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 Ship
| Because of the limited
number of aircraft, not all of our Group were destined to fly, but came to Biak via the
conscripted Dutch Freighter, "The Boschfontein." Those
that came to Biak by ship may very well be considered the lucky ones. First of all,
we lived for almost 2 weeks at Camp Stoneman, Pittsburg, Calif. There we enjoyed
numerous visits into San Francisco during our days of preparation for the voyage.
There was considerable social life in and about the small town of Pittsburg. When
our time to depart the U. S. arrived, we went via a ferry to San Francisco and were sent
off to the unknown with the music of an army band. Life aboard the Dutch liner, the
Boschfontein, wasn't all that bad. Though the ship zig-zagged across the Pacific to
avoid Jap subs and we were assigned our life boat stations and had drills, it became a
rather pleasant experience. The officers aboard dined (and I use that word in it's purest
meaning) at tables with white table cloths, goblets for water, fine dishes and Indian boy
waiters. The food was served to us in a manner similar to one of the finer
restaurants. We sunned ourselves, as the days got warmer, out on the decks.
We engaged each day in bull sessions to pass the timer. We had the makings of a
swing band that rehearsed out on the fantail quite often. Our living conditions were
really not preparing us too well for the life ahead. After 25 days of this, we
arrived in the harbor at Hollandia and disembarked - rather reluctantly to a dusty, dirty
transient camp via an army truck. There we awaited our flights to Biak and upon arriving
there, we were looked at with disdain by the "veteran flyers" who were already
experienced in their jobs. However, the operations officers got us flying without
any hesitancy and we soon became veteran flyers like the rest.
Most of the passengers aboard The Boschfontein were enlisted men from the Airdrome Squadrons. These men did not participate in the "fine dining", but ate out of their mess gear, Living conditions aboard ship were very undemocratic. C'est Le Guerre.
We settled on the coral island of Biak with everyone pitching in, to set up our tents, mess halls, headquarters and operations tents, etc. Our meal fare became powdered milk, powdered eggs, Spam, C-rations type food and coffee brewed with odoriferous water. Not too palatable, but we survived.
Lt. Curtis H. Krogh, 7th Combat Cargo Squadron, 2nd Combat Cargo Group. From his manuscript 'The Story of the 2nd Combat Cargo Group, 54th Troop Carrier Wing, 5th Air Force, Pacific Theater.
This short History of the 2nd Combat Cargo Groups Deployment, no way tells the entire group history. It's sole purpose is to give one an idea of what the Group endured during it's time during the Second World War. For a more detailed report on the the Groups 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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