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Serving Uncle Sam: A Military Life in WWll

Gerald Schwartz USAAC 1940 - 1945

This is a very special collection of memories from a ground crew chief supporting a front-line fighter squadron. What makes it special is that the events it describes were written down at the time and are published here without any editing. It is a vivid account of a young man, abroad from his native home for the first time but open to all the extraordinary experiences of war in foreign lands.

List of Contents

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Chapter 1: Enlistment in the U.S. Army Air Corps, May 1940

Chapter 2: Windsor Locks Airforce Base, Bradley Field, Connecticut

Chapter 3: Frozen in Long Island: Dec 12 1941. Overseas!

Chapter 4: Shipping Out July 15 1942. Submarine Attacks, Egypt!

Chapter 5: 57th Fighter Group Reunited. Attacked by Flies. Off to Palestine

Chapter 6: Snubbed by an American. Pummeling Rommel. Facing a Gurkha

Chapter 7: Lord Trenchard Briefing. Our British Allies

Chapter 8: Surviving the Desert and the Luftwaffe. Eating Sand. The Daily Routine

Chapter 9: El Alamein to Libya. Strange Diseases

Chapter 10: The Exterminators! Thanksgiving Meal. Eagle Sqd Veterans Join.

Chapter 11: Tripoli. A General's Tirade. Towards Tunisia

Chapter 12: Zuara, Libya. Intense Attacks. 8th Army Snuffs out Afrika Corps

Chapter 13: Tunisia. Lost at Night. Death of Captain Mitchell

Chapter 14: Fight for Mareth Line. Eisenhower. Dangers of Hitting Our Troops whilst Strafing

Chapter 15: Fierce Attacks on Afrika Corps. Desolation at Sfax. A Thief Caught

Chapter 16: El Djem, Tunisia. The Georgian Minister. Palm Sunday Massacre

Chapter 17: Butterfly Bombs. The Slobs Meet 1st Army. 65,000 Prisoners

Chapter 18: 120,000 Prisoners. Overcoming British Skepticism. Smells of the Casbah!

Chapter 19: Cap Bon, Tunisia. Scrounging off Afrika Corps. Enemy Surrender to our Planes. Sicily

Chapter 20:Rough Passage to Sicily. Montgomery's Praise. Pickled by Strega in Pachino!

Chapter 21: Scordia, Sicily. Wine Evenings! Conquest of Sicily. Catania. Learning Italian

Chapter 22: Our First Fresh Meat. Shelled by 88mm Cannon.

Chapter 23: Repairing Ju88. Major Threatens us with Colt45. Sabotage! Schwartz the Red!

Chapter 24: Invasion of Italy Begins. Italians Surrender. Scrounging German Planes. Mission to Naples. Fruit and Nuts A'Plenty

Chapter 25: Bad Feeding. Poverty in Italy. Using our Stolen Tent. Malaria

Chapter 26: Ride in a Fighter. Repairing My Plane. RAF Landing Technique. 460 MPH Beat-Up

Chapter 27: Repairing Italian Planes. Near Bari. Eating Ice Cream with Italian Air Force.

Chapter 28: Bari for Good Food. Lady Chasing with Italian Friends. Freezing Cold. Foggia. 100 Plane Strafing

Chapter 29: Electricity! Booby Traps. Front Line Fighting. William Benedict Scores. Over Yugoslavia. 200 FW-190s Arriving!

Chapter 30: Booby Traps. Malaria. Jewish Brigade. Losing 6 Planes. Some Chicken Some Neck

Chapter 31: Bombing Greece. Downing 6 Stukas. Red Benedict's 1000 Thieves. Scrounging Everywhere. Bombing Vienna

Chapter 32: Amendola. Bulls, Sheep, Turkeys. Meals Fit For Kings. Working the Me-109. Russian Front

Chapter 33: Angelo at San Marco. Hair Raising Drive Down a Mountain. Last of the Gobblers

Chapter 34: Preparing for Thunderbolts. Endless Rain. Scrounging for Thanksgiving. Recce over Yugoslavia. See Naples and Heave. Driving with Mustard Gas. Monty's Thanks. Jaundice

Chapter 35: Hepatitis. Mustard Gas in Bari. Rejoined American Air Corps. Special Scrounge Group

Chapter 36: Pig! Unrelenting Rain Grounds Our Planes. Montgomery Leaves Us.

Chapter 37: Leaving British Forces. Living off the Land. Equipping our B-25 Scrounge Plane. Memories of Roller Skating. Here come the Thunderbolts!

Chapter 38: B-24 Crash Lands. Making Pies. Survival Priorities. Paratroops to Yugoslavia. Rifle Inspection. Skip Bombing.

Chapter 39:P-47 Thunderbolts At Last. Race for Rome. Strafing Yugoslavia. Arrested as Spies!

Chapter 40: Learning the P-47. Stealing Hogs and a Cow. No More Doubled Decking. Incendiary Bombing

Chapter 41: Bombing Ourselves! Lt. Barlow Found. Freezing Butts. Making a Stove. Raining - Again!

