In March 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt wrote to the Director of the Bureau of the Budget ordering each war agency to prepare "an accurate and objective account" of that agency's war experience. Soon after, the Army Air Forces began hiring professional historians so that its history could, in the words of Brigadier General Laurence Kuter, "be recorded while it is hot and that personnel be selected and an agency set up for a clear historian's job without axe to grind or defense to prepare."An Historical Division was established in Headquarters Army Air Forces under Air Intelligence, in September 1942, and the modern Air Force historical program began.
With the end of the war, Headquarters approved a plan for writing and publishing a seven-volume history. In December 1945,Lieutenant General Ira C. Eaker, Deputy Commander of Army Air Forces, asked the Chancellor of the University of Chicago to"assume the responsibility for the publication" of the history, stressing that it must "meet the highest academic standards."Lieutenant Colonel Wesley Frank Craven of New York University and Major James Lea Cate of the University of Chicago, both of whom had been assigned to the historical program, were selected to be editors of the volumes. Between 1948 and 1958 seven were published. With publication of the last, the editors wrote that the Air Force had "fulfilled in letter and spirit" the promise of access to documents and complete freedom of historical interpretation. Like all history, The Army Air Forces in World War II reflects the era when it was conceived, researched, and written. The strategic bombing campaigns received the primary emphasis, not only because of a widely-shared belief in bombardment's contribution
to victory, but also because of its importance in establishing the United States Air Force as a military service independent of the Army. The huge investment of men and machines and the effectiveness of the combined Anglo-American bomber offensive against Germany had not been subjected to the critical scrutiny they have since received. Nor, given the personalities involved and the immediacy of the events, did the authors question some of the command arrangements. In the tactical area, to give another example, the authors did not doubt the effect of aerial interdiction on both the German withdrawal from Sicily and the allied landings at Anzio.
Editors Craven and Cate insisted that the volumes present the war through the eyes of the major commanders, and be based on information available to them as important decisions were made. At the time, secrecy still shrouded the Allied code-breaking effort. While the link between decoded message traffic and combat action occasionally emerges from these pages, the authors lacked the knowledge to portray adequately the intelligence aspects of many operations, such as the interdiction in 1943 of Axis supply lines to Tunisia and the systematic bombardment, beginning in 1944, of the German oil industry.
All historical works a generation old suffer such limitations. New information and altered perspective inevitably change the emphasis of an historical account. Some accounts in these volumes have been superseded by subsequent research and other portions will be superseded in the future. However, these books met the highest of contemporary professional standards of quality and comprehensiveness. They contain information and experience that are of great value to the Air Force today and to the public. Together they are the only comprehensive discussion of Army Air Forces activity in the largest air war this nation has ever waged. Until we summon the resources to take a fresh, comprehensive look at the Army Air Forces' experience in World War II, these seven volumes will continue to serve us as well for the next quarter century as they have for the last.
RICHARD H. KOHN
Chief, Office of Air Force History
This is the seventh and final volume of The Army Air Forces in World War II. The first five volumes told the story of combat operations in the several theaters; the sixth described the means by which men were recruited and trained and machines were provided to insure victory in those operations. The present volume deals with certain services which were common to the whole of the Army Air Forces. In part, these were the non-Air Corps organizations which in the AAF were subsumed under the ambiguous designation of "Arms and Services," but the Table of Contents will show both additions and deletions from that AGO listing. There is, inevitably, some repetition, for the services herein described were so inextricably a part of air combat that they have received, it is hoped, due attention in the account of each air campaign. There, however, the focus was on the activities of the tactical units comprising the theater air force; here it is upon the services as each in its unique way contributed to the fulfillment of the AAF mission. But there is some merit in telling the story from the point of view of the various service organizations, not only to give a unified account of the accomplishments of each, but because in sum these narratives provide a most useful guide for those who would understand the nature of the air war.
These services encountered, as did the tactical air forces, problems at two different levels. First, and perhaps more simple of solution if more pressing, were those of devising and securing the equipment necessary for a war in which technology and production counted heavily and of training men whose skills were even more important than the machines—though this latter need may easily be slighted now that we have crossed the horizon toward the push-button age. The other problems were organizational in form, but in essence they hinged on intricate points of command and control which were fundamental to the American concept of war. World War II was unique not only in that .
It was the first truly world wide in geographical scope but in that for the first time combat operations were divided in fairly equal proportions among our ground, sea, and air forces. To a remarkably satisfactory degree the strategic problems of the universal, three-dimensional war were worked out by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Combined Chiefs of Staff, but within the theaters (or areas, as they were called in the U.S. Navy-controlled Pacific) the standard doctrine was maintained of an unfettered control of all land, sea, and air forces by the theater commander-in-chief, acting under directives of JCS and CCS. In detail, commanders might differ in their interpretation of prerogative, but, in general, their views were antagonistic to those thought essential by the new AAF services.
The basic argument for these services was to some extent rooted in the fundamental concept of an autonomous or independent air force that achieved some recognition in the reorganizations of 20 June 1941and 9 March 1942. But, beyond that, there were important areas in which the new ideas conflicted with standard AAF doctrines, to a lesser degree than when opposed to the theater doctrine but still to a degree that was hard to resolve. From any point of view—theater, AAF, or AAF service—the argument was always the same whatever the immediate issue: unity of command. Because the interpretation of this issue has continued to be of national interest—indeed, has grown as a matter of prime public concern—the editors have thought that the organizational struggles described in the following chapters go far beyond their immediate purpose by illustrating the complexity of modern warfare.
It is not without reason that the Air Transport Command occupies the first and most prominent place in this book. In terms of size ATC was by far the greatest of the organizations under consideration; it was an important user, along with the tactical air forces, of most of the other services; its struggle for a separate and corporate existence exerted some influence within the other organizations; and it was ATC that set a pattern for close collaboration with the civilian world that was necessary during the rapid expansion of the Air Corps after 1939.Originally, ATC had to depend heavily upon the commercial airlines, but so vast were its operations and so varied its experiences that in the end there was much that the civilian lines could learn from the command.
Early experiments with air transport within the Air Corps were
born of the necessity for economy and were limited to intraservice delivery of airplane parts. The tremendous expansion of this function was accompanied by the assumption of two other major responsibilities: the delivery—or ferrying, to use the term borrowed from the British—of military aircraft to the using agency and the movement of passengers. When cargo and passenger services were extended to other Army forces and ATC became a common carrier for the War Department, its growth beyond the most sanguine dreams of 1939 was assured.
Dependence upon the commercial airlines began with the expansion of the Air Corps in 1939 and was most pronounced in the early days of the war, but it continued in some degree until V-J Day, by which time ATC's size and accumulated experience overshadowed that of the combined civilian carriers. The most important forms of aid maybe classified roughly in terms of planes and personnel borrowed, techniques adapted to military use, and direct transport service performed under contract.
Early Air Corps attempts to develop transport planes had produced no satisfactory model, and, in spite of redoubled efforts, no successful design was produced during the war years. So, inevitably, the AAF turned to civilian models already in production and to various modifications of heavy bombers. The early standby, and indeed the most dependable plane within its capacities throughout the war, was the Douglas DC-3, known alternately, according to its special modifications, as the C-47 and the C-53. Long successful in civilian passenger service but already obsolescent at Pearl Harbor time, the twin-engine DC-3had many features ill suited to the convenient handling of bulky freight, and its pay load was too light for the new tasks. But it was flyable under almost any conditions, was easily maintained, and, above all, was in production. Similarly, the AAF adopted the Douglas DC-4, a newer four-engine airliner just coming into production in1941, and, as the C-54, this plane became the workhorse where long range and a heavy load were important considerations. Much was expected of the Curtiss C-46, designed in 1940 as a twin-engine competitor of the DC-4 and Boeing Stratoliner; it was easy to load and had great lift, reasonable speed, and a comfortable range. Eventually, it came to do yeoman service in certain areas, but until 1944 the C-46was subject to various mechanical ailments calling for numerous modifications and was a hard plane to fly and to maintain.
Of the converted bombers, the most important were the variants of the B-24—the C-87 and a tanker model, the C-109. In spite of the obvious disadvantages of a made-over tactical plane, the C-87 had speed and range and proved a lifesaver until the C-54 came into full production.
In view of the AAF's later stress on air transport, it may seem strange in retrospect that its development program for the necessary planes lagged so far behind that for tactical aircraft. But it must be remembered that the transport doctrine, though beginning to crystallize by the time of Pearl Harbor, was profoundly affected by the additional responsibilities (welcome enough to ATC) delegated by the War Department. In this respect the original air war plan, AWPD/1of August 1941, is instructive. Though remarkably accurate in its forecast of requirements in general and in most individual types, and though written under the direction of ATC's later commander, the plan fell far short in its estimate of the number of four-engine planes needed for victory. However, the fairest test is to compare the American transport aircraft, in quality and quantity, with those of our enemies and Allies; in such a comparison the AAF, with a fleet which was largely improvised, was without a rival.
ATC borrowed actual planes as well as plane models and production potential from the airlines, and it borrowed men as well. These included top-ranking executives, pilots and crewmen, and mechanics and technicians of all sorts. The terms of the loan varied from individual to individual and often with the same man—induction, temporary military service, civilian employment by ATC, or contract service.
Contract service, which began before the United States entered the war, enlisted the aid of an airline to do a specific job of ferrying, or of hauling cargo and passengers, or of operating air bases. The experience of these companies, their aircraft and equipment, and their installations were of enormous help. There was often friction between their civilian employees and military personnel doing the same job under less favorable circumstances, and there were instances when it seemed tote latter that the airlines were more interested in present profits and future status than in winning the war. But, indeed, victory would have come harder without the very real aid of the airlines.
