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Serving Uncle Sam: A Military Life in WWll

Gerald Schwartz USAAC 1940 - 1945

   

Chapter 64: Barlow's Funeral. Early Morning Ops. Pettis Delirious With Malaria. Chocolate Arrives From Home. Another Citation. Quiet Independence Day

June 25 1944 Alto, Corsica. My assistant Barney is taking over today for me, so after breakfast I went back to camp and slept for two hours, and then studied Spanish idiomatic expressions.

The funeral for Lt. Barlow (who was killed while landing his plane yesterday) was held today.

Some P-41s force-landed here on the way back from France which had been escorting heavy bombers (B-24s). They had been jumped by a flight of Focke-Wolf German fighters and they shot down several of them. But some of the P-41s had sustained damage and they landed here for emergency repairs.

With free time on my hands, I played some horse shoes, then went to the day room and played ping pong for two hours. I gave Bull his Spanish lesson and went to bed early.

June 26,1944. Alto, Corsica. I pre-flighted my plane at 830 AM and then we went on one-hour alert. I visited my Algerian ack-ack friends and chatted in Spanish for a while. They served me with some Cognac and Cap Corse (local brandy).

Our planes took off at 11.30 AM and dive-bombed a bridge near Genoa.

There was a USO show this afternoon, but the crew chiefs saw just half of it, because we had to taxi our planes out to the flying line for a 4.30 PM mission. On that mission they bombed a viaduct near Genoa. My plane returned from both missions OK.

I went to the day room after dinner, played ping pong, had a few drinks and stumbled off to bed.

June 27,1944. Alto Corsica. I took today off also, letting my assistant get some experience. Our First Sgt Leland Pettis, was taken to the hospital today by ambulance. He was out of his head, raving, delirious with high fever, no doubt with malaria. Plantz and Cooper left for home yesterday on rotation, and I feel sure they will never get around to me!

I played horseshoes, and studied Spanish in the afternoon. We were issued carbines today. They are a lot lighter than the old Springfield rifles and shorter too. They are semi-automatic but good only for short range due to the 45 caliber pistol ball, and short barrel.

I got 5 pounds of Hershey chocolate bars and 5 pounds of Milky Ways in the mail today from Charley. Unfortunately someone swiped 24 Chocolate bars off my bed, and I had no idea who could have done it.

July 1,1944 Alto, Corsica. Very little action the past couple of days due to bad weather. On one of our flights today, our planes shot down 6 Messerschmits and damaged 4.

The 57th Group 2 year overseas celebration is this afternoon. Generals Dever, Eaker, Canon and De Gaullel will be here. General Cannon presented the group with two Presidential Unit Citations. Then we all ate, and started to consume huge amounts of gin and beer. The beer was in 14 kegs. The party was held at the 64th Squadrons Camp Area, so when my friends and I left we swiped a keg of beer. When we reached our Camp Area (the 66th ) one of my friends (to be un-named) threw the keg from the truck while we were on the hill above the camp so that it would roll through the camp area. Fortunately practically everyone was at the party so only a few tents were knocked down and nobody was hit by this UFO (Unidentified Flying Object)!!

The next day we all sat around in the morning nursing massive hangovers from the party. In the afternoon, my plane flew on a mission with Lt. Ridley. They bombed a bridge near Genoa. My plane came back with the left brake inoperative. I’ll work on it tomorrow, in time for the 7 AM takeoff. I gave Hawkes his Spanish lesson (now I have two of them I am teaching Spanish)!

July 4,1944 Alto, Corsica. My plane flew once this morning. Barney and I did a 25 hour inspection on it this afternoon. Independence day was spent very quietly, very little going on.

So ends part 64 of My Wartime Memoirs

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