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The A-26 Invader Fights in the Pacific, Page 1

Chapter 1. Heading West to Hawaii, Page 1

My Diary

I'm starting to keep this little book tonight, June 18, 1945, but I shall go back to the 8th or 9th of May,1945 when I left Columbia, S.C., and put down a few details and incidents and dates between then and now. I do not know if the events happened in the same order as I am putting them down on the following pages, or if the dates are absolutely correct. They are to the best of my knowledge and memory.

[Click on the highlighted text to read the orders issued at Marianna Army Air Field in Florida on January 10, 1945 that sent Stechschulte and other pilots and crew members to join the 319th Bomb Group at Columbia, South Carolina-- Marianna order Page 1  Marianna order Page 2  Marianna order Page 3]

[This is half-size.Images on CD-ROM are twice as large.]

Click here to see Steck in downtown Columbia

May 9, 1945 - Today I left Columbia, S.C. and traveled by train to Savannah, Ga. I sure was glad to get out of Columbia Army Air Base. I had been flying with the 319th Bomb Group for a little over two months and was expecting to go overseas with them, when at the last minute I was dropped from the 438th squadron as a spare. Believe me, I was down in the dumps. After planning and expecting to go with the Group all this time, now all I had to look forward to was a couple of more months in that hole, Columbia - or possibly some place worse - waiting for another group to come through or to be sent overseas as a replacement.

Much to my relief and joy I didn't have to wait a couple of months, but only a few days. Around the 6th of May they asked for eight volunteers to go to Savannah. I wasted no time in getting my name on that list, being happy as hell for the chance to get out of Columbia. We all knew we were going to Savannah as replacements, but to where and what group we had no idea. Rumor had it we were to be replacements for the 319th BG which was at Savannah at the time. At least most of it was--some were still at Columbia.

The Group left Columbia eight ships at a time, therefore some were still waiting their turn to leave. We thought it funny that we would join the 319th which was still in the states, but--as I said--we didnít know. We got on the train at about 1330 at Columbia, and arrived at Savannah around 1700 the same day. Our first night here was just routine, being assigned our barracks and finding out our schedule for the next day.

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