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S/Sgt. Roy L. Kaylor
331st

DIARY OF WORLD WAR II 1940-1945

December 24, 1940

I was to report to Gate City VA for going into the Army. I had just finished high school that year. In Gate City I met with others going into service and our Recruiters put us on a bus to Bristol, Va. In Bristol we went through a physical. Since we had to wait for the train they let us go to a movie. When the train came it was to take us to Norfolk, Va., when we were to spend the night at the Ponce De Leon Hotel. I was sworn into the Army early the next morning.

December 25, 1940 1:30 A. M.

I started by train to Maxwell Field in Montgomery, Alabama. We arrived at 12:00 noon in time for lunch. Imagine how surprised I was to see Ezra Bishop from Natural Tunnel, VA., and Robert Soward from East Stone Gap, Va., serving on the line. Ezra was carving the turkey and Robert was in charge of the potatoes. I was later put in "Tent City One" with Osborne from Washington State and Roberts from Wallen's Ridge, and Dick form Gate City, Va. We didn't do much, I think we were lost for a few days.

January 3, 1941

I moved to "Tent City Four" and did KP duty, hiking, target practice, etc.

Tent Mates at Maxwell Field: Al Sorbo, Arian Heller, Glenn Weebly, Rudolf Schnupa, Edward Bosak, Clarence PA also 2960 Liddesdale Street Detroit, Mich – Albert Kuhne Jr 407 Hayrest Street, Johnston PA – O.H.C. Miller 619 6th Street Arkadelphia AR – Ai S Bloom, Route 1 Curvensville,

Tent Mates in Italy Parachute School: Kaylor, Hoagland, Novak, Pental, Pinioli (later known as Joe August), Speers – 517 Parachute Infantry Regiment – APO 109.

February 2, 1941

I moved to "Old Mill" on outskirts of Montgomery.

March 5, 1941

Left Alabama.

March 6, 1941

We arrived at Jefferson Barracks, St Louis, Mo. Again I was put in "Tent City One", tent 21 with Al Bloom, John Campbell, C D Huggler, Stuart Schappick and John Halblem I pulled KP, cut wood, guard duty, helped unload RR cars and other miscellaneous jobs. It was so cold here that I slept in my long handles and clothes I wore.   I had a comforter, two blankets and an overcoat I spread on top of that. Our stove didn't help much. It was a little conical stove with a four inch pipe. We were burning slack coal and the pipe stopped up very often. When we first got settled, one of the boys from another tent told us how to clean the pipes. He said, "Open the door and throw some water on the coals." Not knowing better, one boy picked up the bucket of water and threw it in the stove. Our stove went about a foot in the air and ashes went everywhere. Wood burned very good, but we couldn't get much wood. There was a forest close by and we would go on detail to cut wood. When we were on guard duty, our main job was to watch the tents and if the smoke started out the door or roof we had to go in wake the boys and get them out. On KP one shift, I went to work at 1:00 AM and worked eight hours. On another time I helped the man who made the pies, he wanted me to stay with him because I kept eh pots and pans clean.

April 19, 1941

I left for Chicago, Il., for airplane mechanics school at Aeronautical University , 1338 Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL. We stayed at the YMCA.

April 21, 1941

Aeronautical University was about two blocks from our hotel. Each day, after classes were over, we went to O'Hara Airport for practice on planes. To start with the pales were old, they had what was called inertia starters you cranked a starter till it got up to good speed then you told the boy in the cockpit to pull the button.

June 25, 1941

We were paid $25.00 a month and after six months we were to be paid $30.00 a month. I had now been in the Army 6 months without being paid is a long time.

July 4, 1941

On July 2, I left Chicago at 11:00 AM, going home but didn't arrive until July 4. The reason it took so long, the station master routed me the long way instead of the short way. He sent me though West Virginia when I could have come to Nashville Ten., then home.   I arrived home about 10:30 PM. I tried to arouse someone but everyone was sleeping. I knew where a window was where I could open the door. I opened the door and went to my brother's bedroom and roused him. The next morning I surprised Mother and Dad who were getting breakfast. I took a chance of getting shot but I didn't want to wake everyone. I left Saturday July 5 going back to Chicago.

October 8, 1941 Wednesday

Graduated from Mechanics school. Three of the graduating class were going to the same base. One of the boys had a car. We left Chicago at 4:00 PM for Baton Rouge, La. We planned our trip so each could have a lay over. We went through Pittsburg and left one there, he was to catch a boy in Baltimore who had a car. Meantime the one who had the care drove me to Washington to catch a train to Bristol and a bus home. Everything worked fine except the boys were to pick me up at the bus station in Kingsport.   Because there were 2 bus stations in Kingsport, I went to one station to wait and my sisters to the other one.   It so happened they went tot where my sisters were waiting. The boys were getting worried and afraid we were crossed up.

Graduates of Aeronautical University – October 8, 1941

David Adams, Marblelsville, PA - Jack Adams, 9103-114th St. Richmond Hill, Long Island, NY - Dean M Allen, Norway Iowa - Harold Baldwin, 150 Brookside Ave. Roosevelt, Long Island NY - John Patrick Campbell, 2719 South Seventh St. Philadelphia, PA - Joseph P Clark, 26 Chelsea Ave, East Orange, NJ -Charles Decker, Baltimore, MD - Gerald C Emery, 221 Laurel Ave, New Castle, PA - Peter P Gach, PA -Paul E Gore, 25 ½ Crafton St Wellsbora, PA - Ralph V Griffin, Box 415 Lumbsport, West Virginia - Roy L Kaylor, Clinchport, VA – Sol Metlin, Niagara St. Pittsburg, PA – Charles Montleon, NY – Henry Price, TX –

Joseph Richmond, Baltimore, MD – Leo Weil – Wells Wanger White Sweet Valley, PA – John V Williams, Winfield, Iowa – M A Wilson Jr, Sewen Pines Farm Skillman, NJ – Don Young 71 Oak St Hudson Falls, NY.

Additions: Joseph A Beruba, 217 Wallen St. Fall River, Mass (Ignition Class) – Charles Castmore, 511 Central Ave, Newark, NJ (Structures) – William L Fisk 39 Federal St. Greenfield, Mass (Ignition Class) – M Monroe Spodek, 3749 Neptune Ave, Sea-Brooklyn, NY (Structures).

