Left Alamogordo NM the night of 11/26/43. Arrived at Camp
Patrick Henry, VA.
11/30/43. Left Patrick Henry
12/4/43. Boarded the ferry at Newport News VA. Crossed Chesapeake Bay to Norfolk VA . Boarded the
Benjamin R Milan, a liberty ship. Put out to sea from Norfolk, 110 ships in
convoy. Convoy made up mostly of freighters and oil tankers. Had aircraft
carriers and destroyers for escorts. On the way we passed the island of Bermuda
The next islands were the Azores. We lost one ship just before we entered the
Straits of Gibraltar. Sunk by an enemy submarine. Had good weather most of the
Had our sleeping quarters in one of
the holes on the ship. We slept on canvas cots with about a foot of space
between each one, from the floor to the ceiling (7 high). We only had two meals
a day. Mostly pilot bread, (a large molded cracker), and bean soup. I think if
they ever had another war, I would join the merchant marines. The crew lives
and eats like kings. All and all the trip was really worth it. The ocean is
even bluer when you get out to sea than I thought it would be. Sighted the
coast on 12/17/43 (Spanish Morocco).
Passed through the Straights of
Gibraltar to the Mediterranean Sea on 12/21/43. The sea was a blue/green. We
came under attack and got lost from the rest of the convoy. Arrived at Bizerte,
Tunisia on 12/24/43. Bizerte is a pretty large city, but the whole place was
bombed out. There were not any people there except soldiers. Left Bizerte on
the Milan, 12/28/43 at 5:30pm, only two ships: a Canadian freighter, ourselves,
and a British destroyer for an escort. The escort sighted a mine floating in
the water and signaled us to go around. Then exploded it with shellfire. Pulled
into, Port of Palermo, Sicily at 2:30 pm on 12/29/43. Docked at 3:00am on
12/30/43. We were put in trucks and taken to a staging area on the outskirts of
the city. We were given tents with nothing but dirt floors. The night was one I
will never forget. We slept on the ground on our shelter halves and blankets.
None of us hardly slept at all due to the wet, cold ground. We had three quarts of vino that we traded
for cigarettes from the natives. Cigarettes are really worth money here. They
sell for about $10 a carton. We can get a quart of wine for a pack of
cigarettes. Money isn't worth much because there isn't anything to buy.
Went walking around the camp, which
is located between two mountain ranges. This is where the Americans who invaded
Sicily entered. There are still German pillboxes and trenched here from the
battles. These pillboxes are really built strong. They are located on the sides
of the mountains and have walls about 5 feet thick made of solid concrete.
There is a lot of fruit here. For 2 cigarettes, you can get a helmet full of
It has been raining all day and the
mud is knee deep. We had a turkey dinner today for New Year's. From the rain,
the grass is getting pretty wet. So we went down to the mess hall and stole
some tables and made beds out of them. They really work good after sleeping on
Last night was something to
remember. It rained and the wind blew all night. Several of the fellow's tents
blew down and they got wet and full of mud along with all their equipment. We
made a stove out of a ten-gallon can. Spent most of the day looking for
firewood. Sent home a cablegram.
We are beginning to enjoy
ourselves, except for the hard beds and our stove smokes pretty much. Most of
our cooks have gone to town the last few days and are getting drunk but our Sgt
Tolliver got them on the beam. Now we are getting good meals. We have our own
guards now, along with some Italian soldiers who have guard duty. One of our
guards got shot in the arm by a sniper. They have some snipers who take shots
at the soldiers at night. We can hear shooting all through the night.
Today a group of fellows and myself
went down to the seashore and picked up some small seashells of all different
colors. I found a seahorse in the sand. There are some beautiful, old homes
here. They are made of stone and have a foreign look. There is a white spot on
the cliff where a German Messerschmitt crashed into the side. Weather has been
nice today although snow fell in the mountains last night.
We left the area this morning at
ten. We were taken to the dock in Palermo on trucks. It rained for about 3
hours. We were put aboard a liberty ship, the Louis Mc. Lane. We think we are
going to Foggia on the east coast of Italy. We are still lost from the rest of
our outfit and don't know where they are. So far, everywhere we have been,
there have been no others of the 450 Bomb Group. I don't know when we will meet
up with them.