If the AAF depended heavily upon an existing civilian structure for men and planes in its transport service, its doctrine and organization
were born of its own experience and imagination. The Air Transport Command grew out of the Air Corps Ferrying Command, established in May 1941 to direct the delivery of lend-lease planes to our Allies. This duty continued at an accelerating pace, and to it was added that of ferrying U.S. replacement planes and of supervising the overseas flight of combat units bound for a theater of operations. For the ACFC there was some guidance in RAF ferrying experience but not for the broader concept of mass transport of passengers and freight which became eventually a larger operation. The new designation of Air Transport Command came on 20 June 1942 along with the expanded responsibilities. The reorganization included a new headquarters in Washington and, in various strategic locations overseas, a wing organization with control over local troops and installations but not over aircraft or crews passing through. This was in accord with the new idea of a strategic transport service, directed from Washington, with local transport being provided by theater carrier units. This design ran counter to accepted ideas of unified command of all forces within a theater, and it was only after many controversies and after theater commanders came to understand its over-all advantages that the new concept won general acceptance. The theater commander reserved the right to levy on ATC forces in an emergency, a proviso subject to varying interpretations, but, as transport facilities became more plentiful, this clause was invoked less frequently. This revolutionary idea of a strategic command for air transport was an important factor in ATC's enormous accomplishment; attempts to extend the principle to include Navy air transport services failed to materialize until after the war when MATS proved to be the first practical form of unification between the services and demonstrated in the Berlin airlift the mobility and power of concentration inherent in its strategic concept.
The magnitude of the ATC effort can be read in the statistics plentifully supplied in the pages which follow. With a peak force of 200,-000officers and men and 3,700 planes, ATC in the single month of July 1945 carried 275,000 passengers and 100,000 tons of cargo, mostly in overseas flights; in all, the command ferried more than a quarter of a million planes. To secure the requisite transport planes was an arduous task, but far more difficult was the job of recruiting and training pilots and crews in direct competition with combat forces enjoying always a higher priority. Pilots were drawn from several sources: originally from the pool of airline pilots trained by the Air Corps and
holding reserve commissions; then from veteran civilian pilots of varying types of experience; later from pilots rotated home after a combat tour; in greatest numbers from Training Command graduates; and from women pilots, both experienced (WAFS) and newly trained(WASP). Except for the first group, most of the pilots needed additional instruction—transitional training in the many aircraft types ferried by ATC and training for long overwater flights, novel to most of the recruits. A contract program provided by the civilian Airlines War Training Institute proved unequal to the demand, and in the long run most of the instruction was given by ATC's operational training unit program which trained crews for the several types of transport planes and in the techniques needed for transport flying.
The over-all command pattern and the common strategic mission gave some unity to ATC operations in all theaters, however competitive the simultaneous demands of the theaters might be. This unity did not exclude variety, for each theater had its special problems and its own tempo. Essentially, the ATC story is that of building and operating a half-dozen major airways, some with branch or feeder lines. The story is told in some detail in the following chapters, and here it is necessary only to indicate the main lines of development in those airways.
Oldest in service was the South Atlantic route (comprising by 1943the Caribbean, South Atlantic, North Africa, and Central Africa Wings), which was born of the need to ferry lend-lease aircraft to the British in the Near East and to the Russians via Tehran. The opening in July 1942 of a staging base on Ascension Island midway across the South Atlantic made the route practicable for twin-engine planes. Fear of an Axis victory in Egypt sent ATC south of the Equator to set up a possible alternate to the Accra-Khartoum-Cairo (or -Aden) route tote Middle East, but, fortunately, need for its use never materialized. Early plans to reinforce Australia via a trans-African airway also faded early in the war. But great impetus was given to ATC's operations over the South Atlantic by the Allied invasion of French Africa in November 1942. This called for a branch line from Accra up to Dakar and eventually for a direct route from Natal to Dakar suitable for four-engine planes. There was also a line from Northwest Africa to the United Kingdom, and, after the invasion of Italy, a branch was fed into that peninsula, Corsica, and southern France. The extension of intratheater services had come only with the absorption of duties
previously handled by Mediterranean Air Transport Service against the wishes of the British.
Another and more direct line—the Middle Atlantic—from Newfoundland to Marrakech (or to Great Britain) via the Azores was pioneered in 1943 and was regularly used from the beginning of 1944.
The North Atlantic route, began as an airway for ferrying lend-lease planes to the United Kingdom, was given a greater load when the build-up for the Combined Bomber Offensive began in 1942. Alternate routes—staging through either Newfoundland or Labrador, either eastern or western Greenland, and Iceland—were developed, though four-engine planes could fly directly from North America. In the beginning there was much trouble with weather on this route, but losses dwindled as installations and instruments were improved and as personnel became more experienced. The invasion of France in 1944 increased the flow of traffic over this airway and led to the establishment of feeder lines and of new transport services for the Continent.
No airway attracted public attention as did the "Hump," the route from Bengal to Assam, then over the rugged mountain chains that provided the route's familiar name, to Kunming in China. The difficulty of the flight over high mountains through notoriously bad weather was publicized as no other non-combat flight was. Beyond that, the airway became early in the war the sole means by which supplies and personnel could be carried into or out of China, and it hence took on a prime strategic and diplomatic importance. This line was the last link in an airway that came from the United States via Africa to Karachi and across India to Calcutta, but much of the materiel hauled over the Hump had come out by surface ship or a combination of ship and aircraft.
In flying the Hump, ATC long had to face the formidable weather and terrain conditions with inadequate installations and too little in the way of aircraft assigned. What added to the command's difficulties were the recurrent promises made to China by top authorities of ever heavier delivery schedules, made often without full consideration of the means by which the schedules could be met. The India-China Wing's history, then, is one of long and often frustrating effort to meet quotas made by others than their own leaders. Eventually, they received enough planes and crews for the task, and their leadership improved with experience. By mid-1944 monthly totals began to top earlier estimates, then in 1945 climbed to a fantastic sum of 71,042 tons
in July; the wartime grand total was 650,000 tons. The strategic importance of this accomplishment may be open to debate, but in terms of the development of air-transport concepts and techniques the airlift to China was of first importance.
The Northwest air route stretched out some 2,210 miles from Great Falls, Montana, to Anchorage in Alaska. The apparent strategic importance of Alaska in the early days of the war made this route seem vital to national defense as a means of reinforcing rapidly our meager forces there. After the Japanese feint in that direction in 1942 the danger subsided until Alaska ceased to figure as an active theater. From September1942 to V-J Day the chief function of the airway was the delivery of lend-lease planes to Russia via Siberia. This was as difficult in personal relations as other tasks involving Russian co-operation, but it was a mission of great scope and importance, resulting, all told, in the transfer at Fairbanks of more than 7,800 aircraft.
In the Pacific, ATC developed slowly, since before Pearl Harbor in its vast areas there was no considerable lend-lease traffic such as had given impetus to ferrying across the Atlantic. Most areas in the Pacific were under command of the U.S. Navy, which provided its own air transport; in the one exception—the Southwest Pacific—General MacArthur's views on command prerogative left little opportunity for the development of a Washington-controlled transport system. However, early in 1942 a Pacific Sector of ACFC began to direct the westward movement of U.S. bombers flown out by their own crews to the Fifth and other air forces fighting Japan. In March a transport service was begun, Hawaii to Australia; and, with the creation of ATC, this and the ferrying service were continued by its South Pacific Wing. Contract transports carried the freight and passengers, and the build-up of ATC forces was slow. By summer 1943 the Pacific Wing, with headquarters in Hawaii, had provided a needed unity of control in traffic from California to Australia, and eventually some order was established in what had been a confused service.
Early in the war the airway to Australia had gone far south of the direct line as a matter of precaution, but by 1944 the route had been swung northward following the advance of Allied forces. In April 1944, by special agreement between the theater and ATC, the latter's Southwest Pacific wing took over part of the intratheater transport job, which, with the increasing distance of the front from Australia, had become a heavy one.
Early in 1945 the Central Pacific Wing moved to Guam, where it contributed heavily to the establishment and nourishment of XXI Bomber Command, whose B-29's were attacking Japan's cities. The last important job of ATC in the Pacific war was the spectacular airlift of occupying forces into Japan after the surrender. But there was still a vaster and more welcome job—that of bringing home such forces as would be released from service.
From its earliest days ATC had carried in its homeward-bound planes some high-priority passengers and some rare strategic materials. More important were the sick and wounded personnel of whatever service evacuated either to theater hospitals or back to the United States. In all they numbered about one-third of a million passengers, and certainly there was no accomplishment of ATC that rated so high in human values. But an even larger task (and one not without its appeal to the individual serviceman) was the aid provided by ATC in the return of AAF units to the United States in the redeployment program and of personnel of all sorts when the Japanese surrender turned redeployment into an overwhelming torrent of men bound for home and separation.
In June 1940 the Corps of Engineers, at the request of the Air Corps, activated a regiment of engineers whose special duty was the preparation or repair of airfields and other air installations. This was the beginning of an organization that eventually included 117,851officers and men. Breaking with the practice of European air forces that left construction in the hands of army engineers, the Air Corps conceived of a unit trained specifically for aviation needs. With the full co-operation of the Corps of Engineers, the Air Corps designed a self-contained battalion of 27 officers and 761 men, equipped with a lavish array of heavy machines typical of American civilian construction practices. Machines and men skilled in their use were then plentiful, and, when war came, engineer aviation battalions were already overseas, where they took part in the initial operations. Although designed on a purely theoretical basis with no model to imitate or experience to guide its planners, the self-contained battalion remained the standard unit, with relatively little need to modify its table of organization and equipment.
