War Diary: 459th Bomb Group (June 1944)

Source: LastName, First, MI, Rank Air Corps, Squadron Historian. “War Diary of 459th Bomb Group” Historical Records, June 1944. Reel B0607, Microfilm 1097-1100


June 1944.

June 1 – Col. Munn host at O.C. to guests from Wing and other Groups. First appearance of South African and New Zealand nurses who make instant hit.

June 2 – Radio operator Savitsky, between yawns, catches up on his correspondence during mission to Miskolc railway yards. B-17’s of the 15th AAF leave for Russia on first shuttle run.

June 3 – French traveling show from Algeria plays one night stand on baseball diamond presenting entertaining performance but disappointing many hopefuls expecting to see the original can-can.

June 4 – First of weekly discussions held by E.V. treats “G.I. Bill of Rights” loan provisions severely criticizing same as impractical for the veterans and inflationary in trend; educational provisions approved with exception of those discriminating against men over 24; general criticism: Bill is political football and will slide out of sight after closing of football season which happens to coincide with elections.

June 5 – News interest mounts as Allies approach Rome. News of City’s fall comes late in evening. 757th Show at O.C. features: “Oh that B dash two four, oh that four-engined whore”, and “Coming in on a desk and a chair”.

June 6 – INVASION: after months of preparation the final phase of the European war begins. First bulletin comes early in the morning and news-hungry crowds besiege teletype operators and bulletin boards during day. Popular questions: “Can they make the beachhead secure?” “Will there be other landings?”

June 7 – Invasion news still scant but apparently favorable. Feature entertainment on field brings four real American girls — Clean, good looking, animated — and their conquest is complete.  Good musicians, the numbers best received were “Old Man River”, “The Lord’s Prayer”, “Ave Maria”. (Come to think of it, there was a man in the show too). First general court martial to try Group officers held in Foggia.

June 8 – Juicy rumors flow again: Russia has declared war on Japan.

June 9 – A black day as unsuccessful raid on Munich costs 5 of our aircraft — and 50 men. Speculation rife on worthlessness of radar equipment on Mickey ships.

June 10 – Leaders discover new method of shortening the war. Hq personnel is restricted to area and 0600 reveille instituted. Flying officers who thought they had left training days behind faint as they see new Link trainers brought in.

June 11 – New low postal record established when total receipts for Gp constitute one V-mail for Pvt. Roland (5×5) Smith and one tabloid for S/Sgt ??sterpool. As Sunday crowds milled about Hqs a sleek Fiat drives up bearing sign in English: “Official Midwife”. From one side pops a big-bosomed older Italian woman and out the other side come two sexy-looking girls, evidently her clients. All heads are turned their way as Mom advances and wants to know where is “Tenette Elibe”? Interest mounts and buzz of pleasurable speculation ensues while a search is made for the Lieutenant. He is found and crowd closes in to enjoy the full benefit of this choice morsel. Great disappointment when the O.M. turns out to be looking for someone else with a similar name.

June 12 – EM drop 10-6 game to 34th Sta Hospital but retain league by slim margin.

June 14 – $2.00 individual donations to mess fund gets results. Dinner menu: fresh carrots, peas, celery, steak, fresh potatoes, peaches, ice cream and cherries. Fresh milk and coffee — either or both. What, no Coronas?

June 16 – Capt. Reed, popular Operations Officer, first of Gp flying personnel to be lost, fails to return from raid on Vienna oil refinery. In Mickey ship with him are Lts. Bloom and Glick, each on his 50th mission. Col. Casey moves to Wing as an Air Inspector. Appointment of Col. Lively to Deputy makes hit with entire Group. Major Lee becomes Operations Chief, and at 23 years, must be one of the youngest ever to hold such a job. His influence felt immediately as he establishes new security and operating procedures. Capt. Tompkins becomes 758th C.O. Lt. Cannon becomes 756th Operations Officer.

June 17 – E.M. turn in all winter clothing except blouse. New crop of rumors sprouts and spreads. When Cpl. Strausberg, seated at his ease, heard the “Match, Joe?” request from Giuseppe Gallichio, Italian laborer, he promptly obliged, thinking Giuseppe wanted to light a cigarette and went back to his reading. A minute later he had cause to regret his decision as he fled through the latrine with a smoking posterior, after Giuseppe had gone about his business of burning out the latrines.

June 18 – Another postal record when Sgt. Lee Gadona returning from a month of school at Algiers finds 80 letters and 7 packages for himself.

June 19 – Dialog between two G.I.s waiting in line for the movie to open. First Soldier: What’s playing tonight?” Second Soldier: “Standing Room Only.” F.S.: “All right, smart guy, cut out the frigging wise cracks and tell me what’s playin’.” S.S.: “The feature picture, my fine-feathered friend, is ‘Standing Room Only’, with Paulette Goddard.”

June 20 – Hq men dig ditch (with help from Italian labor) 150. long, 4 1/2 feet wide and 2 feet deep to lift restrictions.

June 21 – Col. Allison and other high ranking officers were seated around the conference table awaiting word from the planes which have gone north to bomb

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an important target. An aide brings in the first coded flash. It is quickly decoded. It is a practice communication from Radio Operator Heinketh on his first operational mission. It reads: “What’s buzzin’, cousin?”

June 22 – Five day period of stand-down ends as missioin is flown to Fiat works at Turin.

June 23 – E.M. win league championship by defeating 456th 3-2. Season record for 459th: 13 W, 2 L.; for 456th 12 W, 3 L.

June 24 – Partnerless hepcats swing and sway as “Bombshells”, an all-negro outfit from the E.M. corps score at hit at Sat. Eve blow-out of E.M. Club.

June 25 – Issue of “Straight and Level” shows 459th third in bombing effectiveness in 15th A.F. Great share due to Cap. Tompkins’ first group-leading assignment, which netted 69% hits within 1,000 yard radius. Lt. Tom Kennedy, veteran pilot of the 757th and holder of A.F. C. Becomes Capt. and Asst. Gp Operations Officer and the same day his crew fails to return from mission.

June 28 – Talented Arabian dancer, traveling with her Columbus, Ohio, mother, keeps love-starved men of the 459th goggle-eyed as she waves her midriff to and fro in the afternoon sun.

June 29 – Mess-hall logic wins again as Sgt. Doujac questions the why of a new creation of raisins and onions — “salade malade”. “It’s easy enough,” replied Sgt. Roybal, “we didn’t have enough onions for the salmon and whaddya want us to do, throw ‘em away?” Outdoor shower rigged up near Photo Lab.