1st Lt. Milton Forrest's Background (submitted by Neil Amoore, 317th SQN)

    Milton B Forrest III, in his friend's own words, was not an easy person to get along with.  The eldest son of a Harvard law professor, and heir to a family legacy that could be described as considerable, Forrest was very bit the Ivy League prig.  Tall, willowy and slightly effete, he had cat-like grace and excellent taste in both wine, women and song - he played three instruments exceptionally well, and four more passably so.  A member of the Harvard skulls team that beat Yale AND Princeton, he was athletic without being overly sports-oriented.  Trim black hair, a pencil moustache and a predilection for cigarillos he was the epitome of his WASP-ish background.

    Military outfits tailored in London, monogrammed underwear and handkerchiefs and personally crafted shoes, he was not in this war to win friends.  A decent war record would stand him in good stead once he took up his position in his father's law practice after the war.  He was never one to excel at the academic life - Why should he when the Hamptons were a more attractive option, and his future was secure? - He had managed a second class pass in his law class.  Nonetheless, he had enjoyed mixing with 'the rabble' at flight school, and saw himself as something of a pioneer in the Forrest family for having decided against West Point and a military career like his maternal grandfather.  After all, agreeing to serve as a 'conscript' had drawn horrified gasps from his mother, and disapproving looks from his father.  For different reasons, of course.  His mother was old Southern money, and hated anyone serving in a Yankee army without proper military schooling, while his father would never be classified as a Roosevelt man.

    Forrest had a younger brother, Clarence, who was still studying at Harvard and keen on joining up to fight the "darn Nazis".  They had never really got along, possibly because of the 5 year age gap.  At 20, Clarence still believed there was a measure of equality amongst men, while Milton had already discovered that there were those who could and those who could not.  He, clearly, was one who could.  The rest were rabble.  A Forrest stood back for no man; his father had taught him that.

    His father had connections, powerful enough to suggest that after a few flights over Nazi-occupied Europe, Milton would be withdrawn from active service and given a position more fitting for his social station.  A nice staff position, perhaps, with lunch and cocktails with the General Staff.

    Until then he would endure the insufferable ignorance of his fellow fliers.  Barnstormers, who had barely graduated from some grubby high school in some backwater town in Hicksville, Forrest felt like a petit pomme in a sack of potatoes.

    Aloof and unable to grasp the intricacies of the basic facets of his crews blue collar approach to life, he amused himself with learning Italian and listening to Verdi. Far removed from the jitterbugging, alcohol swigging past-times his crew indulged in.

    For Milton B. Forrest III, it promised to be a long war.

1st Lt. Spencer’s Adventure – (submitted by Paul Scheepers, 317th SQN)

    Spencer J. Kennedy the second was about to embark on the greatest adventure of his life.

    Urged by his father, the senator, and after completing a law degree at Harvard, Spencer had graduated from West Point when the first rumblings of war had been sounded in Europe.  Everything Spencer did was carefully planned by his father, a plan that was to lead ultimately to the Senate and beyond.

    'A bit of discipline and good military record', his father had said would assist Spencer's later Political career.

    The Senator was furious when Spencer had volunteered for the Army Air Force, even more so when he enrolled in flight training, completely confounding his fathers attempts at getting him a 'good' staff position.  The Senator had tried to use his influence and connections to bend Spencer to his will but to no avail Spencer was determined to fly.

    Unfortunately for Spencer his dream of flying a fighter plane, was crushed when he was assigned to bomber training.  But still all was not lost, Italy was a grand place to be, even better now that he had made the acquaintance of Milton B. Forrest, a young man of considerable intellect who seemed totally out of place in a combat outfit.  Yet the days ahead promised to be amusing in the company of Milton who was erudite and charming and when in a good mood and in the right company could be coaxed into being very funny and entertaining.

    Today they were to meet the CO of the 317th, the squat Irishman Shamus Montague from Boston, Spencer smiled as Milton rolled his eyes at the summons.

    Yes, it was going to be an interesting war, thought Spencer . . .

1st Lt. Milton Forrest's Background continued (submitted by Neil Amoore, 317th SQN)

    Milton had had few illusions about the rigors of Army life.  After all, he'd often gone to the Hamptons with barely enough Moet et Chandon (his drink of choice) and only one volume of Chaucer to get through the weekend, so there was little he could be taught about hardship.  Nonetheless, he was becoming increasingly aware that life in the service was in danger of becoming insufferably dull.  Italy was hardly the holiday venue it had been pre-war, and the company he was forced to keep was stultifying at best.