Original Drop Outs: B Bitterman (Hospital in Propa, Ohio) Madden, PA (Instament Class) – Richard Ross, PA, Kicked out in hud (failed).

October 11, 1941

Arrived in Baton Rouge. Stayed at motel. On the 12th went to Baton Rouge Air Base and began regular duties, carried lumber first four days, then spent a week of KP. Next went on to Security Guard. When I went on security guard they strapped a .45 around my waist (no bullets) and said take these boys to the dump (about 10) to work. I marched them in order till I got out of sight then I let them relax. I had to take them to lunch at 12:00 and watch them while eating, then back to the dump. At 4:30I got them in line and we marched back to headquarters. Went a few nights to night school, but soon gave it up.  

December 7, 1941

Laying on my back listening to my radio and planning on going on furlough next day. Suddenly a flash cam over the radio: Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. My radio became very popular after that. That shot my vacation, it was cancelled very quick. We were ordered to pack up and be ready to more at a moments notice.

December 9, 1941

Packed to leave Baton Rouge, LA. Destination unknown at this time.

December 16, 1941

Left Baton Rouge going to Tuscan, Arizona, through Shreveport, Fort Worth, Dallas, etc…

December 18, 1941

Arrived at Tuscan (Davis Monthen Field) while at the base at Tuscan I was put on the graveyard shift. We were making bullet boxes to put on B-24's so we had to put those boxes on them. One morning I ate breakfast at 8:00, then went to get a shot and to give a blood sample. When they were taking the blood, I began to get sick. I didn't have far to go to by bunk and afterwards I went to work and my arm started swelling from the shot. The next morning I went to medical and they sent me to Base Hospital. They put me to bed and my arm swelled about 4 times regular size. They didn't give me any medicine and after 3 days I was well enough to get out of hospital.

January 10, 1942

Left Tuscan for Port of Embarkation (NY) but only got to El Paso and turned back arriving at Tuscan the 17th.

January 28, 1942

Went on DS into New Mexico, near Rodeo and at Lordsburg (Parks, Dodge, Pinolie, and a Sergeant) (Pinolie, now known as John August. Sgt. Pinolie, whose real name was John August, was too young to enlist so he took his stepfathers name of Pinolie to enlist. Later we found out his real name when we were trying to find Pinolie for a reunion). Two training planes had forced landed near Lordsburg and we were to repair them. We stayed at a CCC camp and worked from there. Every morning at 6:00 they woke the CCC boys and that disturbed us. However, we had to get up and eat when they did. That was another cold place, day and night. Some of the boys went to Tombstone but they slipped out on me and the others. Landsburg had a restaurant, railroad station and a few other buildings.

February 1, 1942

Or Squadron was divided into three groups. One group went to the Pacific and one to Britain. Left Tuscan about 11:30 AM. The group I was in went to Alexandria, LA.

February 3, 1942

Arrived at Alexandria, LA (Esler Field)

February 4, 1942

Began working with 109 Observation Squadron from Michigan. They didn't bring all of their men at once so we were loaned to them. They had two A-20's and a small plane or two.   To get a crew, two men from our group were placed on each A-20. The lightest job was to see the wheel locks ere placed when the plane came in from the practice run and also removed when they were taking off. The two boys on my crew asked chief why me and my partners didn't get a raise. He said he would see about that.

February 15, 1942

The 109 Observation plane was so light that the pilots would put it in the air, the wind would hold it up and the engine would keep it from going backwards. I decided I wanted to ride it so I got a parachute on and climbed into the back seat. We flew out over the country side looking for sunbathers. Parking came in handy for that. The best part was flying over the Red River. The river banks were real high. We were flying lower than the banks, just above the water. Made PFC.

March 13, 1942

Left Alexandria for Mobile, Alabama for two weeks practice with 109 Squadron (Brookly Field) with Bosak, Dewey, Parks and myself. One A-20 plane would pull target and the other plane would shoot at it. We were supposed to help service the planes and I decided I wanted to take a ride with them. They wouldn't let me in the cabin, afraid a cable might get tangled or back lash. So they strapped a parachute on my back and let me climb up in the Bombay seat. That was the front of the plane over the nose wheel. We went out over the ocean while the other planes made runs at the target. After practice we went back to the base and this is where I began to wonder, "Will that nose wheel hold up or crush me to mince meat?" We landed safely and my buddies congratulated me. They were such cowards they wouldn't take a ride. Had two weeks of pleasure, away from the base, and the 109th were good bosses.   

March 29, 1942

Returned from Mobile to Alexandria where I learned I had made Corporal on March 15th.

April 2, 1942

This day I made 2nd grade Airplane Mechanic which meant more money.

April 18, 1942

I was attached to a B-25 Squadron. Didn't have much to do. One day a pal and I went to explore patch of woods nearby. We found a perfect grapevine swing. You would swing out over a stream from one bank of the stream to the other side. Everything went well until Sam, who was heavier, took his turn. Our swing broke and Sam hit the water. All you could see was his cap floating down the stream. He did get out. One day a B-25 crashed back in the swamp. All my friends had to go that day to retrieve the bodies. They found four that day and when they went back the next day I had to go too. We had a native and his boat to take us to the plane. He knew his way through the swamps. The first day they had stretched ropes from one tree to another. They attached a rope pulley to that rope down to the plane. We all had to get out in the water, which was waist deep, and pull on the rope to lift the plane. There were two bodies we were looking for and we finally managed to find them. We tied them to the boat and headed back to dry land. When we reached dry land the Squadron had sent us sandwiches and drinks. Medical personnel took the bodies. Another day I decided I wanted to ride in one of the B-25's. I strapped a parachute on and crawled up in the cabin part. I got my money's worth this time. I said never again in a B-25. It was a rough ride. I could see out the window, the tips of the wings fluttering like a bird. My buddies had a good laugh when I told them never again. Left for home on a 10 day furlough. Arrived back at Esler field on April 29.  

July 2, 1942

We left Alexandria, LA by train. There wasn't much to do on the train, so most of the time we played Blackjack. I was real lucky. One time I won and got the cards. I was no good at shuffling cards so I gave them to my buddy to shuffle and we would split the pot. I don't remember how much we won but it was quite a lot of dimes. Jul 4th we arrived at For Dix, NJ.