Early in 1942 the Air Engineer developed an engineer aviation battalion(airborne) for mobile use in an invasion. Its complement of 28officers and 500 men was light, its equipment lighter still by normal
standards. The unit was designed to be parachuted into enemy territory, to hack out an emergency strip, and, with light equipment landed by gliders, to improve the runway until it could accommodate transports and tactical planes. The idea was appropriate to certain phases of the war, but the services rendered never justified the effort and resources spent on this specialized type of unit. Whether the fault lay entirely in the concept or in part with the use of the airborne battalions is not entirely clear. On three spectacular occasions—at Tebessa in Algeria, in Burma, and at Tsili Tsili in New Guinea—the airborne engineers functioned as smoothly and as efficiently as in a textbook exercise under conditions impossible for a standard battalion. But, in general, their equipment was too light and the whole concept of their purpose was too specialized for general usage. Theater commanders greatly preferred the standard battalion, and the airborne units sometimes sat idle or were used in routine small jobs; eventually, many of them were merged with other units. The rare successes showed that there was some need for the airborne unit but certainly not for so many as were provided, and this criticism was valid as well for such other specialized units as the petroleum-distribution company, the camouflage battalion, etc.
Over-all planning was a responsibility of the Air Engineer in AAF Headquarters in Washington, but he had little command responsibility. Officers and men were trained by the Corps of Engineers, allocated by the Operations Division, War Department General Staff, and assigned to a theater commander when reaching a combat zone. There they might be merged indiscriminately with other engineers—Army, Navy, and civilian—to perform any and all types of construction whether of interest to air operations or not. Hence there was a constant struggle on the part of AAF Headquarters to secure for them some sort of separate existence. The success of aviation engineers working at their own proper tasks in Northwest Africa resulted in the establishment of an engineer command within the theater organization. Here this pattern worked so well that it was later adopted for the invasion forces in the ETO in 1944, and, indeed, AAF Headquarters urged this as a model for other theaters. But throughout the Pacific theaters and in CBI, commanders were unanimously opposed, and so the aviation engineers remained a part of a pool, performing such tasks as were assigned, whether connected with the air war or not. Often the aviation engineers complained of preferential treatment accorded their colleagues in the other services, but, unlike their officers in
Washington, they were not generally enthusiastic about a separate existence; their chief loyalty as professionals was toward the crenelated towers of the Corps of Engineers rather than toward the younger crossed propellers of the Air Corps.
Certain problems of command, of personnel, and of supply were fundamentally similar in all theaters, but the nature of the aviation engineer's task differed with the nature of the air war in each and with the terrain, transportation, and equipment and labor locally available. Most of the unit equipment had been proved in grueling civilian use, and usually it was sturdy enough and plentiful enough for the task at hand, but transportation remained throughout the war a limiting factor. Too often men arrived long before their equipment, and in many of the amphibious invasions inept loading of machinery slowed down the initial construction of airstrips.
In England control of the aviation engineers fell to the Army's SOS. Their chief task was to build the many airfields in East Anglia and Huntingdon required for the Combined Bomber Offensive. They worked with British civilian help, and, if there were inconveniences, shortages, discomforts, and monotony, conditions were not notably more rugged than in a boom community in the United States.
The invasion of North Africa offered a greater variety of experiences. Landing with the invasion troops in several places, the aviation engineers began their never ending task of repairing old fields and creating new ones. Heavy rains hampered their efforts to provide all-weather landing strips, and it was only by ingenious use of plateau and desert locations that the engineers were able to keep up with the early advances of the troops. After Kasserine, better weather and a larger and more experienced force enabled the engineers to catch up with the heavy demands. By the end of the campaign they had built or rehabilitated (with British aid) 129 airfields at the rate of one every two days and had won the respect of all combat forces.
In the Sicilian campaign the task of the AAF engineers was to provide airstrips in support of the U.S. Seventh Army, and, though their officers had little advance knowledge of conditions on the island, the assigned battalions were able to keep up with the whirlwind campaign. As it ended, the long-sought separate organization came with the formation of the AAF Engineer Command (MTO), which was to serve as a model for the larger structure used later in the invasion of northern Europe.
The invasion of Italy called first for the familiar procedure of laying
down emergency fighter strips, in Calabria and then for Anzio. Later came the less spectacular but more lasting task of building all-weather fields for strategic bombers in Apulia and around Foggia; in both areas the heavy rains of "sunny" Italy caused serious but not insurmountable difficulties. By comparison, the assignments in Corsica and southern France in connection with the DRAGOON operation were routine.
For the OVERLORD invasion of France the Ninth Air Force had at its disposal sixteen regular and three airborne aviation engineer battalions, most of whose members were veterans with much experience in the construction of airdromes in England, topped off with a casual training for their new and more mobile duties. Not without long debate, the Ninth Air Force secured for this corps separate status as a provisional IX Engineer Command, numbering more than 17,000 personnel. From D Day until V-E Day the activities of this command were intimately entwined with those of the tactical air forces and, indeed, with those of the ground troops. Along with other invading forces, the engineers were hampered by the rugged resistance of the Germans at the beaches and in Normandy; their schedules were disrupted by the slow breakout from the Cotentin and equally by the unexpectedly rapid advance thereafter; and important changes in plans were required by the need for more fighter-bomber fields than had been predicted and by the tardy decision to base medium bombers on the Continent. As the First and Third Armies moved across France, supported, respectively, by the IX and XIX Tactical Air Commands, the Engineer Command was split into the 1st and 2d Engineer Aviation Brigades, each with the duty of providing in the wake of the advancing armies a series of clutches of airfields in immediate support. Supply and transportation were never adequate, and the engineers were hard put to keep up with the breakneck pace of the ground troops; but throughout their performance was remarkable enough to win the unqualified praise of all.
In the war against Japan the experiences of the engineers were more varied than in Europe and Africa. In part the variety resulted from the wide range in climate and topography, in part from the command structures encountered. In few instances were the aviation engineers in the Pacific areas or in CBI able to call on the resources of an industrial society, and their supply problems were made prodigious by distances and low priorities.
In the Southwest Pacific Area, aviation engineers began their operations at Darwin in Australia early in 1942 and finished, as a part of FEAF, far to the north as war ended. From the first they worked side by side with Army and Navy engineers, under the Chief Engineer of GHQ, SWPA. Attempts to secure a separate aviation engineer command were made periodically by AAF Headquarters and (though apparently with less zeal) by the Fifth Air Force, but to no avail. Problems of manpower and supply were of more immediate concern to engineers in the theater than were those of command, and indeed it is hard to say from the record whether the air forces there would have profited greatly by the proposed change.
As SWPA forces held at Port Moresby and then began the slow movement northward, each jump in the hopscotch pattern of advance depended upon the previous development of new air bases. The terrain often was rugged, living conditions were primitive, and the climate was debilitating and unhealthy. Sites for airfields had to be chosen on the basis of inadequate information, and land transportation was incredibly difficult. These factors made for unorthodox methods, and in many cases the standards accepted for airstrips were far different from those demanded at home or in the ETO. But, whatever the book may have said, the strips laboriously hewed out of jungles or laid on coral beaches still under enemy fire usually stood up under the pragmatic test of hard use. Road-building frequently became, as between Lae and Nadzab, a necessary adjunct to airfield construction, and more often than they liked aviation engineers were employed in miscellaneous tasks bearing little relation to the air war.
Occasionally, advance intelligence was so faulty as to require a radical revision of plans, as at Hollandia, where designs for a huge complex of bases to be built by 25,000 engineers were scaled down to a minimum, with most of the force moving on to develop Wadke instead. Sometimes, too, as at Biak and Noemfoor, unheralded local difficulties interfered with construction schedules. In regard both to construction supplies and to provisions for their own existence aviation engineers felt that they suffered unduly while the Seabees lived a life of plenty; they felt, too, some resentment when the highly publicized Seabees received wide acclaim for accomplishments no whit different from those of the unsung aviation engineers.
With the return to the Philippines the engineers passed a crucial test under fire in the mud of Leyte, then moved northward to Mindoro
and Luzon, where a variety of tasks necessary for the restoration of those islands competed with airfield construction for the attention of the engineers.
In the North Pacific the Japanese threat of June 1942 seemed to reinforce ideas about the strategic importance of Alaska and to demand the immediate extension of air facilities in the area. As a point of attack against Japanese-held Kiska and Attu, two companies of aviation engineers built a usable airfield on Adak, working under most formidable circumstances. Later fields were built on Amchitka and Attu, but eventually, as operations practically ceased in that area, construction forces were moved to a more active theater.
In the South Pacific, a Navy command, construction policies were largely determined by Navy officers. In 1943, however, the Thirteenth Air Force gained immediate control of the aviation engineer battalions through its XIII Air Service Command. Much of their work was in support of Navy Seabees, who outnumbered them and who enjoyed their usual advantages in supply and in living accommodations. While performing their tasks creditably, the aviation engineers in this theater had a somewhat less important role than in the SWPA.
In China-Burma-India the activities of the aviation engineers were as far from normal as were most operations in that vast and confusing theater. In China there were no U.S. engineer units but only a handful of officers to advise General Chennault and to some extent the Chinese who built his fields. In India the Tenth Air Force used fields prepared by native labor under British supervision. Until 1944 all five aviation engineer battalions (all Negro units) in CBI were assigned to work on the Ledo Road, where they were joined later by three other such units. Their fine work was finished only with the completion of the road early in 1945, and, though some units moved then into China, they arrived too late to accomplish much before V-J Day. Perhaps the most nearly normal project in the theater was when aviation engineers under AAF control supported the campaign in Burma and developed the important complex of bases around Myitkyna.
The MATTERHORN project provided the theater's greatest single challenge to air engineers, but it was handled in a typically complex CBI fashion. Because the project called for B-29 bases in both China and India, some over-all direction was provided by the establishment of an Air Engineer, Air Forces, CBI. In China the fields were built, somewhat tardily, by hundreds of thousands of peasants working with primitive hand tools under direction of local contractors. In
Bengal the task was divided among the British, Indian, and U.S. armies, using some civilian help and throttled by enough red tape to choke off any threat of initiative. Four aviation engineer battalions sent out in the hope of making MATTERHORN self-sufficient arrived late but still well ahead of their equipment. From start to finish the job lagged far behind schedule, so that by comparison the China side of the task was a model of dispatch and efficiency.
