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By no means least among the achievements of the AAF in World War II was its development of a worldwide system of air transport. The transport aircraft—a carrier of freight, passengers, and mail which could double as a troop carrier or as an ambulance—lacked the popular appeal belonging to the bomber or fighter plane. Nevertheless, it added a new dimension to the art of warfare, and around its varied capacities the AAF built an air transportation system such as had never before been envisaged. That system, and its functions, soon became synonymous with the organization which controlled it, the Air Transport Command.

ATC borrowed heavily from the civil airlines, which during the 1930's had grown into a large enterprise and an increasingly significant part of the transportation services on which the country depended. From the airlines came experienced executives who were commissioned for key posts of command in the development of a military transport service and veteran pilots who became pioneers of distant military air routes. From the airlines came also the two planes on which ATC principally depended: the C-47, an adaptation of the DC-3, workhorse of the civil airlines in the 1930's, and the C-54, military version of the DC-4 that was designed to take over from the DC-3 along civilian air routes. But the growth of the Army's military air transport services involved much more than an adaptation of civilian experience and equipment. The airlines had been concerned almost exclusively with the movement of passengers and mail. Although surface carriers normally depended upon freight for as much as 80 percent of their earnings, air freight accounted for only 2 or 3 per cent of the gross revenues of U.S. airlines at the beginning of the war.1 On


the other hand, ATC was very largely engaged, as its men were wont to say, in "a trucking business."

This was a business for which the AAF was not wholly lacking inexperience. As early as 1931 the Army Air Corps had experimented with the systematic use of air transport for the distribution of aviation supplies. At that time considerations of economy governed all Air Corps operations, and expensive stockpiling of supplies at Army airbases had to be avoided. Consequently, the Materiel Division in 1932 established a provisional 1st Air Transport Group with four transport squadrons, each of them intended to serve one of the four major air depots (at Sacramento; San Antonio; Fairfield, Ohio; and Middletown,Pennsylvania) in the distribution of spare parts to Army airbases. The group, no longer provisional after 1937, also transported supplies from one depot to another.2 As the expansion of the air arm got under way in 1939, there were new uses for air transport, among them the movement to aircraft factories of government-supplied equipment and other items that became critical in an expanding production of bomber and fighter planes. By January 1941 air-cargo services had so grown, and under so many auspices, that an attempt was made to bring all such activities under a new wing organization designated as the 50th Transport Wing. During the first six months of its existence, the wing hauled more cargo than all the American civil airlines combined.3

Its scheduled services included deliveries to the Panama Canal Zone, and the 50th Transport Wing might well have developed into the worldwide agency that ATC later became. Instead, the Air Transport Command had its origins in the Air Corps Ferrying Command that was established in May 1941 for assistance of the British in the movement by air of American-built planes from factories in the United States to Britain and the Middle East. The Ferrying Command(its name was borrowed from the British custom of describing the delivery of aircraft under their own power to tactical units as a "ferrying"operation) had at first a very limited responsibility. It flew the planes, chiefly from California, across country to points in Canada and on the East Coast of the United States at which British pilots took charge. But the command soon acquired additional responsibilities. Oriented from the first toward the support of combat forces overseas, the Ferrying Command became a pioneer of U.S. military air routes across the Atlantic to Britain and Africa. Before Pearl Harbor it had


inaugurated a transatlantic courier service to facilitate the increasingly close collaboration of the British and American armed services, and to this was added, especially after the United States entered the war, a growing transport service for cargo of critical military importance. In June 1942 the Air Corps Ferrying Command became the Air Transport Command.

Prewar Plans

Not until after the fall of France in the summer of 1940 did the U.S. aircraft program include substantial orders for transport planes. The Air Corps ordered 545 C-47's in September 1940 and at the same time placed an order with Curtiss-Wright for 200 of a wholly new and much larger two-engine transport, the C-46 (Commando). An additional 256 Commandos were ordered in May 1941, and in the following June an order was placed for just under a hundred C-53's, the Army's passenger version of the DC-3. In the same month, the AAF took over the orders of civilian airlines for sixty-one of Douglas' newly designed four-engine C-54. Contracts were signed in September for fifty more C-53's and for an additional seventy C-47's.4 Each of these planes had been designed originally for passenger service on civilian airways. A series of single-engine freighters had been developed by the Air Corps in earlier years, and after 1939 several larger cargo planes were designed by manufacturers for military use, but few of these were produced, and none of them was used to any significant extent during the war.5 Until virtually the end of hostilities ATC continued to depend upon planes that were either converted passenger aircraft or converted bombers.

