Imphal, The Hump and Beyond
U.S.A.A.F. Combat Cargo Groups of the Second World War
7th Combat Cargo Squadron, 2nd Combat Cargo Group
| The 7th
Combat Cargo Squadron was activated May 1st, 1944 at Syracuse, N.Y. We were a part
of the 2nd Combat Cargo Group with 3 other Squadrons, the 5th, 6th and the 8th. Each
Squadron had an attached Airdrome Squadron and ours was the 338th. The 338th handled
mess facilities, servicing, transportation and maintenance of the aircraft.
Captain Jones was chosen by Col. William Bell, 2nd Combat Cargo Group CO to head the 7th Squadron. Capt. Jones was from Munich, North Dakota and had been in several Troop Carrier organizations prior to coming to Syracuse.
The Syracuse Army Air Base (S.A.A.B.) was located at Hancock Field, on the edge of the city of Syracuse, NY. and one of the first things that we noticed was the scattered placement of the barracks. We were told that from the air, the field did not appear as a typical air base where barracks are lined up in perfect rows.
Our authority for activation originated at Stout Field, Indiana. Our 2nd Combat Cargo Group became the latest addition to the lst Troop Carrier Command headquartered at Stout Field. Many men were arriving at the base in early May and continued to come all month. Many were former B-25, B-26, B-17, etc., pilots and crewmen. Others came directly from Flight Schools or Technical Schools.
Also a great influx of enlisted men from Radio and Engineering Technical Schools came to Syracuse. Officers and enlisted men arrived with little or no knowledge of what fate held in store for them. They came by train, plane and automobile. They were quickly assigned to the oddly spaced barracks on Hancock Field. Being located near the East Coast, apparently there existed some fear of appearing like a typical military air field in the event of enemy air attacks. A Syracuse newspaper had an article on our organizing at S.A.A.B., and this represented to many the first information on what was to be expected.
Actually nothing happened for about a week as the men were getting set up in their living quarters. May 8th was the official day Capt. Willard Jones was made C.O. of the 7th. On that day, 35 new officers and 40 enlisted men made up the Squadron strength. By May 31st, the overall personnel had surged to 95 officers and 86 enlisted men (e/ms).
In forming a Squadron, the leaders must fill all the necessary positions so as to become operative. There was a degree of confusion in this early period of organization, to appoint the proper men for the jobs that were needed. A mess hall was required for e/ms and officers and this was worked out with the other Squadrons, who were also in a state of organization.
1st Sgt. Jack C. Oberholzer on May 19th took over the responsibilities of conducting reveille roll call. Saturday morning inspections were implemented and Col. Bell, Group Commander, was pleased with the results of the first inspection. Slowly everything seemed to fall in place and on May 23rd, the following appointments were made by Capt. Jones.
Operation Officer, Capt. James H. Moon, Asst. Operation Officer, lst Lt. Ray H. Brashear, Adjutant, lst Lt. John D. Foskett, Communications, 2nd Lt. Gerald DAmour, Tech. Supply, 1st Lt. John C. Schall, Medical, lst Lt. Lewis R. Pummer, Adm. Supply, Add. Duty., lst Lt. John D. Foskett, Intelligence, Add. Duty., lst Lt. Ray H. Brashear, Assist. Intelligence, 2nd Lt. Gerald E. Schmitt, Line Chief, T./Sgt.Capazutto, Tech. Supply, S/Sgt. Nutton, Quartermaster, S/Sgt. W. J. Sullivan, Engineering Officer, 2nd Lt. Richard E. OBrien.
Lt. Curtis H. Krogh, 7th Combat Cargo Squadron, 2nd Combat Cargo Group. From his manuscript '7th Combat Cargo Squadron History, 2nd Combat Cargo Group, 54th Troop Carrier Wing, 5th Air Force, World War II.'
This short History of the 7th Combat Cargo Squadron, no way tells the entire Squadron history. It's sole purpose is to give one an idea of what the Squadron endured during it's time during the Second World War. For a more detailed report on the the Squadrons History, one needs to access the records of the 2nd Combat Cargo Group and it's individual Squadrons at the U.S. Air Force Historical Research Center at Maxwell AFB, Montgomery, AL. These records are available in microfilm.
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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, etc)
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