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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The Trip Home

 

 
 

Lt. Donald Wilson Round.
I clean up pretty well.

July 14, 1944 was one of my lucky days. That afternoon while we were enjoying some coffee in our house, Headquarters sent word down for me to be prepared to leave for Naples. After completing 64 missions, I was scheduled to be sent back to the US. I was the first in the 444th squadron to have that many missions except for some 444th squadron officers at Headquarters. When I first arrived pilots were sent home after 40 missions, then the Air Force changed the requirements and left it open-ended. They would not tell you how many missions you had to fly. This made the older pilots very mad so they sometimes just took it easy and let the younger pilots fly instead. I asked the operations officer to put me down to fly, because I wanted to get the missions in.

A visiting captain who was in our house when I received my orders asked me how much I would take for my area of the House. He was tired of living in a tent. The house cost about $1200 to build so we all thought $300 was a fair price. The captain showed up the next day with the money. The squadron moved to Corsica two months later so he got a good deal for his money.

There was not much to do at the 7th Repell Center in Naples where we waited to be sent home except to check the board every day to see if we were on order to go home. My last day there I visited The University of Naples. It sits on a high bluff where you can see the Isle of Capri. I could see hundreds of boats of every kind. I was sure that they were ready to invade Southern France. We learned two days later that they were landing in Southern France.

We boarded one of five boats set to take us back to the USA. They assigned us a nice stateroom. The only problem was there were 12 officers in one room. All the bottom bunks were taken so I had a top bunk. That first night they served a very fine meal, but it was too rich for me and gave me some trouble. After that the meals were ok. We visited the PX during the day and if you were there at the right time you could get some good candy bars.

The trip home took fourteen boring days, but the weather was pretty good. No one that I know of became seasick. On the last day we saw the Statue of Liberty. Two tugboats came out to meet us and opened the submarine gates so we could get into the harbor. We boarded a truck that took us over to Camp Kilmer in New Jersey. A night and a day later a train took us Camp Shelby at Hattiesburg, Mississippi. We were given a 10-day pass at Camp Selby and coupons for new shoes. By midnight I was on a bus to Jackson, Mississippi. I was able to get on the second section bus to Tallulah, Louisiana where I could change busses for Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Unfortunately at Tallulah, the bus for Pine Bluff did not wait for the second section and there were not any more busses or trains for Pine Bluff for fifteen hours so I tried hitchhiking. Luckily an Army major on his way to Pine Bluff picked me up.(Continued)


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