August 12, 1944 – Stung on your tongue by a yellow jacket

Posted by on Aug 12, 2014 in Good Giants Blog


After yet another sailing, this time aboard the John Jay, a filthy, overcrowded ship where you slept in the rain on the messy deck, eating C-rations when you could, you landed at Civitavecchia at 1140 hours. This battered port is forty miles from Rome on the Tyrrhenian Sea.

The bombed-out port of Civitavecchia

The rest of the combat team came north by army trucks. You were now 125 miles south of the front lines. At Civitavecchia you discovered that several of the Port Battalion Service (PBS) truck drivers were former members of the 3rd Battalion. It made the country seem a little less strange and the war a little less terrible when you were able to talk with someone who had experienced several of months of battle unscathed.

You made formal camp about four miles from Civitavecchia on a plain that sloped gently down to the sea. The engineers hung lister bags – canvas containers for water about six feet long – on tripods. The water was treated, but not tasty; the GIs used it t fill their canteens. Early during your stay there, you found a well near your camp and used a bucket to draw fresh water. You remember it being some of the best water you had ever tasted. One evening at camp, when you were having canned peaches for dessert, you were attacked by a swarm of yellow jackets and were stung on the tongue. You actually bit one before spitting it out.

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