Imphal, The Hump and Beyond
U.S.A.A.F. Combat Cargo Groups of the Second World War
| While serving as aerial engineer crew chief with the 322nd Troop Carrier
Squadron in Kunming, China in 1944 and 1945, I became good friends with Jay
(nickname "Buzz") Callinan. Buzz had been a fighter pilot and was
transferred to our squadron after being shot down.
Buzz had less of an ego problem than any pilot or Officer I knew, and had no qualms about associating with enlisted personnel. One day he offered to take me for a ride in a P-38 he had access to, because he knew that I had expressed a desire for such an experience.
The aircraft had been a photo reconnaissance ship, but now all the photo equipment had been removed from the shelf behind the pilot's seat. I curled my skinny 73 inch body onto that shelf, and we taxied out to takeoff position. As he revved up the two engines to check things out before takeoff, the ship shook and vibrated so badly that I begged him to take me
back. I flat didn't trust the aircraft, and that mistrust outweighed my trust of Buzz as a pilot.
He complied with my plea; taxied back and let me out. I went out to my plane to carry out some maintenance work. Within about 10 minutes I heard the roar of a plane, looked up to see Buzz, true to his nickname, buzzing me with that beautiful P-38 to show me what I had missed.
I have thought about that incident a thousand times, telling myself if such an opportunity ever presents itself again--- jump. The only problem is that in the 54 years since, it never has.
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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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