We, (the combat crews) got a 2 weeks leave with per diem to rest up. Think we deserved it too. Came over to the Island of Cyprus and it is truly restful.
The day is joyous - the bluest water I've ever seen. We are in Kyrenia at the Dome Hotel. Are right on the water, have good food, good swimming, a tennis court and plenty of sun. Usually it is cool at nite; is very reasonable so that all the men came too. Have an old Italian Castle close by which is 800 years old - a stupendous affair. Mt. Olympus is near by - but it is only named after the famous one in Greece, possibly a summer home for the Gods of Mythology. Went to Nicosia yesterday and bought a souvenir of the lace they fashion by hand here on the island. Nicosia itself is a native town - populated mostly by Greeks.. The main street is about 16 ft. wide. Cyprus is noted for its wines and we sample same mast frequently One of the men has a portable victrola and some good records so that each nite we have a concert (swing) while we sit on the porch and watch a star-studded sky streaked with many meteors shot off for us! "Tis very restful just listening to the tide beat itself against the rugged shore-line. ‘Twould be perfect if we only had our close friends with us. Col. Mickey is our C.O. - God help us!! That was a blow.
Back in Tel Aviv - went to Cyprus for 5 days, back here, then to Cairo, and back here. Cyprus was ideal for a rest - but I got rested quick. Stayed at the Dome Hotel in Kyrenia. Was beautiful - right on the bluest of blue waters - the Med. Went swimming, played tennis; went fishing in native sail boat - no luck. Drank much wine, for Cyprus is noted for that. In Cairo, saw the Pyramids and Sphynx - most remarkable when one stops to wonder how they managed to lay, cut and put together those huge blocks of limestone. Cairo is a metropolis of no small means - stayed at Grand Hotel and it lived up to its name - had hot water to shave and bathe in, really cold drinks, a beautiful cinema (air conditioned), but I still get confused when we go upstairs for the best seats - some one is wrong for in America it seems we paid to go downstairs. Heard many rumors as to what would happen to Halpro.
I'm afraid we are stuck here unless Col. Hal really swings hard in Washington and he should be there now. Gen'l Brereton pulled one of the many raw deals he has become famous for - he took us off per diem so as to save the Army money, but then turned around and said all officers not with troops could draw $6 a day per diem and $3 a day for billet - doesn't sound right to me. And over the weekend, I discovered that that damned excuse for a General awarded himself the Silver Star when he went over Burma and claimed hits on a cruiser - in reality, according to the others in the flight, his ship missed by a long shot and one of the accompanying planes got the hit. After reading his story in Time about how efficient he was - how he led his men - how he did away with red tape, etc. I've lost my respect for the leading editorial News Magazine of the U.S. Hell, the man doesn't have guts enough to make a decision. His favorite and only saying is "Take it up with my office". For example, we have a load of ammunition to go to Cyprus to the P 40 outfit that just went over - Maj. Nero wanted to send it over but had to await orders from Gen. B's office - the ferry pilots here saw Gen. B. and asked for permission and he replied, "Send me a confirmation on it" - the ferry pilot came back with "I just saw it; I know it's there" but Gen'l B. said "Take it up with my office". In the meantime, the pursuit group went without a shot - i.e. till Nero sent some over unofficially. Cairo is overrun with high ranking officers - seem they certainly could do a little something. Yesterday was rather full. Had a meeting in which Col. Mickey, our C.O. and Major Payne, the Squadron CO. did their utmost to prove their complete inability to lead men effectively. They set down strict rules that we should follow - to everyone's opinion, it was rather late in the game to put us back on training - school basic of going to class, not associating with the men, etc. Also, these hopeless two told us of trying to change Halpro to a sq.no.- but to no avail, thank God. Why they want to change a name we slaved to build up is beyond me except that it proves my point that all the big boys are over here for decorations and personal glory. The day-was salvaged by receipt of a Citation for Gallantry in Action for the fleet raid. Should mean the Silver Star for us. Last nite we were scheduled for Tobruk but our ship wouldn't rev-up for take off.