In the harbor of Palermo and still
haven't heard anything but wild rumors. Wish we were still back in the staging
area. Life on these ships is terrible.
Still in the harbor but they say we
sail in the morning. Slept for most of the day. The food on the ship is about
the same as the Milan: "C" rations.
Beautiful day, stayed out on deck
most of the time. We moved out the harbor this afternoon and into the bay.
There are sunken ships all over the bay. We passed a German freighter that the
Germans had scuttled when they knew it would fall into Allied hands.
It had two large holes in the side
just below the waterline. There also was an Italian cruiser and about 10 or 15
other different kinds of ships sunk in the bay. All the buildings along the
waterfront are bombed into ruins. We will probably leave tonight or tomorrow
We left Palermo at about 11am this
morning. We joined a convoy outside the harbor and we are on our way somewhere,
probably Naples. We saw an active volcano on the island to the south of us. It
is a beautiful, clear night. The sea is calm and the moon is shining bright. We
sat up on the deck and sang songs.
When we came up on deck this
morning, we were sailing between the Italian mainland and the Isle of Capri. It
is a nice looking place with most of the buildings built on the top of the
cliffs. There are beautiful little towns scattered along both coasts, on the
hillsides. The land is very mountainous. There were quite a few landing barges
that passed us just before noon. About 10pm we dropped anchor in the bay of
Naples. The city sits in a semi-circle around the bay and looks like a very
colorful and interesting place. The city is now quarantined due to an epidemic
of typhus. Tonight we went up on deck and watched the fire and smoke escaping
from the volcano Mt. Vesuvius. Which sits at the foot of the city.
We left the ship at noon today.
Went over the side on rope nets and into a British landing barge. The harbor is
full of sunken ships. Stayed on the docks until 8pm until we were put in trucks
and taken to the University of Naples, which the army is using as a staging
area. We are sleeping on the floor of a dormitory. The city, or what we have
seen of it, has been pretty much bombed into ruins. Seems to be quite a large
Had a very interesting day. We
found out our bomb group is based somewhere on the Adriatic coast of southern
Italy. First we cleaned up in our helmets. They make wonderful washbasins. Then
we took a look at our surroundings. The university was really something in its
day. The buildings are of the latest design with the floors and plenty windows.
Every building has been camouflaged to protect them from the bombings. It
doesn't seem to have been bombed, but the Germans took all the electrical and
plumbing fixtures and broke every window in the place. I found two German coins
in the window of the bathroom. The Red Cross has a very nice club here. There
is a stateroom where everyone signs a book for their state. There are quite a
few fellows from New Orleans, but I didn't know any of them. They have pool
tables, a library, ping-pong tables, a music room and almost everything. This
afternoon we saw a stage show put on by the, "Yardbirds", that was very good
even though it was all soldiers. Tonight we went back to the Red Cross and
bought some pastries. We were issued two more blankets this afternoon and told
to be ready to leave early in the morning.
We got up at 4am this morning, ate
breakfast and started across the campus carrying our backpacks and headed for
the trucks. A couple of fellows and myself road on an open freight truck. We
drove out of Naples through the mountains and across the peninsula. We saw some
very interesting country. All the towns seem to be located on hilltops due to
poor drainage. It seems impossible that some of them could have ever been built
there. All of the level land seems to be cultivated in wheat and potatoes. I
think they will have a good crop and have plenty of food this coming season.
Some of the roads are very dangerous, especially through the mountains. The
Germans blew up everything that resembles a bridge. You have to give them one
thing. When they retreat they don't leave anything undone that will help the
enemy. Tonight we are sleeping in an olive orchard just outside of Foggia. We
are right next to a B-17 base. The night is beautiful and it isn't very
Last night was a beautiful night,
but it rained. I didn't know it until I woke up with my head all wet. I still
can't figure out how it didn't wake me up. We drove almost all day again today.
