Tag Archives: A military man remembers

Fred Remembers~Part 4

16 Sep

SUNDAY MEMORIES
Judy Wills

 

As I recall, sometime, probably in the late Spring or early Summer of 1947, we moved from our quarters in Caserta up to the area near Pisa, Italy.

 

June 1970 – Judy and the Leaning Tower

There was a town up there called either Viareggio or Livorno. It was near camp Darby, which Judy and I have visited. We were there for about two weeks, and then we drove on over to Trieste.

Trieste at the time was a U.S. protectorate – actually a U.S. and British protectorate. It was a free territory administered by the U.S. and British. As I recall, it was four miles wide and 19 miles long from North to South and had about 1,000 U.S. troops and another 700 British troops there. The overall name was the Trieste United States Troops, which was abbreviated TRUST. I believe it stayed as a free territory until 1956, when it was finally divided up between Italy, which got the city and the port, and the rest went to Yugoslavia.

One of the nice things we enjoyed to do for sort-of-a-vacation time while we lived in Trieste, was to drive up into the Dolomite mountains in northern Italy, to the city of Cortina d’Ampezzo, which is where they had the 1956 Olympics, which, of course was some years after we were there.

 

1948 – Dolomites – Cortina – Tofane
From Charles Wills’ albums

 

The unit had a Special Forces hotel there which was right on a golf course, with a little lake, and we used to go up there both in the summer for a summer resort, and in the winter time and do some skiing. It was a beautiful resort area, and we enjoyed it.

Some good memory that I have about living in Trieste was that a little bit north of town, outside the city limits was a castle called Miramare, which is where the U.S. had some of their administrative offices that may have been their headquarters for a while for the U.S. Forces in it. It was left over from Emperor Maximilian, and it was right on the coast, which was real rocky there.

 

Trieste – via Carducci #2 – where the Wills lived in the 1940’s after WW2
They lived in the “Mezzanine” – just under the arches her

 

 

 

I remember the Corps of Engineers manufactured a beach – they brought in some sand from some place and had a little beach area there where people could get a little sun tan on the beach. But the basic swimming area there was really rocky, however it was a fairly sharp drop-off. You could go out 20 or 30 feet and it was already 10 or 15 feet deep.

 

1948 – June – Miramare Castle gardens and beach, Trieste, Italy
From Charles Wills’ albums

 

I remember there was a large rock, roughly 20-foot square, that we could swim out to, and then jump off that into the water. They eventually put up about a 10×10-foot raft out there that was anchored so that we had another thing we could jump onto and off of.

 

1948 – Miramare Castle pier – The Wills family

I remember swimming down probably 8 or 10 feet, maybe deeper, and swimming through the grass, and noticing the fish. I was able to do this with my eyes open, even though I didn’t have a mask or goggles on. I think the water was not as salty as the ocean.

~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~~~~

JUDYJudy is living in Central Florida with her retired U.S. Air Force husband of 50+ years. Born in Dallas, Texas, she grew up in the Southwestern United States.She met her husband at their church, where he was attending the university in her town. After college and seminary, he entered the Air Force, and their adventures began.They lived in eight of our United States, and spent six years in Europe, where their oldest daughter was born. She was a stay-at-home mom for many years
Judy has always been involved with music, both playing the piano and singing.
Always interested in exercise, she was an aerobic dancing instructor, as well as a piano teacher for many years, and continues to faithfully exercise at home.
After moving to Central Florida, she served as a church secretary for nearly nine years.Her main hobby at this point in time is scanning pictures and 35mm slides into the computer. She also enjoys scrapbooking.
She and her husband have two married daughters and four grandchildren, including grandtwins.

Fred Remembers~Part 3

9 Sep

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

 

In late 1946, my Dad was transferred to a military facility near Naples, Italy, and while we were waiting to go ourselves, Mom and us four kids were staying with Dad’s mom in Ocean View, New Jersey.

 

The Wills family, before Charles left for Italy

When it came time for us to go, we were fortunate to be able to fly over, and as I recall, we left on or about the first of February, 1947.  We flew out of La Guardia, on Long Island.

Kitty and the four children, ready to fly to Italy

We flew from there up to Gander, in Newfoundland, and it was snowing when we landed there, and while they were de-icing the plane, they decided we needed to spend the night there so they could finish de-icing the plane.  They put us up, I guess, some place near the airport.  The next morning we flew out of Gander and went across the pond to Shannon, Ireland.  When we got there, it was snowing again, so we had to stay overnight again, at Shannon, and the next morning it was good enough weather so that we flew off.  We were supposed to fly to Paris, then on to Rome, which was our final destination.  However, I had gone to sleep during flight, and somehow it woke me up with everyone screaming and hollering, and it was obvious we were where we were to be going.  I said, “what’s all the fuss – are we in Paris?”  They said, “no, we flew over Paris because it was flogged in, and we were on to Rome.”  So we were finally there.  This was about the second or third of February, 1947.