Chapter 42: Too Many Men. Sickness Threatens. A Soft Mattress At Last. New Doc.

Chapter 43: Dive Bombing Ships. Softball Aches and Pains. Fighter Sweep Over Jugoslavia. Mix Up Over Move to Cercola. Counter Attacks at Anzio.

Chapter 44: Move to Cercola. Chasing Women Out of Camp. First Coke! Face Slaps for My Efforts. Vesuvius Erupts

Chapter 45: Nosing Over In Mud. Shooting down FW190s. Massive Effort At Cassino. Vesuvius Amazing Sight. Losing Pilots.

Chapter 46: Cercola Evacuated. Bombing Cassinonuevo. Naples and Flaming Onions. On Board British Ship. Wild Sailing

Chapter 47: Enroute Corsica. Travelling Through Corsica. Moroccan Ack Ack Crew. Speaking In Languages. We Get a Stove! Includes brilliant colour film made in Corsica about 57th.

Chapter 48: Dive Bombing at Po. Make Do and Mend. B Party Arrives. Red Benedict Flies In. Lafayette Escadrille Lands.

Chapter 49: Baseball Against Officers. AWOL. Bad Food. Pub Fight. Squadron Reunited

Chapter 50: Bomb Kills Two. A Big Canteen. Maintenance on P-47. Strafing Near Florence. Chased By Pig. Record Combat Hours

Chapter 51: Strikes On Arezzo. A Valley On Fire. 4000 ft Explosions. German Fighters Destroyed. Benedict Ditches. The Ideal Commander. Bombing Ourselves Again!

Chapter 52: Presidential Citation 57th Group . Stopping the German War Machine. Benedict Promoted to Major.

Chapter 53: Dive Bombing Northern Italy. Attacked by Ju-88. Destroying 6 Me109s.

Chapter 54: British/French Navy Mock Battle. Naples Attacked. German Commandos Seize British Radar. German Vessels Sunk. Presidential Citations. Spanish Accordion.

Chapter 55: Our Pioneering War Making. Early Dawn Attacks On German. Those Citations. Our Scrounge B-25 Loads Up Liquor.

Chapter 56: Pilot Killed. Changing Tires And Blowing Ourselves Up! How To Make Soup. Delicious English Tea.

Chapter 57: Drunken Respite From War. Corte and Red Headed Girl. Impromptu Party. Another German Commando Raid

Chapter 58: Return From Corte. Huge German Attack Kills Many. Move To Mountains. Push on Cassino. An Excellent New Camp

Chapter 59: Our New Swimming Hole. Drinking Cape Corse. Dive Bombing Near Florence.

Chapter 60: New P-47s Arrive. Red Cross Girls. We Drop More Bombs Than Ever! Serious Injury At The Party

Chapter 61: Blasting German Column Discovered By RAF. Puerto Rican Guards Arrive. New Friends! Benny Is Leaving! Some Pilots Glad Because Benny Wages All Out War

Chapter 62: D-Day At Last! Two Years In Combat. Two Pilots Crash. 5th Army Loses Contact With Enemy. Stomach Pains

Chapter 63: CO's New Plan. Percy Geuin Dies. Invasion of Elba. Tillson Goes Berserk. Lt. Barlow Crashes and Burns

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

Chapter 65: Trials Of KP. Typhus Shot. Red Benedict Pays A Visit. Lt. Rahn Killed. Pass To Alexandria!

Chapter 66: Flight to Alexandria! The Waiter Called 'No Good'. Striking Out With Nené. Jewish Brigade. Hairy Landing in Malta. CO Leaf

Chapter 67: Transferring to B-29. Out of Debt! Bubble Canopies Due. Sharing Salami. The Whiskey Run. Throwing Oil

Chapter 68: 'Rabbi' Beck Going Home. 30 Bubble P-47s. 250 Bottles Gin Arrive. Ice from 30,000 ft! Morale Bad Blah Blah. Outr 2000th Mission!

Chapter 69: Bombing Along Arno. Knock Out Blows To Bergamo. Don The Barber Arrives. Offensive in Southern France

Chapter 70: Bombing Southern France. Planes Shot Up. Courts Martial. Finding Friends Post-War

Chapter 71: Laid Low By Cold. Mosquito Attack! Bubble Jobs Arrive. Paris Falls. Reasons Officers Treat Us Well!

Chapter 72: Bombing Missions Limited By Supplies. Looking Forward to Return to Italy. Man Kills Dog! Warned We Must Behave in France!

Chapter 73: Running Out of Bombs. Flying to France for Repairs. Too Low for Comfort. Flying Back to Corsica Two Up In Single Seat Fighter!

Chapter 74: Washing in 100 Octane. Our Pilot Killed. Francs into Lira. Italy!

Chapter 75: Singing the Night Away! Bombing Po Valley. My Pilot Killed. Liberating a Hogshead. Crazy Antics. Indian White's Knife Play.