    He'd found something of a kindred spirit in Spencer Kennedy, a likeable enough fellow who appreciated the finer things in life. There'd been no time to meet and greet his fellow squadron fliers - a situation he found to be particularly irksome, and one he intended raising with Montague.  His first impression upon seeing the new squadron CO had been that he appeared to be a likable enough fellow, for someone who CLEARLY wasn't an Ivy Leaguer.  Nonetheless, the swarthy little Irishmen who had been put 'in charge' - a thought that made Milton shiver with trepidation, indeed ANY Forrest worth his salt would have reacted thus to not being master of his own fate - had summoned them all to his quarters to be introduced.  A crashing bore, no doubt, but one which must be endured in the interests of team spirit and all that.

    Perhaps afterwards, he and Spencer could take a stroll into the nearby village and see what fare - if any - the local vintners had.  A splendid idea, and one that might involve asking some of the other - more suitable, obviously - fellows to accompany them.  In a moment of rare equanimity, Milton began whistling his favorite piece from Aida and gave Spencer alongside him a cheerful smile...

The day the Anderson Crew (318th SQN) met their B-17 in Kearney, NEB. (submitted by Phillip Zaragoza, 318th SQN)

    "Look at her boys! There she is!", pointed Freddie Anderson the pilot.

    "That piece of sh** right there? Lieutenant Anderson, you sure that's our plane.  I don't even think she is even air worthy," replied Tim Madison the starboard waist gunner.

    "Stop being a smart a** Madison, not that one.  The one next to it.  That one."

    "I got worried for a second there, sir."

    "Sure you did.  Alright everyone off the truck.  Lets go get a closer look at her."  In no hurry, all the boys got off the truck and headed towards their B-17.

    "I hear she just come off the assembly line.  Smells like she has been painted recently," said Jimmy Sap, the Co-pilot, as he ran his fingers down the fuselage. Then he stood back to stare at her beauty.

    Everyone stood silent, watching her, hoping that when things got hot she would keep them safe, protect them from the events that were about to unfold 25,000 feet in the air, when the only thing they will have is each other.

    They all stood there, in the morning sun, with the smell of wet grass in the air, staring at her.  They stood like that for a minute until Carlos Carter, the tail gunner and youngest of the group, broke the silence. "Well, what should we name her?"

    "How about The Fredrick's," Fredrick O'Reilly, the Flight Engineer, said laughing.

    "The Fredrick's? I rather be flying that piece of sh** over there then this one with a name like The Fredrick's! What kind of name is that?"  Madison said with a mocking grin on his face.

    "Hey! It was just an idea. You got one better?"


    "Yeah . . . "

    But before Madison could finish, Andy Hamlet, the small and shy ball gunner said while looking at the massive plane, "How about Old Crow Express," taking his eyes off the plane and looking at the rest of the guys.  "It was just an idea."

    "Old Crow Express, huh? I like it," said Justin Sumlin, the port waist gunner.

    "Me too," put in Bobby Norton, Radio operator.

    "Well, that's a good name. Does everyone agree on Old Crow Express?", Anderson asked.

    "Yeah!" everyone replied.

    "Well, Mark how would you like to take the honor of painting the nose?" asked Anderson.

    "Me, I don't know," Mark Blackbird ,the navigator, tried to reply.

    "Don't act like you can't draw.  I saw you drawing those pictures while we were practicing.  I'd say you're the artist of the crew.  You could do it better then any of us can," interrupted Mark Peterson the Bombardier.


    "Well, I guess I could do it. Yeah, I'll do it.  Hmmm, how do you guys want it with just the name or the name and a picture of a crow?", asked Mark.

    "Guess you could add a the crow next to it," said Madison.

    "Yeah, add a crow," Walter said.

    "Alright, I think I got an idea that will just do," said Mark.  While the crew went inside to check the inside of the Old Crow Express, Anderson and Sap stayed outside to talk.

    "Hey, you got a smoke?" asked Sap.

    "Yeah, I got one," replied Anderson and then he handed one to Sap who lit it up.

    "So, have you heard when we are going to get shipped out?"

    "No, but I think its going to be soon, very soon. But I could be wrong," Anderson replied as he was looking at the morning sky.

    "Oh well, where ever it is, I hope the war is not over before we get there.  I gotta see some action."




    "HEY, TIME'S UP. TIME TO GO! IT'S BREAKFAST TIME!" yelled the truck driver.


    As they all got back on the truck, Anderson wondered what the future would bring and would all of them make it out alive . . . probably not.