I remember when we actually landed in the airport in Rome, that it was kind of a noisy landing, which was unusual for most airports.  It turns out that the main airport had still not been repaired, since it was soon after World War II, obviously, and so we actually landed on what they called, PSP, which is pierced steel plates.  They had laid that down and that was the landing strip.

 

 

By Royal Air Force official photographer, Trievnor J (Fg Off) – http://media.iwm.org.uk/iwm/mediaLib//54/media-54531/large.jpgThis is photograph C 5894 from the collections of the Imperial War Museums., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24448640

I also remember they took us almost immediately to one of the nice hotels in Rome, which had been taken over by the U.S. military, and I think we stayed there for a while before we moved to our quarters, which was in the big apartment-type complex in Caserta, which is near Naples.  I remember the apartment there was heated with one pot-bellied stove, which was in the middle of one of the rooms.  I don’t even remember which room it was, but I remember that pot-bellied stove was the only heat we had in the apartment.  I also remember we could look out our room, which was on the second or third floor, and we could see the courtyard, which was where I and my friends used to play.

 

~~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

JUDYJudy is living in Central Florida with her retired U.S. Air Force husband of 50+ years. Born in Dallas, Texas, she grew up in the Southwestern United States.She met her husband at their church, where he was attending the university in her town. After college and seminary, he entered the Air Force, and their adventures began.They lived in eight of our United States, and spent six years in Europe, where their oldest daughter was born. She was a stay-at-home mom for many years
Judy has always been involved with music, both playing the piano and singing.
Always interested in exercise, she was an aerobic dancing instructor, as well as a piano teacher for many years, and continues to faithfully exercise at home.
After moving to Central Florida, she served as a church secretary for nearly nine years.Her main hobby at this point in time is scanning pictures and 35mm slides into the computer. She also enjoys scrapbooking.
She and her husband have two married daughters and four grandchildren, including grandtwins.
She and her husband enjoy the Disney parks as often as possible.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fred Remembers~Part 2

2 Sep

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

 

I remember walking along the boardwalks in Atlantic City and Ocean City, especially Ocean City.  I remember getting some salt-water taffy there.

[Charles’ note:  In August of 1937, after my second year in seminary, I was offered a call to become the minister of a small church in Columbus, New Jersey (Columbus Baptist Church), a few miles southwest of the capital, Trenton.  The small town was located in a prosperous dairy region.]

 

Columbus Baptist Church

 

[Judy’s note:  Charles enlisted in the U.S. Army in the Fall of 1941, as a Chaplain.  Fred was already a part of their little family by this time.]

 

 

[Charles’ note:  In December of 1942, I got the itch to get into the war, so I volunteered.  I was accepted, and by the end of the year had secret orders sending me to North Africa.  Volunteering is not recommended.  I did that twice and somehow it seems to have fitted in with God’s plans for me.]

[Judy’s note:  Charles was wounded in 1943, and carried a piece of shrapnel near his heart until the day he died in 2009. Following the war, the family moved quite a bit to different postings.  In 1947, the family moved to Italy.  In 1949 Charles transferred to the U.S. Air Force, as one of its 186 Chaplains, where he stayed throughout the remainder of his military career.]

 

Fred again:  In 1943, when Emily was born, we were living in Collingswood, New Jersey.

 

Kitty and Emily

 

I remember Dad telling me that in the early-to-mid-1940’s, he had purchased a 1941 Chevy sedan, which we had, I think, until he left for Italy in 1946.

 

Charles and Fred

 

I remember that, at one of the forts where we lived, we actually, for a length of time, lived on the fort, on a street which was just across the street from the large parade ground, and that’s where I would see the troops out there marching around.

I remember that at night I used to go out with a slingshot and would try to shoot bats that were flying around among the trees which were just outside our front door.  I always missed.

Sometime in 1946, we moved again, out to Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri, and I remember Mom saying many times that the people there were not very friendly to military people, who were also known as transients. I remember her saying she would be pushing the baby carriage with the twins down the road, with Emily and I in tow, and people wouldn’t even get out of her way.  She would have to go into the street or into the grass to get around people, and they were just generally not very friendly people there.

 

Charles and Fred – Fort Leonard Wood, MO

 

I also remember I was in the school there. I remember them trotting out the little pads – we had to take a nap there every day – I think one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

 

~~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

 

JUDYJudy is living in Central Florida with her retired U.S. Air Force husband of 50+ years. Born in Dallas, Texas, she grew up in the Southwestern United States.She met her husband at their church, where he was attending the university in her town. After college and seminary, he entered the Air Force, and their adventures began.They lived in eight of our United States, and spent six years in Europe, where their oldest daughter was born. She was a stay-at-home mom for many years
Judy has always been involved with music, both playing the piano and singing. Always interested in exercise, she was an aerobic dancing instructor, as well as a piano teacher for many years, and continues to faithfully exercise at home.
After moving to Central Florida, she served as a church secretary for nearly nine years.Her main hobby at this point in time is scanning pictures and 35mm slides into the computer. She also enjoys scrapbooking.
She and her husband have two married daughters and four grandchildren, including grandtwins.
She and her husband enjoy the Disney parks as often as possible.
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