July 15, 1942

We stayed at Fort Dix, NJ, until July 15th, then we left Fort Dix for New York. At New York we went aboard ship for sailing. On board ship was terrible I had the luck of getting in the front hold that was the hottest part of the ship. We had to hang hammocks over the tables and that made it hotter. The boys slept any place they could lay down. We had one group who slept in the potato hold. They never did get below deck. Sometimes I slept on a table. There was a gutter around the edge of the ship. It was an ideal place to put a blanket to sleep. Well I tried it one night, I woke up about one o'clock and things were terrible. The wind was blowing, the boat was rolling and I decided I better start crawling. I got out of that gutter in a hurry. "Louis Pasteur " was the boat.

July 24, 1942

Boat stopped at Freeport, Africa. No one went ashore. At Freeport, Sierra Leon young boys came out to the ship and they would dive for money. Sometimes they would go pretty deep. The British did the cooking and we didn't care much for their food. We complained so much that our Captain managed to get our cook to do our cooking. As usual I got some kind of duty, so I got Guard Duty. I had to cover the whole ship from deck to deck. After Freeport we sailed around to Durban, South Africa. I thought the waves were pretty bad, and at times it looked like the shop was lower than the waves. No one ventured out on deck and we stayed close to the walls of the ship.

August 4 & 5, 1942

At Durban we were allowed to leave the ship from 10 AM til about 5 PM. The first thing everyone did was go to the bank to exchange our US money to South African currency. We then hit a nice restaurant. Everyone ordered a big steak with eggs and chips. Chips were similar to our French fries. After eating, we started exploring the town, which had street cars we could hop on and off as we pleased. No charge. The best part of our travel here was by rickshaw. There were seven of us and we didn't want to split apart so the driver, a big bushy fellow, placed us all on the vehicle and away we went. I wondered about him pulling us but he had no trouble. He would get up to pretty good speed then raise his feet and we would drift along for ever so far by his getting a good balance. There was a small park we visited. At the edge of the park there were monkeys having a big time and an elephant tied close by. We saw a lady crocheting in the park, so we went up and talked to here. She told us about the town and temperature. Although it was mid-winter it was like Florida. She said sometimes lions and tigers came to the edge of the park.

August 6, 1942

Left Durban and sailed for Suez.

August 16, 1942

Arrived at Suez. Tents were already set up for us. We didn't have much to do so we mostly played cards. We were warned that the natives would steal our barracks bags if we didn't watch them. Sure enough they stole some of our bags that some of the boys were practically sleeping on. I found a good flat rock and rolled by blanket over it and made a good pillow. Since it was very hot in the day time and cooled at night, we slept in our clothes. One boy who had been on guard duty ate so many candy bars that he landed in the hospital. We had a chocolate bar with our rations.

August 21, 1942

We left Suez by train. As we passed the outskirts of Damascus, going up the side of the mountain, we had a real good view of Damascus.

August 23, 1942

We arrived in Syria, at Rayak we were put in a French Barracks building which had no cots so we slept on the floor. Somewhere along the line I acquired a small mattress which helped a lot. Our equipment hadn't arrived so we had little to do. All Non-Coms were ordered to practice drilling. When it came my time I let the men off easy. I didn't have much voice for drilling and sometimes I would pantomime. I could do very well on forward march and rear march. We bout our bread locally and it was seasoned with mealy bugs. I picked them out of my bread but some boys didn't bother.

Between August 23rd and September 12th I had a 24 hour furlough. There was a village nearby that we could visit. My fried and I decided to go to Beauret. We started down and looked at the American University and by now I was getting a little late and almost dark. We passed an ice cream bar so we got some ice cream and walked back to the corner to wait for a ride. There was no such thing as traffic so we began to worry. A native saw us and said maybe he could help us. A big truck came by and the native talked to the driver and the man said we could go with him so we crawled into the cab and he took us to the village. We were just in time to catch the truck back to the base.

September 12, 1942

At Baalbeck there wasn't much left, several big columns, one room in rough condition was pointed out to us. Our friend, we inquired, said it was the Virgin Room and lots of honeymooners were interested in it. Baalback didn't look to be very big, about two or three city blocks.

September 27, 1942

Left Rayak early in the morning and arrived at Lydia Air Base near Tel-A-Vive, Palestine in the afternoon of the same day. At Lydia Air Base we found two B-17's and they didn't have personnel to service them. There were four of us and they assigned two of us to each plane. We would have to change engines about every day, since they would make about a four hour run and the engine would wear out. Here again, I decided I wanted another ride. I talked to the pilots, and since they were making a test run, they gave me a parachute and told me to climb in. This time I rode in the cabin, and after riding awhile, I decided I wanted to know about the tail gunner's position. I climbed into the tail gunner's position and was tail gunner for awhile. Even though I couldn't get my buddies to go up, we still were recommended for our work here and that made us feel good.

November 6, 1942

Visited Jerusalem and Bethlehem we had a guide and he took us to the interesting places. While in Jerusalem we went to the Church of the Nativity, saw the Star of Bethlehem, the manager scene, the Wailing Wall, and where the Last Supper was, and many other Biblical sights.

November 8, 1942

Left Lydia for Abu Sueur, Egypt near Ismalia, Egypt. At Abu Sueur, Egypt we had another good job. All engines shipped would get an ocean skim on the cylinders, so we had to take each cylinder off and buff them. They soon started putting chemical plugs where each spark plug was. These plugs took care of the moisture so what happened we lost that job. Some British were near by and every morning at 10:00 AM and again at 3:00 PM, they brought crumpets and tea for sale. I like their crumpets but didn't care much for tea.

December 2, 1942

Left Abu Sueur for air base known as Landing Ground # 174, Amaria Desert, located Alexandria. We had P-40's to work on. Our Army was using P-40's to push the German Army back. While here we had a lot of trouble with dust storms. You could go to bed at night and wake up the next morning with your eyes covered with dust. It got so bad that sometimes we would go into Alexandria to stay, and since Alexandria was on the ocean there wasn't much dust. After one of these dust storms we had to clean all the planes. Each plane was designated a crew of three. My crew and I got our plane ready for test. The test pilot took it up but returned it immediately because the engine was vibrating. We had missed by one degree getting the props even. But within a few minutes we had it corrected and this time the pilot ok'ed it combat.

