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Click To Play Music

"We Remember"
by Dwayne O'Brien

Sgt. Robert L. Douglas
723rd Squadron


9 October 1944 - Italy


WAR DIARY







COLUMBIA BROADCASTING SYSTEM

 

REPORT TO THE NATION

 

SATURDAY, DEC. 23, 1944

 

1:30 – 2:00 PM

 

CUE:             (COLUMBIA BROADCATING SYSTEM)

            (………….30 seconds…………………...)

 

1 ANNCR:            CBS WORLD NEWS presents….A REPORT TO THE NATION

 

2  MUSIC:            THEME..IN…AND BEHIND

 

3 ANNCR:             Today and every day the greatest news story of all

 

4                      time is taking place…To chronicle this living

 

5                      history, CBS WORLD NEWS, its reporters, its writers,

 

6                      its editors, make tonight and every week at this time…

 

7                      A REPORT TO THE NATION….

 

8 MUSIC:            UP AND OUT

 

9 ANNCR:            Here is John Daly, reporter for CBS WORLD NEWS……

 

DOUGLAS SPOT                                                                          REPORT TO THE NATION

 

NARRATOR:            This week, a thousand-odd lucky soldiers rolled in from over seas with the best Christmas present the Army could put in a G.I. stocking - - a furlough home. Report to the Nation tracked down one of these boys - - Staff Sergeant Robert L. Douglas of Jamaica, Long Island, waist gunner in one of the Fifteenth Air Force's Liberator Bombers. A fresh-faced kid with a bank of campaign ribbons whose clusters have clusters, Bob's furlough story is this:

 

BOB:               Well, a couple o' weeks ago, I was standin' on a street corner in Manduria, southern Italy, tryin' to get a hitch back to the base, Me and my buddy'd been to a show, and we were shootin' the breeze about Christmas furloughs…    

 

MUSIC:            BRIDGE TO

 

SOLDIER:            We'll never make it. Not this Christmas.     

 

BOB:               You're tellin' me. I wrote home and told my folks I wouldn't be there. Just the same, I sure would like to pull a furlough. Trouble is, I lost track of how many missions I got to my credit.

 

SOLDIER:            I heard they're cuttin' it down to 35 for us…..

 

BOB:               Yean. And I heard I'm getting' a promotion to General. Forget it.

(SOUND OF TRUCK APPROACHING) Let's give this six-by-six the thumb!

 

TRUCK:            STOPS. STARTS. ROARS UP AND BRIDGE TO

 

BOB:               Well, we made the base by bed-check, and I figured it was a smart deal to check in at operations to see if I was flying the next day. There was a list on the board, but it didn't look like a regular sortie assignment- - so I looked at it - - and brother, there was my name on it! I'd just that night come up on rotation for a furlough. And I couldn't believe it. It knocked me clear off my feet. Not so much goin' home as knowing I wouldn't have to go over those places again - - Regensburg, Vienna, Ploesti, Bologna, Budapest - - sweating out those missions!

 

NARR:             Tough?

 

BOB:               A rugged deal. Well, I sweated out the orders, sitting and waiting, sitting and waitin, but they came through fast. An officer walked 'em through for me.

 

NARR:             He what? 

 

BOB:               Walked 'em through. Instead of sending them through channels - - you know the Army -   he went from office to office himself, getting the endorsements. Santy Claus with a brass hat. And in no time - - I was on my way over. 

 

NARR:             What'd you do on the ship?

 

BOB:               Me, I read pocket books and sacked it a lot. I'll give you the clue to that.

 

NARR:             Hey - - what language are you speaking?

 

BOB:               Air Force. Sacking it means sleeping. And when we say "I'll give you the clue to that", it just means "You're telling me, or, "that's how it was". Anyhow, we rolled into New York harbor at night…and we jammed the rail….  

 

SOUND:            WHISTLES AND HARBOR EFFECTS MUFFLED

 

BOB:               It was kind of misty out. Then all of a sudden, there was the little old lady. I first began to feel I was home then, One guy said - -

 

SOLDIER:            Look. She hasn't got a light.

