With the American Seventh Army east of San Stefano, Sicily, Aug. 3 – (Delayed) – (AP) – American combat engineers during battle lulls have turned the vast Mediterranean into a combination “old swimming hole” and laundry.
Within the sound of enemy artillery, firing in the hills only four miles away, a group of them paddled happily along a small strip of beach which they reached by clearing a narrow path through Italian barbed wire barriers and heavy minefields. To have taken a step in any direction pas the narrow ribbon-marked lanes would have invited instant death – but these men are used to living in an atmosphere of danger.
“We had to take out about 50 mines in this little spot, alone, to make a swimming beach – but ain’t it a dinger,” said Sergeant Quentin Swanson, Roscoe, Ill. “It looks like every time those Italians and Germans get tired of carrying mines, they stick them in the ground.”
Bruns Watches From Bank
As Pfc. Charles F. Bruns, Champaign, watched from a bank, tall, lanky red haired Private Thomas Richmond of Chicago, Ill, as naked as his birth day, lay on his back in the watter called, “ Look, I can float in this salt water if I keep wiggling.” By “wiggling” like a threshing machine, he managed to stay on top.
(Bruns is the son of Mr. and Mrs Francis Bruns, 303 West Maple street, and is a former Champaign high school athlete who formerly played baseball in the Eastern Illinois League. He has been overseas since Nov. 8, 1942, when he arrived at Casablanca and has been in many of the major battles of the north Africa campaign.)
More Sandy Back Home
“The beaches back home have more sand and less rocks and there are more pretty gals there and no mines” said Private John Oneto of Santa Cruz, Calif., who was lying in the hot sun. “but we’re glad to get a place like this even if it doesn’t have much surf.”
Risking the wrath of all of California’s natives sons, Private Victor Richter, Fontana, Calif., disputed him saying, “This beach beats any in California, It’s lots calmer then the Pacific.”
“Well it’s pretty nice to have a private beach this close to the front, but yesterday, the enemy was dropping artillery shells over our head,” said Fifth Class Technician Noriss Butts, Galesburg, Ill. Who was swimming with Sergeant Marsh Wynegarde, Lasalle, Ill. “It’s too bad we can’t carry some of this water to the infantry. Those boys could really use a swim,” he added.