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By Dr. Patsy Barber                                                 was sidetracked for every fast train so it took a week en route.

                                                                    We’d raise the windows, and girls came. Guys gave them money

Mayor Roberts served Lecompte with gusto! He was in the             to buy cigarettes and/or whiskey. They just took the money and
restaurant furniture business so he had time to gladly serve the    kept going.

community. This interview, however, recalls his effort to keep We finally got to Spokane for the ammunition school. One
America free.                                                       powder was black which the pilots used to identify who hit the

Roberts grew up on a Natchitoches Parish farm with Rev.             target. Another thing we had to so as dip ammunition with four
Monroe Roberts, his father, and numerous siblings where he          colors: red, green, etc., which imprinted on the canvas pulled by
learned the value of hard work. America declared was against        a B-17. After three months I went to Moses Lake, about 50 miles
Japan after Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941, and Germany             away. We trained crews to go overseas.

declared war on us. Young men rushed into recruiting stations to    After 14 months I had a furlough and was ready to leave when
fight the enemy. Sherman went the Air Force in February 1943.       we were put on alert at 6pm. We were on a troop train going to

                                                                    South Dakota at 12pm. There we had 29 men in Ordinance:

                                                                    chief and four crews. The next morning before daylight we had
                                                                    to load the bombs. They were doing a pre-flight (engines

                                                                    warming up). We put in four bombs and the truck started to
                                                                    leave. The new fellow said, “Look, them things were turning
                                                                    (props). I didn’t know them things were turning. “ I

                                                                    said, “You were in the Air Force. You were bound
                                                                    to know a little bit about this”. He said, “No, I was

                                                                    an orderly all the time. This is the first time I have

                                                                    been around an airplane. All I know is that I was

                                                                    scared to death, and that’s why I walked right be-
                                                                    hind you.”

                                                                    At last I had furlough and went to a trucking com-

                                                                    pany for a ride. Only one was selected which was
                                                                                    the guy with me. I caught a ride to Denver. After
“It was a trying time for                                                           midnight no one would pick you up. Missed the
families. There were a                                                              fast train by an hour on the return and asked the
lot of farms in that area,                                          conductor to call and report that I was late. Thus, the gate would
and to make a farm yield a profit for the family it took the whole  not let me in. The Captain had to let me in.
family long hours of work, sometimes after dark. This was a

difficult time. War bonds were selling for $18.50 to help           Shipped to New York and boarded the USS Lines. There were
finance the war. The bonds matured at $25. Every family bought      1,500 of us shipping out about midnight Our convoy had
one or two. Almost every family had a son in service and they felt  100,000 troops. We were the sickest in our lives. Two days out
patriotic. I went to Fort Humbug in Shreveport, then to Camp        from England, our ship broke down and not a ship remained
Beauregard and Orlando, Florida, without an overcoat. A week in     around us. After landing we were shipped to little Glatton.
a fine hotel ended when we were taken to a tent city. Six to eight

men in each tent. A folding cot, blanket and pillow, served by
one mess hall on the base. Sand flies just ate us up for the three
months we were there.                                               Part Two will be published in the February, 2018 issue

I was shipped on a troop train to the State of Washington. We
had two meals a day and got off to take calisthenics. The train

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