1st Lt. Griffin's private journal (submitted by Bob Hamel, 316th SQN)

    ...We need to get our crews focus back on bombin' the heck out of those Krauts...

    Lately, the guys have been coming back from town drunk, I think one of my crew has taken up with a gal from the village . . . Even I'm itchin' to get back into action. When will those replacements arrive and the mechanics give us a clean bill of health?. . . Weather should be looking up over the next few days once this front passes. . . Any word from the higher ups?

Army 802 - Where the heck are you?

    Arriving at the base control tower, acting squadron CO Captain Danny Tanner was growing more and more anxious.  One of the 316th planes has been overdue since yesterday.  From what he could piece together, yesterday after the B17 named Old Crow Express arrived alone from Tunisia, its pilot, 1st Lt. Anderson, informed Tanner that the ground crews in Tunisia still hadn’t gotten to refueling 1st Lt. Reames’ plane because a squadron from 2nd Bomb Group had priority to transit to Foggia on the same day.  Lt. Reames said that there was no need for both of them to wait around in the heat, so he said he’d follow as soon as he was gassed up.  That was yesterday.

    Phone calls last night to Wing HQ and Air/Sea Rescue indicated nothing was amiss.  No distress calls received, no reported ditchings in the Mediterranean, no emergency landings on Sicily, nothing.  In fact, as far as Wing was concerned, Reames and his crew were still stuck in Tunisia, out of gas.

    Where the Hell are you, Cody?, Tanner thought to himself as he climbed the stairs to the upper floor.  It was still early morning and Tanner spotted Sgt. Davis, one of the tower men on duty.  Tanner inquired, “Anything yet, Davis?”

    News around the army bases travels fast, especially bad news.  Already knowing what the captain was asking about, “Not a peep, sir,” was Davis’ reply.  Trying to alleviate an already tense moment, Davis moved over to a coffee pot.

    “Coffee, Sir?”

    “Yeah, thanks, Davis. Black,” Tanner said sitting down on a chair.

    After pouring the coffee into to a clean cup, Davis offers it to Tanner.  “Thanks, Davis.”  After taking a couple of sips, the tower radio came alive with a faint message.

    “Igloo tower, this is Army Zero-One-Eight, over.”  Both men turned to look at each other with a puzzled look as their group had no B-17s with that serial number sequence.  And yet that voice sounded a little too familiar to Tanner.

    Returning to the radio, Davis adjusted the volume knob and replied, “Army Zero-One-Eight, this is Igloo tower, over”.

    “Tower, we’re 15 minutes out, request runway and current conditions, over.”

    Still slightly puzzled, Davis answered, “Army Zero-One-Eight, are you requesting an emergency landing? Over.”

    “Tower, that’s a negative. Everything is fine, we’re just coming home to roost, over,” replied a now familiar voice that Tanner finally recognized.  Tanner motioned to Davis to hand him the microphone.

    “Army Zero-One-Eight, Reames, is that you? Over.”

    “Tower, Reames here. And I’m glad to hear your voice too, Captain. Over.”

    “Army Zero-One-Eight, Reames, what in the name of Sam Hill are you doing in Zero-One-Eight?  And where the hell is your plane, Eight-Zero-Two?  Over.”

    After a 10 second pause, came back Reames’ reply.  “Tower, well Captain, to make a long story short, it’s still in Tunisia.  It kind of blew up.  Over.”

    Both men by the radio looked at each other in dumbfounded amazement, with Sgt. Davis shrugging his shoulders and with a facial expression of Hey, don’t look at me, Sir! I don’t know anything more than you do.  A clerk, Corporal Addison as he was doing some paperwork a few feet away, even he looked up towards the radio when he’s ears picked up about something blowing up.

    Not exactly sure if that is what everyone had heard, Tanner asked, “Army Zero-One-Eight. Repeat last transmission. Over.”

    “Tower, Eight-Zero-Two still in Tunisia, explosion, category E, total FUBAR.  Over.”

    Oh my god was the first thought that occurred to Tanner.  He gave himself a few seconds to composing himself before replying. “Army Eight-Zero-Two, Cody, where’s the rest of your crew?  Over.”

    “Tower, Kingshott is sitting next to me, Carlucci is the nose, and Sergeants Pegg and Laffey are both back in the radio room.  As for the rest of the crew, we left them in Tunisia.”  After a slight pause, “And they’re all fine.  They’re trying to hitch a ride to base.  Over.”

