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U.S.A.A.F. Combat Cargo Groups of the Second World War

 

3rd Combat Cargo Group, Troop Carrier Ties

   What did the 3rd Combat Cargo Group have to do with Troop Carrier Groups you ask?  Well, give me a few minutes or so and I'll try to give you an insight on this.  The 3rd CCG was formed out of the immediate need for a new Air Transport Group in the China-Burma-India Theater.  These new Groups immediate goal would be to help relieve the British Garrison at Imphal, then under siege by the Japanese.  All other U.S.A.A.F. Commands were strapped with commitments and they could not spare any aircraft and crews for the situation in India. The Mediterranean Allied Air Forces, under considerable pressure, had coughed up temporary use of the 64th TCG for support in Burma but wanted them back in time for the Southern France landings and Admiral Mountbatten had the clout to demand and get replacements.  As 1st and 2nd CCG’s were just starting training with Troop Carrier Command in the States, it was decided to activate the other two authorized CCG’s, the 3rd and 4th While the 4th was then activated and began training under TCC; the 3rd CCG would be rushed into battle, untrained and untested.  The idea was to send this Group, then known as ‘Project 90752’ or the 'Bond Project' to the CBI Theater, let it do its job and then return to the USA for proper training under TCC.

     The call went out for enough experienced aircrew and ground maintenance crew to report to Morrison Field, West Palm Beach, Florida, to operate 100 C-47’s.  Except for new co-pilots, this group was much more experienced individually than most units but had no chance to work together as a group.  One hundred (100) new C-47’s and their crews along with passengers departed for the CBI Theater and flew via the Southern Route to Karachi, India. There, ninety-six (96) C-47’s were greeted, (4 lost enroute, crews safe), by the new Commanding Officer of the 3rd Combat Cargo Group; Col. Charles Farr, formerly Commander of the 443rd Troop Carrier Group and his staff. The 3rd CCG’s four squadrons, the 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th Combat Cargo Squadron's all were assigned Commanding Officers from 443rd Troop Carrier Group units.    Assigning the aircraft and crews to the four CCS’s of the 3rd CCG was rather straightforward.  The first twenty-five (25) aircraft and crews to arrive were assigned to the 9th CCS under command of Capt. Donald King formerly of the 27th TCS.  The next twenty-five (25) aircraft and crews were assigned to the 10th CCS under command of 1st Lt. Walter Duch (315th TCS).  The next twenty-five (25) aircraft and crews were assigned to the 11th CCS, commanded by Capt. Clyde Alexander (2nd TCS) and the remaining aircraft and crews were assigned to the 12th CCS under command of Capt. Raymond Potter (27th TCS).

     Although the 443rd TCG had only been in the theater since February 1944, many men had been flying combat missions there with the 1st and 2nd Troop Carrier Squadrons since February 1943, making for a very experienced bunch.  The idea of using combat proven officers as Commanding Officers was to help the 3rd CCG get up to speed as quickly as possible, seeing their aircraft and the cargo they would carry was desperately needed in Imphal.  All four CCS Commanding Officers began immediate training programs.  This consisted of local flying to acquaint the ‘green crews’ with the nasty weather, the terrain they would be flying over and new flying skills that would be needed to help keep these ‘green crews‘ alive and to increase the Groups operational capabilities. This training was a success and it was planned to have the 3rd CCG begin flying combat missions on June 15th, 1944.  On June 11, 1944, Lt. Duch and the 10th CCS jumped the gun and flew the first Combat Cargo Unit missions of the Second World War.   The other three CCS’s began to fly combat missions on June 13, 1944.

     The 3rd CCG proved to be in invaluable asset to the CBI Theater.  When its job at Imphal and Kohemia was completed it was then decided not to send the 3rd CCG home to the states for training, the On-the-Job Training the Group had received in Combat was more than adequate and the Group remained in the CBI Theater until the end of the war.  The 3rd CCG did its job, and it did it well.  Through out their time in CBI the 443rd TCG and 3rd CCG Group flew together on many occasions, both in India and China thus keeping a tie between the two Commands.

      In late Sept 1945, the 1st and 3rd CCG were redesignated 512th and 513th Troop Carrier Group’s, and their squadrons, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th Combat Cargo Squadron’s were redesignated 326th, 327th, 328th, 329th, 330th, 331st, 332nd and 333rd TCS’s respectively. 