Even larger was the job of preparing bases for the B-29's of XXI Bomber Command in the Marianas, but it went more smoothly. Fifteen battalions were available for developing the islands. Plans based on insufficient data had to be modified frequently, and the command set-up, while not so impractical as that in CBI, was cumbersome enough to make the requisition of supplies a major operation. Nevertheless, the B-29 fields with their generous specifications were built in time to accommodate the constantly expanding force of VHB's. An even greater construction project involving the use of ninety-three battalions was planned for Okinawa but was canceled by the cessation of hostilities.
Accurate forecasting of weather conditions, useful to all modern military services, is of especial significance to air forces. It was not without reason then that on the eve of World War II the Air Corps was given primary responsibility for the Army's weather service. Using techniques developed by Scandinavian meteorologists, the U.S.Weather Bureau had built and maintained an excellent reporting system within the continental United States. The more difficult task that war brought was to extend a similar service to combat areas where local data would not be so easily available. In terms of the general movement of weather and of the help available from allies, the war against Germany in this one respect presented perhaps a less formidable problem than did the war against Japan, although it was axiomatic among fliers in any area that their own particular brand of weather was the worst to be found anywhere.
Early plans for expanding the Air Corps weather services were entirely too modest, but they were sharply revised late in 1940, when the estimated need for weather officers was jumped from 40 to 1,550.Contracts were made with five leading universities and technical institutes to conduct a training program in meteorology, and recruits were sought from washed-out pilot trainees and among college students with the educational qualifications. As estimated requirements soared to a fantastic figure of 10,000 weather officers by 1945, the AAF made
further arrangements with twenty other institutions to offer premeteorological programs for college students in an enlisted-reserve status. By 1943 a more realistic appraisal of requirements could be made; the estimate was slashed in two, but, even so, of 6,200 weather officers trained, 1,800 served in other capacities.
The organizational pattern in the United States divided the country into several weather regions, each operated by a meteorological squadron through detachments of varying sizes at the many air bases. This system was extended overseas, with the squadron normally taking its numerical designation from the theater air force and with its commanding officer becoming the regional control officer. Before the war ended, the AAF had nine hundred weather stations, two-thirds of them outside the United States.
Liaison with other services and with Britain was provided through a number of joint and combined committees, but co-operation with the U.S.S.R. was difficult and never satisfactory. Difficult, too, was the problem of control within the AAF and in overseas theaters, where the desire of AAF Headquarters to exercise some supervision over men operating a world-wide weather service ran counter to the prerogatives of the theater commander.
Within the AAF, direction of the Weather Service changed frequently with the periodic reorganizations in the Pentagon. In 1943control fell to the new Flight Control Command, which exercised its responsibilities through a Weather Wing located at Asheville, North Carolina. It was only at the very end of the war, in July 1945, that further administrative changes concentrated authority in the hands of the Chief of the AAF Weather Service, with Headquarters, AAFWS, succeeding the Weather Wing at Asheville.
Overseas, weather personnel operated both along the air routes leading to the theaters and in the combat zones. Even before the United States entered the war weather stations were functioning along the South Atlantic and North Atlantic routes, and thereafter the number of stations was rapidly increased; by 1943 a station in the Azores was serving the Middle Atlantic route as well. Weather stations in the North Atlantic, some of them well within the Arctic Circle, were isolated by the winter weather they observed, and mere physical existence was a problem. But the hand-picked men stood up well to the hardships and loneliness, and morale generally was good. From 1942 on increasing use was made of weather reconnaissance
flights in the North Atlantic, eventually with especially qualified observers and planes equipped for the purpose, and later this practice was extended to the South Atlantic. Eventually, a system of area reconnaissance was perfected that almost eliminated weather as an important factor in plane losses along those airways.
In CBI there was much weather to observe and, through most of the war, too few qualified observers. There the crucial area was the Hump, "the turbulent meeting place of three major Eurasian air masses." ATC, by far the principal user, tried without success to takeover the weather service. By 1944 forecasting for XX Bomber Command's B-29's was moderately successful, partly because of information furnished by the Russians and by U.S. personnel on the Asiatic mainland.
During the invasion of North Africa the AAF worked out a pattern, subsequently followed elsewhere, by which the 12th Weather Squadron was assigned to the Twelfth Air Force, where its commander served simultaneously as regional control officer, weather officer for the ranking AAF commander, and chief source of weather information for the theater commander. As personnel became available, officers were assigned to echelons down to the combat group level, allowing a modification of early concepts of fixed stations by the frequent use of mobile units. With weather as with other services, the experience gained in the MTO was of great value in the invasion of northern Europe.
In the Pacific, weather stations fanned out from Hawaii along the air routes and into the combat areas occupied by the Fifth and Thirteenth Air Forces. Co-operation with the weather services of New Zealand and Australia was close. From Alaska, AAF weather detachments moved westward along the Aleutian chain with the American advance in 1943, but their efforts, combined with those of the Navy, CAA, and U.S. Weather Bureau, never made possible any sustained combat operations in the area. But weather squadrons in the northwestern reaches of the continent helped keep open the lend-lease route to the U.S.S.R. and collected information invaluable to their colleagues at home and abroad.
In the Pacific, as in Europe, regular forecasting had to be supplemented with special weather reconnaissance flights to secure spot data on target areas or on flight paths. This practice went counter to earlier plans for area reconnaissance—which proved highly successful along
the Atlantic routes—but in support of B-29 strikes against Honshu it was only from data collected ad hoc by VLR planes that reasonably accurate forecasts could be made.
Although the AAF Weather Service participated in the significant advances made in the science of meteorology during the war years, its unique contribution cannot be isolated from those of the Navy, the civilian agencies, and the universities, all working toward a common goal and often in close collaboration. New equipment was designed by the Signal Corps at AAF request, and, though the AAF engaged in some research programs of its own, its more important work was the vast extension of reporting over a large portion of the earth's surface. Among its most troublesome problems was that of security of communications, where the desire to make available to friendly aircraft all pertinent weather information was balanced by the need of withholding such data from the enemy. This conflict of interests resulted inevitably in compromise, weighted somewhat more heavily in favor of the friendly plane than was common with our British allies, whose proximity to German bomber bases made them somewhat more cautious about the dissemination of information; but, in general, policies became less strict as the Allies gained air supremacy
This was only one of the many instances in which rapid but safe means of communications were necessary for victory in the air. Actually, the whole concept of a global war was dependent upon a world-wide communications system of unprecedented complexity, and not least important for the AAF was that part of the system that guided, aided, and controlled its planes in flight. The development of this system in the 1930's had been slow, but under pressure of war a combination of new techniques and new administrative procedures met the new needs successfully. Long a branch of the Signal Corps, the air arm left to its parent organization the development of communications equipment even after it assumed equal status as the Air Corps and long depended upon the civilian airways for navigational aids within the continental United States. Recognizing the growing need for a unified traffic control system of its own, the Air Corps established late in 1938 the Army Airways Communications System under direction of the Chief of the Air Corps, which comprised three regions, each served by a communications squadron. The technological improvements of the war years and the increase in traffic added vastly to the equipment and the responsibilities of the AACS, but its
organizational pattern and its name were maintained with a stability unusual in that era.
With the approach and the arrival of war AACS extended its services along the airways developed eastward and westward from the United States. Instruction in the new and ever newer instruments and techniques was provided by the Training Command for military personnel and by the Air Service Command for the many civilians employed.
Inevitably, the effort to establish a world-wide communications system with personnel stationed in every area where AAF planes flew, but all controlled centrally by a stateside headquarters, ran afoul the standard pattern of unified theater command; and in the struggle for its own centralized control AACS enjoyed the support of ATC, a principal user of its facilities and an ardent suitor in the same cause. Some gains were achieved in 1943 in AACS's relation to theater commands, and subsequently its internal structure underwent several modifications, so that before V-J Day it had come to represent a truly world-wide airways system.
Beyond the organizational issue AACS had as a prime task adapting the available equipment and personnel to the needs of the several theaters and the airways connecting them with the homeland. The problems differed somewhat in kind and in intensity from area to area, but the very universality of AACS tended to iron out some of the differences, and in the total picture its efforts did much to quicken the pace of air traffic and to cut down on avoidable losses.
For writing the chapter on aviation medicine the editors, rank laymen in the field on two scores, were happy to secure the services of a distinguished physician and administrator whose wartime experience with another military medical service should qualify him as an expert and non-partisan author. His essay, departing from the narrative organized along geographical lines which has been followed in most chapters, consists of an analysis of those factors that differentiated aviation medicine from medicine as conceived and practiced by the forces of the War Department's Surgeon General and that led—not without reason if this interpretation be correct—to a long struggle for an independent medical service for the air arm.
The chief distinguishing feature of aviation medicine was its recognition of the importance of the individual flier and its consequent emphasis on what was known technically as the "Care of the Flier"; this,
with the dispensing of normal clinical services, the selection of candidates for flight training, and research in the medical problems of flight, constituted the duties of the flight surgeon. In his general clinical work the air surgeon made important contributions to the more rapid healing of sick and wounded and their consequent return to duty; his researches helped adapt fliers to the new stresses of new machines; his tests controlled entrance to candidacy for coveted flight careers. But the essence of his job was maintaining, with equity toward the individual and with conscience toward the demands of the war, an optimum percentage of fliers available for combat. This involved a delicate set of relations between the air surgeon, the commanding officer (himself always a flier), and the individual flier; and the surgeon's success in this, the art of aviation medicine, was measured by his skill in satisfying at the same time the military needs of the one and the personal needs of the other.