    Whew! “Army Zero-One-Eight, that’s good to hear.  Okay Cody, you’ve got some explaining to do.  Meet me in the mess after you touched down and secured the plane.  Here’s your conditions.  Over.” Tanner finished as he hands the mike over to Sgt. Davis.

    “Army Zero-One-Eight, come in on runway One-Six, wind from east, speed 10, ceiling 6, and visibility is 3 miles.  Over”

    “Tower, Roger and thanks.  This is Army Zero-One-Eight over and out.”

    As he walked over to the mess, Tanner was wondering how he was going to break the news to the Colonel after he returns from the meeting with the general at Wing HQ.  Losing a bomber during transit from the states, although not an Army record, it was still a bad way to begin the war for the 88th.  And they were not even in combat!

    Tanner waited for 10 minutes thinking about all the possible things that might have happened until he saw Reames’ smiling face as he entered the mess hall.  Reames’ spotted him and waved as he went to fix himself a cup of coffee.  As Reames made his way through the mess, he was recognized by a few of the other men from the 316th and they gave him the usual good-natured razing on why he was so late, to which Reames replied that he had to come back as the 316th would be totally lost and inept to fight the war without him.  After getting his cup of java and a donut, the newly arrived pilot sat down next to Tanner.

    Tanner patiently waited as the famished Reames bit into about half of his donut and then gulped it down with some coffee. “Glad that you decided to join us, Cody.  I also understand you got a dozy of a tale to tell.”

    “I sure do, Captain,” Reames said after washing down the donut.  “And the first thing I want you to know is that it wasn’t my entirely fault, although technically, as the commander, I was responsible for the plane.”

    “Okay, Cody, okay. I believe you when you say it wasn’t your fault.  Now tell me what happened,” said a sympathetic Tanner.

    “Well, it was like this, captain,” Reames began recalling the events.  “Anderson and I arrived from Marrakech just before sunset and the base put us up for the night. Well, that was fine with everyone, as we were all dead tired after traveling to get here for over two weeks now.  Come morning, we find that Anderson’s bird is fueled and ready but mine isn’t.  Seems the 2nd Bomb was moving out that day and they took all the fuel.  Well, not every drop as the ground crew was still able to find some for Anderson’s plane.  But there was none left for me and it would be a few hours before more fuel would arrive and then a few more to fuel up my bird.  Anderson wanted to wait so we could both fly over together, but I told him there was no sense in both of us waiting in the heat.  I told him we’d be okay and that he should tag along with the 2nd as there was safety in numbers.  We’d be following right behind as soon as we could.  Reluctantly, Anderson agreed and off they went.  So, me and boys decide to see the sights as none of us had ever been in Tunisia before.  There’s not much to see out there in the desert, just a lot of sand, the base, some trees, and more sand. A whole lot of nuthin.  It turns out that the big city where all the girls are is miles away from the base.  After walking awhile and seeing a lot of the same nuthin, we gave up and decided to relax under some trees.  After a few more hours of shut eye, the next thing we hear is this big KA-BOOM!  We look around and there’s smoke, fire, guys running this way and that, and the boys and I got up and went where the explosion, ready to help out.  And then I see eight-zero-two!  Our plane!  On fire!  And in many broken pieces!  Even worst, most of our personal gear was in there!  All eight-zero-two is good for now is scrap metal.  They still don’t know how it happened but something went terribly wrong to have ignited the fuel like that.  Luckily, the ground crews only suffered a few minor injuries.  And it’s a good thing Anderson left when he did, ‘cuz his plane would’ve been parked next to mine and it would have been FUBAR too.”

    Tanner sat back and said, “That quite a story, Cody.  Alright, I give you that it wasn’t your fault that the plane blew up.  But what’s the deal with Zero-One-Eight?”

    Before continuing, Reames finished up the rest of his donut. “Well, so now we’re stranded.  But sergeant Oakman, our scrounger, informs me that there’s this C-47 leaving at noon for Foggia.  Well, there’s only room for five of us.  Figuring at the worst we’d have to fly back, I selected Orville my co-pilot, Frank for navigation, sergeant Laffey to man the radio and the flight engineer, sergeant Pegg.  I left Lieutenant McGivney in charge of the rest of the crew and told him to hitch a ride with anything that they could find in the next couple of days.  Worst case, they were to send word back to group and we’d come back to get them.  So, we had to land in Sicily to drop off some passengers and after a couple of hours, we took off again and arrived late at night in Foggia.  And the next morning, I was approached by this ferry captain who said if I didn’t want to wait, we could fly this replacement plane that was destined for group anyway.  I would have save him a trip he said.  Well, does Wrigley make gum?  Of course I said yes and I jumped at the offer.  And the rest is history.”