The country is level and very beautiful and the people don't seem to be in as
bad a condition as they are on the west coast. The Germans really had the
people on the beam. The kids still have a tendency to heil us. One old lady had
her thirteen kids all lined up cheering us. Twelve of them gave us the "V" for
victory and one heiled and promptly got a kick in the seat of the pants, then
ran into the house. We passed through the city of Bari. The city was pretty
well bombed. Just a week before, the Germans bombed the waterfront and sank
seventeen of our ships. They were still fishing bodies out of the water when we
passed through. We were told that a lot of Army nurses were killed in the raid.
What happened was that a couple of ammunition ships blew up and were still on
fire. We arrived at our destination about 5:00pm this afternoon. You can see
about four towns from the field but it is suppose to be at the town of
Manduria. Manduria is located in the southeastern part of Italy, just at the
top of the heel. There isn't much here. One hanger, a few old buildings, and a
mud runway with steel mats for the planes to land and take off on. We pitched
our pup tents in another olive orchard. The air echelon is here and have
already been on two missions. Looks like rain but I hope it doesn't because we
will be washed away in our pup tents. I talked to some of the fellows who flew
over. We lost one ship from the 720th on the way over. It crashed
into a mountain in North Africa. All the men were killed except the tail
Rained a little last night but it
didn't bother us much. A couple of fellows and myself borrowed one of the
squadron trucks. We went and tore down and old stone farm house near here and
hauled it in to build us ourselves a stone hut. I worked harder getting those
stones than I ever did since I've been in the army. Six of our ships went
mission today. They were attacked by about 30 German fighters (ME 109's). One
of our ships, the Wicked Witch piloted by Lt. Holloman, was shot down in the
Adriatic Sea and a ship from the 449th Bomb Group was shot down
also. Our ships shot down eight fighters. Four members of another crew were
We built the walls of our hut
today. Had a rough time of it. Everyone seems to be getting on each other's
nerves. I guess it's from moving all over the world under such conditions. I
haven't washed my face since we left the base at Naples. I haven't had my
clothes off since we left North Africa which was nineteen days ago. We have our
shelter half over our hut for a roof. I hope it doesn't rain because I know it
will leak. One of the tents burned up tonight. Some of the fellows had a
gasoline stove and it blew up. Tomorrow we start back to work on the line.
Worked on the line until noon
today. One of the fellows got us a large tent from our supply officer. So we
are moving out of our stone hut. We were afraid it might cave in on us while we
were sleeping. We filled our mattress covers with straw to sleep on. The food
isn't too bad here. The kitchen is in a large tent and we eat in the open air.
We have a bunch of Italian kids to work K.P. for us.
Nothing much happened today. Our
ships went on a successful mission and returned safe and sound.
We got our P.X. rations today.
First time we have been able to buy anything since we left Palermo. We get
seven packs of cigarettes, a candy bar and a pack of gum, each week. I surely
was glad to get the cigarettes. I've been rolling cigarettes out of pipe
tobacco ever since I ran out of the good ones, which was eleven days ago in
Had a little trouble with one of
our ships today on the takeoff. The pilot couldn't get it off the ground soon
enough and couldn't stop it by the time he reached the end of the runway. So he
crashed into a stone wall in the orchard. The plane is a total wreck and will
be salvaged. None of the crew was seriously injured.
Our ships went on a mission today
to bomb German positions south of Rome. They told us they saw thousands of our
troops landing on the shore just south of Rome. I guess we were making another
invasion. Out bombardier said he could see landing barges in three rows for
miles. I had remembered seeing quite a few landing barges in the port of
Naples. I guess a lot of them came from there. They said our troops didn't seem
to have much opposition in landing. I suppose they took the Germans by
Nothing much happened today. Our
ship didn't fly due to bad weather.
Ships had a successful mission
today. Didn't run into any trouble. The right landing gear collapsed on our
ship while taxiing in, this afternoon. Will be out of commission for a week or
Ships had a rough mission today;
somewhere in Bulgaria. Two of them had their brakes shot away and had to slide
the tail of the ship the length of the runway in order to stop the ship.
Another ship had half it's vertical stabilizer shot off but made a good
landing. They ran into a lot of flack and ME109's.
All of our ships were grounded
today due to weather. Pulled a 100hr inspection. We haven't got half enough
tools to work with and it's rough.
