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Greek / American Operational Group Office of Strategic Services (OSS)
Memoirs of World War 2


Major Lovell and Mint Juleps

This was the first time I had seen Major P.G. Lovell, although he had taken command of Company C soon after we landed on Vis. Major P.G Lovell had never visited the Greek OGs and I learned later that he was in the battle of Solta. Lovell was given the command of Co. C although he had very little training and no battle experience. We were told he was the owner of the Cannon Towel Company and he brought along two of his executives to the OSS. Rumor had it that he received this plum appointment because of political pull. He was probably a member of the OH SO Society which was named for the many Yale and Harvard graduates who were in the OSS. Unfortunately he was now the leader of our Operational Groups. The last time I had been a runner was during a difficult hike at Camp Carson under Colonel Clainos. What a world of difference between the leadership of the West Pointer Clainos and the towel baron Lovell. I was very disappointed with Lovell's leadership.

For two days and nights we stayed at a distance on top of one of the tall mountains of Miljet. This was headquarters for the Miljet raid, and I use the word loosely. During the raid I did not receive one order from Lovell. I heard guns firing and saw smoke in the valley, but I did not have a clue what was happening. My thoughts were with the 4th group and especially Alex and Tom. The main subject on Lovell's agenda was exchanging mint julep recipes with another officer who was probably a Cannon Towel person. If he had asked me whether I could suggest a recipe, but who in the hell cared about mint juleps at this time.

There was a humorous sidelight at headquarters when three British soldiers appeared at 4 p.m. one afternoon and brewed tea. I heard that this was a must for the British and I joked with them about carrying a pot and tea in combat. They told me, seriously, that they must have tea to function.

On the 24th we were ordered to pull out of Miljet. I still did not have a clue what the hell went on with our 4th group and the rest of the Allied force. We returned to the same beach where we had landed. I was very happy to find Alex and Tom and the 4th group all in good health. Alex and Tom had had no idea what had happened to me.

Our old standby the LCI was on the beach waiting to transport us.

Alex and Tom told me that the 4th group on Mijlet had been ordered to remain with Brigade Headquarters to provide security and act as a reserve force. The British commandos and the LRDG were the main force trying to seek out the Germans. According to an intelligence report that I located after the war, it was reported that there was exceptionally difficult terrain and despite assistance of the RAF and Royal Navy units, the Germans were only engaged at extreme range; the evacuation schedule required withdrawal to the beachheads before contact with the enemy was actually made. No doubt the mountainous terrain of Miljet thwarted advance by our forces.

When we boarded the LCI it was still daylight and we headed home to Vis. Once again we were placed in the lower deck. This time we worried that the Luftwaffe might send dive bombers for reprisals. There were a couple of false alerts, but what the hell could we do in the hold if we were bombed? A couple of us sneaked up on deck to get some fresh air. It was cold but the upper deck was a welcomed relief. Through the many trips on military ships we would break the rules in order to find clean water showers, food, and in this case just fresh air on the top deck. We finally returned to Vis before dawn and we were happy to return "home."

When the 4th group returned from the Miljet raid we took a quick bath and changed clothes. We had built a portable shower from empty five-gallon cans. With limited sleep, we had reveille the next morning called by Captain Eichler and we returned to our duties on Vis. At dusk we went to our shelter on the hill; we were certain that the Luftwaffe would send an armada to retaliate for our raid on Miljet. We were not disappointed. The German Air Force bombed us that evening and it was hell. Looking out from our bunkers it reminded me of the Fourth of July. Bombs were dropping all over the island; fortunately our sanctuary was not hit head on. One bomb that turned out to be a dud landed in one of our bunkers.

Personnel: Miljet

Major P. G. Lovell
Capt. A. W. Keer
Capt. R. E. Eichler
Lt. W. C. Bentham
S/Sgt. W. S. Mierwejewski
T/5 M. Redovian
T/5 J. L. Luf
T/5 J. Bogo
Sgt. L. M. Nowicki
T/5 J. J. Helinski
T/5 D. E. Van Gampleare
T/5 Youhouse
T/5 J. Simon
Sgt. W. A. Zach
T/5 E. L. Chmieleski
T/5 H. S. Kozlowski
T/5 E. Sliwa
T/5 F. G. Smolinski
T/5 W. S. Kopacz
Sgt. G. J. Kirchner
T/5 J. W. Baron
T/5 J. W. Koutelis
T/5 B. Economou

T/5 M. Kalissz
T/5 C. J. Bartz
T/5 E. S. Nagler
T/5 S. A. Pobutkiewiscz
T/5 H. F. Wozniak
T/5 S. Gniewek
T/5 C. J. Novak
T/5 L. Franczyk
T/5 N. R. Kasmierczak
T/5 F. Kovalkevich
T/5 T. P. Soulas
T/5 T. E. Lefakis
Sgt. C. C. Christie
Sgt. T. P. Georgalos
T/5 D. J. Christ
Cpl. A. P. Phillips
Cpl. A. S. Mousalimas
T/5 A. G. Grevis
T/5 J. H. Pulos
T/5 G. S. Kalliavas
T/5 D. Fotinatos
T/5 T. S. Kastanes

Easter Sunday, 1944, on Vis

read the caption

On the outskirts of Comitza we (the Californians and Byron Economou) met a Yugoslavian Orthodox family whom we visited periodically. A few days before Easter we made arrangements to spend Easter with the husband and wife. They had an old goat that they prepared for the celebration. Alex, Tom, Byron, and I (Perry and Nick were in the 26th General Hospital in Bari) snuck into Angelo's kitchen and stole three sacks of flour for the Yugoslavian couple. They were thrilled to receive the flour. The lady of the house baked Easter bread and a few pastries. The dear old goat was okay.

Previously we had bartered with the couple with more stolen flour and they gave us the final calf of the old goat. The California Five barbecued the calf on a spit and were joined by Pete Lewis, Byron, Andrew Karabatsos, and Andrew Grivas for a delicious meal. We enjoyed fresh meat for the first time since Camp Huckstep.

Whenever we had the opportunity we fished in the bay of Vis. A few times we caught small octopus, a delicacy in any environment.


  • National Archives, History of Operations in Yugoslavia, p. 17 (report filed at Headquarters, Co. C, 2671st Special Reconnaisance Battalion, APO 512, U.S. Army, 20 November1944).

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