    “Thanks, Cody.  That explains a lot.  At least I have something to tell the Colonel other than we lost a plane and I don’t have any facts.  Well, at least we’re back up to strength.”

    “Oh, by the way, this plane is a real beauty and it handles really well.  And since I don’t have a plane anymore, I was wondering, can I have this one, Captain?”

    Tanner could see the pleading in Reames’ eyes. “I don’t see why not.  Everyone else has a plane already assigned to them.”

    “Thanks a lot, Captain. I really appreciated it.”

    “Okay, Cody.  You’re dismissed.  And now that we know where the rest of your crew is, we’ll make some kind of arrangements to get them here.”  And before he forgot, "Oh, be sure to see Sergeant Thomas.  He'll show you where your tent is located and he'll help you find some new gear."

Lt. Paul Griffin's letter to his wife Sarah on eve of first mission with Lucky Penny (submitted by Bob Hamel, 316th Sqn.)

Dec. 13, 1943

. . . Sarah, all is quiet now, after getting our mission (finally), the guys are trying to grab a few hours of sleep before wakeup.  Harper and Jones are the only ones still up talking quiet-like, in the corner.  Those two seem to have become like brothers, Harper looking out for Jones.  None of the others seem to have formed any real comradeship yet, but I expect tomorrow that will all change.  I'll tell you, as many times as you go up, each time is always like the first time, nerves, sometimes even a little panic, and that's before the wheels even leave the ground . . . Oh, I know some of the fellas joke or try to act tough but we're all, somewhere within us, scared to death . . . some just hid it better than others.  Funny, I know it's almost Christmas back home and I should be getting the tree, but I almost forgot.  I hope you were able to get a big one just like we used to.  Well, we'll know tomorrow if our group can fight as well together as they can play cards . . . Give Amy a kiss for me and say a Christmas prayer for us too.

1st Lt. Milton Forrest's First Mission Briefing (submitted by Neil Amoore, 317th SQN)


    It was important to understand the slope and cultivar when considering wine, mused Milton Forrest as the briefing officer droned on up front.  Forrest saw no good reason why he had to be here so early in the morning.  Surely this war could be fought at a more civilized hour??  Sighing deeply, he tried to concentrate on the efforts of the man with the pointer up front.  He noticed that Lt. Montague, erstwhile CO of the  317th, was writing furiously, his stubby little fingers a near blur across his note-pad.  Montague looked up and caught his impassive gaze, frowned disapprovingly at Forrest's apparent lack of interest and continued his writing.  The man was clearly enjoying this war, he mused.  A short-sighted view, he thought stifling a yawn.  Nonetheless, let the man have his moment of glory.  Perhaps he'd invite him to the wine tasting in his and Spencer Kennedy's tent after the mission.  He'd invited the other officers of the 317th, and it would no doubt be bad form to exclude the CO.  A waste of time, no doubt, as the man probably drank Guinness and rot-gut, but it paid to keep up appearances.

    "Keep good notes", Forrest, muttered to his co-pilot and let his thoughts wander off to the vineyards of Tuscany.  Perhaps he'd go there as soon as the Germans had the decency to move North.  There'd be plenty of time to focus on the Germans he'd be meeting later today, as and when the time came, for now Tuscany was much more appealing.

1st Lt. Spencer Kennedy's First Mission Briefing (submitted by Paul Scheepers, 317th SQN)


    So this was it, the first mission.  Spencer glanced up from his notes to see Milton Forrest in deep thought seemingly unaware that there was a briefing going on.  Their CO, the little Irishman (Montague), shot Milton a dark look at his lack of attention, though this seemed a little unfair as he had not done much himself prior to this mission to integrate the different crews and build up any sort of team spirit, which to Spencer's mind was essential especially where formation flying was concerned.

    The weather forecast concerned Spencer, with a storm front moving in from the south and heavy snow expected, this could play havoc with the mission if there were any delays in forming up.  Spencer did not relish the thought of flying blind in formation with a whole bunch of green crews.

    The weather concerned Spencer more than the Germans did at this point.  Spencer had experienced the power of a storm and how it could throw a big aircraft like the B17 about with unnerving ease.  The Germans, however, were an unknown quantity and Spencer felt a little trepidation when thinking about what lay ahead.

