B-26 Marauder 320th Bomb Group

 

Memories of My Time With the 320th B.G. During WW II
by Donald Wilson Round, 444th Bomb Squadron

 

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Trip to Sardinia - Crossing the Atlantic

 

 
 

Lt. Donald Round, Capt. Johnson, and Lt. Robert Pocan.
Ready to go Overseas.

The trip to Sardinia took 12 days. We stayed in some places a couple of days. We began our trip at Morrison Field, Florida flying to Borinquen, Puerto Rico. They had a good Officer's Club, so we tested out some of their drinks. The next day we followed the chain of islands to Georgetown, Guyana, South America, (the place where the Jones cult religious group committed mass suicide).

The next leg of the trip was to Belem, Brazil. We crossed the equator but no one threw water over our heads. The food was not very good in Belem. From Belem we crossed a lot of jungle to Natal, Brazil. The PX at Natal had groucho boots for five dollars so I purchased two pair, which lasted all the time I was in Sardinia and I still had a pair left when I returned from overseas. From Natal we had to fly over 1,500 miles to Ascension Island, a small island in the South Atlantic. We needed more gasoline for that leg of the trip so the Air Force installed two 500 gallon tanks in the bomb-bay of the airplane where we would have had four 1000 lb. bombs in combat.

There were four airplanes in our group. We took off into a layer of low thick clouds and it took a few minutes above the clouds to find all four airplanes to head out to Ascension Island. The lead airplane had a navigator. The other three airplanes had radio compasses which are good to have when they work. Sometimes the direction needle would just go around and around. The tower at Ascension Island turned on its radio beam when they knew airplanes were headed their way. We were glad to hear their radio beam coming in about one and a half hours after we left Natal. The needle on the radio compass said come this way; it made us happy to see the compass working right. The lead ship navigator stayed to the left of the beam till we were fifteen minutes from Ascension then he turned on the beam to Ascension Island. The tower at Ascension called us to tell us that the runway was on a bluff about 100 feet above the sea because they wanted to be sure that we came in high enough. The tower told us that a fighter airplane several weeks before came in too low and ended up below the runway.

The next leg was to Robert's Field in Monrovia, Liberia. After we had taken off for Ascension Island and were waiting up above for the fourth plane, we saw a big fire in the rocks at the end the runway. The tower called us to tell us that the 4th plane didn't make it. There were very big piles of rocks (40-50 ft. tall) at the end of the runway and they did not gain enough altitude to clear them. The two pilots in the airplane were twin brothers.(Continued)


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