1943 – Operation Cherry Blossom

Leo Carter got into the thick of things beginning on 22 October 43 during the Battle of Bougainville, a Japanese-held island about 215 miles to the South and East of the Island of New Britain, where the Japanese had had constructed a major logistical, naval, and air operations center at Simpson Harbor near to the town of Rabaul.


MacArthur’s island-hopping strategy known as Operation Cartwheel envisioned isolation rather than capture of Japanese island strongholds such as Rabaul and the objective of Operation Cherry Blossom was to seize and then expand existing Japanese airfields on small neighboring Islands, such as Buka, and at Kahili, Bonis, and Kara on the main island, all of which were defensive outposts for Rabaul.


Between 2 October 43 and 17 November 43, Leo Carter’s missions included strikes on Kahili (4), Buka (3), Kara (1), Bonis (1), and Rabaul (1).

2ndDads Strike List

On 24 February 44, he flew a mission against Rabaul City, shown here in an early surveillance photo.

Rabaul was successfully neutralized but the pacification of Rabaul took until the end of the war and was only completed following the Japanese surrender in August 1945.

The link below leads to a narrative description of Operation Cherry Blossom.

Operation Cherry Blossom