Page 3 - DEC 2017 RAP NEWS
P. 3

By Dr. Patsy Barber                                                        shoot straight.”

We dropped into Grenoble, southern France, in September, 1944.             We shipped Billy into a French hospital basement were they put an old
Here are our 14 missions. If we didn’t do anything but clean weapons, Plaster of Paris cast on his leg. I moved him 19 times to keep the
it is on here. Yet, a lot of things did not get reported. The reports had to Germans from getting to him. I got him out and brought him back to the
be submitted and we didn’t get them back. Much later, I learned about States. His leg was 61/2 inches shorter.
ours and asked to have a copy made. Subsequently I made a copy for
all of my men. I got a lot of good comments about it. One was a fellow August 15, 1944 was D Day in southern France. I was behind the lines
thanking me, “Now, maybe my friends will believe this, particularly my 48 days until the invading Army caught up with us. We had no way of
in-laws”. Operations were named for women. This documents shows getting out except through the pipeline. We had to stay there until
                                                                           they caught up with us. I think it was the 39th Division, General
the name, date, area where we went, number of enlisted men and
officers, number killed in action. These are the original maps I got. I Alexander Patch, commanding the 7th Army in the invasion of southern
was near the Phone River, Marseilles to Lyons.                             France. By the 25th we had killed about 200 and wounded almost 400

                                                                           on the hill. On the 31st we had captured a German Captain. I was
                                                                           interrogating him but he would not tell me how many were down there.
On August 31, 1944, a corporal and I captured 3,824 Germans by             We got a Model-A Ford with right hand drive and went down into the
ourselves. This is where we put up our permanent headquarters,
where the radio was. This is rugged, rugged country. This is where valley.
we parachuted in. They brought us down here in broad, open daylight
in flatbed trucks. We went in to do a mission: block the Rhone River The first guy I saw was Hank Gillette from Central Falls, RI, my
traffic. Germans were using the river to feed their airfields. The river interpreter. We saw a major so I knew there was more than a
was about the size of Red River. We were to blow the railroad bridge. company. Then I saw a Colonel who had a mustache, monocle and
The engineer who built the bridge brought his blueprints so we knew boots. He was concerned about the Russians coming, and was fearful.
exactly how much demolition we needed and men on each side to put
it. Every time I got into trouble I‘d open a Bible and it would tell me what
                                                                           to do. I opened it to Ephesians 4:1-8 and said “Colonel, as a prisoner
It was a suspension bridge. I tied the primer cords so they went off at for the Lord…” We took all of them prisoner.

the same time. Lt. McKinzey, Montezuma, GA, heir to the McKinzey           When Germany surrendered, we had a choice to go back to our old
Brogue Boot Company, was at the other bridge, and we set those
charges to blow seconds apart. That blocked all the of river traffic. We units or staying in OSS and going to China. About 50% of us stayed
shot the barges with bazookas, blowing them up and then we turned and went to CA, boarding a ship to Calcutta, then flew to Kumming,
this over to the French.                                                   China. The Japanese had a corridor from Canton to Central China
                                                                           filled with millions of troops. It was a complicated issue – a pocket full
After that, there were targets of opportunity. We’d see something that of money would ruin their economy. Chinese were unreliable. Turn
needed to be blown and we’d do it. Or Algiers would send us                your back and be shot and they would take your weapons. I never
                                                                           understood why we were there.
instructions. We knew we were safe in a school behind a Catholic
Church on top of a mountain over the town of Areak. A café in the little
village fed us. A brother and sister lived at the church and she washed I dropped into China alone with five Jet Birds. I had a 55 gallon drum of
our clothes. He was with the underground and went to church with a gas – no excuses on refueling. It was 110 degrees when I came out of
luger under his clothes. The Germans had to come in a force of 1,300 the mountain. I had stripped down. I walked 600 miles in four weeks
to kill us or they’d be killed.                                            and lost 30 pounds. I ate what the Chinese provided: water, buffalo,

                                                                           monkeys, dogs and all was good food. I walked heels off my boots
                                                                           and wore Japanese hobnailed shoes.
The Germans broke our code that told the French when we were
coming in. That night when we came in the landing field had been
moved. Two days earlier 15 Germans dropped in our drop zone and These are just a few of the incredible experiences Rickerson shared.
did not have proper identification, so the French annihilated them.        He was awarded the Silver Star and Commendation of France.

When we dropped in my man, Agent Billiedeau from Waterbury, Conn.,
broke his leg in two places. I was trying to help him and heard a click.
Billy said, “No, No.” They were talking in French. “No, Americans.” Billy

shouted. He said to show them something because they believed we
are Germans. I had 14 holes in my parachute, so I said, “They couldn’t

                                                                                                                      Rapides News | Page 2
   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8