Had the day off. A couple of
fellows and I went to town (Manduria) this afternoon and did some shopping. We
bought some mirrors, candles and candy. We stole a light bulb out of the city
hall. So now we have an electric light in our tent. Light bulbs are really
scarce here. We tried to buy one but couldn't. So we had to steal one. Our
stove still smokes a lot Sam, one of the fellows in our tent, swears he is
getting T.B. from it.
The planes went on a ten hour and
fifteen minute mission today to bomb a factory in France. The gunners said they
have never seen so many bombers at one time. Flack was their only opposition.
One or two of our ships were hit but not seriously. Two or three B-17's were
shot down. Signed the payroll and received my P.X. ration.
Nothing unusual happened today. Our
planes had a successful mission.
Ships had a successful mission. One
of the ships had hydraulic trouble and couldn't get but one of his landing gear
down. After circling the field for about an hour, all the crew but the pilot
and co-pilot bailed out. Then the pilot landed it on one wheel and made a good
landing. All he did was bend the prop on number four engine and bent the right
wing tit. Today is my birthday. I am twenty-two years old.
Ships had successful mission. Two
of our ships were shot up by enemy fighters. One of our ships (090) shot down
an enemy M.E. 109.
Ships had successful mission today.
We are pretty well fixed now. We have a good stove rigged up. It is a gasoline
stove. We burn hundred octane in it and we have everything else fixed up pretty
well. Last night there was a German reconnaissance plane over our field.
Our ships were grounded today so we
could work on them. The weather is beautiful.
Ships came back today without
completing their mission. They didn't get to see heir target due to bad
weather. Worked on the line most of the day.
Received a letter from home telling
me they received my cablegram and letter. It made me feel good to know the
folks knew I arrived safely. The planes made a successful mission today. Got in
some new planes as replacements. Had another alert tonight. Another German
reconnaissance plane flew over our base. Received our P.X. rations today. There
was an American Red Cross girl in our chain line today at noon giving us three
doughnuts each. It was the first girl I had seen at close range for quite
sometime. There was a show in the hangar last night but we didn't now it in
time to go. We swiped a six-pound can of luncheon meat, a gallon of peanut
butter, and a loaf of bread from the mess hall supply tent tonight and made sandwiches.
We fried the luncheon meat on our stove.
Ships couldn't complete their
mission today due to bad weather. Saw an outdoor movie at the hangar tonight.
We are going to have two a week (Tues.-Fri.).
Very bad weather today as it rained
and sleeted off and on all day. Went out in the mud and drilled for an hour
this afternoon. Then came in and washed up in our helmets. The planes didn't
fly at all.
Very bad weather again. It has
rained almost all day. The mud is terrible. Ships were grounded.
Bad weather again. It snowed early
this morning and rained all afternoon. Our own squadron, as well as the rest of
the base is ankle deep in mud. We have a box of food in our tent now. We keep
it filled with luncheon meat, bread and butter from the mess hall.
Tonight we swiped two six-pound
cans of luncheon meat and a gallon of peaches. Every night we wake up and have
a late meal. We are out of light bulbs again and are using our oil lamp and
candles. The last bulb cost $1.50 and even then it is like hunting a needle in
The weather has cleared and the
ships made a successful mission. One of the planes of the 722 squadron
came in about noon on too steep a glide to land and wrecked the nose gear and
piled up. It caught on fire and the navigator was burned to death. I had to do
my foxhole today. Orders came out this morning that we had to have them dug by
4:00pm this evening. So Noe, one of the fellows in our tent, and I dug one. He
is a rebel from Jonesville, Virginia. We named it," Rebels Rendezvous".
It rained and snowed again today.
The weather is very cold. The ships didn't fly, so we had nothing to do but lay
around the tent.
Ships meant to go on two raids
today. One in the morning and one in the afternoon. The afternoon raid was
called off due to bad weather. The morning raid was successful. They bombed the
bridgehead south of Rome. They ran into quite a bit of flack. The ratings came
out today and I made sergeant.
The ships didn't fly, so we had nothing
to do but lay around the tent again.
Ship grounded again because of bad
weather. Just laid around all day. Went to the show tonight to see Claudia. Was
a pretty good picture.
Ship grounded by bad weather. Went
to the movie and saw Buckskin Frontier, Was another good picture. Got paid and
sent home $100.
