Wilbur W. Mayhew

August-Sept 1942

After a lot of hard fighting by ground and air forces, we stopped Rommel at EI Alamein, Egypt. The First Provisional Group was given credit for being instrumental in helping stop Rommel's drive by cutting off his flow of supplies with missions against the harbors of Tobruk and Benghazi, Libya, shipping in the Mediterranean, and other targets. Military authorities stated that the combination of RAF, B-17s, B-24s and B-25s of the U. S. Army Air Force had sunk two out of every three ships that tried to supply Rommel in North Africa. As a consequence, we were given a two week pass starting 9 August 1942. We were even paid per diem in advance. This break period gave the ground crews a chance to repair all our aircraft for the next big fight we knew was coming. Two of the B-17s were cannibalized to maintain the rest of the B-17s.

Those of us in the 436th Squadron were transferred to the 9th Squadron on 11 September 1942.