459th BG (May, 1944)

Source: 1158-1162:1944.05 459th War Diary

W A R  D I A R Y


May 1944

May 2 — Athletic fervor hit a new height as Manager-Coach-Clean-Up-Hitter Lt. Norman Klibe talks up the first ball game of the year. E.M. proceed to trounce officers 21-0 in abbreviated game called because of too many runs scored. “Oklahoma” Haines allows one hit, that to a dark horse—Lt. Col. Clarvoe.

May 3 — Latest four-star rumor has group returning to States in July to reform as B-29 outfit. Second billing rumor has group moving to southern France after invasion to bomb from closer range. It is felt French gals couldn’t be anything but improvement over senoritas.

May 6 — Group suffers its heaviest casualty total of five planes missing in action.

May 7 — E.M. open intra-wing softball season with 14-2 victory over 454 B.G. “Okie” Haines gives up four hits as Roy Schmendt and Dale Shaw led the local brigade with two blows apiece.

May 8 — Mystery disappearance of Sgt. Maj. Herb Mosher does not clear up upon receipt of forwarding address: 34th General Hospital, Naples.

May 9 — It’s “Okie” Haines again as E.M. drub 304 Wing E.M., previously undefeated, 13-5. Roy Schmendt got three for three, including a homer..



…and a double. Officers, playing on home field and aided by smoke bombs, also scored victory over Wing, 8-7. Line-up included Cols. Munn and Lively, Capts. Goodrich and Conway.

May 11 — “Reliable source” rumors had invasion coming tomorrow (semi-full moon, calm channel, etc.) Intensified by knowledge that big push in Italy was due to coincide with planned double mission on Cassino front. Logical to presume invasion will break loose simultaneously on all fronts. And, undoubtedly, invasion will find heavy bombardment used in a tactical role as “flying artillery.”

May 12 — E.M. maintains undefeated softball record by defeating 455 B.G., 11-2. Haines gives four hits.

May 14 — E.M. ball club assumes sole possession of first place with 8-6 defeat of previously undefeated 34th Field Hospital. Visions now of playing for Air Force championship after completion of three-game series with each club in league.

May 15 — Sun-tans were the order of the day as men followed the lead of Col. Munn in jumping the gun by one day. Some mighty fast change-overs were observed after the “old man” blossomed out — that of Major Sneed being recorded in four minutes, thirty-one seconds. Lt. Fromer, apparently by divine dispensation, had donned summer raiment two weeks earlier.



May 16 — After nine weeks films handled by PX came back from Bari. Among the more interesting shots revealed was a set of somebody else’s pictures featuring Chinese GI’s. Unhappy recipient — Gail Stesle — thought the Allied goodwill policy has been carried a bit too far.

May 17 — Sgt. Maj. ??anar returned to camp today, mum about reason for two-weeks’ absence, packs and departs for embarkation to U.S.A.

May 18 — Full moon has passed and still no invasion. Many pools are being run and looks like funds will have to be carried over at least a month.

May 19 — Extension for three-doored dog houses built to house newest canine addition, “Crypto” the code room hound. He takes up community living with “Hypo” and “Printo” of Photo section, “Snooks” of ?-4.

May 20 — Haines allows three hits as E.M. made clean sweep of league’s first round with 4-3 victory of 456 B.G.

May 22 — Special Order 71, typical of its kind, reads “Following named personnel orgn. Indicated ?? Fr pres sta to San Spirato Rest camp on or about 23 May 1944 on temp dy for a period of five (5) day, rptg upon arrival thereat to CO for further instructions. Upon completion of temp dy personnel will return to proper sta. Travel via govt mtr/t and/or rail is authorized”, as 14 more E.M. departed camp for a “Rest” in villas…



…by the sea at San Spirato, five miles before Bari. Men at camp eat what they want, when they want, and as much as they want in the spacious dining quarters of a Fascist estate bordering the Adriatic, taken over when Benito was finito. Camp also features all types of light diversion, including high frequency radio set, latest recordings, table and lawn tennis, baseball and horseshoes. Men are put up in single and double rooms in spacious villas  while chambermaids do menial chores. For the more restive souls there was always a bike ride to a nearby town, such as Bitanto. S/Sgt. Jphn Gait was so pleased with the pleasant freedom, afforded particularly by restriction-free villas, that he overstayed his time, explained: “They didn’t post my name to return to camp.” So far as the ground personnel dispatched to San Spirato are concerned, they are quite willing to leave Capri to the flyers.

May 26 — E.M. suffers first defeat of campaign, dropping 10-5 error-pocked game to 304th Wing. Team retains first spot, however.

May 27 — E.M. club reopened after short shut-down for purpose of completing decorations. A repetition of first opening, featuring even more drunks.

May 28 — Self-appointed Special Service blossomed out with two-party maison de joie. Aroused by a correlated combination of men missing from duty and an unusual run on the medics for pros, Capt. Stewart found answer…



…in adjacent field where 200 foot line of men sweated it out for a chance at a couple of Italian “drink and dance” tricks. A good many men had some additional sweating out to do — and not merely a result of official discussion — since one of the trickers had syphillis, the other gonerrhea.

May 30 — After months of sweating out the new arrival, Lt. Rose tears open cablegram to read: “Rose, James E.; 459th BG, ASH O 581152, Gp Hdqs, Dash born May 25 May stop both fine.” Red Cross Field director Tom Lindsay hastened services msg requesting gender of new “Dash”, did not keep proud papa of enigma from handing out hoarded cigars.

May 31 — With such phrases as “Dove il Gabinetto (where is the latrine) first on the agenda, a class in Italian for E.M. commenced in the E.M. club. Under the tutelage of Mike Wasterpool and Al Mattern the class got good response, showed signs of real progress. All students went away with at least a knowledge of numbers one through ten. Auspicious month of bombing climaxed by 11 missions in 10 days, bringing group total to an even 50.



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