The Locations

Most of these locations are still visible from internet-available satellite imagery. Only Licata South has disappeared of the map and become road, buildings, and yards. The locations do give the Lat-Long coordinates, though in studying the records, sometimes the Army indicated several different coordinates for the same location (sometimes having soldiers be clerk-typists there would be hefty typing error rates)

The 61st Troop Carrier Group was located at several places, and stops, along the journey to victory. They lived in the North African desert in tents, where it was too hot to touch the metal surfaces of aircraft during the day, so they worked on aircraft at night with incandescent flashlights. In North Africa circumstances forced them to work or fly in their underwear at times. There were a lot of locals who were thieves, and thus the men were on the alert at all times. Bathing was weekly. Blowing sand and dust was everywhere: in the food, in the eyes, in the hair, between the blankets, in the boots, in the latrine, just everywhere. So was malaria.

Italy provided a welcome respite from the blowing desert sand and dust- but it was replaced by rain and mud, and a temperature more mild. But life was still in tents. The local population was cooperative- but starving. For a period of time the military government actually CUT the pasta allowance significantly, and civilian rioting ensued. Servicemen were ordered to carry rifles, wear helmets, and travel in pairs when in towns. The caloric allowances for civilians was recalculated. When the 61st Troop Carrier Group moved to England, it was a significant change again. A new monetary system. New customs to learn and respect. New faces and people who spoke English. English women. Bitter cold English winter and snow, with heating coal a precious commodity. English rain, English fog. When the sun appeared everyone’s attitude improved. And there were a lot of English brides.

France was the last stop- to an airbase formerly occupied by Hermann Goering's best fighter squadrons- in Abbeville-Drucat. Tents still followed, and it was still winter, but the end of the war was in sight. Amenities improved. One could go into town and bathe daily.