The AAF's basic strategic plan, AWPD/1 of August 1941, proposed the use of transport aircraft in two categories. First, some 1,200 airplanes, with a depot reserve of over 300, would be required as troop carriers for direct support of ground operations. Between tactical commitments the troop carriers would double as cargo planes in order to provide for each theater of operations a service comparable to that currently supplied at home by the 50th Transport Wing. Second, 160 four-engine long-range transports and 880 two-engine transports of medium range would be needed "to effect the movement of critical essential aircraft and engine spares and supplies within the United States, between the United States and distant air bases of theaters and within theaters."6 It was assumed that short supplies of aircraft engines


and other spare parts would make necessary a system of central stockage and that the effectiveness of this system would depend upon "some method of ultra-rapid transportation" for the movement of "critical items from the central stock point to the point of need." Since the ultimate source of supply would be the United States, the plan called for long-range transport services across the North Atlantic to Britain, down by way of the Caribbean to Brazil, and then across the Atlantic narrows to Africa, westward across the Pacific to Hawaii and the Philippines, and northward through western Canada to Alaska.7

These were the air routes along which ATC built its fame, except that a base in the Azores made it possible after 1943 to develop a middle Atlantic run connecting with both Britain and Africa, that services were extended from Africa all the way into China, and that in the Pacific the airway at first ran south of the Solomons to Australia instead of into the Philippines. And there were other assumptions on which AWPD/1 was based that stood up well enough in the final test. The heavy commitment of transport aircraft to tactical operations found no small part of its justification in the fact that troop-carrier units served admirably between paratroop drops to provide significant intratheater transport services. The proposal that 160 four-engine transports be employed for intertheater services fell far short of the more than 1,000 actually used by ATC at its peak strength, but in the summer of 1941, when a land-based four-engine transport had yet to be put into production, the estimate made was daring enough. Nor should the authors of AWPD/1 apologize for their assumption that the long-range transports would need the support of more than 800 two-engine cargo aircraft, for this figure represented a very substantial part of the some 2,000 actually employed by ATC at its top strength.8

That the Air War Plans Division of AAF Headquarters should have failed in August 1941 to realize the full military potential of air transport is not surprising, for there was no model to follow except that of the Air Corps' own limited experience. It is evident that the planners were still thinking very largely of providing air transport for AAF technical supplies—for engines and other spare parts necessary to keep tactical planes in operation. Actually, ATC quickly developed into an agency of the War Department serving the whole war effort. Its planes carried out from the United States almost everything—from bulldozers to blood plasma, from college professors to Hollywood


entertainers, from high-explosive ammunition to the most delicate signal equipment, from eminent scientists to the most obscure technicians, from heads of state to the ordinary G.I.—and they brought back hog bristles and tungsten from China, cobalt and tin from Africa, rubber and quinine from Latin America, and from all over the globe the wounded G.I. who could not expect to find in New Guinea, Luzon, Burma, North Africa, or even western Europe the medical attention he could have in the United States. And when the war ended in Europe, ATC had the capacity to bring home as many as 50,000 veterans per month.

In still another respect the war plans embodied in AWPD/1 failed to anticipate actual developments. Despite the fact that ATC had its beginning in the Ferrying Command, there seems to have been no appreciation of the magnitude of the effort ferrying activities would require. For some time after August 1941 the Air Staff continued to assume that the ferrying job would involve little more than guidance for tactical units flying their own planes to battle stations.9 This estimate proved to be accurate enough for overseas operations during the earlier part of the war. But ACFC soon found it necessary to develop an elaborate organization within the United States for shuttling planes about from factory to modification center to training base or to aerial port of embarkation, and time imposed on ATC a heavy obligation to provide specially trained crews for delivery of lend-lease planes to Allied countries and of replacement aircraft to AAF combat units overseas. Experience also demonstrated that this ferrying activity added greatly to other responsibilities, for ferrying crews had to be returned by air transport to their stations of departure, and incidental services along the airways had to be proportionately enlarged.

The Air Corps Ferrying Command

Meanwhile, the Air Corps Ferrying Command plotted the course.* As early as November 1940, the British had undertaken to fly American-built bombers across the Atlantic from Canada by way of Newfoundland to Scotland. When the responsible agencies in the spring of 1941 found it difficult to recruit a sufficient number of qualified pilots for the transatlantic hop, General Arnold proposed to lend the assistance of the Air Corps. The British had been accepting delivery at the factory, and thus might have to provide pilots for flights extending

* For full discussion with documentation, see Vol. I, 310-65.


all the way from California to Scotland. By having Air Corps pilots fly planes built on British contracts from the factory to the eastern port of embarkation it would be possible to enlarge the number of pilots who would be available for employment in flights across the Atlantic. The proposal found its technical justification in the need for Air Corps pilots to secure all possible training, and President Roosevelt readily indorsed the suggestion. As a result, the Air Corps Ferrying Command was established on 29 May 1941 under the command of Col. Robert Olds.10

Depending upon pilots on temporary assignment from the Combat Command, the new Ferrying Command flew more than 1,300 aircraft across country from factories to points of transfer on the East Coast before the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor in December 1941. By that time a beginning also had been made in the delivery of planes from factories and modification centers to AAF units within the United States, a service that became during the first half of 1942 the heaviest single responsibility of the Ferrying Command. In delivering a few four-engine bombers to British forces in the Middle East and in the effort after Pearl Harbor to rush replacement aircraft to our own hard-pressed units in the Southwest Pacific, the command made a natural progression from a "domestic" to a "foreign" ferrying service. For some time, however, AAF planes moving by air to overseas theaters were usually flown by their own combat crews, and lend-lease planes by civilian pilots under contracts between the government and the airlines. Not until the problem of delivering replacement aircraft to AAF units overseas assumed large proportions would the ferrying of aircraft beyond the borders of the United States become a major activity of ATC.

