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Samuel M. Findley (Tex)
Engineer/Tail Gunner
323rd BG, 453rd BS


Bombing missions continued but we were beginning to run out targets within range of our station in England. Preparations were being made to move our Group to France. On my birthday (July 16th) someone told me that they had seen my name on a list of combat crewmen that were to be rotated back to the U.S. All of us on the list were not scheduled for any more combat missions. I had completed 78 missions during the year that I was engaged in combat against the Nazis. During the last week of July, I departed with the rest of my crew to Liverpool England where we boarded the troop ship SS United States bound for Boston, MA. There was about 600 German prisoners of war on board. The threat of sinking by enemy submarine was a possibility, but to make it less likely the ship took a zigzag course back across the Atlantic. The ship made the ocean crossing alone. A Catalina flying boat and a blimp flew as escort on various parts of the route. The crossing took six days and everybody was on deck as we were approaching the U.S. to catch the first glimpse of land. When we docked in Boston harbor the flags were waving, the people were cheering and the band was playing. It was a glorious feeling to be back.

Busses came right up to the dock and we returnees were taken to Camp Miles Standish. There our orders were prepared for our next duty station with a delay of 21days in route. There were banks of phones at the Camp for service men to call their loved ones but my parents had no phone so there was no way that I could notify them of my return. After two days my orders were prepared, sending me by train to the Rest and Rehabilitation Center in Santa Monica, CA for reassignment. These orders specified that I was authorized a delay of 21 days to reach this destination. It was summertime and hot and after two or three days, on a coal burning train, my uniform was smudged from the smoke and cinders. I don’t remember why a number of us overseas returnees were let off the troop train at Camp Beauregard at Alexandria, LA to begin our "delay en route"..I suppose that this location was central to where a number of us planned to begin our "delay." I had planned to ride a regular passenger train from Alexandria to Dallas where my parents were living while they were working in aircraft factories. When the train came into the station it was full of passengers and I could not board. There were many others in my same situation. Five of us servicemen each paid a taxi driver $20.00 to take us to Dallas. The taxi driver drove me to the address of my parents and when I got there I sat my bag on the curb and told him to wait. It was about two in the morning. I knocked on my parent’s apartment door and their landlady awoke and asked who I was looking for. I told her for my parents and she told me that they had gone back to Mt. Vernon since they heard the news. At that moment I knew that my brother had been killed. Without waiting for any further explanation I went to an agency that arranged for people to ride with someone travelling in the same direction by sharing the expenses.

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