      The 4th CCG was included in this reorganization and was to become the 514th Troop Carrier Group and it’s Squadrons 13th, 14th, 15th and 16th Combat Cargo Squadrons were to be redesignated 333rd, 334th, 335th and 336th Troop Carrier Squadrons.  But the India-Burma Theater Army Air Force staff declared the 4th CCGsurplus and sent the Group home in early 1946 where it was inactivated.

     Today the heraldry of the of the four Combat Cargo Groups that flew in the CBI Theater during the Second World War, lives on in the Air Force Reserve.

     The 512th Troop Carrier Group was inactivated on December 24, 1945, it was redesignated the 512th Troop Carrier Group (Medium) and alloted to the Reserve.  It was activated on September 2, 1949 and equipped with C-46's.   It was ordered into service on March 15, 1951 and again inactivated on April 1, 1951.   It was then alloted to reserve and was again activated on June 14, 1952, still flying C-46's.  Today the 512th Airlift Wing, descendant of the 1st CCG/512th TCG, and 326th Airlift Sq. are at Dover AFB, DE, the 327th Airlift Sq. is at Willow Grove ARB, PA, and the 328th Airlift Sq. is at Niagara Falls ARS, NY.

     The 513th Troop Carrier Group was inactivated on April 15, 1946 and was reactivated as 513th Troop Carrier (Special) in Germany on Nov 19, 1948.  It was assigned to the USAF in Europe.    Flying C-54’s they transported food, coal and other supplies during the Berlin Airlift.  The 513th was again deactivated on Oct 16, 1949 and reactivated on Nov 8, 1955 as the 513th Troop Carrier Group (Assault, Fixed Wing) in the USA and assigned to Tactical Air Command flying C-123’s.  The 513th was eventually redesignated 513th Tactical Airlift Wing and was stationed for a period at Mildenhall, England during the 1960's.  Today the 3rd CCG/513th Troop Carrier Group heraldry is in the 513th Air Control Group at Tinker AFB, OK, an Reserve Associate AWACS unit.

     The 4th CCG, which was to become the 514th Troop Carrier Group at the same time as the other Combat Cargo Groups were reorganized, but was sent home in early 1946 and  inactivated.  The 4th Combat Cargo Group was disbanded in 1948, they were reconstituted in 1985 and redesignated as the 344th Military Airlift Group but never activated. On January 26, 2001, the Air Force consolidated the 4th Combat Cargo/344th Military Airlift Group and 514th Operations Group confirming the September 1945 War Department directive.

     The 514th OG had been activated in 1947 in Marietta, GA as the 514th Troop Carrier Group and moved to Birmingham, AL. in June 1949 to join the newly activated 514th Troop Carrier Wing.  They were moved again (without personnel or equipment) to Mitchel AFB, NY in October 1949 and activated for Korean War service in May 1951, training transport crews and supporting Army training.  Inactivated Feb 1, 1953, they were reactivated in the Reserve April 1, 1953 and inactivated April 14, 1959.  The unit was redesignated a Military Airlift Group in 1985 while inactivated.  Today the heraldry of the 4th CCG/514th TCG can be found at McGuire AFB, NJ in the 514th Operations Group, which was activated on July 1, 1992.  Currently the 514th Operations Group oversee a C-141 airlift squadron, 2 KC-10 tanker squadrons, 2 aeromedical evacuation squadrons, 2 aerial port squadrons and an airlift control flight.  A proposed conversion from the C-141 to the C-17 was recently announced and is pending review, if approved, the 514th OG will expect it’s first C-17sometime in 2004. 


  Bill Bielauskas August 5, 2000.    Edited by Jerry White M/Sgt. McGuire AFB Feb 2001

Revised February 2001


References

THROUGH HELL'S GATE TO SHANGHAI, History of the 10th Combat Cargo Squadron, 3rd Combat Cargo Group    CBI Theater 1944-1946   John G. Martin , 1983  

IT BEGAN AT IMPHAL, The Combat Cargo Story  John G. Martin 1988

Special Thanks to M/Sgt. Jerry White  McGuire AFB for information regarding the 4th CCG/514th TCG

Glossary

CBI        China-Burma-India                    TCC         Troop Carrier Command

CCG      Combat Cargo Group                 CCS         Combat Cargo Squadron

TCG      Troop Carrier Group                  TCS         Troop Carrier Squadron

ATC       Air Transport Command            OG            Operations Group


Back to 443rd Troop Carrier Page

Back to 3rd Combat Cargo Group Page

Back to Combat Cargo Group Home Page


  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) 

Please e-mail comment, suggestions, corrections,etc to: bill@comcar.org

Imphal, the Hump and Beyond  Copyright 1999-2003 Bill Bielauskas  All rights reserved.

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