Got up at 4:00am and went out to
pre-flight the ship. The ground was all white from a heavy frost. The wings and
props on the plane were all covered with ice. It surely was cold. The ships
made a long mission somewhere in northern Italy and ran into a lot of
opposition. We lost three planes out of our group. One was out of our squadron.
As they got over the target about 90 M.E. 109's jumped them. We lost one of the
best pilots in our squadron, Lt. Gernand. The ship was 710, " Take Off Time".
Just this morning, Lt. Gernand was talking to us about fixing his scooter. I
don't guess we will do it now. It kind of makes you feel funny when they leave
and don't come back. Another thing they had to contend with was that they were
flying at 25,000ft and the temperature was 47 degrees below zero. They all
liked to froze to death. Some of the fellows in the other ships said they had
seen when the 710 left the formation and about eight ME 109's followed them
down. They blew the target up so the mission was a success. I heard today that
one of our ships from the 721, that was shot down a while back, was found by
the Yugoslavian guerillas and they smuggled the crew in to Turkey.
Ships didn't fly today. Most of the
flying crews were pretty well worn out from yesterday. Some of them have frozen
toes and fingers from the server cold. Worked on the ship most of the day. Had
trouble with the hydraulic system, the bomb doors would not close at 2000 feet.
Got finished fixing them about ten tonight.
Planes made a successful mission
today. We lost one ship out of the group but it wasn't from our squadron. It
blew up in mid-air one hour after take off this morning. It was due to either a
fuel leak or too much supercharger pressure. Didn't receive any mail today.
Took a bath in my helmet tonight. We don't have any showers of any kind to take
a bath here. The last bath I had was in Palermo, thirty-eight days ago.
Ships had a successful mission
today but they ran into a lot of flack. The ship I work on 228, " Buelah", had
its co-pilot wounded in the leg. Our ship was pretty well shot up. It will be
grounded for a couple days. Received a letter from papa, Judy and Carmel. Also
got birthday cards from Judy, Carmel, mamma, papa, little Hugh and Louise. I
bought a penny box of matches for eleven cents. They're like gold around here.
Sam and Gus, two fellows from our tent, had a fight today. They got into an
argument about something and it went to blows. Gus got his mouth cut a little.
We separated them. They are friends again and everything is o.k.
Planes grounded today for repairs.
They were shot up pretty much from yesterday's mission. I went over to the
hangar to take a look at one of our ships 164, " Dinah Might".
I counted 74 holes in the ship done
by flack and ME 109's. They had some larger holes made from 20mm cannons. The
ME 109's have 20mm cannons in the nose. I didn't work today because I go on
guard duty tonight from 6pm to midnight. One of the barracks at headquarters
burned down last night and a fellow from Group intelligence was burned to
Planes did not fly today due to bad
weather as it has been raining all day. I didn't see a thing on guard duty last
night. I had four planes to guard. We have guard duty a week at a time, every
three months. It was pretty cold last night. I guess it will be pretty rough
tonight because it is raining. Received four letters today: two from mamma of
Feb 1 & 2 and two from Carmel of Feb 3 & 4.
Had a rough night on guard duty
last night. It rained all night and I like to froze to death. Ships went on
mission but had to turn back due to bad weather. Received one letter from Judy
of Jan 30. It was cold last night.
Ships grounded due to bad weather.
Took a bath in my helmet. Didn't receive any mail today. One of our ships came
in this evening on its nose. The nose wheel collapsed and the nose is all
wrecked. No one was hurt. The weather wasn't too cold on guard duty last night.
Ships had a rough mission today.
They bombed a ME 109 factory about a hundred miles from Berlin. We lost six
ships out of the Group and one of them from our squadron. The 161, " Gremlin
Gus", was the ship we lost. We lost one of our best crews. Lt. Nilsson and Sgt.
Red Hobble and T. Sgt Ish, were some of them I knew. They were swell fellows.
Lt. Nilsson was one of our best pilots. We seem to be losing all the old men in
our outfit. They were shot down over Yugoslavia. Three of the ships, that did
get back, had to make crash landings. They were all shot to pieces. We had six
men wounded. Capt. Smith, our flight surgeon, is performing an emergency
operation on one of the boys who was the most seriously wounded. All we have
here for an operating room is a tent.
