443rd Antiaircraft Artillery Battalion in World War II

SICILIAN CAMPAIGN

CAMPAIGN AFTERMATH

During the first few days the 443rd was at Trapani, messages of congratulations began to arrive, paying tribute to the victorious Americans who, in a gruelling campaign, had conquered Sicily in five short weeks. From the 18th Army Group’s General Alexander, from 7th Army’s General Patton, From II Corps’ General Bradley and from General George C. Marshall, U.S.. Army Chief of Staff came commendations to the 3rd Infantry Division and its attached units. Most meaningful to the 443rd however was the 22 August 1944 commendation from the 3rd Infantry Division’s General Truscott to the Commanding Officer, 443rd AAA AW Bn (SP):

"The Sicilian Campaign has ended. In both phases — capture of Palermo and capture of Messina — your Battalion has played a decisive role. You have overcome natural obstacles of terrain rendered a thousand-fold more difficult by enemy demolitions and opposition. Your record during these days will be an inspiration to all Americans. Your success can be attributed to high standards of individual and organizational skill developed over a long and sometimes tedious period of training. You have accomplished the objective toward which those laborious efforts were directed. You have aided in attaining a smashing victory.

"The 443rd Battalion distinguished itself during the period of attachment to this command by being constantly ready for action and tactically well placed during an advance that was so rapid and so tortuous as to test the mettle of all members of your command. You have performed your assigned functions in a most commendable manner.

"I want to express to you and to every soldier of your command my appreciation for your efforts and your loyal support ".

While at Trapani, 443rd men were entertained for the first time since entering into combat by Bob Hope, Jerry Colona and Frances Langford. One 443rd sergeant had opportunity to talk with Miss Langford, who was from his home town.

In order to protect his command from the ravages of venereal disease, which always became worse when troops were in rear area bivouac, General Truscott ordered local girls to be hired, installed in a tent and had his medical doctors check them regularly. This program was short-lived because a report filtered back to some congressmen and the Pentagon ordered the practice stopped.

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