In the development of overseas passenger and cargo services the story is different. As early as July 1941 the Ferrying Command had inaugurated a round-trip passenger service across the North Atlantic to Britain. Using converted B-24's of bucket-seat fame, the command averaged six trips per month until the service was terminated in October because of the approaching winter. Special flights were also made, such as that delivering a part of the Harriman mission to Moscow in September 1941 or that carrying Maj. Gen. George H. Brett, Chief of the Air Corps, to the Middle East in the same month. As with the ferrying of lend-lease planes, through-transport services along the critical South Atlantic air route to Africa and the Middle East were


first developed on an important scale by contract with the civil airlines, which also assumed the main responsibility for reopening the transport service to Britain early in 1942. But in a variety of ways and in response to the most diverse emergency calls, ACFC found itself engaged in a growing transport activity.

Especially important was the aid rendered by it in the development of the transatlantic air routes. The responsibility for the actual establishment of necessary bases and facilities belonged to a variety of other agencies, some of them representing Allied countries; but in the continuing effort to supplement facilities along these routes the Ferrying Command gave important, if unavoidably limited, assistance in the conduct of preliminary surveys and in the movement of men, equipment, and supplies. In the early development of the transpacific air route, ACFC had little if any part to play. As an organization that had been brought into existence for the assistance of the British, its activities continued to show a focus appropriate to its original mission. The assignment of a control officer to Hamilton Field, California, early in January 1942 for the purpose of clearing aircraft to be ferried across the Pacific seems to mark the first identification of ACFC with the Pacific air route.*

The Ferrying Command had begun its existence with only a small headquarters staff, headed by Colonel Olds and including Maj. Edward H. Alexander as executive, Maj. William H. Tunner as personnel officer, and Maj. Thomas L. Mosley as operations officer.11 For a year thereafter the staff remained small enough for its business to be conducted quite informally, with heavy dependence upon word-of-mouth agreements and hand-carried memos, as is revealingly told by a headquarters memorandum issued in June 1942 on the occasion of the command's move from cramped quarters in Washington across the river to Gravelly Point, Virginia. "Now that we are located in a much larger building area," advised the administrative executive, "our affairs can be conducted on a more orderly basis, and much time can be saved, if, instead of walking around to see if someone you desire to see is in, you will ring his office first on the inter-phone." And to this he added: "With respect to the operation of the office of the Commanding General, the practice of just walking in when you have something to discuss will be discontinued."12

The field organization began with the establishment of control

* See below, p. 175; and for the early story of the Pacific air route, see Vol. I, 178-93.


officers at key points along the air routes used in the ferrying of planes for the British. As representatives of the Ferrying Command, these officers supervised all plane movements under its jurisdiction and had responsibility for the return of aircrews to their starting points. Control officers situated at the several aircraft plants in the southwestern area of the United States functioned under the direction of a Western Division with headquarters initially located at Santa Monica, California. At eastern terminals, where the planes were transferred to the British, Montreal and Presque Isle (from early in 1942) were the most important assignments. Developed on the initiative of ACFC, Presque Isle promptly became the chief port of embarkation for U.S. aircraft flying the North Atlantic. With the growing importance of the South Atlantic route, ACFC received jurisdiction in January 1942 over Morrison Field, near West Palm Beach, Florida, which was quickly developed into another major port of embarkation. Provision had been made in the fall of 1941 for the assignment of ACFC control officers at all key bases on the South Atlantic route as far east as Cairo, though none of these officers reached his station before the Pearl Harbor attack.

Shortly after the United States became an active belligerent, ACFC Headquarters was expanded and two subordinate divisions were established: the Foreign and the Domestic. This reorganization confirmed an informal division of labor previously worked out, whereby Major Mosley directed overseas operations while Major Tunner handled those within the United States.13 The Domestic Division, which was soon redesignated the Domestic Wing and was charged with supervision of all ferrying activities within the United States, functioned through six subordinate sectors with headquarters geographically distributed according to need.* During the first half of 1942, ACFC acquired possession of several materiel squadrons for maintenance and repair work, assumed the responsibilities of base command at key points, and secured the activation of a number of ferrying squadrons, a new type of military unit which gave to the command for the first time its own subordinate flying units. Under the Foreign Wing, Presque Isle became the headquarters of a North Atlantic Sector,

* The original sectors and their locations were: Northwest, Seattle, Wash.; California, Long Beach, Calif.; Midwest, Grand Prairie, Tex.; Nashville, Nashville, Tenn.; Detroit, Detroit, Mich.; and Northeast, Baltimore, Md.


