2nd Lieutenant - Pilot - 81st Troop Carrier Squadron - 436th
Troop Carrier Group
June 6, 1944
I'm sure that the cold weather
you had last month has moved over here awhile. We're trying to get
some of this coke to burn but not much luck. Think I’ll go
hunt up some cow chips.
Got a letter from you and Dorothy this week, one from Mama and Texas
and that was all. Must have the mail situation SNAFU.
Got a box of candy bars from Dorothy. Had to fight like mad to hang
onto them. They got away with one-half pound bar.
I haven’t heard from Pete for quite awhile. Don’t know
what he’s up to. Probably busy too.
Tonight I opened up my bottle of Bourbon. Kinda had to settle my
nerves. Didn’t see much use in saving it much longer. I’ll
probably be pretty drunk before morning. Wish Pete and Ferd were
here to help me out. I don’t know though. Ferd drank that
quart of Scotch I bought him all by himself so there probably wouldn’t
be enough to go around.
How’s the wheat coming along? You haven’t said anything
about it all spring. I wouldn’t mind doing some harvesting
to get back in condition. Getting in foul shape from lack of exercise.
That Drake ought to get in pretty good shape with all the work there
is to do.
Let me know when you get the last money order I sent. If you can,
send me an account of how much I have by now. Tought to save quite
a bit in the next month or so if we are busy and can’t go
anywhere. Things will probably be pretty tough by the time I get
back so I’d best save up all I can.
Has the Covert come over as yet? I’ll look him up if he does.
Might be pretty hard to find anyone now.
I suppose you got lifted out of your seats last night. I was laughing
all the way over about how much confusion would go on back home
when the news of the invasion reached the folks back home. I was
scared stiff most of the time. I got to thinking about the reception
they gave Pop1 when he landed. Bands, parades, wine,
Our reception committee didn’t
have much of a sense of humor. All they did was shoot at us. They
were very poor shots. At least five thousand bullets came within
one to three feet of my seat and they never touched me. I know damn
well I could have shot any one down at that altitude with a .30
They had four 50 cal machine guns and battery of 20 mm cannons on
me for a hell of a long time. Seemed like a couple of years. They
were leading me by 2 feet too far. They followed me clear out of
sight still shooting 2 feet in front of my nose. I could smell the
smoke and fire of the tracers. They must have fired 3 thousand rounds
cause I know damn well I saw a thousand tracers and every fifth
bullet is a tracer. That was the beginning of the reception. It
scared the living daylights out of me. From then on it was hell.
There were thousands of lights all over the sky – tracer bullets.
Every time I’d dodge one battery, another would cut loose.
I never expected to live through it.
Once they got the range and shot the hell out of the element leader.
I wasn’t 10 feet off his wing. I figured our time was up for
sure. We wouldn’t of gotten into all this if it hadn’t
been that our element got off course and hit the hottest spot in
the entire area. Some of the boys never even saw a bullet.
I prayed a lot before, during, and after the invasion. I’m
a firm believer now. Can’t tell me it was all luck. Someone
was looking out for us. They don’t miss you with 25 thousand
bullets every day.
Hell folks, it was a great show.
I wouldn’t of missed it for the world. Everyone was so damn
good to us. Every man on the place was out to see us off. They were
out standing there like they were looking at a funeral procession.
I asked them “what the hell are you looking so sad about?”
I’ve never seen higher morale and spirit amongst any troops.
We were really in there to win. The boys that stayed at home were
in sad spirits. We sure had a good time when we got back. Telling
everyone about the trip. Those paddle feet ground officers were
The worst part of it was to sit
there and take it. I wouldn’t of stood it only I had to. Smith2
was blinded by search lights the first thing and I had to do it.
There was no other way out. God it was hell to sit there and take
it and not be able to do a damn thing. One gun to shoot back with
would of made all the difference in the world.
Well, we made it and I’m as thankful as any man can be. Went
through the biggest show in history and didn’t get a scratch.
I may be awful busy for awhile but nothing to worry about. You might
let the rest of the folks know I’m OK but too busy to write.
Thought I’d tell you all I could cause I doubt if I’ll
get drunk enough again to tell you about it. There’s no doubt
about it that I’ll make it now. Take it easy.
Robert D. Dopita
- 1 : Pop was his father AL Dopita who landed at Cherbourg and served
in France during WWI.
- 2 : 1st Lt. Duane Smith was the pilot and 2nd Lt. Robert D. Dopita
was the co-pilot.
This letter was written by
Robert Dopita to his family just back from mission Albany, Thanks
to Helen Dopita Mayo for sending it to be published on the website.
Note from Webmaster :
On D-Day, Robert D. Dopita flew co-pilot in C-47 #42-100558 - "Buzz
Buggy" - 81st TCS - 436th TCG
- Pilot : 1st Lt. Duane Smith
- Co-pilot : 2nd Lt. Robert D. Dopita
- Navigator : 2nd Lt. Eugene R. Davis Jr.
- Radio Operator : S/Sgt. Harold Friedland
- Crew Chief : T/Sgt. Adolph Bogotch