Bare-base living facilities at A-11, France, summer 1944.  Photo from USAF archives.

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Fri 11th
Bob and Holt out on morning and afternoon. I spotted some lumber and fixed us a super clothes rack in the afternoon. Had a most wonderful shower this evening.

The gas decontaminator [truck] was over. The idea was to stand on the hole filled with rocks (loco idea?), have the driver spray you with cold running water – soap and scrub, and then have him rinse you off – never had a shower feel so wonderful.

After dressing, noticed a big crowd around Maj Hedlunds tent – Well looks like Capt McKay is back – and what a story he has to tell – He’s in French civilian clothes and has just been liberated by our advancing troops. He had hit the silk by Rennes a few days before D-Day. Picked up by underground, joined guerrillas, and finally parachutists – then captured again and finally liberated and now back with us again.

Sat Aug 12th
Stud and Jerry on morning and afternoon dive bomb mission. Lost Messenger. Bob and I floored tent with some old tarpaper. The engineers left. Camouflage gang put a nice big net over the tents – Aside from its real purpose, the net sure does keep our tent cool! Really comfortable I mean – Everyone’s starting to bitch cause we’re not flying enough – Doc says keep busy digging latrine holes! – Bob’s and my promotions returned without comment – Major Hedlund figures its on account of order freezing all promotions after July 28th – Tough break – but then!! Hopper caught a slough of 20mm & 40mm in “the Lady” and bellied in at another strip – nothing left but salvage!

Note: This was the fate of his first ‘Mary-Margaret’ aircraft.  Several other ‘Mary-Margarets’ (II, III, IV and V) met similar fates, irreparably damaged by enemy fire or hard landings.

Sun Aug 13th
Not posted – Into St. Lo to get lumber for Doc with driver and four men. Picked up 3 dressers from an old college for our tent – also found a big hogshead of cider in one corner of bombed restaurant – really tasted good – cool and nice. Whole town a shambles – met truckload after truckload of Jerry prisoners on the way back.

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