Chapter 76: Barely Making Take-Off. Trip to Italy. Recruiting Barbers. A Busy Day! 66 Fighter Group Record Corsica

Chapter 77: Buying a Barber's Chair. Rain and More Rain. Hotel California in Rome and Romance.

Chapter 78: Flies, Bees or Mosquitoes. Mud. To Rome!

Chapter 79: Back to Rome. Romancing. Singing the Night Away! Shot At By Comrades! Death of Bud the Rooster

Chapter 80: 120mm Rockets. Family Dance at Castiglione. Spanish with Rivera. Present from Cuba

Chapter 81: Greasing the Planes. Food from Home. Jumping on Fruitcakes! Rover Joe Missions

Chapter 82: Rover Joe Explained. Stealing Food to Survive. Flame Bombing the Gustav Line. Selling Smokes.

Chapter 83: Mosquito Attack. Sore Throat. Brand New P-47. Home Made Stove. 20 Sorties Before Lunch

Chapter 84: My Own Plane At Last. Building a Home from Home. Army Foul Up. Rain, Again!

Chapter 85: Sleeping In. Fixing the Leaks. Carbines. Bella.

Chapter 86: The Great Flood of Grossetto.

Chapter 87: Desperate Measures After The Flood. Huge Allied Losses on Gothic Line. Dived Bombing to Protect Our Forces. Flying in Foul Weather

Chapter 88: Early Morning Missions. Pride in My Plane. Return to Our 'Home'. Lothar Gets Run Over. Retrieving My Stuff From A Tree

Chapter 89: War Boosting Thunderbirds. Hospital Again. Singing In Italian

Chapter 90: Sick Call. Rain, Rain. Early Morning Training Missions. Losing a Pilot. Storm Rages

Chapter 91: My Plane's Super Reliability. Drinking With Pettis. Decisions on Home Leave. Lost Carbine. Pilot Killed in Mountain Crash

Chapter 92: Wine, Food and Song. More Wine, Food and Song! I Start Teaching Italian. Red Benedict's Gift of Experience with Me109

Chapter 93: Eye Trouble. Bombing the Brenner Pass. Getting Set for Capri!

Chapter 94: Flight To Naples. Boat to Capri. Beautiful Hotel. Gold Stripes! Neapolitan Dialect!

Chapter 95: The Beauty of Capri. Meeting Spanish American from LA. Visiting Magical Blue Grotto! To Anacapri with Teresa

Chapter 96: Valentine Club. I'm Leaving For Naples. Then I Head for Rome. Driving Through Cassino Devastation. My Favourite Pension in Rome. Alexander Club. Yolanda

Chapter 97: Rome with Ashkenazi. Language Subtleties. Opera La Traviata! Drinking with British Soldiers. Broke Again! Romance Late at Night

Chapter 98: Christmas and Cold. Making Ourselves Cosy. Attacking Brenner Pass. Seeking Chickens!

Chapter 99: 3000 Missions! New Year's Eve Party of Parties. Hammering Po Valley. Mills Shoots Lowther on Guard Duty! New Exec Officer Trouble

Chapter 100: Bombing Brenner Pass. Request Transfer to Translators. Depression and Lethargy. Charles Leaf Flies 200th Mission. Nearly Caught by MPs.

Chapter 101: Depression Breeds Violence. Understanding Italian Movies At Last. Move to Villefranca. McDonnel Takes My Diary to USA for Safety. Living in Former Death Camp. Beautiful Italy!

Chapter 102:To Milan In A Jeep. Mixed Up With Surrendering German Convoys. Liberating a Kubelwagon. Sneaking Past Redcaps to Milan. On To Alps.

Chapter 103: Chapter 103: Winding Down From War. Hiding Our German Jeeps. Getting to Bastogne. VE Party. Generalissimo Franco

Chapter 104: Podraze Goes To Stuttgart. Told We Are Okinawa Bound. Our Protest to Inspecting General. Our Colonel Under Arrest. We Are to Go Home!

Chapter 105: On Our Way! Accidents and Dreadful Diseases. Flying Over Appenines

Chapter 106:Fano Roman Town. Magnificent Florence. Sailing Adriatic. The Ladies of Italy

Chapter 107:Cameo Carving in Florence. Passing of My Comrades. Family History

Chapter 108: Leaving Florence. I'm Going Home!! B-17 to Casablanca. The Kasbah. News We Dropped The Bomb. Constellation to Accra. Japan Surrenders!

Chapter 109: Crossing Atlantic to Brazil. Difference Between a Year and Anus! Over the Rainforest. Glad to Get Away from Humidity

Chapter 110: Brazil Suriname. Piranhas. My Guns. British Guiana. Puerto Rico. USA At Last!

Chapter 111: Headed for Fort Dix. Discharge. Homecoming. Love of My Life. That's All Folks!


Those who have long enjoyed such privileges as we enjoy forget in time that men have died to win them. Franklin Delano Roosevelt
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