Mission to Sicily

Shot Down In the Mediterranean

"I got hit in the face and the leg."

"Then they came up with the mission to Sicily. And 36, well more than that, volunteered to fly as copilot with the British into Sicily, which we did. Out of the 36, 16 of us got back. And the reason for that is, the American tow pilots went into the Bay of Siracusa, where we were gonna land. There was anti-aircraft fire, and I got hit in the face and the leg. And they said, 'We can’t go in, it’s too hard, too difficult, so release!' I said, 'Man, we’re gonna land in the water.' He said, 'That’s too bad. Either you release, or we’re gonna release you.' And about that time the rope came flying back towards us. So we had to land in the water. We were in the water overnight holding on to the glider. And there was this British colonel, the lieutenant in charge of the armored division we were taking in. He said, 'Lieutenant, will you pray for us?' I said, 'Hell no, prayer for yourself. I’m scared to death [laughs]. I’m praying for me.' Three of the boys came up to him and said, 'We want to swim ashore.' He asked me, 'What do you think, lieutenant?' I said, 'If they can make it, let ‘em go.' And so they did. But we never heard any more from them."