Boiling Field, D.C., of a Transatlantic Sector, Morrison Field of a South Atlantic Sector, and Hamilton Field of a Pacific Sector.14

The extension of ACFC's overseas services had seemed to its leaders a logical development. But such a development required time for its completion, if only because of the limited resources of the command itself. A wide variety of war programs had placed the highest premium on all men having any experience whatsoever with aviation, and ACFC by no means enjoyed the highest priority. It often had to depend upon men who were not only unfamiliar with aviation but who also enjoyed little acquaintance with the ways of the Army itself. Its crews were subject to recall by the Air Force Combat Command, as were even the few B-24's that had been modified for its overseas service.

The most obvious recruiting ground for the Ferrying Command was that provided by the civil airlines. But in the post-Pearl Harbor emergency the government adopted the quickest expedient for putting their experience and equipment to use by pressing them into the national service on contract.* The pattern, indeed, had been set well before Pearl Harbor. Three subsidiaries of Pan American Airways had been established by agreement with the British and American governments in the early summer of 1941: Pan American Air Ferries for the delivery of U.S.-built aircraft from Miami to Khartoum in the Sudan, Pan American Airways Co. for the operation of a transport service from the United States to western Africa, and Pan American Airways-Africa, Ltd., for a transport service across Africa. The services of PAA Ferries and PAA-Africa were extended by contract from Khartoum to Cairo and Tehran soon after Pearl Harbor. Eastern Air Lines supplemented PAA's services south from Miami after May 1942. Northeast Airlines had contracted for transport services along the North Atlantic route in the preceding January, and Transcontinental and Western Air in April began operations along the same route. In February 1942 Northwest Airlines undertook a service to Alaska, its efforts being supplemented by later contracts with Western Air Lines and United Air Lines. And there were other such contracts, including those made for transport services within the United States.

* See Vol. I, 350-51
See Vol. I, 322-23
See Vol. I, 350-60


ACFC had been made the monitor of some of the contracts, but it lacked full power, and its experiences with the airlines were not always happy. ATC's historian later had this to say:

In the day-by-day working of the relations between the contract airlines and the Ferrying Command there were numerous occasions for friction. Airline personnel were sometimes resentful of what they termed interference by Army men, and often cocksure of their own superior qualifications. The advantage of the airlines and the convenience of their employees seem on occasion to have been the controlling factors in the determination of policy and the performance of duty by airline representatives in the field, if not in the home offices. The personal behavior of some airline pilots seems to have been consistently offensive. Ferrying Command officers, for their part, were by no means blameless... .15

Despite the many advantages in the original dependence on contracts with the civil airlines and the valiant service rendered by civilian aircrews in the pioneering of untried airways, it was soon obvious that the mixing of civil and military agencies did not make a perfect blend.

That the Ferrying Command would carry the major responsibility for the development of an increasingly militarized service was indicated by the transfer in March 1942 of Col. Harold L. George from his post as Chief of the Air War Plans Division to the command of ACFC.* George, who became a brigadier general in April, had made his mark as a bombardment expert. As early as 1925 he had served as chief of the Bombardment Section in the Office, Chief of the Air Corps, and in the 1930's he had been the chief instructor in bombardment tactics at the Air Corps Tactical School. Head of the Air War Plans Division since June 1941, he had played a major role in the drafting of AWPD/1 and of other plans fundamentally affecting the development of America's war effort. There were few other officers whose assignment to ACFC could have offered comparable proof of the growing appreciation of its importance to the war effort.

For General George's executive officer, Arnold personally chose Cyrus R. Smith, the president of American Airlines.16 Commissioned with the rank of colonel in mid-April, he served thereafter under more than one official designation, in keeping with immemorial military custom, but under all titles he was in effect chief of staff to General George. The partnership thus formed is representative of the foundations on which ATC would build its fabulous career.17 In all areas of ATC's activity and at all levels of command, there were to be

* Olds, who had been promoted to brigadier general, became commanding general of the Second Air Force and was shortly promoted to major general.


found those who brought to their military duties valuable experience with the civil airlines, not to mention a keen sense of the long-range interests of civil aviation.

Although the spring of 1942 brought some changes in the organization of the Domestic Wing, among them a redesignation of the geographical sectors as headquarters of numerically designated ferrying groups,* there were more important developments in the Foreign Wing. By mid-June provision had been made for five overseas wings, each embracing a broad geographical area and carrying a geographical designation, the latter a departure from standard War Department practice. Wing headquarters, for which necessary headquarters and headquarters squadrons were activated, were to be located on the East Coast at Presque Isle (North Atlantic Wing) and West Palm Beach (Caribbean Wing), on the West Coast at Hamilton Field (South Pacific Wing), and overseas at Georgetown, British Guiana (South Atlantic Wing), and at Cairo in Egypt (Africa Middle East Wing). Plans at ACFC Headquarters called for each wing commander to be responsible for the "safe and expeditious movement of aircraft" through his wing, and to have necessary control of "weather, communications, maintenance and inspection facilities throughout his wing area."18

It took some time, however, to translate these plans into action and to clarify all the questions they raised. To take but one example for purposes of illustration, the jurisdiction of the North Atlantic Wing presumably extended from Presque Isle in Maine to Prestwick in Scotland. It had a commander from 8 June 1942 in the person of Col. Benjamin F. Giles, theretofore commanding the Greenland Base Command, and a mission defined as the "expeditious movement of all U.S. Army aircraft destined for Great Britain."19 But when the Eighth Air Force began the air movement of its combat units to Britain that same month, the control was vested in the commanding general of the VIII Fighter Command. Not until late July did the North Atlantic Wing take full charge.


