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"A Early Morning Sea Sweep"  << back >>

On May 6, 1943, 37th flight crews were awakened by Jimmy Stivers, our operations clerk at 2 a.m. for a early morning mission.

Operations had received a call from our intelligence that German sieble ferries were leaving the harbor of Tunis, and were presumed to be headed for Sicily.

We ate an early breakfast, and went out to our assigned planes. The crew chief was already there, and preparing the ship for take off. Armament crews were loading the bombs. When George Jackson, our pilot, came back from briefing of our target, with the other officers on our crew, we were to go out on a sea sweep, between Tunis and Sicily.

The 17th group was assigned to search a grid area between Catania, Sicily, and Tunis.

We took off from Telegram, our base, formed up into a formation, and headed out to the sea, and started to patrol our assigned grid area. By now the first light of the day was on us.

We were not on patrol for more than half an hour when George Jackson called the crew and alerted us that a target had been sighted. He then remarked "I guess we'll be going back to A.P.O. 520 sooner than we expected.

As we started our bomb run, I could see 12 Sieble Ferries, the Siebles broke their formation, and separated from each other in groups of three, then they started evasive action to give our bombardiers a a harder target.

We made two runs on our targets, each time one half of our bomb load.

We bombed from 12,000 feet.

As the Germans sent up a carpet barrage that topped out at about 10,000 feet. From the waist gun position I saw two boats get direct hits, and a third boat dead in the water, no motion at all. We then headed back to A.P.O. 520.

When we landed trucks came out to our planes to bring to bring the crews to interrogation at the intelligence tent.

At the entrance to the intelligence tent the red cross ladies had set up a coffee stand, we each got a cup of coffee, and a donut. We were asked Questions about the mission, and did we see anything different or unusual. We were then dismissed.

My father goes on about how he had tried to get more info on the sieble ferries.

Would anybody with info or a recollection of any missions or anyone who would like to correspond, please feel free to contact me at

Thank you,
Joe Donato jr.

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