Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Oldest Military Blogger 5 Days before D Day.

D Day Minus 5 days

I left England on June 1,1944 on the Liberty ship, SS George E. Pickett.
This was the third dry run we thought,so the speech we got before we went aboard, by some nameless General, was taken in stride.
After being under sail for 12 hours we started to consider the possibility
of this, being the real thing.The following day still moving around in the Channel or off the coast of Brest more vessels joined our group.We kept moving together.A convoy without any visible Naval escort. We all stayed on deck as much as we could because it wasextremely hot below.
All the hatches were covered but we finally found that our cargo was composed of Sherman tanks, Jeeps with trailers, filled with gear,DUKWs piled high with rope cargo nets, two and a half ton trucks with canvas covers tied down and thousands of 5 gallon Jerry cans filled with gasoline.
You asked me for something to chew on. Well, it looks like I may have bitten off more than I can chew on at this moment.
Give me a day or two till, I get my shit together.
It turns out that the General with no name turned out to be Ike, who I wouldn't know from a hole in the ground, and later realized it was he, when his picture was in the Stars and Stripes.


D day minus 5 Hours

In the afternoon on the 3rd of June, many more vessels could be seen and an occasional Destroyer raced by. We were called for a briefing on deck and we found that sections of Infantry from the 90th Division were our shipmates.The briefing was about cutting off the Cherbourg Peninsula with an initial assault from the NW and then one from the opposite side of the peninsular.These forces would join in the middle and then move toward the town of Cherbourg. Historically, some of this occurred, evidently the fierce weather on June 5th may have made some of this cumbersome. We were getting seriously bored.We played cards,shot craps, wrestled, slept and ate when we could keep it down.Dusk on the 3rd we were under full sail. I didn't know where I was but from the suns position I thought we were sailing South East.With daylight on th 4th there were hundreds of ships in view but as the day wore on foggy weather, or man made fog, the storm closed in.That night, in a storm tossed sea very few could sleep.Someone was sobbing and crying in my sleeping area.I climbed down into the engine room stairwell and the sound of the boilers and pumps hammered me to doze off.The tossing of the Pickett continued for most of the morning of the 5th and then it cleared as it got dark. Suddenly the sky was full of tracers. Full of heavy Naval fire. everyone on deck realized, tomorrow we go.

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