Imphal, The Hump and Beyond
U.S.A.A.F. Combat Cargo Groups of the Second World War
1st Combat Cargo Group, 4th Combat Cargo Squadron
Bring on the Clowns
Lt. James F. Lippard
| Lt. Mitchell flew co-pilot most of the time with Capt. Owen assigned as pilot on
one of our five plane flights. They became the Squadron clowns and if they were
assigned a new crew chief or radio operator they would debate at take-off position about
who was going to be flying at which time. They would then compromise by deciding that each
would control the engine on his side of the plane by adjusting the throttle and propeller
setting. Eventually one or the other had to take the wheel on the take-off run.
This same debate ensued while landing and the newcomers came in bewildered asking
about those "nuts" they had been flying with. Actually both were good
pilots. Capt. Owen was older and received his wings before the war and had been a
P-38 pilot. We never knew what happened that caused him to be assigned to us.
He did have a stuttering problem on the ground but not on the radio which was a
strange phenomenon. He was never given any assignment other than pilot and never
received a promotion while overseas which most of us could not understand.
Nurses, who were training as flight nurses, were also based at Bowman Field and as part of their training they made some flights on planes in our Group. This all went well until two were assigned to Lt. Owen and Capt. Mitchell. The C-47's we were flying had sandbags in a small latrine located in the rear of the plane to act as ballast. When the nurses decided to go to the bathroom the pilots started jockeying the nose of plane up and down which resulted in both the ballast and the nurses being suspended in midair and then suddenly dropped to the floor. This caused a small furor among the nurses and new pilot guidelines were written for flying with nurses aboard.
Lt. James F. Lippard (From original manuscript made available by James F. Lippards widow, Clara Lippard, which was written after his retirement.) Eidited by S/Sgt. Herb Patton
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| I am looking for former members of
the 3rd Combat Cargo Group, 1st, Combat Cargo Group, 2nd Combat Cargo Group and the
4th Combat Cargo Group. In fact I would like to hear from anyone who flew over the
Hump during WW II, or flew any Combat Cargo Missions at any time (Berlin Air-Lift, Korea,
Please e-mail comment, suggestions, corrections,etc to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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