At night the darkness would confuse us. If I was away from my tent, the only way I could find it was to go to the mess hall and go straight to my tent. The Mess Hall was easy to find since it had a generator and lights.

While we were here some Nomads had camped nearby. They would put out a wheat crop right in the desert and when it was ready to harvest, we looked out one morning and they had left.

What little water we had was hauled in by truck. We didn't use water to clean the planes; we used gas which worked good in a spray gun.

February 8, 1943

Left landing ground # 174 for Biennia, Libya.

February 12, 1943

Arrived at Biennia. At Biennia Airstrip we now had B-24's to work on. We were about 12 miles from Benghazi where there were three landing strips all nearby. This was another hot place, and in all the time we were there we saw about one minute of rain. To cool our beer we them on sand bags we had around the tent. The wind blowing through the tent onto the can would cool it (a little). A big pest we had were locusts (or grasshoppers). They would get in our food, our mouth if you didn't keep it closed, but worst in our beds. We had mosquito nets for our beds but the grasshoppers got through some way. You don't ever want a grasshopper crawling over your naked body. Our tent had 3 poles holding it up and at the top of those poles you could get a bucket full of grasshoppers.

February 13, 1943

The Germans had left a 3000 lb. bomb and we didn't think much about it. Some boys pitched their tent nearby between a fence and the bomb. Italian paratroopers slipped in and set the bomb off. It so happened the boys woke up and ran. Their tent and clothes were blown through the fence, the size of the fence squares. We had some planes we were working on and the paratroopers put plastic bombs in them. The bombs were pulled out of two of the planes but one was burned up.

The B-24's made runs over Italy and Germany and when they came back they would have to be repaired. Some would need the engine changed, the wings, fuel tanks and bullet holes repaired.

February 17, 1943

Made another raid on Benghazi (8:30 PM).

May 21, 1943

Went to Marble Arch on DP to work on P-40's. Two P-40's made a forced landing on the beach, we had to tear them apart and transfer them back to Biennia which took a little more time than we planned. We took two of our tents and a cook. Once we were running out of food and we borrowed some from the British who were nearby. They gave us some dry peas and potatoes, which we soaked about two days and they still weren't fit to eat. One of the boys went back to Biennia and got some food. They sent word for me to come back to Biennia but I told them we were about through and I would stay awhile longer to help. It was very hot here and the ocean was back of our tents, that help[ed take care of our recreation time.

The Marble Arch was an arch that spanned the roadway. It was about 100 feet high, 50 feet wide and 50 feet long where the cars would go through. Near the top there was space for two bronze men about 6 feet long laying down. The story was that these two countries would send a man and when they met that would be the dividing line of their countries. There was nothing at Marble Arch itself. One boy decided he wanted a big toe, from one of the bronze men, so he sawed a very long time and he finally got one about the size of a big fist.

July 23, 1943

Went from Castle Benito to Bovina Airport near Tunis and spent the night. I was supposed to do some work on B-24's but it was already completed.

July 24, 1943

I started back to Benito and went by Castle Seniti (stayed for fuel) then went back to Cabrite and spent the night with the 316th Transport Group.

July 25, 1943

Arrived back in Benito. (all this trip by plane)

August 12, 1943

Left Benito on furlough, going to Cairo by transport. From Cairo went by train to Alexandria.

August 13, 1943

Beginning of furlough.

August 22, 1943

Left Alexandria going back to Cairo.

August 23, 1943

Reported back to transport office and asked about a plane ride back to camp.

August 26, 1943

Received a ride and arrived back in camp, three days overdue.

September 21, 1943

Left Benito on convoy trip and went to Adgedabia, volunteered to drive a truck (three quarter ton British Chevrolet). All of the boys in the outfit had a truck and one left over. I was left over too, I told them I couldn't drive, but they said I had to drive part of the way and another boy would help. I went about twenty five miles before I got the truck in high gear. To beat that the steering wheel was on the right side and you changed gear with the left hand. I brought up the rear but made it until I got help.

September 22, 1943

Went from Adgedabia to point beyond Marble Arch.

September 23, 1943

Spent night at outskirts of Beirut.

September 25, 1943

We visited ruins of Old City of Homs. The Old City of Homs was well worth seeing. Parts of the city were still standing. The bathing vats were still there, placed even with the floor. Around the top of the columns and wall were small figurines about five inches big. Can you imagine the work that must have taken? Their water probably disappeared; there was a small wet place but no running water. Early morning arrived and camped near Tripoli.

September 26, 1943

Still camped near Tripoli and loaded trucks for rest of journey.

September 27, 1943

Visited Tripoli.

September 28, 1943

Left Tripoli and camped near Midinnene.

September 29, 1943

Camped near Fousse.

September 30, 1943

Arrived at airfield (Hagler) near Enfidalle. Trip registered 1069.9 miles on truck I was driving, which was much less than most registered.

October 3, 1943

Left Enfidavilla for base near Tunis. Arrived about noon. Base was about fifteen miles from Tunis and an old historic aqueduct was near by.

October 4, 1943

On a visit to Tunis we passed through the old aqueduct several times.

October 27, 1943

Took a ride over the town and later returned to the squadron.

November 22, 1943

Went to 415th Bomb Squadron while working on B-24.

November 25, 1943

Went to Headquarters Squadron (B-23). Spent the night in USPO. Didn't seep much.

November 26, 1943

Left Enfidaville and went to Bizarta Staging Area. (Rainy day). Made bed on two tool boxes, barracks bag and part of truck bed that covers the wheels (3/4 ton).

November 27 to December 11, 1943

Stayed at staging area, visited Bizarta several times.

December 11, 1943

Boarded boat (Daniel H. Lownsdale) for Italy.

December 12, 1943

Loafed on ship. We played lots of card on this trip. The boys tried to teach me how to play. We were going to play Hearts. They said whatever don't get the hearts or get them all. Well they started dealing and I began to get the hearts, ended up with them and by getting them all I won the game.

December 13, 1943

Left Bizarta Harbor with a large convoy.

December 15, 1943

Dropped anchor and spent the day in Augusta Bay.

December 16, 1943

Passed through Messina Straits and also passed an active volcano (Etna).