The Air Corps Ferrying Command, meanwhile, had been redesignated as the Air Transport Command and given a greatly expanded

* See above, p. 10. The 1st Ferrying Group, constituted on March 3, left for India by boat on March 17. Six additional groups (2-7) gave their designations to the old sectors.


mission.* Under General Orders No. 8 of 20 June 1942, ATC was established and made responsible for (1) "ferrying all aircraft within the United States and to destinations outside the United States" as directed by the Commanding General, AAF; (2) the "transportation by air of personnel, materiel, and mail for all War Department agencies, except those served by Troop Carrier units"; and (3) the "control, operation, and maintenance of establishments and facilities on air routes outside of the United States which are, or which may be made, the responsibility of the Commanding General, Army Air Forces."20 Strictly speaking, these orders conferred upon the command no really new function, but the command now had a clear mandate to develop its air transport activities to the fullest possible extent and to extend its control of air traffic along all routes leading from the United States to the several battle fronts.

Especially significant was the provision making ATC the agent not merely of the AAF but of the whole War Department. Important, too, was the assignment to ATC of responsibilities theretofore largely carried by the 50th Transport Wing. The activities of that wing had been drastically modified on 30 April 1942, when it was transferred, with its equipment, to a newly activated Troop Carrier Command, an organization charged primarily with the training of troop-carrier units for combat operations. Deprived thus of its principal air transport agency, the Air Service Command promptly turned to the civil airlines for assistance and organized a Contract Air Cargo Division staffed in large part by airline executives commissioned direct from civilian life. The tendency of this division to extend its services to points outside the United States, by contract with civil carriers, helped to shape the decision to concentrate responsibility in ATC. At one time General Arnold seems to have considered a division of function that would have given the responsibility for air transport within the Western Hemisphere to the Air Cargo Division and for air transport outside the hemisphere to the Ferrying Command. But in the end Arnold decided on a single command. The Air Service Command terminated its Air Cargo Division and transferred its personnel to ATC. As a final token of the War Department's agreement with the new plan, the Services of Supply on 1 July surrendered to the AAF,

* For full discussion, see Vol. I, 349-65.
First designated the Air Transport Command but soon renamed the Troop Carrier Command.


and thus to ATC, the assignment of priorities for travel on military and commercial aircraft, a function theretofore held by the Transportation Service of SOS.

Simultaneously, ATC adjusted its own organization to new requirements. The staff organization of ATC Headquarters underwent little change, but two new offices took the place of the old Domestic and Foreign Wings.* A newly established Ferrying Division, under the command of Col. William H. Tunner, who formerly had commanded the Domestic Wing, took charge of all ferrying operations. The Air Transportation Division began with a nucleus of thirty-five officers transferred from ASC's Contract Air Cargo Division, including the commander of the new division, Col. Robert J. Smith, formerly vice-president of Braniff Airlines.21 Upon him fell the especially heavy responsibility for providing the "United States Armed Forces and those of the United Nations," to quote an official statement of the division's mission, "with swift dependable world-wide transportation by air for the movement of vital passengers, cargo, and mail wherever and whenever needed."22 The five overseas wings previously established were continued, and to them were added an Alaskan Wing in October and an India-China Wing in December. In January 1943 the South Pacific Wing was divided to form the Pacific and West Coast Wings. A European Wing was established that same month for control of operations within ETO, especially those between Great Britain and North Africa.

When the several sectors of the Foreign Wing had been inactivated in June preparatory to the establishment of the new foreign wings, the Transatlantic Sector at Boiling Field in Washington had survived. The plan was to convert it and its operating unit, the 10th Ferrying Squadron, into a headquarters transportation squadron for special missions originating in Washington. Instead, both the sector and the squadron were transferred to the jurisdiction of the Air Transportation Division in August.23 But this is a point chiefly of administrative significance. In effect, the 10th Squadron did become the headquarters transport unit, and as such it served chiefly to provide for official Washington rapid communication by air with many different parts of the world. It carried more Very Important Persons and very important mail than did any other unit.

* Actually the Foreign Wing had been disbanded with the activation of the overseas wings early in June.


