A FITTING TRIBUTE

HIGH FLIGHT

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings, Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth Of sun-split clouds - and done a hundred things   You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung   High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there, I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung My eager craft through footless halls of air. Up, up the long, delirious burning blue I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace Where never lark, or even eagle flew. And, while silent, lifting mind I've trod The high untrespassed sanctity of space, Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

~~Pilot Officer John Gillespie Magee Jr., written September 1940~~


This page is dedicated to all the pilots,ground crews,ordnance people,the service groups making 3rd and 4th echelon repairs to all aircraft,the tower operators,the refueling crews and anyone else that was involved with keeping these great aircraft in the air and operating at peak performance.It was a great group of men that did a great job under the most adverse conditions possible

GREAT AIRCRAFT IN THE CHINA THEATRE

The B25 was the mainstay of the medium bomb groups in the China Theatre. The records show that no matter what these aircraft were called upon to do the planes the pilots and the ground crews did a job they can all be proud of

The B24 was the workhorse of the heavy bomb groups in China. They were called on to bomb both land and sea targets.They inflicted heavy damage on Japanese shipping and naval targets all along the China coastline. The crews had an outstanding success record on all their missions.

The P-40 is in a class all by itself. Claire Chennault and the AVG made history with the P-40 in the years preceeding our entry into the war against Japan. No group of men and planes have come close to all the records and victories of The AVG in Burma and China in the years of 1941 thru 1943 when the AVG disbanded and was absorbed by the 14th Air Force under the command of General Chennault. The P-40 did all that was asked of it and was retired from service in China with the entry of the P-51 into the China area.The P-40 will always be the symbol of The Flying Tigers.

The P-51 was a really great airplane it had to be to replace the P-40. I remember an incident at Suichwan China involving a plane from the 118th Tac.Recon.Squadron.One of the pilots had rammed into a Jap fighter and tore a huge gap in the leading edge of one of his wings. He got back to base O.K. but it happened when we were evacuating the base and Capt. Carpenter their eng. officer asked me if he could borrow a couple sheetmetal men to patch the wing so the plane could be flown out. Sgts. Reese and Souder patched the hole and the plane was flown out of harms way. The P-51 did everything asked of it and more. I never heard of anyone that didn't love the plane.

The Republic P-47 was a powerful and very durable fighter. With it's powerful radial engine it could withstand more damage than it's inline engine counterparts and keep on flying. I had very little contact with this plane so I know little about it's performance. There was a squadron of P-47 stationed at Ankang,China and I saw them often when flying into the base on the group C-47.

The P-61 was a late comer to the China Theatre. I only had one experience with it and unfortunately it was a sad one. A P-61 was brought onto the base at Suichwan,China to try and help with the nightly bombing attacks the Japs were giving us, On this one night I happened to be at the alert shack when we got the news that the Japs were on the way to pay us another visit. The P-61 took-off to try and find them when they arrived. As luck would have there was a flight of B24's coming in to deliver some much needed gasoline. They were advised of our air raid situation and were told to stand by .The sad ending to this story is that the P-61 locked onto a B-24 and shot it down. All but two of the crew members were lost in this action. That was the end of the P-61 action and we were shortly thereafter forced to evacuate the base and return to Luliang.

The B-29 was also a late comer to the China Theatre but the job it did while it was there did a great deal to influence the outcome of the war in China.In the latter stages of the war this plane was a plauge to the Japs along the coast of China and the Japanese mainland itself. It was a sight to see as the formations of these great planes and their fighter escort headed for the Japanese held territory.

The P-38 was a vital part of the war effort in China. The job it performed as a photo recon plane showed up in the precision bombing missions carried out after photos were taken of the targets. The pilots,ground crews and the photo labs deserve a lot of credit for our success in China.

The Curtiss C-46 workhorse.There are no words to describe the job this airplane its pilots and ground crews did in the China Theatre.I think it is safe to say that without it the war in China could not have been carried out. Everything that had to be flown over the Hump was transported in this plane, gas,food,technical supplies,troops,guns,ammunition you name it and it was carried into China on this airplane. We owe a lot to these dedicated men that risked their lives every day to get the needed supplies into China.


What the hump cost from December1st,1942 to November 16th,1945

These pilots and crews delivered a total of 776,653 tons of war materials at the cost of 910 crewmen-130 passengers-594 planes lost only 75 men rescued. A terrible price to pay but these pilots and crew members delivered.

The Douglas C-47 was a vital part of the war effort in China. Anything that moved inside China probably moved by C-47. The cargo carrying capacity was a lot less than the C-46 but troops,gas and all other supplies were moved by this plane. I was crew chief on our group C-47 for a little while before returning stateside. I logged about two hundred hours flying time and in that time we moved everthing includng mail,gas troops and supplies. The war could not have been won without the C-47 aircraft,it's dedicated pilots and ground crews.Their performance in India and Burma supplying the ground forces of Gen.Stillwell and Merrill's Marauders made it possible to keep our bases open in India and keep the supplies flowing over the "Hump".They were also a vital part of the evacuation of men and supplies when we were forced to evacuate our bases in China.

Music ~Memories~




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