Naples: September 4, 1943

By Donald Martin

Don Martin, a Minot area native, joined the United States Navy in 1942 after his friend, Peter Tengesdal, was drafted. After being sworn in, he and others from North Dakota were sent to the Great Lakes Naval Training Station located north of Chicago. While at the training station, Martin was among the handful who passed the Navy's subject tests. He was rewarded by being sent to the University of Missouri School of Engineering for Diesel. Upon his graduation from Diesel School, Martin was selected for Gray Marine Diesel School in Detroit. After completing his training, he was stationed in New York until March 1943 when he was shipped out to North Africa and joined the LST 325. Martin saw action in North Africa, Italy, and France (D-Day Invasion). Martin was discharged in 1945. Below is his account of a German air attack near Naples in September 1943.

Italy was the next step and we knew it would get tougher the closer we got to Germany--the homeland. On September 4, 1943 we landed on Italy at Salerno near Naples. Radar was a new war tool but we were not equipped with it yet so a Naval ship would send a signal to us. We were on alert but not full General Quarters yet. I was on watch in the Auxillary Room when the General Quarters alarm went off. My station at that time was the gun talker for the 40mm and the #1 and #2 20mm at the bow. It was chow time for the British Army and a soldier was sitting down on the deck using the gun tub for a backrest. The 'all clear' message came through so I returned to my engine room. I no more than got down there when all hell broke loose. There was an electric generator setting on the deck by #3 Diesel. It probably weighed a ton and it was jumping around. We had been straddled with two bombs and when I got up to my station there were bullet dents on the deck where I had been standing moments before. The British soldier had had the spoon taken out of his hand as he was putting it to his mouth but was not hit.

University Archives, 701-231-8914
Published by the University Archives, NDSU
Last Updated: 8/27/04