The varying conditions under which the newly established wings operated make generalization difficult, but certain points, representing the ideal toward which ATC sought to move, seem to be worth the attempt. Wing commanders were responsible for the routing of all ferried and transport aircraft through their wing, for the briefing of crews, and for the servicing of the aircraft. They were expected to provide housing, ground transportation, and commissary and medical services for ATC and contract carrier personnel and for transient passengers. They had disciplinary authority over ATC crews. They were responsible for the provision of necessary communications and weather information. Where it was possible, the wing commander sought actual command, except for technical control, over the communications and weather services within his wing; elsewhere he negotiated for the necessary services with whatever authority, American or foreign, might have the right to command. The extent of his own command authority varied according to circumstances, but at no time did it include the aircraft passing through his wing.* Rather, they remained, like the ferrying and transport crews which flew them, subject to the command of the Transportation or Ferrying Divisions in Washington.24

This last point has particular significance. The ideal shaping the whole development of ATC was that of a strategic air transport service. To the achievement of that ideal nothing was more important than a centralized control exercised in conformity with the highest considerations of national strategy. No local or other particular interest could be allowed to interfere with the movement of planes and cargo according to requirements dictated by the top command and according to schedules that would assure the most efficient employment of planes and crews. Each theater was expected to look to its own assigned troop-carrier units for the provision of local transport services. The business of ATC was to provide long-range air transport from the home front to the battle areas of the world, and to do this on predetermined and established schedules.25

It was a new idea and inevitably there were conflicts with traditional notions regarding the prerogatives of a theater commander. To reach some destinations, ATC aircraft might pass through a half-dozen theater or base commands. In any one of these a hard-pressed

* Some of the wings, and notably the India-China Wing, later had their own assigned planes which came under the direct command of the wing commander.


commander might be tempted to levy upon the cargo for his own needs or even to divert the planes and their crews to his own uses. He usually could cite some emergency in justification of his action, especially during the difficult first year of the war, and Army tradition argued that the theater commander rightfully controlled all military forces operating within his area. As early as 6 June 1942 it had been necessary for the War Department to issue a directive to theater commanders reminding them that ACFC was a War Department agency operating under the command of General Arnold and enjoining them to limit their interference to "specific" emergencies.26

The difficulty, in part, was one of definition. No one could question the right of any theater commander in the case of an extreme emergency to press into service all available forces. Nor could anyone doubt that most commanders in the earlier part of the war were operating under the conditions of a general emergency. Hence the War Department's insistence that the emergency be specific. But experience soon proved that this term was not explicit enough. In August 1942 General George sought through Arnold to secure another and stronger directive specifying that the schedules of ATC planes could be "violated only when required by reason of weather, mechanical failures, security or other reasons of extreme urgency."27The desired directive was issued on 21 September 1942. Theater commanders were reminded that ATC was the "War Department agency for the transportation by air of personnel, materiel, and mail," and they were specifically directed to "take all possible action to facilitate scheduled air transport operations through the area of their commands." Aircraft and crews "engaged in the operation of air transportation and ferrying services" were not to be "diverted from such operations by commanders concerned except in cases requiring that such operations be delayed until security will permit resumption of operations."28 In other words, the security of ATC's own operations became the only consideration which might justify interference by local commanders. This action by no means ended all difficulty, but, by the end of 1942, overseas commanders were beginning to accept the idea that ATC planes moved on orders from General George by the authority of nothing less than the War Department itself. The more intelligent of them had come also to recognize the extent to which their own self-interest was involved in the effective


operation of a service designed to meet emergency needs in all theaters.

There remained a necessity for spelling out in greater detail the War Department's injunction to "facilitate" the operations of ATC. A revised directive of 26 February 1943 defined more closely the relationship of theater and ATC wing commanders.29 The directive undertook to fix their mutual obligations, one to the other, with reference to facilities, services, and personnel—a difficult task in view of the divergence of conditions among the various theaters. At times the drafters of the new directive were reduced to dependence upon the simple injunction to co-operate.

At the time of the establishment of ATC, L. W. Pogue, chairman of the Civil Aeronautics Board, had proposed that all war air transport operations should be concentrated under a single command, independent alike of Army and Navy and made responsible to the President as the commander-in-chief.30 Instead, the Navy continued to operate its own Naval Air Transport Service (NATS), first established on 12 December 1941. Informal meetings, intended to obviate conflict and duplication and promote agreement on questions involving the use of the civil airlines, were held during the summer of 1942 between representatives of the two services. Out of these meetings came the formal establishment in September of the Joint Army-Navy Air Transport Committee (JANATC).* Helpful agreements were reached on problems of duplication, the mutual use of certain facilities, and liaison on the assignment of cargo and passenger priorities, but the two services remained distinctly independent.31 As ATC rapidly developed into the major air transport agency of the U.S. government, its leaders continued to consider the possibility that ATC and NATS might be consolidated into one,32 but this was a vain hope. Even the liaison developed in 1942 through the JANATC became thereafter less effective. Indeed, between April 1943 and May 1944 the committee held only one meeting.33 Evidence that the Navy planned to expand NATS, originally charged only with the provision of air transport services to the naval establishment, led in the winter of 1943-44 to several ATC and AAF headquarters staff studies of duplication, existing and potential. The question went before the Joint Chiefs of Staff, with the result, in general, that NATS was restricted to serving the naval establishment. ATC had to be

