might think if you have read my tour of duty that I
had an easy time, but I would say that I was very lucky.
I did have an easy time during my tour of duty. My training
was very easy for me, it was an interesting trip through
South America and Africa and we had no troubles. When
I arrived at the base in Sardinia and joined the 444th
Squadron it turned out to be a very friendly squadron.
All the officers at the 444th squadron headquarters
had been in North Africa where things were very bad
at times so they had lot of experience. Some of the
pilots had built an Officer's Club so they were always
trying to make life more pleasant if they could. One
would never know that they were in the Air Force except
for flying duties. I never got cold and had plenty to
eat and after we built our house we had a very nice
was able to fly. I told the flight commander I would
fly first pilot or co-pilot because I wanted to get
my missions in. Several times I flew 7 missions in seven
days so the missions started to add up. In 10 months,
I flew 64 missions. I was the first one in the squadron
to go home after the Air Force set the limit of missions
of the better known WW II photos shows B-26 Zero Six
of the 441st squadron flown by pilots Wigington &
Wiggington just before it goes out of control after
suffering a direct hit during the 10 July 1944 mission
to Marzabotta, Italy. There were no survivors. The credit
for this unusual photo is lost to history.
many missions the flak was very accurate and the gunners
spent a lot time shooting at enemy fighters. The flak
made many holes in the airplane. One mission while we
were flying over the Island of Elba one bullet hit the
dash board of the airplane and another bullet made a
hole in a self sealing wing tank. If the bullet had
been a tracer bullet it might have blown the wing off.
Once I watched the crew of an airplane jump out of their
airplane into the ocean where the water was so cold
you would be lucky to live for five minutes. Another
time I watched two airplanes: one was shot up heading
for home and in the other airplane, we could see some
of the crew moving around, so we tried to make radio
contract, but failed. The airplane just blew up. I was
on a lot of dangerous missions. I sometimes think I
was too young and too dumb to worry about them. I have
a picture of a B-26 with one wing gone. It fell under
a B-26 that happened to have a camera that was taking
pictures of something on the ground.
flew one mission to Anzio, Italy on the first day of
the invasion. About 20 miles over the ocean we could
see a fighter airplane coming out to meet us, head on.
A very short distance from us it turned to the left.
It was a German fighter, it didn't fire at us and no
one in our 36-ship formation fired at it, later no one
ever mentioned it.
I can say is that a lot of my friends are dead from
doing their duty.Sometimes one is in the right place
and survives while others are not so lucky.