Tense Moments during Guard Duty

By James J. LaDue
Draftsman, Asst. Operations Officer, 601st Operations

I was ordered to stand guard next to one of the B-17’s scheduled to fly a mission on D-Day morning. We had been briefed with the information that a possible attack against B-17 airbases might occur. It seemed hardly possible, but we took it seriously.

Around 3 AM I heard small arms fire, carbine and sub-machine weapons. A few minutes later, an MP in a jeep called out to “Hold your fire”.

About two hours later, I heard footsteps approaching. I called out “Halt!” with no response from whoever it was. Once again, I called out “Halt!”. No response. A few moments… I saw a man coming. I called again, with no response. About then I started to worry. I cocked the carbine, and then I recognized who the man was. He was the Squadron Bombardier who was arriving early to prepare for the mission. When I realized who it was, I breathed a sigh of relief.

He said, “Hi corporal”.

I said, “Good morning, Sir. I thought you might have been someone else!”

Personal History Information
  1. Veteran: James J. LaDue
  2. Draftsman, Asst. Operations Officer, 601st Operations Squadron
  3. Date of Personal History: August 2001
  4. Author: James J. LaDue
  5. Submitted to 398th Web Pages by: Lee Anne Bradley, 398th BG Historian