Nothing happened on guard duty last night. Didn't get any mail.
Today is a day I think I will
remember all my life. Our planes really had a rough mission. They bombed an
airplane factory in Germany. Thirty-six planes out of our Group took part in
the mission and we lost eighteen of them. Three of the ships were out of my
squadron. They were, 225 (Buelah), 226 (Leaky Tub), and 213 (Round Trip Rosie).
Buelah was the ship I was assigned to work on, so now I don't have any ship.
Major Miller, our squadron commander was flying my ship. He was really a swell
fellow and we all are going to miss him very much. Everyone in the squadron
feels very bad over it. Some of the fellows were even crying. It's funny how
the fellows you know well seem so much closer to you over here in combat. One
of the pilots who was flying another ship said they were jumped by about 200
German fighters, ME 109's and JU 188's. The JU 188 is a new fighter which has a
rocket gun on it. That's what gave them so much trouble. This pilot said he
seen when Major Miller was shot down. He said a 20mm hit the nose of Major
Miller's ship and blew it off. Then another shell hit the bell of the ship and
they began to go down. Then the tail fell off and it burst into flames. I guess
there wasn't much chance of them getting out alive. I knew the crew pretty
well. There was Lt. Whitney, co-pilot. Lt. Flack, bombardier and Red Allen was
the ball gunner and some others. I knew the pilot and co-pilot on the "Leaky
Tub" pretty well also. I used to work on their ship back in the states. They
were pilot Lt. Scanlon and co-pilot Lt. Davis. I didn't know anyone on Round
Trip Rosie. This makes six ships we lost so far. A few more raids like we had
today and we won't have any outfit left. I was just thinking, we lost 31 men
today and $5,400,000 worth of airplanes. Our ships did get about 50 German
fighters. One of our ships, " Twin Tails" knocked down five fighters
themselves. Another one of our ships, the 215, I don't know how they made it
back. They had two engines shot away, and the wings, fuselage and part of the
hydraulics system were shot to pieces. Another ship, "Little Stinker", had half
of its vertical stabilizer torn off. The wing of a German fighter hit it. We
only have three planes in flying condition. The other seven have almost a
week's work on them. Our base is one mass of beat up airplanes. The 721
squadron sent six ships on the mission and lost every one of them. They blew up
the factory so the mission was a success. Today was a beautiful day. The
weather is getting warmer. Didn't receive any mail. Nothing happened on guard
Ships didn't make any mission
today. We had a meeting right after lunch. Lt. Kellerman, one of the pilots in
our squadron, has been made our new squadron commander. He made a little
speech, telling us what a swell job we had done while Major Miller was C.O. and
wanted us to keep it up. He also said that he could never fill the job like
Major Miller and he wanted us to feel that he was there only temporarily and
that Major Miller would come back some day. It rained a little today but the
weather is warm. I received two letters today; one from mamma of 2/6 and one
from Carmel of 2/8.
Ships had a successful mission.
They made another long raid into Germany. We lost six planes from our Group but
none were from my squadron. It has been raining all day and the mud is a foot
deep but it isn't very cold. Worked on the line this afternoon. Last night was
my last night on guard duty. Didn't receive any mail today. Got our PX ration.
Ships grounded today. It was pretty
cold and windy all day today. Worked on the line most of the time. We got in
some new men today as replacements. I believe everyone in the squadron has body
lice. We have been using all kinds of insect powder to try to get rid of them.
Ships grounded due to bad weather.
It has been raining most of the day. Worked on the line a little while this
morning. We were told by one of our officers today that our intelligence
department picked up a German broadcast stating that Herman Goring had ordered
the Luftwaffe to wipe out the whitetails, our outfit had have the rudders
painted white for identification, as revenge for the raids we made a day or so
ago which destroyed the Messerschmitt works.
Ships grounded due to bad weather.