Aviation medicine as it developed from the time of World War I studied the various types of stresses involved in flight—physical, gravitational, physiological, psychological, and emotional—with emphases that varied according to current medical views and the prepossessions of air surgeons. From 1934, air surgeons at the laboratory of the Aero Medical Research Unit studied the effect of new equipment on men in flight with a view toward its improvement. And, since World War I, flight surgeons had operated, under several names and in several localities, their own School of Aviation Medicine. But underlying all their functions lay an administrative issue of prime concern.
Since 1917, flight surgeons had insisted that an effective air force must have full control over its own medical service. Air force needs could be satisfied only by physicians in sympathy with the revolutionary ideas of air power, including an acceptance of the parity of the man and the machine. Sympathy with the airman's unconventional views was not only an incentive toward research for the mutual adaptation of man and machine but, more important, also an absolute prerequisite for the understanding and treatment of the individual flier. Such a medical service would demand two administrative changes. First, it was necessary that the chief medical officer be directly responsible to the commander of the air arm without the necessity of reporting through some non-medical staff officer, as was customary in other military organizations. Second, it was necessary to win freedom from control by the Surgeon General, and this was difficult, since the latter
officer maintained a professional control over Army physicians even after they had been assigned to a major command such as a corps area or a combat theater. Neither of these objectives was obtained en bloc during World War II; but by gradual stages aviation medicine won a degree of independence comparable to that of the air arm itself, and, as in the case of the AAF, the realities of power often ran far ahead of its formal acknowledgment. Freedom of action in some areas, particularly those involving research and teaching, came by default though use of Air Corps funds when the Army medical establishment was unwilling to provide them. But the central issue of administrative control was fought out in a long and acrimonious paper conflict that ended only with the establishment of the U.S. Air Force in 1947.Functionally, aviation medicine performed three types of service: physical examination, field medical, and hospitalization. Control over the first was easily gained, but it was only under the exigencies of war that the Air Surgeon sharply modified the field services and encroached upon the general hospital system.
In the selection and classification of fliers, air surgeons of World War II had behind them a long tradition of testing but little in the way of test evaluation by biostatistical methods. Under the demand for flight crews in unprecedented numbers, the selection program was changed in two fashions: first, by emphasis on the prediction of aptitudes of aviation cadets, classification was made a positive program; second, the emphasis was divided among the several categories of air-crewmen rather than being centered on the pilot alone. In spite of changes in the nature of the testing devices and, indeed, in the concepts of what factors should be tested—physical, physiological, psychological, or psychiatric—the selection process as measured by successful completion of the training program involved was not notably more efficient than in World War I. Nevertheless, this service seems to have satisfied personnel and training officers most immediately concerned.
Of more interest to the flight surgeon was his duty to provide "Care for the Flier" for something like three-quarters of a million aircrew-men in training and in subsequent operations. Part of the program was within the normally high competence of the doctors serving with the AAF; part demanded some specialized physiological knowledge that was supposed to be furnished by the School of Aviation Medicine. But the most difficult responsibility of the air surgeon was the diagnosis
of symptoms resulting from emotional reactions and the handling of cases arising from the peculiar anxieties of flight and aerial combat. The latter sort of duty lay within an area of knowledge and practice vigorously debated by physicians and psychiatrists—an area of interest in civilian practice wherever emotional factors affected health but one which became of crucial importance where the willingness or emotional ability to participate in combat flying was a military matter, subject to stringent sanctions applied through martial law. In a field of medical practice ill understood by common practitioners, the lay public, and the military, the flight surgeon at the squadron level had to act as personal adviser to the airman and as arbiter between this client, his commanding officer, and higher medical authority when their respective interests were in opposition. To keep the largest number of crewmen flying without endangering their comrades and without permanent damage to the individual—that was the peculiar task of the air surgeon, and his success, which was generally of a high order, was in direct ratio to his skill in the art of aviation medicine.
The airman's relation with the air surgeon began when the former was a trainee, continued through his tour of combat, and remained close until his separation from the service. Many of the medical problems were those common to all military personnel within any area, but those which were of special concern to aviation medicine were the ones connected with flight under combat conditions: anoxia, frostbite, aero-it is, battle wounds, and stress. The first three were materially reduced in incidence, and the seriousness of their results was ameliorated by the development of better equipment at the instance of the flight surgeons and by better indoctrination in its use. In the matter of battle wounds, too, great reduction in incidence was effected through the development of body armour by the doctors and its enforced use.
In the matter of hospitalization the AAF's interest in the individual flier and desire to keep him as a member of his individual team conflicted sharply with the Army's practice, which in reassignment after prolonged treatment was concerned less with returning a given "body"to his own unit than with filling his place with an identical (and hence interchangeable) MOS. Lacking their own system of general hospitals in the Zone of Interior or in theaters of operations, AAF physicians were unable fully to enforce their doctrines concerning hospitalization and disposition of patients, but they made substantial progress in that direction. At home air-base station hospitals became professionally,
though not administratively, the equivalent of general hospitals, and by 1944 a system of regional hospitals eased without eliminating the administrative problems. Overseas no such formal adjustment was made, but it does not appear that the patients or the war effort suffered as much as the amount of correspondence on both sides might suggest.
In the matter of the disposition of the airman considered unfit for flying—whether by himself, his flight surgeon, or his commanding officer—the surgeon was the middleman between two individuals whose interests were not easily reconciled, and he had to face his problem without benefit of tradition or statistical evidence. Success in this field was perhaps the severest test of those practicing the art of aviation medicine. The commanding officer found it easier on his conscience (he was, it must be remembered, himself a flier subject tote same stresses as the patient and usually differing from him little in age and at the squadron level in rank) to dispose of a case by medical cause than by administrative action, but there was never any desire by higher authorities (again, fliers) to take from the line commander his prerogative in this respect. Attempts to apply psychiatric diagnosis to the problem of the flier unwilling to fly did little to clarify the issue. Eventually, the air surgeon lost his power to ground the flier except under certain recognized medical or psychoneurotic conditions. But, in the matter of prescribing rest leaves in the case of unusual stress, he had an important preventive and therapeutic device. Air surgeons of all ranks favored a policy of a fixed tour of duty and of a reasonable rotation plan, but these matters were determined by theater commanders in accordance with their respective missions and resources and hence differed widely among the several combat areas. Often the policy seemed severe, and never was it as comfortable as the average flier wished, but there is no evidence that most fliers suffered any permanent emotional damage.
In the realm of "human engineering" the AAF medical establishment played an important role in research dedicated to the recurrent problems of flight in standard military planes and in planes with revolutionary flight characteristics. In all such experiments doctors have served as research subjects as well as researchers, and many of the improvements that have made supersonic flight possible are a result of the courage as well as of the scientific skills of the air surgeon.
The chapter on morale was written by a veteran of World War II
whose own experiences provided insight on a wide range of problems that faced the airman—from induction through the various phases of training, the move overseas, a tour of combat in an active theater that ended when his plane was shot down over enemy territory where he sweat out a term in a POW camp, and on through the return to freedom, to the United States, and to civilian life. Appreciating the hazards inherent in the treatment of a subject on which every serviceman has a certain expertness but where there is little in the way of quantitative evidence, the author has provided a disciplined approach by defining his topic in functional terms and by examining as objectively as might be the positive and negative factors involved before making what could be only a value judgment. Morale he conceives as an attitude of mind leading to the willing (and good) or to the unwilling(and bad) performance of duty under a given condition. Morale factors might differ from place to place and from unit to unit and were apt to be volatile within any unit at any place. But there were certain constants—belief in ultimate victory, realization that efforts were being made toward their well-being, and a general preference for the AAF over other services—that affected favorably most airmen of whatever status.
Allowing for wide variations among the many organizations concerned and for ups and downs within any single one, the author renders the verdict that morale within the AAF as a whole "hovered, on a rough average, between fair and good." Organizations and individuals whose attitudes transcended or lapsed below this comfortably better-than-average median—and especially the latter—have demanded usually an undue measure of attention, and even in this chapter the emphasis is perhaps on the causes of discontent. The factors that affect morale have been analyzed here, and on the whole they are fundamentally—perhaps by definition—moral rather than physical in nature. Effective leadership, proper assignment of jobs, identification of the individual with his unit, recognition of the value of that job—these were far more important in determining attitudes than weather, physical comforts, or the activities of morale agencies, though these latter factors became increasingly important as the former were lacking.
AAF leaders realized the vital importance of morale during the initial stages of the airman's career as he made the difficult transition from civilian to military life. But in the period of rapid expansion of the Air Corps it was impossible to provide proper leadership and
qualified enlisted permanent party personnel in basic-training centers. In job classification the AAF is reputed to have done better on the whole than the AGF or ASF, but there were many mistakes and inequities, both among cadets and enlisted airmen. Some of the worst problems were to be found among cadets and enlisted reservists, where overzealous recruiting in an effort to stockpile talent and a constant shifting of requirements and quotas led to unwelcome reassignments or timeless idleness in manpower pools which bred discontent. At technical and flying schools morale was on average better among trainees, who could hope to move on, than among instructors and permanent party personnel, who felt doomed eternally to a task enjoying few rewards and little status. Occasionally, a training program would go sour all over, as with the glider-pilot program, and there was always the special morale problem of the washout and the combat veteran returned from overseas for additional or new training.
Generally, morale of the individual improved as he found some group identification in OTU, though here there was difficulty as certain aircraft models—the P-38, B-24, and B-26, to cite examples—became ill famed among trainees for reputedly dangerous flying characteristics. This problem was handled forthrightly by the establishment of special transitional schools and the purveyance of information more accurate than that current in latrine rumors, so that a feeling of fear was often transformed into one of pride in the plane.
Departure for overseas stations brought problems of final leaves and furloughs and of the trip over, which was relatively short and filled with novelties for those going by air but which might drag out to the edge of eternity in some of the longer voyages by surface ships, where comforts were few and boredom rampant.
