Imphal, The Hump and Beyond
U.S.A.A.F Combat Cargo Groups of the Second World War
2nd Combat Cargo Group
54th Troop Carrier Wing, 5th Air Force, Pacific Theater
Some Came by a Different Ship
339th Airdrome Squadron, 8th Combat Cargo Squadron
Joseph Mees – Ccommunications Oofficer 339th ADS
My name is Joseph Mees and I was a Ccommunications Oofficer in the 339th Airdrome Squadron which provided ground support for the 8th Combat Cargo Squadron. I was a little surprised that I could find no mention of the Airdrome Squadrons. The four Cargo Squadrons were supported by Airdrome Squadrons as follows:
5th Combat Cargo Squadron supported by the 336th Airdrome Squadron.
6th Combat Cargo Squadron supported by the 337th Airdrome Squadron.
7th Combat Cargo Squadron supported by the 338th Airdrome Squadron.
8th Combat Cargo Squadron supported by the 339th Airdrome Squadron.
After all, the flight crews doing such superb work, needed a place to come home to.
Also, the Boschfontein was given credit for transporting the balance of the squadron personnel.
In fact, about eight hundred ground support personnel and I left San Francisco on election day in November 1944 on board the General Hershey. This is a week or so before the Boschfontein sailed. After following a zig-zag course for about three weeks, we arrived in Hollandia. There were orders waiting for the engineering officer and 47 aircraft maintenance personnel from each of the four squadrons to disembark. That is all we were told.
The rest of us stayed on board. We were joined by a destroyer escort and headed to sea again. The officers enjoyed fine dining just as the did on the Boschfontein with one exception. Every time there was an enemy aircraft alarm, all our waiters deserted us and took up their positions in the gun turrets.
After a week or so we anchored off Leyte in the Philippines and were taken ashore at Red Beach in ducks. We were told that MacArthur had liberated the Philippines just three weeks earlier. We were not met by anyone so we pitched pup tents on the beach to prepare for the night (big mistake). The tide came in just after midnight and caused a lot of the troops to lose most of their personal belongings.
On reporting to the base commander the following morning to find out what our orders were, he answered with another question. "Who the H---- are you people and what are you doing here?" "Our Quarter Master is having a big enough problem just feeding the troops that are already here." They did feed us though---mostly C Rations.
Our CO visited the local air strip and found a pilot who had seen C-46s with our emblems at Biak. After communicating with our superiors at Biak, planes were sent to Leyte and we were all flown back to Biak. Our total stay on Leyte was no more than a week if that.
The rest of the story is just as told on the website.
Lt. Joseph Mees , 339th Airdrome Squadron, 8th Combat Cargo Squadron, 2nd Combat Cargo Group.
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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)
Please e-mail comment, suggestions, corrections,etc to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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