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
Lt. James F. Lippard
| The 1st Combat Cargo Group
consisted of 4 squadrons, with 25 airplanes each.. A Squadron was divided into five
Flights of five airplanes. I was assigned to Flight Five in Squadron Four. In
the original planning we were told that two crews were to be assigned to each airplane but
we actually ended up with about thirty crews for each Squadron.
We were quite an amalgamated Group since we were pulled in from many other assignments. Some previous duties included former instructors and one former British Royal Air Force pilot. Our Group Commander and my Squadron Commander were both former American Airline pilots, which helps explain the difference in attitude and discipline at this base. These officers were considerable older than most of us and had thousands of hours flight time in the C-47. These leaders brought a vast amount of flying knowledge and experience from their previous occupations.
Lt. Col. Rentz, our Group Commander, before joining the military, was chief instrument check pilot for American Airlines. I was told he had over twelve thousand hours in the C-47. He certainly did not look like a pilot as most people perceived one at that time. He was not too tall and rather obese but everyone who flew with him marveled at his ability. I got to fly with him only once over a year later. The Colonel was not the disciplinarian that was so much a part of most Commanding Officers but he had a very unique way of getting the job done. He was a little more tolerant with things pertaining to military courtesy, dress and personal appearance codes than many officers. He was a stickler for promptness, and being familiar with all aspects of the airplane, including blind-folded cockpit checks. His philosophy was that we had an important job to do and it was his job to teach and lead us in the best and most efficient ways to help do the job and win the war. He was frustrated by the way things went in the initial phase of our training because we had only a few pilots in our group with previous experience in the C-47 and yet had to have at least 250 trained pilots ready to go overseas in a relatively short period of time.
(Ed. Note: Stories were told of Col. Rentz's flying abilities. He would taxi a plane out to the runway, then proceed to take off, never touching the wheel. Just rolling in some elevator trim tab as the plane gained speed and gently lifting off the runway---leaving some Younger Pilots somewhat aghast. Herb Patton)
Lt. James F. Lippard (From original manuscript made available by James F. Lippards widow, Clara Lippard, which was written after his retirement.)
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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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