Rosignano, Italy [10 Jan - 23 May, 1945]

While we were stationed at Rosignano, the 5th Army turned a German staff car over to us, and. as I was transportation officer among other things, we tried to register it. We actually drove the dang thing around the base area, but the Rome Allied Command took it away from us.

At Rosignano, near Livorno (Leghorn), one of the sergeants had a parrot and kept it in the supply room. And, the sergeant had taught the parrot how to say prick. The parrot's cage was placed in the first half of the room.

We had a general come on a Saturday morning to do a white glove inspection of the supply room. When the inspection was completed and the general and his accompanying officers were leaving the room, the parrot let out a loud, "Prick!," when prompted. I think Cerny was with the general and the squadron commander, but it was near the end of the war and there was no dressing down of the troops. Would you believe that the parrot died of a cold the day Germany surrendered in Italy? Was his death from the cold, or revenge on the part of the general?

When leaving Rosignano, Italy, at the end of the war in Europe in June of 1945, preparatory to sailing in a troop ship to Trinidad, I commandeered a convoy to Naples (Napoli) with personnel. This was a treat to really sail an ocean, to pass by the Rock of Gibraltar and, for the first and only time, to witness "flying fish" in the ocean. When we got aboard it was reported that an estimated 200 subs were still in the Atlantic and Caribbean area. The day we docked at Trinidad--a 10 day journey-- we were told that a ship had been blown up fifteen miles south of us. During the trip we had daily submarine drills, at random times, when we had to practice putting on life jackets and abandoning ship.


During the deactivation phase, the group was inactivated on July 31, 1945, we had to account for all equipment, including rifles, pistols, and other gear. We had a "missing" C-47 that we were unable to account for, and that delayed our return to the states until the, then War Department, would release us. Forget everything else, just remember that none of us could account for a missing aircraft, and that we were the only ones of the 64th Group that were still around.

The ten of us who inactivated the 64th Troop Carrier Group at Waller Field, Trinidad, five officers and five first sergeants who had been transferred to the Air Transport Command during the deactivation process, were finally cleared by the War Department, and scheduled to fly to Miami around September 25, 1945. The flight was delayed due to a hurricane hovering around slightly northwest of Venezuela. I forget when it hit Miami, perhaps September 27th or 28th, and we flew in the day after it hit Miami. I smoked in dem doze daze and when I stepped out of the plane, a MP ordered, "Lt, put out that cigarette." I did just than and then, kneeled, and kissed the ground like it's done in the movies. That didn't impress the MP one bit!

Upon our arrival back in the States, we were told that because Japan had not surrendered, all officers with less than 75 points might be shipped to the Pacific theatre. I had 135 points based on the my months in active service, months of overseas service, having a family--wife and first son, campaigns, and medals etc. It was certain that I would be relieved from active duty. Some of us boarded a train headed for Chicago. Along the way I learned a little about playing bridge. A threesome needed a 4th and they were patient with me.

There was a forty five minute stop over at West Palm Beach, and since we were on a troop train, there were scads of people waiting with foods, fruit, candy, goodies, beer, liquor, and soft drinks, you name it. They loaded us up and we had a jolly good time all the way to Chicago. Also, at West Palm Beach they had us form up by states so that the girls could kiss the guys from their home state. Since I was born in Indiana, and educated at some time or other in Georgia, Kentucky, Illinois, and had residency in Minnesota, where my wife lived, I shifted from one group to another. Nothing like having fun when you're having fun!

Short Takes

  • One night when we RON'd (remained over night) in Tunis, there was a vicious rain and hailstorm that put over 100 small holes in the wings of our C-47. The flight engineer Franklin, with aid of the crew, did a patch job. Afterwards, we took off on a rain soaked dirt runway, and made it to Sicily.
  • Once, when I RON'd in Algiers with Bourg and Locke, pilots, we had to seek lodging from Ike's headquarters. We met with a captain in Ike's office. The captain left for a few minutes, and I took a big risk and sat in Ike's chair. I put my feet up on his desk and lit a cigarette! I was dumb, but it was fun. Locke later was permanently grounded.
  • In Sicily, we had a master sergeant, around 55 years old, who was a career man of retirement tenure. He had two sons, both in the service, who scheduled leaves so they could be home at the same time. The M\Sgt was given a 30-day leave to return to the states to join them. The night before he was to fly from Sicily, the men gave him a party to celebrate his retirement. He fell over a banister and dropped three floors to his death. I wonder how and what was written to explain the casualty.
  • At Ouida, French Morroco, a paratrooper air base, a Lt. Col. was in charge. He and his staff on every Saturday night would party until midnight. Then, they would put on parachutes and jump from the bar. While I was there, he broke one of his ankles jumping off the bar. Shortly after, an inspector general was there, and asked how the colonel broke the ankle. The answer given was that he broke it during a practice jump!
  • When the air echelon returned from the CBI some monkeys were brought back to Sicily. They tore the hell out the rooms when owners were on missions. Their presence was temporary. Given to the paesons, I suspect they were sold to organ grinders?



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