Had a meeting up at Group headquarters this morning. Colonel Mills, our Group
commander made a speech congratulating us for the good work we had done in the
past. He told us that he had received a couple of telegrams from the 47th
wing and 15th air force general congratulating him on the splendid
work we had done in our last three missions made on Germany. We had destroyed
one-third of the Germans single engine fighter production. He also told us that
the Germans were already squealing about the white tailed liberators. Went to
the show tonight in Oria, a little town about eight miles from here. It was in
an old Italian theater that the army had taken over. We leave here in trucks
and they bring us back. They had a double feature: "This is the Army" and " You
Got Me Covered" with Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour. Both of the pictures were
very good. Instead of having a candy counter in the show they have a counter
selling vino. So we got a couple of quarts and got feeling pretty good.
Ships grounded again for bad
weather. Worked on the line most of the day.
It rained most of the day. Nothing else of importance happened. Didn't
receive any mail today.
Ships grounded again today. The
field is so muddy that they can't take off. Worked on the line most of the day.
Went to the show in Oria tonight. The picture was, " Thank Your Lucky Stars",
with Eddie Cantor. It was pretty good.
Ships grounded again. Worked most
of the day hauling rocks to fill up all the water holes. We are trying to get
them fried out due to the fact that there is a lot of malaria. They don't want
anywhere for the mosquitoes to breed. Took a bath in my helmet. We were paid
today and I drew $77.49. Also received our European Theatre of War ribbon.
Received three letters, one from papa of Feb 10, one from mamma of Feb 14 and
one from Judy of Feb 15. Also received one letter from Bill of Feb 1.
Today was one of the worst days I
have ever seen. This morning we were standing by the runway watching our ship
taking off on a mission. The ships seem to be having a hard time getting off
the ground due to a crosswind and they are carrying a heavy load of
fragmentation bombs. There are 240 bombs on each ship; each weighing 20 pounds
for a total of 4800 pounds of bombs. The 707, one of the ships in my squadron,
came down the runway and the pilot could not get the ship off the ground. He
tried to stop but it was too late. The ship ran off the end of the runway into
a pile of stones and blew up. It threw a sheet of fire 300 hundred feet in the
air as most of the bombs went off. The bombs contained a hundred and eighty
pounds of TNT. We all ran down to the ship and it was blown in a million
pieces. There were pieces spread around for two hundred feet. The fire was so
hot we could not too close. There were 50 caliber shells going off like
firecrackers and still had some live bombs laying around. All the pieces of the
ship were full of holes where pieces of shrapnel from the fragmentation bombs
went through. Every one of the crew was killed. We found one of the bodies
about a hundred feet from the ship that was blown clear of the fire by the
blast. He was all torn to ribbons and could not be recognized. The blast was so
great that it shook the ground around us. There was nothing else that could be
done so we went in an ate lunch. After lunch we went back out and the fire had
died down. The medical department was out there removing bodies. It was a
horrible sight. They found some of the ten bodies and they were all ton up and
burned. When they found the pilot, his watch was still running. I knew the
pilot and flight engineer pretty well. They were Lt. Isabel and TSgt. Evens.
This makes the seventh plane we lost plus 72 men so far.
Tonight I went to a U.S.O. stage
show in Oria. It was pretty good. Didn't receive any mail today. Today we got
two new ships and crews as replacements. The crew I'm in was assigned to one of
them, which is the "Breezie Weezie". So now I have another ship to work on.
Today was a beautiful day. The weather is getting warmer. It's just like
Ships went on a mission today but
had to come back early due to the fact that they ran into bad weather. Worked
on the line most of the day. We pulled a 100 hr inspection on our new ship.
Today was a beautiful day. It is getting real warm now. Received one letter
from Carmel of Feb 13. Got my P.X. rations.
Ships grounded due to bad weather.
It rained all day. We just laid around the tent most of the time. Fourteen
ships of the 451 Bomb Group landed on our field today. They are stationed about
40 miles from here. Their field is so muddy that they are going to operate from
our base here but I can't see how it can be any worst than ours. Didn't receive
Ships grounded due to bad weather.
Received two letters. Worked on the line most of the day. Went to the show in
Oria. We had an air raid alert tonight. Enemy aircraft sighted and everyone
jumped in their foxholes.
( TO BE CONTINUED )
Ships had a successful mission
today. They bombed a supply depot in Italy. No mail today. Weather very
beautiful, as it is getting warm.