* The Civil Aeronautics Board had representation on JANATC after January 1943.


content with the implied recognition of its status as the chief military air transport service of the U.S. government. The Joint Army-Navy Air Transport Committee was revived in May 1944.34

Although a fully militarized service had been set as the ideal by ATC very early in its history, and though transport services were increasingly rendered by military personnel and equipment, the use of contract services by civil airlines continued until the end of the war. The original contracts had involved the purchase of airline equipment by the government and then payment for its operation by the airline in accordance with government directives. During the last two years of the war the government began to turn over more and more of its own military aircraft to the airlines for operation on a cost-plus-fixed-fee basis. Earlier contracts usually had been made for specified services, but from the first months of 1943 "call" contracts of a general character were substituted.35 Under this type of contract, the airline was bound to render service to the government within general limits but on call for particular purposes. At no time did ATC become the contracting agent of the government or hold full legal power over the administration of contracts. But it necessarily had an important supervisory duty, and its responsibilities in this particular were expanding ones. Civilian pilots, employed chiefly for air transportation, flew the same routes and utilized the same services as did the military.

ATC had begun operations on 30 June 1942 with a military strength of approximately 11,000 officers and enlisted men. Nine months later, at the end of March 1943, its strength had risen to over 60,000. On 31 July 1944 the figures were close to 125,000, of which number more than 80,000 were stationed overseas. By the end of the war the grand total had passed 200,000.36 At the end of 1943, ATC had over 1,000 transport aircraft of all types assigned to it. A year later the number had risen to over 3,000. At the end of the war assigned transports were some 3,700.37 In July 1945, the month preceding the termination of hostilities, ATC planes carried almost 275,000 passengers on long or short hops and delivered just under 100,000 tons of mail and freight. Of these totals, less than 50,000 passengers and a little over 3,300 tons of mail and cargo were attributable to operations within the United States.38 Deliveries of ferried aircraft rose from 30,000 in 1942 and 72,000 in 1943 to 108,000 in 1944 and then dropped in 1945 to 57,000 before V-J Day.39


For a military organization, and especially one that grew rapidly, ATC's structure remained remarkably stable—a fact attributable in part to the continuity of its leadership. General George remained in command until after the war, with Brig. Gen. Cyrus R. Smith in the post of Deputy Commander after July 1943. In the preceding spring the Air Transportation Division had been dissolved on the ground that no intermediate office was any longer needed between headquarters and the overseas wings. Accordingly, the functions of the division, except for those relating to transport activity within the United States, were transferred up to the appropriate offices of the headquarters staff. A new Domestic Transportation Division was established and moved from Washington to New York, where in effect it operated as a domestic wing. To its transport responsibilities were added in time important obligations for the conduct of training.* The Ferrying Division was continued, but its headquarters was transferred to Cincinnati in accordance with a plan to move operations out of Washington. Because its responsibilities had not been limited by the bounds of the United States, and because of its control over military aircrews, the Ferrying Division was soon given the task of establishing ATC's first scheduled military air transport runs to overseas destinations.40 Heretofore, scheduled transport services to the overseas theaters had been provided by contract carriers.

Finding the Planes

All plans for the development of wartime air supply services, and for airborne troop training as well, were dominated by the scarcity of transport aircraft. There was a shortage when war came, and thereafter the production of new transports still had to meet the competition of combat types which enjoyed, initially at least, an overriding priority. Although a substantial number of two-engine and four-engine transports had been ordered, none of these had been delivered at the time of the Pearl Harbor attack. The number of medium- and long-range transports belonging to the AAF on 7 December 1941 was so small that the eleven converted Liberator bombers on loan from the Combat Command to the Ferrying Command and the forty to fifty twin-engine planes belonging to the

* See below, p. 40.
For discussion of the "Fireball," "Crescent," and "Snowball" runs, all flown by military crews, see below, pp. 89, 103,129-30.


50th Transport Wing represented very nearly the full total. Only in the equipment of the civil airlines did the country possess an immediately available supply of additional transport aircraft.

A first step toward mobilizing the resources of the airlines was taken on 13 December 1941, when the President signed an executive order directing the Secretary of War to take possession of any part of any civil aviation system required for the war effort.41 On the same day, the lend-lease administrator allocated twenty-five million dollars to the War Department for the purchase of available four-engine transports and for other action necessary to the operation of military air transport services.42 But there were only fifteen four-engine planes to be had, not counting a Boeing 314 Clipper that already had been purchased from Pan American Airways in August 1941. In December, Pan American had eight Clippers and two Martin flying boats, and TWA owned five Boeing 307 land-based Stratoliners. All fifteen were promptly purchased and assigned to the two military services. The Navy got the two Martin flying boats and five of the Clippers. That left for the Army three Clippers and the five Stratoliners. The eleven B-24's which the Ferrying Command had been using, together with the Clipper purchased in August and the five Stratoliners, brought the Army's four-engine transports to a total of twenty aircraft.* For more than six months thereafter, only a few converted Liberators would be added to this total. In the category of two-engine planes the armed forces were more fortunate. The airlines in December 1941 were operating 289 DC-3's, and some 100 lighter two-engine types.43 After several drafts had been made on this resource, the President, on 6 May 1942, directed the Secretary of War to commandeer all transports operated by the civil airlines in excess of 200 of the DC-3 type and to refit them "for such transport services as will most effectively serve the war purposes of the United Nations."44 Many of the planes thus acquired from the civil airlines were turned back to them for operation under contract with the government.

