President Franklin D. Roosevelt visits Troop Carrier base Sicily


314th Troop Carrier Group
In 1943, the Allied nations made agreements on how the win the war. This was done at the Conference at Tehran. The big utcome of the conference was the agreement of opening a 2nd front in Europe.
The conference ended on December 1, 1943. President Roosevelt stayed in the area for more conferences and meetings.

On December 8, the president departed Tunis for Malta. After some meetings, his plane was delayed due to repairs and he had lunch inside the plane. At 1.10 PM departed Malta for Sicily where he arrived at 2.02 PM. The airfield he arrived at was Castelvetrano. His party included:
Harry L. Hopkins
Adm. William D. Leahy
Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower
Lt. Gen. Spaatz
Adm's. Wilson Brown and Ross T. McIntire
Gen. Edwin M. Watson
Maj. Gen. Bedell Smith
Maj. John Boettiger
Lt. Comdr. Fox, Lt. (jg) Rigdon
Sgt. Robert Hopkins
Secret Service agents Reilly, Spaman, Beary, Behn and Fredericks.

Castelvetrano airfield happened to be the home of the 314th Troop Carrier Group. This was one of the first Troop Carrier units in the MTO and participated in the Sicily operation of July 1943.
At the airfield were also Lt.-Gen. George S. Patton and Lt.-Gen. Mark W. Clark. General Henry H. Arnold was also at the airfield.

Castelvetrano airfield happened to be the home of the 314th Troop Carrier Group. This was one of the first Troop Carrier units in the MTO and participated in the Sicily operation of July 1943.
The airfield was officially  closed from 0900 to 1600 hours. The parade formation was practiced and men detailed to assist in the reception and dinner had everything arranged to be served at 1100 hours. Delayed by some hours due to mechanical problems, the C-54 carrying President Roosevelt and party landed.
The President’s C-54 still had some problems when it arrived at Castelvetrano. It was 32nd TCS Engineering Officer Lt. Robert Flory, with his skilled men, who took care of the necessary repairs to the hydraulic lines.

President Roosevelt toured the field by jeep and inspected troops of the 314th Troop Carrier Group.
Highlight of the visit was the decoration of officers with the Distinguished Service Cross. Officers of the four Squadrons (32nd, 50th, 61st and 62nd) and Group HQ formed guard of honor for the President and his  official party. The President reviewed all the Squadron troops
The following units paraded for the president:
· 7th Tank Company, 2nd Armoured Division
· Company B, 908th Infantry, 7th Army
· 32nd Troop Carrier Squadron
· 50th Troop Carrier Squadron
· HQ Squadron, 314th Troop Carrier Group
· 61st Troop Carrier Squadron
· 62nd Troop Carrier Squadron
The troops were led by Lt.-Col. Clayton Stiles.
General Patton was heard to remark that he didn’t know the Air Corps could march.

The door of the 32nd Troop Carrier Squadron Officers Club was opened by Major Lewelling and a martini cocktail and hors d’oeuvres were served to the entire Roosevelt party. The President dignified our gueastbook with his signature.
At 3.35 PM President Roosevelt and his party returned to their plane and headed back to Tunis.
Owing to difficult weather conditions, it was decided that the President would depart at 15.15 hours.
After the President left, General Patton returned with Generals Clark and Williams for dinner.
The Presidential C-54 at Castelvetrano. (L. Ecklund)
The President in the jeep which was customaized for him. In the back is Gen. Eisenhower. At the wheel is Lt.-Col. Clayton Stiles, Commanding Officer of the 314th Troop Carrier Group.
The person sitting behind Stiles is believed to be one of the President’s bodyguards. (L. Ecklund)
General Mark Clark (5th Army), General George Patton (7th Army) and General Paul Williams (Troop Carrier Command) were present as well.
The person in the middle of the top photo is unknown. (A. Hutson & L. Echlund)
Airborne Troop Carrier - Miscellaneous