Physical comforts differed from theater to theater. Generally, it might be said that in all such matters—climate, health conditions, food, housing—airmen fared better in the ETO and MTO than in the Pacific or CBI. Whatever the food situation, men tended to gripe in the time-honored fashion of soldiers, but those who had any basis of comparison were well aware of the differences between the menus in, say,Assam and Italy. In the Pacific there was little in the way of local fresh food, and the long supply lines, the lack of control over transportation facilities, and the shortage of refrigerating machinery doomed most AAF units to a perpetual diet of canned and dehydrated foods. During active periods discontent over food (and other physical
matters) was overshadowed by satisfaction in accomplishment, but perennially morale was strained when airmen saw Navy personnel in the same area living a more abundant life.
Ground personnel of the AAF rarely had over any considerable period enough immediate contact with the enemy for danger to be much of a morale problem—in fact, the occasional skirmish on an airstrip was more often than not a welcome relief from monotony. Overwork, if prolonged, could strain a unit beyond endurance, while normally hard work was a powerful positive factor. But busy work, assigned to keep airmen out of mischief, was easily recognized and hated; so was work to provide amenities for officers who already lived better than the enlisted men assigned, say, to build an officers' club. Lulls in work between campaigns, the slow pace of work in rear echelons, or bypassed stations bred discontent, only occasionally allayed by information programs that related the airman's seemingly inconsequential job to the war effort. Perhaps the greatest spur to optimism in an active theater came with the recurrent advances which, whatever its compass direction, was oriented in the airman's heart toward his own home.
The flier shared with ground personnel most of the latter's morale problems, and he faced some that were peculiar to his genus. Chief of these was attrition. Heavy casualties tended to depress morale, though there were so many qualifying factors that there was certainly no precisely definable ratio between combat losses and the martial attitude of a unit. Even small losses in an inactive theater might seriously affect survivors, while in a great offensive a well-led unit could absorb severe punishment without breaking—if replacements were prompt and plentiful, if the objective of the campaign or mission seemed worth the effort expended, and if the aircrewmen believed they had succeeded in their assignment. Everywhere, but especially where losses were high, morale was improved by efforts of command to diminish casualties—as in the long struggle, eventually successful, to provide fighter escort for long-range daylight bomber missions, the complex arrangements for air-sea rescue, or the development of such safety devices as navigational aids and body armor.
Recognition of accomplishments was one of the most powerful positive factors in morale. Since recognition was not conditioned inexorably by climate or distance or logistics, its skillful manipulation might have provided a compensating value against some of the unavoidable unpleasantnesses of war. But in many cases what Herodotus
called the "due meed of glory" was dispensed most liberally where needed least and even at times where it was not deserved. The "big-league"air forces tended to hog most of the newspaper publicity, and even in the award of decorations there were inequalities as among air forces and within any one. Most coveted of all forms of recognition was promotion, and in this matter inequities—caused most frequently by inflexible TO's and the habit of making replacements in grade-caused serious problems, particularly in veteran combat units overseas, where it seemed that, the farther one stayed away from the enemy, the better the chance for advancement.
Much was done to make more endurable, or less dreary, such leisure time as fell to the airman. By far the most important service of this sort was mail, and, in spite of occasional blunders and unavoidable accidents, mail was delivered with a regularity and dispatch remarkable under the circumstances. Materials for other diversions were provided by Special Services officers, Information and Education officers, chaplains, and such agencies as the American Red Cross and USO. Again the advantages lay with the ETO and MTO, where the airman at his station could readily be provided with recreational materials from the United States and the airman on leave could enjoy the pleasures (including female companionship) of a culture not radically different from his own. It was only by ingenious improvisation of local talent and facilities and by heroic endeavors on the part of visiting entertainers that airmen in outlying stations in Asia and the Pacific could be afforded some recreation. Rest areas and camps of various degrees of attractiveness were established in most theaters; but, in the Pacific, distances from the front were too great for any full use thereof, especially for ground personnel, whose leaves were few and far between.
Far more important to the airman than temporary rest leave was the matter of rotation—the return to a stateside station after a definitely prescribed tour of combat duty measured in missions, combat hours, or time spent overseas. Eventually, most combat crews were rotated before permanent exhaustion set in, but the fluctuating tactical situation in each theater and the inevitable competition for newly trained aircrews between those who wished replacements for existing units and those who were building additional units for an expanding total effort made it hard to formulate a lasting policy. Under the circumstances it was impossible to please all, and the worst blows to morale came perhaps because of well-intentioned but ill-advised declarations of policy which could not be implemented. As far as the ground personnel
were concerned, there was little chance for relief until late in the war and often not even then, and it was precisely in the same areas that were most unpleasant in other respects, and to a large degree because of the same limiting factors of distance and low shipping priorities that affected adversely so many phases of his life, that the mechanic or clerk was doomed so often to finish the war in his unloved foreign station.
There can be no doubt that throughout the war the top echelons of AAF command were acutely aware of the tremendous importance of morale and that, according to their insights, their conscience, and their capabilities, they did what they could to promote a better spirit among their men. In some of the most crucial issues they were circumscribed by conditions of war that lay beyond their control, and there any action must be palliative rather than curative. Evidence provided by this chapter (and by the common-sense observation of most reflective persons who spent a fair amount of time in military service during the war) would seem to indicate that effective leadership at any level was the key to morale, but how to provide that leadership under conditions obtaining presents a problem as complex as that of morale itself. To some it has seemed that too much emphasis was placed on trying to preserve under battle conditions the American standard of living, too little on making clear to the airman the values for which he was fighting. In this latter aim, if not in the values or the method of inculcation, it may be that we have something to learn from our enemies. But this is a matter for present and future study, not for history, which must deal with the past.
Air-sea rescue service was a valuable aid to morale, and it reinforced, as did the air surgeon's doctrine, the AAF stress on the value of the individual flier. But beyond these humanitarian considerations, deep rooted in the American view of life, there was the hardheaded desire to conserve the precious supply of aircrewmen who represented a great investment in time, effort, and money and who frequently had the irreplaceable advantages of experience. Air-sea rescue was an important boon to operations in the ETO and MTO, but it was at the same time more necessary and more difficult in the Pacific areas, where long overwater flights were a common feature in most offensive campaigns.
At the beginning of the war the AAF had no organization or equipment designed for air-sea rescue. AAF responsibility included only the
provision of emergency survival equipment and the indoctrination of crews in its use. Responsibility for the actual rescue of fliers down at sea was a command rather than a headquarters matter, and in the early part of the war the overseas air forces were content to rely on the facilities of Allies or of a sister service: of the RAF in the ETO, the U.S. Navy and the Royal Navy in the NATO and MTO, and the U.S. Navy and the services of the Allies in the Pacific areas. The limited AAF responsibilities were shunted around among various agencies with the frequent headquarters changes, falling in August 1943to the Emergency Rescue Branch of OC&R. By that time it was evident that the increasing tempo of air operations would put a strain on the borrowed facilities of the Navy and our Allies, and hence it seemed expedient to give air-sea rescue the backing of that powerful office.
The economy of a greater integration of air-sea rescue facilities was recognized by all, and from the spring of 1943 this problem was studied by several agencies of the JCS. Navy representatives wished to turn top responsibility over to the Coast Guard; the AAF, to some joint liaison body which was to determine policy but exercise no command. Desiring to make its forces as nearly self-sufficient in this respect as in others, AAF Headquarters in August 1943 set up seven air-sea rescue squadrons, intending to use them chiefly in the Pacific, where contemplated B-29 operations would tax severely existing services and where the AAF preferred the assignment of rescue units to an air force as being more flexible than the Navy's practice of assigning them to a fixed area or island command. Unfortunately for the air planners, their seven squadrons came into action slowly, two in the summer of 1944, the other four during the last months of the war.
It is difficult to give any statistical estimate of the success of ASR operations because of the different methods of reporting and computing used by the various agencies concerned and because so much of the pertinent information was never reported. Such data as are available show a marked, though not always steady, improvement in every theater. By September 1944 some 90 per cent of Eighth Air Force crewmen forced down at sea were saved, and the total ran to well over two thousand men. A comparable number of Fifth Air Force men were rescued in spite of its smaller number of men assigned and the longer overwater flights. The severest test for ASR agencies was in connection with the VLR strikes against the Japanese homeland. Here about half—654 of 1,310—of Superfort crewmen reported down
were saved, and at the end of the war the rate of rescues had risen to 80 per cent. This was at a tremendous cost in effort, amounting in the last strike in August 1945 to 2,400 men in airplanes, surface craft, and submarines standing guard for about three times as many in combat crews.
The chances of survival and rescue depended on many variables—weather, communications, characteristics of the ailing plane, and survival equipment at hand—but outside of luck the most important factors were the skill and discipline of the crewmen themselves. There were arguments for and against bailing out as opposed to ditching; generally, fighter pilots preferred to parachute, members of multiplace crews to ride the plane down, though the behavior of the several types of bombers varied sharply when put into open sea waters. But, in any case, it was the crew or individual who knew his equipment and followed tested procedures who had the best chance of getting back to his base.
According to AAF doctrine, its own air-sea rescue agency (whatever its designation) was responsible for developing and procuring survival equipment for the tactical plane, rescue equipment for the search-and-rescue plane, and the latter plane itself. Efforts in these duties came late and consisted of varying combinations of adoptions, adaptations, and new inventions. In life-rafts, for instance, the AAF developed its own five-man type along lines suggested by Pan American Airways experience, turned to the Navy for a one-man raft, and used an RAF dinghy until perfecting one of its own. Much care was spent on selecting the most essential items for inclusion where weight and space had to be measured carefully and in finding suitable models. Devices for attracting attention of searchers, fresh-water stills, rations, emergency kits, parachutes, and other gear were adopted as-is, modified, or built to specifications. The famed Gibson Girl portable radio transmitter, though possessing some obvious weaknesses, saved many an airman and was never wholly replaced by improved models. It was late in the war before the AAF had in operations a droppable boat of its own design.
