Nov. 15, 1943
We are still taking life easy, nothing to do but get up when we
feel like it, go to chow, go to the noon show, then monkey
around the rest of the afternoon. It will all end very suddenly
though and we will find ourselves having to get down to
business. There are only a few planes to be worked on before
they get to ours so I imagine we will be pulling out of here the
end of the week. All our ratings came through and it was a
surprise too. I guess it doesn't pay to listen to rumors. We
were sure we wouldn't get them. I am now a Technical Sergeant.
Now if I only don't get busted I will be sitting pretty.
We practiced, ditching a couple of days ago and were all out of
the ship, including 4 passengers, in about 50 seconds.
Nov. 18, 1943
We are leaving in the morning. We are going to have an
interesting trip over. We will get to see some country around
the equator, etc., some African desert too. Our ship is in the
hangar now being worked on and I have to stand guard over it
Nov. 20, 1943
We were going to leave around 9 this morning and get clear to
our destination in Florida, along the eastern coast, but the
automatic pilot wasn't working right and by the time they got it
fixed it was 11 AM. We finally took off at 11:15. Planes can't
land at night at our Florida destination so we only came this
far today, this field is 18 miles out of Macon, Georgia. It took
us 6 hours to get here. We had a nice trip except for one thing
which caused a lot of excitement. We were going along with the
automatic pilot doing the flying when it went haywire all of a
sudden and threw us into a violent dive. I was sitting down and
the plane snapped over so suddenly that I raised up a bit and it
threw a gallon thermos of coffee off the flight deck and back
into the bomb bay. The guys in the back of the ship really got
it though. They went flying all around--clear up to the roof.
They had all kinds of bumps and bruises. After it was all over
it was very funny, because there really was nothing serious. All
the pilot had to do was press a button which released the
automatic pilot so he could take over. We thought we would go to
town tonight to see some of those Gawgia peaches we heard about
but we are restricted to the post.
This is a much different place than we have ever been at. We are
staying in a kind of hotel on the base, showers, towels, soap,
etc, furnished. We pay for our rooms out of our $7.00 per diem
pay which we get from now til we get to our overseas base. So we
are going to live like kings. We also have to buy our own meals.
We had a big beefsteak tonight for supper.
Nov. 22, 1943
We got here yesterday and have had quite a busy time since. At
11 I have to go out and stand guard on our plane til morning.
One of us is on guard all the time because we have a lot of our
personal stuff aboard. Our mail is censored from now on.
I got to see the Atlantic coast for the first time in my life
yesterday. We flew down it for a ways. It was too hazy to see
far out though.
Nov. 23, 1943
We looked at the US for the last time for awhile, today. This is
the first time I've ever flown over water. It is very
interesting. We flew along at 10,000 feet, over clouds part of
the time and sometimes it was nice and clear.
This Puerto Rico sure is an interesting place. A guy told me the
temp. never varies over 5° the year around. We had some fresh
home grown pineapple for supper and was it good! They also raise
sugar cane and some bananas. There are coconut palms all around
here with green coconuts on them. It is very green and
We each got a little bag from the red cross before we left the
states and in it was this stationery, a pack of camels, a deck
of cards, a sewing kit, a soap box with soap, and some other
Nov. 25, 1943
We got in here [British Guiana] today in the midst of a tropical
rainstorm. It is very hot and sultry here and they say it rains
nearly every day this time of the year. There was about 2 inches
of water on the ramp where we parked the plane.
Nov. 28, 1943
We passed the equator day before yesterday as we were crossing
the Amazon river. It goes right across an island in the river. I
have seen a lot of jungle. It looks very thick from the air. The
tops of the trees look like a bunch of green cauliflower. It
busts loose and rains once in a while. The people don't seen to
mind though as it's so warm. They play right out in it. This
part of Brazil [Belen, Brazil] we are in now doesn't seem to be
too rainy for which I am glad. I guess it isn't the rainy season
yet. The nights are cool so it is nice to sleep. We sleep in
tents with the sides rolled up and last night I had my pants
tied to the ceiling and when I woke up this morning my pocket
was unzipped and I found my billfold had been emptied. I was
minus $11.00. Next time I will keep it in my bed with me.
Dec. 3, 1943
You should see what we are living in now. It is very different
from what we've been used to. We are at an old French Foreign
legion post [French Morocco] and we are in tents in an olive
grove. We just have a dirt floor and it gets very cold at night
here in Africa so we build a fire on the floor in the middle of
the tent. There is a hole in the top where the smoke goes out.
Our tent smalls just like a smoke house, from the kind of wood
they have here. We sleep on army cots with no mattress.
We put 2 blankets under and 2 over but it is still hard to keep
warm. You can't imagine until you've seen it, how filthy and
primitive the natives are. They are kind of Arabs I think, and
speak French. They dress in any kind of rags they can find and
most of them go bare-footed and some of them wear sandals. I
don't think they ever wash. They wear kind of nightshirt
affairs, old ragged pants of just a piece of cloth wrapped
around them. I don't know what they live on. At chow time they
line up outside the mess hall and when the soldiers come out
they beg our scraps that are left in the mess kits, and we dump
it into their cans. They don't care what you put in. Everything
gets mixed up and looks worse than pig slop. We were in another
part a while back where the natives are negroes. They dressed
the same and were just as dirty. We have been in some bad
malaria districts and have had to take atabrine pills, and sleep
under netting and rub mosquito repellent on our face, neck,
Dec. 6, 1943
We are still camping in our tent like the rest of the Arabs
around here, and we smell like well cured hams by now, as we
have had our bonfire in the middle of the tent going night and
day. We are still weathered in here in Morocco. It has been
raining quite a bit the last couple days. It's a good thing our
tent doesn't leak. We went into town today. It is a very
interesting place but there isn't much to do. There are a few
French women around and the rest are the Arab women, who wear
veils, so we don't know what they look like, maybe they wear
them because they are so homely, I don't know. They certainly
don't wear beautiful gowns and silk veils like you see in the
movies. Their cloak looks kind of like white burlap and they are
none too clean, in fact, in general they are a very dirty bunch
of people, men, women, and kids. Many of them don't have homes
and at night they squat in alleys and doorways to sleep. People
go through the streets driving goats and sheep, and when they
lay down and refuse to walk, they pick them up and carry them. I
don't know where they go with them. I am glad that I am getting
a chance to see all these countries and people. I wouldn't take
a million for this trip.