Sunday, July 18, 2010

Our Crew and I have arrived in Gioia, Italy

(Continuation of Captain Charles Estes's War Memoirs)

"We have landed there and turned the airplane over to the Air
Force there and they assigned us to tents to spend the night.
And it was rather chilly. I want to say it must have been
October. I'd have to look at my short snorter to find out.
By the way, the short snorter was the best book or best
reference for times, places and dates, and things of that
nature that you could have.

Anyway, we took off for Gioia, Italy and landed there
and turned the airplane over to them, and they in turn
gave us tents to sleep in. And I remember we just had cots
and the cots, of course, are very thin on the bottom. So
we tried sleeping with the blankets over us, but you still
were freezing to the death almost, because there was nothing
under you; so we each one got up and let the other -- let
somebody on the crew to hold a blanket up, and you turned
around and around and around, and they wrapped you up in
it, and then you stumbled over to the cot and things were a
lot better.

The next day we were assigned to a squadron, it was not too
far from Gioia; it was in Lecce, which is in the heel of the
boot. And we were assigned to the 415th Bomb Squadron.
It was -- the CO was Joe -- Colonel Joe Habenger (phonetic).
And we were very lucky in being assigned to Gioia because
there was the Italian Air Base there that had a concrete
runway. The men that went further up from us, other
squadrons they had to land on steel macadem runways.
And they were not real comfortable to land on, they were
rough; but we were lucky we had concrete runways to
land on. And we had an officer's club that was in a brick
building and it was real nice. John Congleton, Bob Swain,
and myself were assigned to a tent, and we stayed together the
whole time we were in Italy in that same tent, and we managed."

(To be Continued.)

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