General Mark Clark visited the 370th Combat Team. You would see him more than once during your tour of duty. This time he appeared to be doing a general inspection. You never saw Winston Churchill, though you understand that he visited the headquarters of Combat team 370 around the time you were preparing to go into battle. Churchill was the Allies’ leader largely responsible for the invasion of Italy. He favored a strategy of attacking Germany from the south rather than from across the English Channel.
After a few nights in the crater, we were sharply reminded of the purpose that had brought us here. At 0200 one morning, the entire camp was awakened by a series of explosions and stuttering ack-ack (antiaircraft fire). The rim of the crater was roofed by tracer bullets that made brilliant patterns in the night. Some men began digging foxholes; others just hugged the ground waiting for the worst. Nothing happened, but the explosions made us realize that this was no exercise; we were very close to the war, and this was for keeps. The Germans had bombed the port of Naples.