In ASR operations almost every type of aircraft from the tiny liaison plane to the VHB Superfort was used. The bulk of the work was done by multiengine planes—Navy Catalinas (and AAF variations),British Warwicks, and AAF B-24's, B-17's, and B-29's in particular. Each plane had certain advantages, but none was ideally suited for the
job, and no plane was specifically designed from scratch for this highly specialized purpose. Each plane used had a long list of notable rescues within the area it conned, but in the long reaches of the Pacific between the Marianas and Japan it was only the B-29 which had the range, stamina, and defensive power required for patrolling the flight route of the VHB's attacking the cities on Honshu. Hence the Super-dumbo, as the ASR modification of the B-29 was called, came into heavy service in the last months of the war. By that time the helicopter was undergoing its first testing in ASR work under combat conditions. The AAF developed several types of surface rescue boats, but none of these—nor standard-type small craft pressed into service—possessed an ideal combination of characteristics.
In the long run it was the courage and devotion and skill of the rescue crews and the discipline and endurance of the downed flyers that counted most heavily. These human qualities made up frequently for equipment that was imperfect and command procedures that were cumbersome. In sum, ASR efforts paid off handsomely in the men actually saved and from the great lift the airman got from his knowledge that a spill into the ocean would not necessarily be fatal.
During World War II the armed services in their need sought the aid of American women for performance of the countless tasks for which they were qualified, and the editors have found this precedent both useful and pleasant as they have enlisted the help of a woman to describe the part played by women in the AAF during the war.
At Pearl Harbor time there was no general agreement as to the proper and optimum use of women under conditions of total war. The career of military nurse was a familiar one; in World War I the Army had used civilian women in some overseas jobs, and the Navy, for all its reputation for conservatism, had used enlisted women with status equivalent to that of men. There had been one prescient study, the"Hughes plan" of 1928, which recommended the full use of women in all possible capacities, but it had received little or no attention. More lively impetus came from the experiences of Great Britain and from less precise information about Russia and China during the early part of World War II, from the pressure of women's organizations, and from recent social and demographic changes which had broken down prejudices in the United States to the extent that thirteen million women were gainfully employed, while nineteen million other eligible women remained as a vast reservoir which became increasingly attractive
as selective service and war industry depleted the manpower pool.
Under these conditions, but without War Department support,U.S. Representative Edith N. Rogers of Massachusetts introduced on28 May 1941 a bill providing for a women's army auxiliary corps. Stymied for months by the Bureau of the Budget, the bill was resurrected after Pearl Harbor and became law on 15 May 1942; its provision for enlistment of 150,000 volunteers was limited temporarily to25,000 by executive order. There was much public disapproval (as there had been for each stage in women's emancipation), and of more immediate importance there was a firm resistance on the part of Army command. Commanders were won over by the efficient service of Waacs assigned to them, but, in general, the attitude of men of all ranks was not favorable.
Negative public and military opinion made recruiting of volunteers difficult, and except during concentrated drives the rate of enlistment always lagged. Part of the trouble (and the main part in the worm's-eye view of one of the editors who spent an anxious and frustrating fortnight in 1943 trying to enlist the women of central Texas for WAC service) lay in the sales pitch, keyed somewhere between Madison Avenue and Hollywood, which tried to glamourize the WAAC job instead of appealing to patriotism and to the obvious argument that a woman's effort would help shorten, if only in an infinitesimal degree, the duration of the war and her separation from boyfriend or husband or son. As Army leaders came to appreciate the wide range of services which could be rendered by women, some envisaged a tremendous expansion of the WAC (perhaps through draft)to replace more than a million men; but, as it was, the corps never secured so much as two-thirds of the 150,000 volunteers authorized. Deliberate publicity was inept, and unsought publicity was more often than not harmful. The WAAC had to face the competition of similar programs in the other services, some of which had shrewder publicity programs and all of which had—by a common opinion in which the editors concur—a sleeker uniform.
In general, the AAF's willingness to experiment proved a boon to those Waacs who were assigned to its service. The AAF was an early and staunch supporter of full military status—the issue was determined in summer 1943 when the WAAC became the WAC—and, though its effort to secure a separate women's corps was scotched, members of the Women's Army Corps became an accepted and valuable part of the air arm, receiving a popular (though wholly unofficial) distinction
from their sisters in the AGF or ASF by the common designation of Air Wacs.
Used originally in the Aircraft Warning Service, Air Waacs began to move regularly into other occupations about March 1943. Contrary to prevalent views (and hopes), they were not assigned to mess and barrack and laundry duties for male units in an effort to approximate the popular conception of the traditional role of the woman as housekeeper. They were exempted from certain types of guard and MP duties and, as well, from the service as "hostesses" and "strolling minstrels"hopefully listed by Air Corps planners in 1939, but they took over an astonishing number of military specialties. In spite of discomforts and occasionally unpleasant publicity, Wacs serving with the AAF whether in ZI or overseas posts had generally the high morale of an elite corps, serving under trial but with the increasing support and confidence of top command.
The change from the semimilitary status of the WAAC to the full, status of the WAC in the summer of 1943 was welcomed by the AAF. Losses in personnel at this time were few and in some individual cases not mourned, but the gap between the 15,000 Wacs remaining and the approved quota of 65,000 was wide enough to justify an enlistment policy in which the recruit chose her own branch of the Army. With an intensive campaign stressing a choice of jobs by the candidate (but still with the emphasis on self-interest and the fancy jobs) the Training Command recruited as Air Wacs more women than did the AGF and ASF combined. Still this was only half of the total desired. Part of the special attractiveness of the Air WAC program lay in its policy of opening all non-combat specialties to women, which was real even if its possibilities for most women were overplayed in the recruiting"come-ons"; part lay in the honest attempt to eliminate to the extent possible repetitive and useless military and job training.
Wacs served with overseas air forces from the summer of 1943 and in larger numbers when administrative changes of June 1944 gave the AAF greater control over the assignment of Air Wacs. Eventually, more than 7,000 Air Wacs were assigned to overseas stations; more were requested than were shipped out, and, though the number was small both actually and percentage-wise, it was sufficient to provide evidence to allay most fears concerning the practicability of combat-theater service for women. Only rarely did housing present more of a problem for women than for men, and, on the average, their health record was about as good as that of non-combat male personnel. In
discipline, military courtesy, and appearance—the outward signs of morale—Air Wacs were generally superior to men, and indeed their morale on the whole was high, save when classification and job assignment were faulty. In some areas Wacs moved up into forward stations and performed admirably in spite of dangers and hardships. Studies made late in the war showed a high degree of corps loyalty among the Air Wacs, and by that time their value had become more generally recognized among outsiders.
In contrast to their enthusiastic use of women in the many specialties eventually opened to them as Air Wacs, top leaders and most pilots in the AAF were opposed to their use as fliers. There was some precedent in England, however, for the wartime use of women pilots in certain capacities, and, when women prominent in American aviation began to enlist public support, they were able to force the AAF to accept their proffered aid. Actually, two programs were proposed and adopted simultaneously. One, the Women's Auxiliary Flying Squadron, was composed of a limited number of experienced pilots who needed little additional training. The other, the Women's Flying Training Detachment, was conceived along more ambitious lines to include a much larger number of candidates for training. In August1943 the two organizations were merged to form the Women Air Force Service Pilots, still an auxiliary body. Unlike the WAG, WASP got much favorable (if sometimes overly dramatic) publicity, and applications ran fourteen to one for each opening. Of 1,830 admitted to training, 1,074 completed the requirements (with a washout rate comparing favorably with that of aviation cadets) and were assigned to duty. Training programs varied with the experience level of the candidates, which tended to decrease progressively, but the skills taught, outside those of immediate use in combat, were comparable to those standard in Training Command schools.
The principal job for WASPs was in ferrying aircraft within the United States, and in this they took regular turns with male pilots in delivering aircraft of most models. Thus ATC was a prime user of their talents, though eventually more were assigned to Training Command for operational use and in connection with their own training programs, and they drew other assignments as well. Gradually, they won the confidence of commanding officers at every echelon and, more difficult, of many but not all of the male pilots with whom they were in direct competition.
As a civil service organization, the WASP lacked some of the advantages
of military status (and, an outsider might believe, some of the disadvantages that its friends did not stress). Efforts in Congress to militarize the service began in September 1943, supported in principle by the AAF but not by the War Department. Thereafter termination of the CAA War Training Service and the AAF college-training program released many experienced civilian pilots for non-combat service at a time when it was evident that the declining attrition rate in combat would eventually provide a surplus of male pilots. So on 20 December1944 the WASP was deactivated, before its pilots had been able to make their full contribution to the war effort. They had proved, within the opportunities opened to them, their capacity to handle tasks as efficiently as the men who were doing the same job. Whether their contribution was worth the expenditure in time, effort, and financial expenditure involved is a more difficult question to answer and one which the editors as prudent men with a high regard for the other sex and a lasting memory of the sort of national psychology that sent post-draft-age university professors into service in the AAF would not wish to pronounce on.
A more conventional type of service for women, but one which sometimes came closer to the violence of war, was rendered by the6,500 members of the Army Nurses Corps who were assigned to the AAF. All AAF nurses underwent an additional four-week training course before being assigned to a station hospital which remained the normal duty for more than 90 per cent of their numbers. But after six months of this service such nurses as received the proper recommendations became eligible to apply for flight-nurse training. Graduates of the very rugged eight-week course became then the elite in an already elite corps. During 1943 flight nurses came into service wherever the AAF operated. Their task was to care for the wounded and sick in air evacuation, and hence their ministrations were not limited to members of the AAF. Theirs was an arduous and risky duty that carried them to evacuation points within sight of the enemy, but the rewards were rich as it became obvious how greatly air evacuation was contributing to the reduction of deaths from battle wounds, one of the most revolutionary medical gains during the war.