December 17, 1943

Gong through the Messina Straits there wasn't much room between Italy and Sicily. From the Sicily side we could see a stream of lava flowing part way down the mountain. We passed the Isle of Capri and pulled in Naples Harbor. Mt. Vesuvius is nearby.

December 18, 1943

We went ashore and to parking area at Naples University.

December 20, 1943

Naples University where trucks are parked and we also viewed Pompeii. Pompeii was at the foot of the volcano mountain (Vesuvius). At one time the eruption covered Pompeii. Some of the streets and buildings were uncovered. Bodies were left lying where they perished. Some of the buildings had large wine vats still in good shape. The volcano erupted so sudden the citizens had no chance of survival.

While in the staging area of the parking area we had a visitor. A girl visited us and invited us to a party. She gave us an address which we couldn't find. We would stop and ask where it was and nobody could tell us. Usually more than one would get into an argument and we would just leave them arguing. We gave the girl some C rations which we guessed was all she wanted.

December 23, 1943

Visited Napoli (Naples).

December 24, 1944

Left Naples staging area and went as far as Avellino. Camped on the side of the road and slept in trailer.

December 25, 1943

Arrived at point beyond Foggia. Christmas dinner was a can of C rations (meat and beans cold). Turkey, four nuts and apples were served for supper.

December 26, 1943

Got lost from convoy, went to Bari, near South and camped near Monopoly.

December 27, 1943

Arrived at camp (Manduria). Camp was approximately half way between Manduria and Aria. Air base is called New Port. Visited towns of Leece and Toronta from here.

April 4, 1944

Several boys received Good Conduct and Purple Heart ribbons. Also on the "second" two movie starts were at the decorations and they ate dinner with us.

April 4, 1944

I received a Good Conduct ribbon.

May 28, 29, & 30, 1944

Enemy planes were over us. Troublesome alert but no bombs dropped.

June 4, 1944

Rome fell after 21:00 hour.

June 6, 1944

Invasion of Europe started at 2:00 AM.

June 15, 1944

B-29's bombed Japan.

June 17, 1944

Opening night of the Enlisted Men's Club.

June 26, 1944

Assignment: Airplane B-24H, 720th Squadron AC 42-523443.

  1. Remove batteries.
  2. Treat engine for temporary storage.
  3. Replace nose turret.
  4. Replace #1 engine power plant crew #6.
  5. Replace left wing panel (wing change).
  6. Replace passing light.
  7. Replace #2 engine nose ring cowl.
  8. Replace lower channel pilot's window.
  9. Replace damaged skin upper left side 1.0 to 3.0.
  10. Repair stringers and belt frames left side station 1.0 to 3.0.
  11. Replace electrical wiring left side station 2.1.
  12. Repair four oxygen lines left side station 3.0.
  13. Replace nose wheel actuating cylinder.
  14. Repair pilot's floor sill left side station.
  15. Replace rudder cables station 3.0.
  16. Replace left elevator cable.
  17. Replace astrodome.
  18. Repair skin and stringers top left side station 0.2.
  19. Replace left pilot tube and bracket assembly.
  20. Replace and repair left Aileron.

This assignment was completed July 21st.

July 4, 1944

Worked all day, no celebration, down in the dumps too.

July 11, 1944

Pulled Charge of Quarters.

July 14, 1944

Pulled Guard Duty.

July 15, 1944

I had the afternoon off. I had a tooth pulled in the morning, went swimming and had a party at the beach. Had ice cream and barbeque goat. Ate ice cream and left party. It was a flop.

July 16, 1944

Went to Leece with the gang of the old 331st men.

July 19, 1944

Went to Bari to see "This is the Army". Irvin Berlin was in the show.

July 24, 1944

Pulled guard duty again. Picked up "Dina Might," nose wheel collapsed, a salvage job.

July 25, 1944

Worked with pulling bar for B-24's, so far it tested to be a flop. Went swimming after supper.

July 26, 1944

Heinicke received the Legion of Merit, stood formation.

July 27, 1944

Day off. Went to Leece and Brendesia.

July 28, 1944

Took a walk in the morning and went swimming in the afternoon.

July 29, 1944

Helped pull three auxiliary wing tanks off the ship "Horrible".

July 30, 1944

Helped move "Dinah Might" to salvage yard, went swimming. On alert night of 30th and 31st. Had day off and got paid.

August 1, 1944

Put in one auxiliary tank #3. Went to Manduria to a concert: Navy Orchestra.

August 2, 1944

Put in #2 auxiliary tank.

August 3, 1944

Went to Leece.

August 4, 1944

Guard again. Worked on #1 tank which was leaking.

August 5, 1944

Put in carburetor air thermometer bulbs, finished "Horrible".

August 10, 1944

Went to Leece.

August 11, 1944

Pulled two wing tanks.

August 12, 1944

Pulled #3 tank and replaced #2. I pulled a lot of wing tanks. You went up into the wheel well and removed a pane about 18 inches square. After getting connections loose you are ready to pull #1 tank. After pulling #1 tank you have to reach through and pull #2. Next you have to pull #3. They all come through at #1 hole. After new tanks or old ones are repaired you go through the same motions to get them back in the wing. It's a lot of tugging, pulling, pushing and testing. Pulled #3 tank and replaced.

August 13, 1944

Completed #3 tank and replaced #2.

August 14, 1944

Completed #2 and put in #1 and replaced cowling.

August 15, 1944

Guard Duty and completed changing of auxiliary tanks.

August 23, 1944

Airplane B-24H, 720th Squadron 450th B Group A.C.N 42-95344

1. Replace right wing.

2. Repair ball frame 7.4.

3. Repair bulkhead #8.

4. Repair hole bulkhead #6.

5. Repair scattered holes between bell frame 7.4 to 8.0.

6. Repair hole fuselage station 5.27.

7. Repair hole in left near bomb bay door.

August 23, 1944

Pulled #1 fuel cell.

August 24, 1944

Day off. #2 cell was pulled.

August 25, 1944

Pulled #3 cell and removed part of the wing nuts.

August 26, 1944

Pulled Guard duty and pulled right wing.

August 27, 1944

Have to wait for wing.

August 28, 1944

Received wing about quitting time.

August 29, 1944

Replaced wing trailing edge and repaired cables.

August 30, 1944

Replaced aileron and #3 fuel cells. Had boxing exhibition. Joe Louis was there but he didn't box.

