Texas Military Forces Museum


111th Reconnaissance Squadron
World War II Narrative History

Part X:  Corsica

On July 19 "A" echelon, with one-half of the squadron personnel, equipment and transportation, left the port at Civitavecchia bound for Corsica. Aboard the LST we tore into the navy chow with a vengeance - steak, chocolate cake, corn flakes, toast with real butter. Navy men live mighty well. We took hot salt-water showers below decks and enjoyed the comforts of porcelain wash bowls, mirrors, and hot water for shaving. We bunked down atop our equipment-loaded vehicles for the night. The LST docked the following morning at an American engineer built pier in southern Corsica. We bivouaced that night in a cork grove and left the following morning in truck convoy for Borgo airfield on the northeast coast of Corsica. On the same day "B" echelon, still in Italy, arrived at the staging area near Santa Maria, where they were to enjoy plenty of swimming, sight-seeing and rest, before boarding the ship for the trip to France.

Those who operated from Corsica were not favorably impressed with the island made famous by the movies and "Little Nap." There was an abundance d stifling heat, dust, and mosquitoes, and an appalling lack of opportunity for elbow-bending and similar activities in off-duty hours. This was compensated for, to some extent, by the issuance of American beer and cokes with our PX rations, good swimming holes, and the choice of several movies held nightly in nearby areas as well as our own. Joe Lewis staged an exhibition boxing match at a nearby sports stadium which a good many of our men attended.

There was plenty of work to be done in preparation for the big day ahead. Engine changes were made with assembly-line speed, armament was cleaned, checked and boresighted, radio equipment was modified and tuned to new frequencies, and much new equipment was installed for over-water operations. In as much as we were to work directly in co-ordination with the Navy on the next operation, our ranks were supplemented by Navy pilots, mechanics, ordnance specialists, and radio technicians who aided us in our preparation. These men had come from various ships: the battleship Arkansas, cruisers Brooklyn, Tuscaloosa, and Augusta, and several others who had established proud records in the Normandy landings. The sailors welcomed the change from shipboard living, but were not envious of our existence.

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