Women served the AAF in a civilian as well as a military capacity. By June 1943, female employees numbered 151,061 and thereafter comprised roughly 45 per cent of the AAF's civilian strength. In addition to the familiar clerical and office-management positions, these women worked in an astonishing variety of tasks, particularly in Air
Service Command depots. Other women served too in part-time jobs with the Aircraft Warning Service, the Civil Air Patrol, and other organizations, mostly on a volunteer basis.
In sum, the experience of the AAF with women tended to show that those who came in performed, within their assigned duties, about as well as men under comparable circumstances and that those who stayed out were motivated by reasons understandable in the main by men. In the minds of many this experience suggested the drafting of women in any future war, and one can only hope that there will be no occasion to test the wisdom of this judgment.
Redeployment and demobilization are quite different processes but are treated in a single chapter here. In common military usage in the United States during World War II, redeployment came to refer especially to the transfer of troops, once the war against Germany should be ended, from the European theaters to the Pacific areas. Since the move was to be made ordinarily via the United States, the early collapse of Japan made it almost inevitable that the two processes should be combined in fact as well as in speech.
The problem of disbanding armies comprised largely of civilians-in-arms was a familiar one in American history. Always before it had been accomplished in haste and without any orderly plan. Aware of this record of confusion, which would be exaggerated by the very magnitude of the forces involved in World War II, the President early in 1942 initiated planning for demobilization and transition to a civilian life of full employment. The fact that the United States was in effect fighting separate wars against Germany and Japan, each with its own timetable, added to the difficulties inherent in the numbers of personnel involved. Responsibility for the purely military phase of demobilization shifted from agency to agency in the usual fashion, but, as was so often the case, the changes were more usually in the designation of the office than in the key officers engaged in the study. The crucial part of the planning was done by the Special Planning Division of the War Department, in which a member of the Air Staff's Special Project Office represented the AAF's interests.
The War Department's SPD favored a plan of demobilization by individuals, in which priority would be determined by skills, time in service, and dependencies. The AAF, faced with a relatively heavier share in the last phases of the Japanese war than was planned for the AGF, preferred demobilization by unit as less disruptive of continuing squadrons and groups as combat teams. Here one may see a curious
contrast to the AAF's stress on the individual as presented in the chapter on aviation medicine. But for the handling of extreme cases of individual need the AAF had provided some machinery in the establishment in 1943, in some resort areas of the United States, of redistribution centers and stations and rest camps, later reinforced by convalescent hospitals. Through these means it was hoped that many combat flyers rotated from a tour of duty overseas might be restored to effective duty or discharged.
It was the War Department view of individual separation in an order determined by several factors that finally prevailed, the fundamental plan being described in Readjustment Regulation 1-1 of 30August 1944. An elaborate system of points representing length of service—total, overseas, and combat—plus other factors was established;this was acceptable to the AAF for enlisted personnel but not for officers, and in this last respect the AAF was able to modify the general rule. When the war against Germany was prolonged beyond autumn of 1944, the AAF reshaped its policies to allow for the discharge of a large proportion of the personnel in units redeploying through the United States and for their replacement by men from ZI commands.
Supervision of redeployment was the main responsibility of the Continental Air Forces, activated on 15 December 1944. An elaborate plan was devised for the return of units to the United States, the screening of personnel, the assignment of those eligible for redeployment to thirty days' "recuperation, rehabilitation, and recovery," and the replacement of all ineligible airmen before the unit shipped out for the Pacific. In the ETO, redeployment plans were held up until spring of 1945 and, once made, were changed frequently and arbitrarily. The same was true in the MTO, and in this situation AAF personnel officers found it impossible to harmonize their directives from theater headquarters with the AAF plan. Nor was the process any less capricious within the Continental Air Forces. In sum, only one bombardment and two air service groups were redeployed through the United States. Some units returned from Europe for this purpose became lost in a tangled maze of maladministration. Some units were kept in Europe as occupation forces, other melted away. It was the sudden end of the Japanese war that threw personnel procedures into complete confusion—as it had been the unexpectedly long resistance of the Germans that had begun the confusion—for this confounded the problems of demobilization with those of redeployment. Had the war
lasted, it is probable that the latter process would have been improved, but in retrospect, as in 1945, redeployment appears as a classic example of military inefficiency.
By comparison demobilization was rapid and reasonably efficient. Whether this rapidity was in the best national interest was a matter that lay outside the ken of the AAF, and properly so in a democracy, though some of the pressures to get the boys home—exerted by the press, the Congress, and the men themselves—were to be repudiated later by those same forces. The AAF had reached a peak strength of2,411,294 in March 1944, declining thereafter in total numbers, though its officer strength continued to rise for a year thereafter. This meant, then, that some enlisted personnel had been transferred or separated long before the war ended. Immediately after V-J Day the AAF was given permission to separate its own personnel in the United States, and through separation centers operated by CAF it began the task at once. This crash program was finished by the following February, though the total strength of the AAF continued to shrink both in men and in approved units as plans for the postwar air force were being reshaped. The structure of the air arm underwent a thorough reorganization in March 1946 in anticipation of the imminent establishment of the separate U.S. Air Force, the goal of most airmen since the days of Billy Mitchell. And with those plans this history of The Army Air Forces in World War II may close.
The contributors to this volume are identified in the Table of Contents, but it may be helpful to note here a few additional biographical facts. John D. Carter and Frank H. Heck, who have contributed the chapters on air transport, served during the war as historical officers at ATC Headquarters, as did also Jonas A. Jonasson, who is responsible for the chapters on weather, Army Airways Communications, and air-sea rescue. Mr. Carter is the author of a chapter in Volume Ion "The Early Development of Air Transport and Ferrying." John E. Fagg, after service with the Far East Air Forces, became a member of the staff of the AAF Historical Division, where he undertook studies of strategic bombing operations from Britain that are represented by some of the more significant chapters published in Volume III of this history. Dr. George V. LeRoy, Associate Dean of the Division of the Biological Sciences in the University of Chicago, brings to his sympathetic discussion of the problems faced by the air surgeon an understanding gained through service as a medical officer with the
Army Ground Forces. The editors find a special satisfaction in presenting his conclusions on one of the more controversial subjects in the history of the AAF. Martin R. R. Goldman served in the war as a combat crewman with a B-24 outfit in the Eighth Air Force, was shot down over Germany, and knew finally the experience of a prisoner of war. When he wrote the chapter on morale, he was a member of the staff of the USAF Historical Division. Currently, he has a grant from the Social Science Research Council for completion of a study of German air defenses against the combined AAF-RAF attack on Germany, Kathleen Williams Boom was an especially competent member of the research staff of the AAF Historical Division during the war years and contributed so significantly to Volume I of this history as to make the editors particularly happy to have her assistance in closing the series. Chauncey E. Sanders is one of the members of the USAF Historical Division who has made the editors' visits to "headquarters"especially pleasant to remember. Dr. Sanders' willingness to accept the final responsibility for the Index to this volume has made it possible to meet a tight publication schedule.
In going to press, the editors once more have a keen sense of their indebtedness to the entire staff of the USAF Historical Division and especially to Dr. Albert F. Simpson, Air Force Historian. His professional competence and his willingness at all times to provide assistance in clearing up obscurities in the record have been most helpful. It is a special pleasure to acknowledge also the courtesies extended by Col. Garth C. Cobb, recently appointed Director of the Research Studies Institute in the Air University. The editors count it a part of their good fortune that Colonel Cobb, from the war years forward, has more than once held an assignment which put him in a position to demonstrate his friendly understanding of the historian's task. They are happy too in making here a final acknowledgment of the substantial assistance given by Colonel Cobb's predecessors, Col. Curtis D.Sluman, Brig. Gen. Clinton W. Davies, and Col. Wilfred J. Paul. A special salute belongs to Colonel Paul for the patience he showed while the editors got five of the seven volumes through the press. The number and variety of our obligations to other members of the staff, present and past, make us reluctant to single out any one of them for special mention here, but there are two who must be mentioned. From the beginning of Volume I through the completion of Volume VII, Miss Marguerite Kennedy, as custodian of the Division's archives, has been as patient as anyone could rightly expect, and Mr. David Schoem
has generously lent to us his expert knowledge of the ways of government.
To specific acknowledgments made in earlier forewords, we add here our thanks to Dr. Edward C. Williamson, Mr. James Daniels, and Dr. Earle K. Stewart for assistance in the editing of the text for Volume VII; to Mr. Z. F. Shelton for the maps; to Miss Marguerite Kennedy, Mr. Frank Myers, and Miss Ethel Gaines for research assistance;and to Miss Sara Venable, Mrs. Margie McCardel, Mrs. Dorothy Turner, and Mrs. Molly Keever for typing. On the rare occasions when Dr. Simpson could not be found at his desk, Mr. Joseph W. Angell had the answer we needed.
As we come to the end of a project that has engaged much of our professional attention for the last dozen years, we would like to make two general acknowledgments. In the first place, we wish to thank the contributors to this and earlier volumes for the time and the energy they have given to the project and for the tolerance they have shown at our exercise of editorial prerogative. Few of them have had a primary interest in military history; it was the accident of war and the enterprise of Col. Clanton W. Williams, the AAF's wartime historian, that brought most of the contributors into a momentary association with the field of aviation history. Most of them have returned to other professional interests, as now the editors expect to do. In so doing, we feel inclined to say that our chief encouragement to see the project through to completion has been the willingness of respected colleagues in the profession to devote their own time and energy to the same end. For us, it has been a rewarding collaboration. In the second place, we wish to express our respect for the way in which the United States Air Force has honored its commitment, at the beginning of the project, to give its historians full access to the record and full freedom in reporting thereon. Whatever the deficiencies of this history may be, none of them can be attributed to censorship, either overt or by indirection. It is a point the editors make with some pride, as citizens of the country and former officers in its Air Force.
Contents * Next Chapter (1)