The Jap aim was poor and apparently their launching device was very crude, perhaps the whole device was crude. Anyhow the damned things would go up in the air leaving an erratic trail of sparks behind so that we could follow their flight. But when they reached their maximum height the propellant charge apparently exhausted itself and then we could no longer follow its course. That’s where the willies came in, waiting for the damned things to land. Robert Sherrod in his Time article said that all the rocket propelled mortars landed harmlessly in the sea. He should have been with me.
Our planes threw thousands of rocket bombs at the Jap gun positions. They make an unearthly noise when they leave the planes. Both the rockets and the planes are traveling at such a terrific speed that often by the time the sound reached us the planes would have leveled off and the rockets would already have landed. I can’t describe the sound they make except in terms of a swishing, howling noise that changes in pitch. The big difference from other kinds of firing is that the noise has duration instead of just being one loud bang.
By the time we were half way through the Iwo operation we had begun to be organized a little in the boat for our personal comfort and of course had begun to get used to it. We heated our cans of C rations and dried some of our clothes on top of the engine, cadged hot coffee in the morning from nearby LST’s and even managed one night to have a chicken dinner.