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