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


Air Transport Squadron (Mobile) Background

   The 20th Air Force with its creation in 1944, was assigned missions on a worldwide scope.  It was under command of General Curtis LeMay.  In 1944 Gen. Hap Arnold conceived the idea that the 20th AF Bomber Command should have control of its own specialized Air Transport Support.  Three Mobile Air Transport Squadrons were organized, each with twenty C-46 Curtiss Commandos.  The orders issued in creating these three squadrons, required that the best trained maintenance specialist for R-2800 engines, hydraulics, electrical, etc.  People who knew the C-46.  These squadrons were to be self sustaining.  They were to be capable to load men and equipment into the aircraft in 24 hours, to fly where needed.  In addition  these units would also hauled repair parts to downed B-29's that could be repaired and flown back to base and returned downed B-29 crews who had bailed out and made their way to an airfield.   They were to serve as a private Airline for the 20th Bomber Command.

     The 1st Air Tranport Squadon first went to Kaliakunda, India and in June 1945 to Clark Field, Manila.  The 1st ATS had a likeness of the C-46 cross section on their patch to which was added from behind the ends of four bones shaped in a 'X' which resulted in the appearance of the 'Skull and Crossbones'  this was added to the nose of each of the 1st ATS C-46 aircraft.

     The 2nd Air Transport Squadron first went to North Africa, then to Kaliakunda, India and eventually on to Luliang, China.  The 2nd ATS had a bright yellow diamond shape painted on it's C-46’s noses.   The unit was nicknamed 'Sylvester's Circus' after it's commanding officer Major Frank S. Sylvester of Santa Barbara, California.   

     The 3rd Air Transport Squadron went to Kunming China.

      Bill Bielauskas 1/2001

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 1999-2001 Bill Bielauskas  All rights reserved.

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