 

BOB:               I told him I'd make up for that and light New York up myself. Then, when we docked, something funny happened. We were lined up on the rail waiting to disembark, There was a gang of longshoremen down there…shoutin' to us.

 

VOICE:            (OFF MIKE)  Merry Christmas, you guys!

 

VOICE:            (SAME – AD LIB EFFECT)  Glad to be back, fellas?

 

BOB:               Boy, were we ever glad to be back. One guy lit a cigarette and he said it tasted like it never tasted before - - and then a longshoreman yelled - -

 

VOICE:            (OFF)  Look! Cigarettes!  (LAUGH REACTION)

 

BOB:               Well - - we'd picked up plenty from the Red Cross and the ship's store - - and right then there was a snow storm of packs goin' over the side. We were so glad to be back we were tossin' butts to the longshoremen like confetti!!

 

MUSIC:            ACCENT AND BRIDGE TO

 

BOB:               From then on, everything was swell. The Red Cross was on the dock with doughnuts and milk - - MILK. That's what I wanted. You don't get enough over seas…Then at Camp shanks, at midnight, I had steak and French Fries. I wanted that bad, too…(SNEAK IN MUSIC TO BACK)  I'll tell you the things I wanted and the things I got since I hit home. A white Christmas…I kinda hope it snows..See a good show…got to a dance…nothing fancy… just plain stuff you take for granted over here …  see a good hockey game…read a couple of good sports pages…Candy rationed over here?

 

NARR:             No.

 

BOB:               Good deal. Get a couple of bars of candy…see a movie I wouldn't have to seat out in line… just see my gal, hear an American girl say Hello. That's all - - just Hello, instead of bongierno. Somebody that understands you. See some kids that aren't begging for something…See a traffic light turn red. Hear a taxi driver say "Were to, buddy?" And hear those Santy Clauses on the street corner ringing their little bells….

 

SOUND:            THE BELLS

 

BOB:               Yeah - - that's part of Christmas you dream about. And getting home and seein' my Dad…calling my mother in Florida…talkin' to the parish priest…and gettin' a good hot shower instead of something out of a gasoline can hung out of a tree.

 

NARR:             That adds up to a good Christmas for you, eh Bob?

 

BOB:               There's no better present. Just bein' home in the good old U.S.A. I'll give you the clue to that! Can I say one more thing?

 

NARR:             Sure.

 

BOB:               Well, if I was bock in Italy, I'd be giving the Italian family that does our laundry a Christmas. We were gonna get a tree, and take some of the chaff we throw out to baffle enemy radar and make tinsel ornaments out of it…I wrote home for some clothes, and we all saved up the candy our of our C-rations. Those people don't have anything - - and they don't expect anything.  We were gonna give 'em something. I tell you, being home is a swell deal - - but there's one thing better.

 

NARR:             What's that, Bob?

 

BOB:               For the guys still sweatin' it out over on the other side, like my other waist gunner, prayin' his heart out on every mission, the guys who didn't get home - - I'm pullin' for the time we're goin' home to stay home. That last furlough. That's the one we're all sweatin' out - - boy, and how!

 

MUSIC:            ACCENT AND OUT

 

CLOSING    

 

1  ANNCR:            That then is this week's REPORT TO THE NATION.

 

2 MUSIC:            THEME..IN..AND BEHIND

 

3 ANNCR:            Every week at this time CBS WORLD NEWS reviews for

 

4                      you the vital events of the week. The program is

 

5                      narrated by John Daly, written by Bill Slocum, Jr.,

 

6                      and Margaret Miller. The music is arranged and

 

7                      conducted by Victor Bay. The program is directed

 

8                      by Earl McGill.

 

9                      The production…by Paul White.

 

10 MUSIC:            TO TAG

 

11 ANNCR:            This is CBS…the COLUMBIA BROADCASTING SYSTEM

 

                                    - fade them 20 seconds –

 

                                    WABC……..NEW YORK 



Information provided by Richard Franz, son of Harry J. Franz, 723rd Squadron

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