Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Earthquakers - Overseas History of the 12th Bomb Group

IT WAS July 15, 1942. We had just left Fort Dix, New Jersey. We were aboard a train and we were headed for God knows where. At 6 p. m. we arrived at docks on the Hudson River, transferred to a ferry boat, and were taken up the Hudson to the SS Louis A. Pasteur. The Louis A. Pasteur was a French ship stranded in Canada when the war broke out. It was now a British liner with the Cunard White Star Lines. The Pasteur was one of the fastest luxury liners afloat�still probably one of the fastest, but far from being a luxury, as we were soon to find out. We were docked alongside the overturned Normandy that had burned in February of that year. The first evening we spent fixing up our bunks. We were quartered in a large room with 108 others; space was quite scarce. You can imagine the mess trying to get everything in order so we could get through the aisles. Incidentally this room with the 108 G. I.'s was formerly the Bridal Suite! We were bunked four high. For the next several weeks we were destined to look at some other guy, either in the face�or the other end�depending on which way he was turned. At night it was very uncomfortable. I had managed to find a bunk close to four ventilators, so I was a little better off than most of the fellows. To add to our discomfort we had our first encounter with bedbugs, and I must say, even though they did not bite me, the mental torture of thinking they were crawling over me all night was bad enough.