27 Aug 1943 - 14 Oct 1943
At Catania we found everything SNAFU. The British Eighth Army were camped all over the place. Having found the field practically one continuous crater and all the buildings mere shells from bombings. They had decided nobody in his senses would try to use the place for an airfield. They just didn't know our experience and ability with a pick and shovel. After considerable urging, we nudged them over enough to give elbow room for our personnel and our planes. We were going to miss the orchards and vineyards but figured this loss was offset by a nearby sandy beach.
Jerry welcomed us with a raid just as we sat down to supper. Nobody spilled his coffee. But the guns on the line and all around the area in spots we didn't know about opened up and the group hit the ditch as one man. Supper was "meat and vegetable stew" again anyhow. Little damage was done although some of the folks up at Group Headquarters were chased around a shelter by fragments. We had frequent Jerry visits but on only one was there any real excitement --the afternoon the ack-ack got one Jerry, the Spitties another and one of our barrage balloons was sent down in flames, all in the space of a few minutes.
Through September and into October, the missions to Italy were mostly milk runs and we had stand downs for days on end. The frequent trips to nearby towns began to pall, heavy rain and frequent showers dampened our spirits. Everybody was bored and restless, the only bright spot being the receipt of orders for the first boys to go home.
Again came orders to move and the "A" party left taking most of the tents and equipment with them. For three days the rest huddled into the little shelter we could find because as soon as the tents were gone, the heavens opened up and unloosed a veritable flood.
Catania, Sicily in September 1943. Another view of the orderly room, left to right: Cpl. Engelking, File Clerk, T/Sgt. Knueven, Personnel Sgt-Major & S/Sgt. Dickson, Payroll Clerk
Catania, Sicily in September 1943. A view of the orderly room tent. Note open air effect – This was before the rains came at Catania. Seated from Left to right are: Lt. Shealy, Adj., Major Keller, Sq. Commander, and First Sergeant Dilbeck.
Catania, Sicily in September 1943 in front of Squadron bulletin board. Message center and mail room can be seen in the left background. From left to right: Lt. Henderson, Lt. Masten, Lt. O'Clock, Major Hackney (Operations Officer), Lt. Thompson, Lt. Belanger, & Lt. Kessler
Catania, Sicily in September 1943. The spacious quarters of the squadron commander, including telephone and radio. On the left of the radio is Major Hackney, with Major Keller tuning in a station.
Catania, Sicily in September 1943 on the occasion of the first aniversary of the activation of the Squadron. The boys are in a fiesta mood here as they celebrate the first beer in over six months. From left to right: Sgt. Legare, M/Sgt. Whitaker, 1st Sgt. Dilbeck, Cpl. Way, Sgt. Zala, Sgt. Bleizeffer & Cpl Perle.
Catania, Sicily in September 1943. Lt. George Look says he believes in personal cleanliness
Catania, Sicily in September 1943. A group of enlisted men talk shop in the S-2 office under the trees. Left to right are: Sgt. Krause, S-2 clerk recuperating after a hard day, S/Sgt. Williams, T/Sgt. Willoughby, Cpl. Sekelsky & Sgt. Heath. S/Sgt. Williams is missing in action over Athens, Greece since November 17, 1943.
Catania, Sicily in September 1943. A view of the Officer's Mess
Catania, Sicily in September 1943. From left to right: Lt. Fete,
Lt. Dyrud, Lt. Young and Lt. Williams.
Catania, Sicily in September 1943. A scene in the officer's mess showing Lt. Thompson on the right front. Lt. Shealy is hidden by Lt. Thompson. The girls were entertainers (Italian) who performed during the evening program. The occasion was the first anniversary of the Squadron.
Catania, Sicily in September 1943. Major Keller, Squadron Commander isn't really as interested in the newspaper as he appears to be – The voice of “Axis Sally” is coming over the radio
Catania, Sicily in September 1943. Lt. Nafe, Engineering Officer, discusses his problems with T/Sgt. Willoughby, Tech Supply Sergeant.
Catania, Sicily in September 1943. A poker game during leisure moments.
Catania, Sicily September 1943: From left to right: Lt. Maclay, F/O King, S/Sgt. Knuckles & S/Sgt. Dunkinson.
Catania, Sicily, September 1943. Standing from left to right: T/Sgt. Hunt, Lt. Clem, S/Sgt. Williams, Lt. Mayes, Lt. Stotler, Sgt. Easton. Front row: Cpl. Howell, Cpl. Sturgis, T/Sgt. Daviess & Sgt. Abrams.
Catania, Sicily in September 1943. Standing from left to right: Lt. Mayhew, Lt. McCormick, T/Sgt. Mclane, S/Sgt. Brashars, Capt. Thabault. Front row: T/Sgt. Stauffer & S/Sgt. Strait.
Catania, Sicily in September 1943. Standing from left to right: Lt. Look, Capt. Welch, Lt. Swope, S/Sgt. Villard, S/Sgt. Doyle; Front row: S/Sgt. Kirwan, T/Sgt. Moran, T/Sgt. Flynn. Ship in background is the original 6P, Leaky Lucy
DeYoung, Lt. Hendreicks, S/Sgt. H. G. Walters, Lt. Howard. Front row left to right: Lt. Parham and T/Sgt. Max Sandmeier. [Ship pictured is the original 6C, Prop Wash
Catania, Sicily in September 1943. Standing from left to right: Cpl. Stuczyk, Lt. duskiewicz, Lt. Ohman, Lt. Murphy. Front row: S/Sgt. Brown, T/Sgt. Shinn, S/Sgt. Helffrich. Ship in background is the original 6E, Who Cares?
Catania, Sicily in September 1943. Standing from left to right: Lt. Jenne, T/Sgt. Badley, Sgt. Pasek, Lt. Merryman, Lt. Saffery; front row: T/Sgt. Billington and S/Sgt. Weiner. Ship in background is named: Wild Cat