August 31, 1944

Finished airplane, I hope. Also received official news about going to paratroops.

September 1, 1944

Missed formation and had to walk 30 minutes in front of orderly room with gas mask on. Had to carry mask not on face.

September 3, 1944

Left Manduria for 24th Replacement Depot, by way of Toronto, Bari and Naples. Arrived late at night 12:00, went to bed on the ground (very muddy).

September 4, 1944

Stayed in Replacement Depot 396th all day. While at 396th we noticed a lot of boys carrying a lot of food to their tent. An officer noticed this and decided to investigate. He went into their tent and found a young girl hiding under a bunk. She was dressed in fatigues and looked just like a GI. The boys had smuggled her in on a truck and they had had her for several days. In afternoon went to boxing match, approximately 20,000 there. What a rough crowd.

September 5, 1944

Drew a gun in the morning and clothes in the afternoon. Also went o A COLORED STAGE SHOW AND A MOVIE, "Casanova Brown" (Gary Cooper and Teresa Wright).

September 6, 1944

Went to drill field, had approximately 20 minutes of calisthenics and the same of drilling. IN the afternoon went to draw a cap. Saw the movie "Step Lively" with Frank Sinatra.

September 7, 1944

Went to drill field I the morning and for a hike in the afternoon saw the movie "The Undecided Ate" with Jean Arthur.

September 8, 1944

Went to drill field, drilled, calisthenics and a hike. Went to a lecture in the afternoon and drew PAX rations, went through a problem 6 under fire, very realistic.

September 9, 1944

Left Replacement Depot and went to Parachute Training Center near Rome. (Rockville)

September 10, 1944

Made gravel walks and dug ditches. Saw movie "Gaslight" with Charles Boyer and ?.

September 12, 1944

Started preliminary parachute training, push-ups, arm exercise, running, Judo training, M-1 and talk on the history or paratroopers.

September 13, 1944

Went through preliminary training again and more Judo. Had lecture on the Thompson sub-machine gun and the B.A.R. (Browning Automatic Rifle).

September 14, 1944

One hour physical training and two hour march. In the afternoon one hour drill and talk on paratroopers, hand grenades and bazooka.

September 15, 1944

One hour physical training, venereal disease talk and dug a slit trench (practice trench).

September 16, 1944

More physical training and a hike from cam[ t suburbs of Rome (approximately 15 miles). Also walked to an Italian farm for grapes (approximately 3 miles). The end of the first week at paratroop school we only had pre-training but so far have had lots of fun.

September 17, 1944

On detail all day, hauling gravel, etc…

September 18, 1944

Started physical training for paratroopers and worked at taking care of parachute.

September 19, 1944

More physical training and tumbling steps 1 and 2 in packing a chute and the long roll.

September 20, 1944

Forty-five minutes physical training, 30 minutes double time, judo, knife and billy club and tumbling. From the long roll of the chute we went to folding of the suspension cords.

September 21, 1944

Usual training except no run on account of rain.

September 22, 1944

Usual training with fifty minutes calisthenics and 58 minute run, usual tumbles and continuance of parachute packing.

September 23, 1944

The usual physical training with 70 minute run and tumbles and jumps (practice). Laced the parachute and had 75 extra push-ups. I had started to make a mistake on packing my chute, and before I got it corrected, the instructor caught me, he gave me 75 push-ups. I pushed up by spurts, I couldn't do them all at once.

September 24, 1944

Wrote letters and did bunk fatigue all day.

September 25, 1944

Packed, laced and learned thread adjustment of parachute. Had a 30 minute run, jumped from the mock tower, and trolley tumbles, and learned how to side slip. The mock tower was a simulator of a plane cabin door. We had to stand in the door and jump. We were attached to a cable and harness and it let us slide to the ground. We were up about a hundred feet. The cabin part was made at the top of four long poles. I had 75 extra push-ups but only did 55 (cheated).

September 26, 1944

Packed reserve chute, did calisthenics, trolley tumble, mock harness, jumped from door of mock tower. Had 25 extra push-ups but only did 20. Saw an English tank regiment stage show (orchestra).

September 27, 1944

Packed main chute and had 30 minute run. Did tumbles rear and front from trolley. Practiced jumping from airplane, made three jumps from mock tower, learned how to land in a tree, high tension wires and in water. So many push-ups lost count.

September 28, 1944

Packed another chute, same physical training, no run, two tower jumps. Night of 27th saw movie "Up in Arms" with Danny Kaye and Dinah Shore.

September 29, 1944

Went for one hour hike and leaned how to spill the chute and get on your feet from your back.

September 30, 1944

Packed a chute #3 and had night training, only one jump from mock tower.

October 1, 1944

Day off, wrote letters and sat around all day.

October 2, 1944

No physical exertion but went for a couple mile hike, played ball, went out with our rifles. (Supposed to drill).

October 3, 1944

Thirty minutes physical and 30 minute run. The physical was very strenuous; we would do arm, back and knee bends, also push-ups. (Supposed to play ball).

October 4, 1944

One 40 minute run and platoon played ball. Our runs were usually to the edge of Rome and back to camp. I think it was 7 miles one way. One of the boys started kicking a can and the instructor made him kick it all the way to Rome. We called the boy kicking the can "Green Hornet", he was crazy about the comic book "The Green Hornet".

October 5, 1944

Rained all day.

October 6, 1944

Three hour hike and a afternoon pass. Visited Rome.

October 7, 1944

Tore down and folded tents.

October 8, 1944

Went to two different airports for making jump. No transports available. Went through Rome, Gloria and MA airports…

October 9, 1944

Went to Champeno air base and took off for two jumps, came in to the rear on the first jump. Hit hard but no injuries, 2nd made a perfect right turn but landed wrong, injured right foot (ankle) I sprained my ankle on the second jump. Next morning I went on sick call, the doctor was taking a shower. The group was waiting for the third jump and I thought a bad ankle ain't bad, it's ankle or get behind, so I went ahead and made the jump. Also packed a chute.

October 11, 1944

Went to airport for another jump, no transport, packed a chute.

October 12, 1944

Thirty minute physical exercise and the rest of the day off.

October 13, 1944

One parachute jump in the afternoon, came in at 1000 feet, landed on left hip, light bruise, 1st, 2nd and 3rd had very rough weather. No jumps.

