island
6/9/44      9:15    Dublon Island
6/11/44    9:05   Eten Island
6/28/44   12:30  Yap Island
7/1/44     10:55  Noemfoor

7/12/44    12:30  Yap Island
7/18/44    12:30  Yap Island
7/23/44    12:30  Yap Island
9/4/44       9:05   Palau
9/7/44       9:50   Galela

9/13/44     9:50   Lolobata
9/17/44     9:20   Haroekoe
9/22/44     9:45   Liang Town
9/30/44     16:50 Balikpapan
10/14/44   15:10 Balikpapan

10/22/44   13:50 Cebu
11/1/44      9:40 Negros Island
11/4/44      8:30 Cebu Island
11/10/44    9:00 Leyte Island
11/14/44    10:00 Negros Island

11/18/44    14:30  Special Search
11/25/44    10:30  Lahug A/D
11/27/44     9:50   Bacolod A/D
11/29/44     10:45 Puerto Princesa
12/3/44       5:00   Galela

12/5/44       4:50  Galela
1/5/45         12:20 Miri A/D
1/9/45         13:00 Nichols A/D
1/11/45       13:45 San Jose
1/15/45       10:50 Jesselton A/D

1/21/45      13:00 Marikina A/D
1/25/45      12:25 Corregidor

Note: A/D is short for Air Drome, or Airfield


  1. Incredible to think such tiny islands were worth the effort, but it's such a scrambled egg mess in those archipelegos. I guess they were somehow strategic, maybe because they guarded some shipping routes. Interesting to track the dates too. Some heavy flight periods followed by lulls in the action. Or maybe your father rotated in and out?

    1. He didn't rotate in and out. My understanding is that taking these small islands away from the Japanese was very strategic in allowing the Allies to close in on the Japanese islands. Subduing the first little islands provided safer "stepping stones" to other targets of greater strategic importance, such as the large fuel depot at Balikpapan in Borneo. If someone reading this has a better take on this, please chime in.