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June 11, 1943 "D-Day for Pantelleria."

After the usual pre-flight checks, and our pilot George Jackson briefed the crew, we now know that an invasion fleet was on its was to Pantelleria and would make landings there this day. The 17th was the first group over the Island today. For some reason we had a P-40 escort today. There was very light flak from below. We were after a target of opportunity if we could find one. All we could see was bomb craters all over the island. Somehow we did hit a small gas dump on the edge of the island, black smoke came up to our altitude of 9000 ft. almost at once.

We had been about 30 minutes ahead of our landing forces as per schedule. We could see the invasion fleet as we were leaving the island. Pantelleria, surrendered with no opposition. When we landed at Sedrata, the crews attended the shortest interrogation ever, there was so little to report, shortly after the fall of Pantelleria, I read in the "Stars and Stripes", the only casualty was one soldier in the landing force - he had been bitten by a wild donkey.

This was the first piece of European land to be taken and held by the Allies for the duration of the War.

Joe Donato, 37th BG
October 5, 2002

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