October 14, 1944

Parachute jump in the morning, very light landing, calm weather, came in at 600 feet, landed on feet and left side. Made a night jump, landed on tail of GI truck, bruised right leg below and above knee. Jumped at 800 feet, air current in the air but calm on the ground.

October 15, 1944

Received diploma and wings.

October 16, 1944

Moved to battalion headquarters and put in Company B for basic Infantry training.

October 17, 1944

Lay around and did general things, clothes check made bed, etc…

October 18, 1944

Dismantled M-1 rifle and had lecture on some. Had lectures and pea-shooting positions, sightings and aiming, etc…

October 19, 1944

Went on sick call and had charge of Quarters in afternoon.

October 20-21, 1944

About the same as 18.

October 22, 1944

CQ Sgt made a mistake in the roster so I had a charge of quarters also. While I was on CQ, one boy continually wanted a pass to got into tow, I told him I'd give him a pass, he was supposed to be sick.

October 24, 1944

CQ…again. Couldn't do shooting positions on account of sore leg so back on CQ.

October 25-28, 1944

Charge of Quarters.

October 29, 1944

Went to Rome, visited Red Cross and saw a movie "The Adventures of Twain".

October 30, 1944

Had the 30 cal. machine gun. Went on guard. (Sgt) up at the parachute guarding box cars. Slept most of the night (tired).

October 31, 1944

More nomenclature sightings, etc…of 30 cal. Machine gun.

November 1, 1944

Fired the machine gun and had nomenclature function, sighting, etc… of carbine.

November 2, 1944

CQ fired the B.A.R. and carbine.

November 3, 1944

Had bayonet practice and fired the Tommy Gun.

November 4, 1944

Sixty millimeter mortar and fired the carbine.

November 5, 1944

Wrote letters and had hard duty.

November 6, 1944

Went to the range and fired the 60 millimeter mortar.

November 7, 1944

Bayonet practice and 81 millimeter instructions.

November 8, 1944

Went to range and fired 81 millimeter.

November 9, 1944

Fired bazooka and rifle grenades.

November 10, 1944

Foreign weapons, bayonet practice and inoculations.

November 11, 1944

Street fighting, afternoon off spent night in Rome and met Dodge, McKay and Defoggi.

November 12, 1944

Tour of Rome for two hours, looked over the town and toured the day spots.

November 13, 1944

Packed for moving and went to Rome.

November 14, 1944

Packed and cleaned as usual when getting ready for a ride.

November 15, 1944

Walked to train, approximately six miles, boarded train to leave at 2:20. Proceeded to Rome, left Rome for 24 Replacement Depot, rode in boxcar with 17 other enlisted men and two officers. Slept on parachute bags.

November 16, 1944

Arrived in Caserta, then went to Replacement Depot. Had a good supper and drew a cot.

November 17, 1944

Had a clothes check and laid around rest of day.

November 18, 1944

Drew a few clothes and loafed the rest of the day.

November 19, 1944

Sunday, loafing as usual.

November 20, 1944

Took a nine mile hike in two hours. Still at Replacement Depot.

November 22-23, 1944

At Replacement Depot had Thanksgiving Service. We had turkey, mashed potatoes, peas, cheesecake, cooked apples, nuts and cranberry sauce for dinner.

November 24, 1944

QP at 3:00 A.M. to leave but left at 6:30. We arrived at Naples where we loaded a boat about 9:30 P.M. Had a poor dinner.

November 25, 1944

Left Naples Harbor, slept all day, my birthday.

November 26, 1944

Arrived at Marseilles, walked about 12 miles to staging area, slept on the ground two nights, walked with field pack and blanket (3) roll.

November 27, 1944

Visited Marseilles, hit quite a few bars (brothels), sight seeing and they were a sight.

November 28, 1944

Went to Marseilles, stayed all night and hit a few bars.

November 29, 1944

Went to Marseilles and did about the same as usual. Came back to camp, hitched street cares, trucks and walked.

November 30, 1944

In Marseilles again, hit the usual spots and stayed in town.

December 1, 1944

In Marseilles again, had a slight scuffle but nothing happened.

December 2, 1944

In town again as usual.

December 3, 1944

Went on Guard Duty (acting Corporal).

December 4, 1944

After Guard went to town, had quite a few drinks and slept in town.

December 5, 1944

Went to town but went to bed at 8:30.

December 6-9, 1944

Went to town but didn't do the usual bad habits, went to bed about 10:00 or 10:30.

December 9, 1944

Saw the movie "So Proudly We Hail".

December 10, 1944

Sunday so I went to town.

December 11, 9144

Went to town, saw movie, "24 Hours to Russia". (Movie in French language)

December 12, 1944

Went to town and saw movie, "Barrette of Wimpole Street". Spent night in town. Took a tour and visited the catacombs where the Christians hid from the Romans. We also viewed the coliseum but didn't go down in it. We had a nice seat on the wall and we would sit there and watch the people. Also visited St. Peter's Cathedral.

December 13, 1944

Went back to town and spent the night.

December 14, 1944

Stayed in camp all day.

December 15, 1944

Went to town and saw movie, "Cover Girl", with Gene Kelly and Rita Hayworth.

December 16, 1944

Spent the night in camp.

December 17, 1944

Sunday, left Marseilles about 6:30 or 7:00, by train.

December 18, 1944

Monday, still on train, passed through Lyons.

December 19-20, 1944

Still on train.

December 21, 1944

Thursday arrived at Givet about 3:00 P.M., went to 11th Replacement Depot. (501 Replacement Co.)

December 22, 1944

Went to town and took a bath (sponge). The French women heated water and let us take a bath in the kitchen.

December 23, 1944

Went to see the French family again.

December 24, 1944

Stayed around camp all day, civilians were evacuating the village, artillery can be heard.

December 25, 1944

Stayed in camp all day. We had turkey for dinner and supper.

December 26, 1944

We went on detail and cleaned guns. We finally got guns and had to clean them. They had been packed in some kind of grease.

December 27, 1944

Took an hour training, running and walking.

December 28, 1944

Cleaned the area and went out for training again.

December 29, 1944

Friday – nothing in the morning and a run and hike in the afternoon.

December 30, 1944

Cleaned tent area and moved in the afternoon. Airplane bothered us a few nights around Christmas. Very close to the front (push) but not worried (much). No guns or ammo for protection.