    Still on the bright side, Milton Forrest had been very busy in the days prior, getting to know the local wine producers, and was having a wine tasting after the mission.  Spencer smiled at the thought of a bunch of officers swigging away at the bottles and of Milton's totally mortified expression . . . yes, this promised to be very amusing.

1st Lt. Mark Yoshikawa's Diary Entry for 15 December 1943 (submitted by Mark Yoshikawa, 317th SQN)


    Knowing that their parents and loved ones are behind barbwire and out in the middle of nowhere, the crew of Go-For-Broke prepared for their first mission out of Italy.  They knew that everyone would be watching and would jump at the chance to say that they were not . . . Loyal Americans.  With that extra burden the crew knew that they can't fail there loved one back home.  Like the Ronin of Old Japan, the crew feels that they must prove themselves worthy of being in uniform.

    "It was a clear, cold day at Foggia, the take of was uneventful and the crew did their final checks before we hit enemy territory.  Luckily we didn't encounter any enemy fighters until half way to the target.  And did we hit fighters, a swarm of 4 ME-109's came in front of the plane and fired away.  In that wave, I was hit in the arm by parts of the Plexiglas that shattered when the bullets hit.  Luck was on our side as the planes came back and with a hail of gunfire were driven back.  This was not a good beginning and hopefully we would not encounter any more 'problems'."

    "As we got closer to the target, another wave of fighters again attacked the plane.  This time it was mixture of ME-109's and FW-190's.  Again the enemy fighters were lucky, this time they hit the upper turret and made it so that they couldn't be fired.  They also were able to hit the pilot compartment again, this time damaging the controls for the rudder, which would make the plane a little bit harder to fly!  But luck for the crew would also be present. 2nd Lt. Richard Osa was the first of the crew to take careful aim and shot down a plane.  With cool precision, as a FW-190 was blazing fire at the front of the plane, he was able to shoot the plane down just like someone shooting at a clay pigeon!  Without missing a beat as the second FW-190 turned around to try to make another strafing run.  2nd Lt. Osa was able to take careful aim again and shot the (&$)!)(&%! Out of the fighter!"

    "The run on the target, which was the marshaling yards at Reggio Emilia, was bumpy even with the prediction of light flak.  A shot came close to the nose of the plane and rattled everyone's teeth, but luckily no damage was encountered.  2nd Lt. OSA, again showed his steely nerves and made sure that we were able to get most of the bombs on target.  On leaving the target I guess the Germans were upset at the fact of a bomber was able to do that type of damage for they again jumped our ship. This time ME-109's tried to get to the plane but fighters from the 1st FG were able to drive off one of the planes while the other one left under a hail of gunfire again!"

    "As we were leaving Reggio Emilia we were jumped again by FW-190's.  And again most of them were driven off by fighters from the 1st FG.  One was obstinate and decided to dive down on the plane.  But there gunfire missed and decided to hightail it out there since it was followed by again by gunfire from the plane.  This was the last enemy fighter that we saw and with relief we were able to land back at base without any problems."

    "With the first mission over, and the jitters of being in combat for the first time. The men on Go For Broke felt relief that things went pretty smoothly.  But they also knew that everyone would be watching to make sure that they didn't shrink from there duty!  I think the crew understands there responsibility and part of us believes that because of what our Fathers taught us.  WE WILL NOT FAIL!"

Exert from Dairy of 1st Lt. Yoshikawa. Written December 15, 1943

Sergeant Carlos Carter's (tail gunner, 318th Squadron) letter to home after the Reggio Emilia Mission, December 14, 1943

(submitted by Phillip Zaragoza. 318th Bomb Squadron)


Dear Mom,

How are things back home?  How is Bobby doing?  Is he still getting into trouble at school?  Yeah, I thought so.  Things over here couldn't be better.  Except the food; there is no cooking like your cooking, Mom.  But besides that, I am lucky to be with a great bunch of guys.  We even have some Japs here in the 88th Bomb Group (H).  I know, I know what could the army be thinking, but they aren't that bad.  They seem to be decent people.  I haven't got to personally know any of them but from what I heard they hit the target pretty good.  I am just glad we have these guys on our side.

Our first mission was today and it was a breeze.  We went to Reggio Emilla in Italy and we hardly saw any Germans.  So don't worry about me I will be okay.  I believe I have a better chance then if I had signed up to be in the infantry.  Well sorry I can't write more but I have to go.  See ya and give Bobby a hug for me!  See you when I get back home.

With love, your son

P.S. Next time I will send some pictures of the guys.


Note: The black off'ed portions of this letter were deleted by the Army censors for security reasons.