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WAR DIARY OF THE 756TH BOMB SQUADRON (HV)
By Corporal E. B. Sheppard
April 1- No mission today, guess we were fooling the enemy. It was not on account of weather for the day was fair. Plans are in the making for the furtherance of the enlisted men’s club. It is understood that Corporal Francis X. Oliver from Boston is campaigning for the job of president. He is a good man, genial and capable. Personally would like to see him get the job.
April 2- Church today. The attendance is always good. Our group Chaplain gives some very fine talks. He doesn’t go highbrow on us or try to sell us a “bill of goods”. Just urges us to live a decent life. No mission today.
April 3- Started the campaign against Malaria today. It is very prevalent in this area. In fact, our medics tell us that this is the third worst malaria area in the world. We have to have our nets up over our bunks before the 15th without fail. And have to put on lotion after sundown. Ugh..
April 4- Long mission today. All four ships from our squadron came home safely. One of the other squadrons had a ship pretty badly shot up but they made a beautiful crash landing. That must be quite a thrill to have to come down in that fashion.
April 5- Ice cream for supper tonight. It was especially appreciated by the combat men who had a holiday today. No mission. We have had it pretty chilly the last few nights. But those G.I. blankets are really warm. Just as glad we haven’t gone into khakis.
April 6- Again no mission. A cold and grey day. Had an administrative inspection by Wing today. Our squadron has been making a good record. We have consistently had more planes in the are too. “C” rations on the menu today. Oh well, guess we can’t have real meat all the time.
April 7- We had immunization shots today. The campaign in malaria thus began in earnest. We were warned again as to the strict rules with regard to prevention. At the same time we had our shots the group dentist took a look at our molars. Most of the boys are pretty well fixed for teeth. Good scrub ball game tonight in the squadron area.
April 8- Forgot to mention yesterday about the mission. It was pretty fair. We have done better jobs although our squadron got its full complement of planes in the air. Carpenter shop is busy turning out the “T’s” for holding our mosquito nets above our bunks. No mission today. Weather was no good.
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April 9- Sunrise services today to celebrate Easter. Many were in the town church. Services here were really quite impressive. Having no mission today made it seem more like Easter. Good chow today.
April 10- Mission cancelled out by weather today. More and more the fellows are wondering when the invasion will start, and making bets on the exact day. Ball game today between the officers and the enlisted men. We won.
April 11- Cancelled out again on account of weather. Most of us are thoroughly aware now of the dangers of “???” the malarial mosquito and there are very few bunks which are not outfitted for mosquito netting. We will be required to use lotion after sundown as an added protection.
April 12- Mission today was called successful. Our ships all came back safely except for the crew who went down in Yugoslavia. For most of the members it was their first mission. It is thought that they got down safely but don’t know for sure.
April 13- Another good one today. Reported that we destroyed a good number of enemy planes on the ground. Good steak for dinner tonight. Our meals have been surprisingly good. Had fresh eggs for breakfast this morning.
April 14- Mission cancelled out by weather today. Got great news! The crew that came down in Yugoslavia are back. In just 72 hours after they were reported missing they came back, all but one of the crew who was killed. Rumors are flying thick and fast as to whether they will go home as we understand they are supposed to do.
April 15- Long mission today. Very long. But though it was long it was worth the trip. Our wondering about the crew that came back is over. They are sweating out the trip home right now. Its a cinch that they will leave as soon as possible.
April 16- Here’s the way to fight a war! The crew that came back have all received the Air Medal, all have been promoted, and are leaving or rather they left today for the States. Got here, flew one mission, came down in enemy territory, got back in 72 hours and 48 hours later had been decorated, received a promotion and are now on their way home. Some good break!
April 17- Another long mission today. But all planes from the 756th came back. The others have had some bad luck but we have been having very good fortune. Dinner not so good tonight. Hot cakes for breakfast and they are always good. Why can’t they put three good meals together some day?
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April 18- Mission cancelled today because of weather. By now we are all pretty well used to the idea of crawling into our tents thru or rather under our mosquito nets. But I doubt whether we will ever get used to that sneeze powder they spread around every night just after dusk.
April 19- Ships left the field today on a milk run into northern Italy. The sports event of the day was a thrilling baseball game between a hand picked group of our officers and the ???th Service Squadron. After trailing throughout the game by a score of 3 to 4, Lt. Ralph O’Brien of Washington D. C. Put the game on ice by slamming a home run with the bases loaded.
April 20- No mission today. Weather kind of windy with an overcast. Formation was held at 1230 for the awarding of Air Medals to the officers and men of the combat crews who had flown five or more missions over enemy territory. Medals were presented by Colonel Upthegrove, Wing Commanding Officer. Coming to attend the ceremony also was Lt. Col. M. M. Munn, our Group C. O. Another important event that occurred today was the selling of Coca Colas to each man in the Squadron Some of the boys mixed their cokes with cherry brandy. Had our favorite dessert for dinner tonight, ice cream.
April 21- All of our planes returned today from a long mission, made especially long because of the overcast causing them to fly a roundabout course, and also causing them to not bomb the original target.
April 22- No mission today. Weather. Planes went on practice mission. We are all anxiously awaiting the opening of the enlisted men’s club which will be sometime during the coming week. The club is colorfully decorated with paintings and has a bar and a gambling room. There is a fine balcony which will be nice this summer. President of the club is Sergeant Oliver, also know as the “Irish Thrush” from Boston. A good guy.
April 23- Ships left the field this morning on an important mission. All of our planes returned at 1600 after having done a perfect job. Lt. Kirsch our Squadron Bombardier was very happy about he mission and said, “My hat is of to every single man who went on this raid. They are to be complimented on such excellent results”.
April 24- Overcast today but the ships went out. Didn’t hit the primary target because of weather so dropped on another one. Mission not too successful. But the one yesterday gets better every day. Understand that Wing is raving about the job our group did. Later in the day word came through that General Twining himself characterized it as a “superb job of precision bombing”. Everyone feels awfully good about it.
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April 25- This was a day on which we got fooled. Everybody expected the mission to be a milk run but it turned out to be a tough one. However all of our squadron’s ships came back in good shape. We have to take atabrine with our evening meal each day as a preventative of the symptoms of malaria.
April 26- Weather cancelled the mission today. Very chilly and sort of a no good day.
April 27- Weather cancelled us out again today. This is a bad spell of weather. Khakis wouldn’t be comfortable.
April 28- Once again cancelled out. Lt. Jones gave his talk tonight which is to be a regular affair every week. He discusses various personalities in the news. The last two talks have been on Hitler.
April 29- The ships went on a very long mission today but they always feel good about that kind when they are successful as the mission was today. Still getting compliments coming through on that job of April 23. Rumors have it that there will be decorations for the leaders.
April 30- Another good mission today to wind up the month and to make the day end up right we had ice cream for dessert. Opening of the Enlisted Men’s Club came off in fine shape. Not too much of a brawl, but everyone had a good time.
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