We had a pilot in the squadron that could speak French, a 1st Lt Lawrence. Once, he was given a mission to travel by jeep to a small French fort. It was classified to the extent that he could not reveal anything about the mission, but he wanted someone or some ones to go with him. He asked Hutto and me to go with him. The fort was several miles further into the interior. We got to the fort and the authorities allowed him in. Hutto and I had to sit outside the fort, but there was a well outside and a washbasin. So, we washed up and had plenty of water to drink until Lawrence completed what he had to do.
On the return trip we went by an Arab housing area located on a hill and surrounded by a large olive grove. There were several Arab women at the top of the hill with various, colorful gowns on. To get a better look, Lawrence started up a path that led to the top of the hill. Immediately, a group of Arab men came running down toward him with long knives taking positions behind the trees. Even though each of us carried a .45 pistol, we quickly went into reverse, and got out of there tout suite. How naive we were to think that we could go up that hill!
Comiso was an abandoned air base where the Germans made their daily "milk runs" to bomb Malta. I don't have the date handy when the 16th squadron began its move from El Djem, Tunisia to Comiso, Sicily. However, I was on the first ship to make the first trip. Newman, my tent mate was the 1st pilot. But, I forget the names of the other crewmembers. However, I believe we had several others that went along to put up tents as more squadron members were shuttled in.
We had some tents on our ship to get started. When Newman and I took down our tent in the desert, and took up the flooring made from Allison engine boxes, we got a shock. Scorpions took off in different directions such as cockroaches do when the lamps are lit. How we slept and lived in the tent without being stung is a miracle it seems.
The first day at Comiso was very hot and the group of us did a pretty good job of putting up the pyramidal tents. As other planes arrived, more personnel were available to continue the transition.
About 4:00 in the afternoon, a paesano came along with a basket load of eggs, oranges, and bottles of red wine. I remember the eggs were 5 lira each (5 cents), wine was 25 lira/bottle; oranges (can't remember).
Newman thought it was time for a breather. We each had an Arab pottery, and poured ourselves a good stiff drink of wine. Newman quickly hit the sack and I was still awake. There were lizards, very curious, everywhere one walked, but they were harmless. Newman had removed his shoes to take a snooze. One of the lizards entered the tent and got into one of Newman's shoes. Then, curiosity satisfied, he climbed on the cot and started walking up Newman's chest. That aroused Newman, and when he saw the little creature, he yelled like hell! With relaxed joviality from the wine, and at Newman's expense, I was laughing!