December 31, 1944

Did a few details, tent cleaning etc…Had chicken for dinner.

January 1, 1945

Monday. Had guard last night, Sgt. of Guard but it was no trouble. Jerry came by and strafed a troop train and dropped a bomb near by. I stayed in bed myself, to tired to get up (ha). Had creamed turkey for dinner and roast turkey for supper.

January 2, 1945

Tuesday. Did details, making bunks and using pick and shovel when I wasn't gold bricking.

January 3, 1945

Wednesday. Left Givet and went to Warrems, 3rd Replacement Depot.

January 4, 1945

Thursday. Stayed in the area (Old Grain Building) all day, drew PX rations, and saw a movie, "Rainbow Island" with Eddie Bracken and Dorothy Lamoure.

January 5, 1945

Went to 92nd Replacement Depot, 454 Bn.

January 6, 1945

Went to a Service Company.

January 8, 1945

Monday. Moved up behind the lines with the 517th.

January 9, 1945

Came out of the woods to town, went on trip to look for billets; slept in barn.

January 10, 1945

Went out again to find billets, had to come back but spent time enroute in town where the service corps was.

January 11, 1945

Returned back to the lines.

January 12, 1945

Left Aberdun and Stovelot, a cold snowy ride. Today sat and pulled Guard. Billeted in Old Tern.

January 13, 1945

Saturday. Last night Platoon crossed river to take rest of the town, didn't have any trouble. One Tern captured out of two which came in where we were. One boy walked out of the house and ran into them, one shot at him but missed. We were all in the warm cellar of the house. Another boy and I were put on guard and we stayed in the upstairs window where we could see up the hill. There was a mattress in the room. We took turns crawling under the mattress and still couldn't keep warm.

January 14, 1945

Another boy and I pulled guard duty. We were outside in a field. We were getting hit pretty heavy with bursts. We decided we would go inside the barn where the others were sleeping. I started to go back out and about 9:30 as I got to the door some kind of mortar shell hit and 12 inches from the floor. The shell got me in the leg, the Sgt. Had me crawl back into the building and he checked my wounds. The other boy got hit in the temple. After getting patched up the ambulance boys picked me up and started back to the camp with me and three others. I know where two came from but haven't' figured out where the other two came from. I thought we were the only ones in the area. About two hundred yard from where I was hit the Red Cross truck hit a mine. The two boys carried us back to another truck. At headquarters I remember being set out of the truck and snow falling on me. The next thing I knew I was in a hospital.

January 15, 1945

When I woke up in the hospital the doctors had my left leg in a cast up to my hip. The part of my right leg that was remaining was all bandaged.

January 16-17, 1945

In 97 Evacuation Hospital.

January 18-19, 1945

In General Hospital.

January 20, 1945

Still in 45 General Hospital.

January 21, 1945

Went to 298 General Hospital.

January 23, 1945

Left 298 (Liege).

January 24, 1945

Arrived at 1st General Hospital in Paris.

February 10, 1945

Left Paris.

February 12, 1945

Had to lay over two days in Azores, plane developed engine trouble. They said we landed in Maine with one engine out and went to Azores – C-54 (10:00 P.M.). Left Azores and went to Maine 7:00 to 8:30 Paris time. 4:00 Azores time. 1380 AAF Base Unit NAD, ATC. Presque Army Air Base Maine. Admitted to Battle Creek Michigan Hospital for re-amputation of right leg.

February 17, 1945

Left Maine and went to Battle Creek, Michigan on a C-47 stopped in Montreal, Canada.

February 20, 1945

Alan Ladd and Sue Carol (Alan's wife) visited the hospital today. Shook hands with them and talked awhile.

March 22, 1945

Re-amputation operation. When they operated on my leg in the field, they only did enough until I could get to a better equipped hospital. They gave me a shot in the spine and I was numb from waist down. There was a screen so I couldn't see them…There was a large light over them and I got a reflection from the mirror. I could hear them sawing the bone but I couldn't feel a thing. Spent a long time in hospital after the surgery.

June 7, 1945

Left Battle Creek for home on a 30 day furlough. Arrived home June 8.

July 8, 1945

After 30 day furlough at home I left Bristol for Battle Creek, arrived on July 8. Everything ok.

July 18, 1945

Went to Battle Creek and left on another furlough.

August 17, 1945

Left Johnson City for Battle Creek, arrived 18th.

October 4, 1945

Discharged from Army.

October 6, 1945

Left Battle Creek by car, arrived home about 1:00AM. The 7th.

60 Years Later

Miraculously the two little vest pocket notebooks with my day to day diary were intact after I was injured and are still in my possession.   Two of my sisters, Edna Bishop and Rudy Kitzmiller encouraged me to fill in my remembrances of the events of each day that I could recall. They wrote this story.

After my recuperation I took advantage of the G.I. bill and entered East Tennessee State University to complete my education. When I finished,, I went to work at Tennessee Eastmen, Kingsport TN for 32 years retiring in 1978. I retired to my farm in Church Hill, TN, to enjoy my wife Jean, son Lee, daughter Martha and granddaughter Audry. Incidentally my son and daughter finished school at East Tennessee State University and my granddaughter is a freshman there now.

Roy L. Kaylor

Dedicated to and written by Edna Bishop and Ruby Kitzmiller in 2002.

Tent City

I'm sitting here and thinking

of the things I left behind,

and I hate to put on paper

what is running through my mind.

We hauled a million tons of coal

and peeled ten million spuds.

We've paid several hundred dollars

for the washing of our duds.

The number of parades we've stood

is very hard to tell.

We hope it's nice in Heaven.

We know what it is like in Hell.

We've eaten heels of dough-bread

and cans of half-baked beans.

We've stood a million guard mounts

and cleaned all camp latrines.

We've marched a thousand miles or more

yet never left the post.

We've studied till the dawning hours,

for education most.

When the final Taps are sounded

and life's cares are laid away,

We'll do our final big parade

up the golden stairs on Judgment Day.

The angels will welcome all of us

and there harps will start to play,

We'll draw a host of canteen checks

and spend them all that day.

It's there we'll hear St. Peter greet us

suddenly with a yell.

"Come in you boys from Jefferson Barracks!

You've served your hitch in Hell."

Anonymous







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