As the War Department reached right and left for whatever aircraft might be immediately available, the AAF enlarged its procurement program. Fortunately, it had made a heavy commitment to the DC-3 and the DC-4 before Pearl Harbor, and fortunately the prime consideration of the speed with which the manufacturer could make

* See Vol. I, 351-53.


deliveries led to additional orders for these two planes. But neither of them was considered to be ideal for the purposes of air transport. The trouble was that both planes had been designed for passenger service. Although there had been much talk in the interval between the two world wars about the convertibility of airline equipment for military purposes, too much of this talk had ignored a point later well put by ATC's historian, who wrote: "Men, after all, can ride in freight cars, with or without improvised seats; freight cannot well be loaded in passenger cars."45

The DC-3 was a low-wing monoplane whose fuselage stood so high off the ground that loading from an ordinary truck platform Was impractical. Also the door was narrow and the flooring lacked the strength to support heavy cargo. A larger door, reinforced flooring, special loading equipment, and other improvisations were devised for the C-47, but it was natural that ATC should have sought a plane better suited to its needs. Desired characteristics included a low-swung fuselage to facilitate loading, especially of such bulky equipment as jeeps or small tanks, a higher payload, the ability to operate from small unsurfaced airfields, and a ferrying range of at least 2,500 miles to permit delivery of the plane from factory to front under its own power. It was desirable, furthermore, that the plane be constructed as far as possible of non-critical materials, such as plywood, plastics, fabric, and tubular steel, in order not to compete with combat types at the factories.46

Much time and money went into the search, before and after Pearl Harbor, for a two-engine plane that would meet all these requirements. The Budd C-93, of stainless-steel construction, was developed under a joint order with the Navy, but innumerable problems of engineering and construction, plus the shortage of stainless steel, led the AAF to cancel its part of the order early in 1944.47 The Waco C-62 project was an experiment in the construction of a wooden transport airplane. An initial order for 13 service-test models had been placed with the Waco Aircraft Company in October 1941, and early in 1942 an additional 240 were ordered. Engineering problems proved difficult, and the C-62 rated a lower priority than wooden gliders also under order at the Waco plant. By September 1943, two years after the project had been launched, the prototype of the C-62 was still incomplete. A few months later the AAF dropped the project altogether.48 At that time, the limitations of another wooden


plane, the Curtiss-Wright C-76 Caravan, whose basic design was almost identical with that of the C-62, were also well known. Production of the C-76 had proceeded somewhat further than the two models described above, but with little more success. An initial order for 200 of these was followed by two other orders for an additional 1,200 from Curtiss-Wright and 1,200 from Higgins Aircraft, Inc., of New Orleans. Curtiss-Wright built an elaborate assembly plant at Louisville and farmed out much of the fabrication work to piano and furniture manufacturers, while Higgins began a plant on "made" delta land at New Orleans that would have cost an estimated $23,-735,000 had it been completed. Engineering difficulties, similar to those encountered with the C-62, finally reduced the C-76 program to a small experimental project. In July 1943, after the first airplane produced at Louisville had crashed, the AAF canceled all orders except for 25 airplanes on the Curtiss-Wright contract. The Chief of the Materiel Command estimated an unrecoverable loss of $40,000,000.49

Better success was had with the Fairchild C-82 Packet. The design for the C-82 was first presented to the Materiel Command shortly after Pearl Harbor. Because the Fairchild design showed almost 100 per cent improvement in maximum load capacity and range over the C-62 and C-76, as well as greatly superior facilities for loading and unloading, a contract was awarded to the Fairchild Company for two models in August 1942. The design originally called for plywood and steel, but, as the prospects of the C-82 as the long-sought ideal cargo plane seemed to improve with study, the specifications were changed first to a greater percentage of steel and finally, early in 1943, to all-metal construction. Troop-carrier officials, especially, liked the Packet, or the "flying boxcar" as it came to be called. A small tank, a 155-mm. howitzer, or three jeeps could be quickly rolled up a rear ramp through huge tail doors, paratroopers could bail out without the risk of having their heads knocked off by the rear empennage, and the high horizontal stabilizer, fourteen feet off of the ground, made it possible for the largest trucks and trailers to back up to the rear of the fuselage without obstruction. The C-82 could carry a payload of 12,500 pounds for 500 miles, and 8,500 pounds for 1,500 miles. But the first C-82 was not delivered until June 1945, and only a few had been assigned to ATC at the end of the war.50


For a time it seemed that the answer to ATC's need would be found in the Curtiss-Wright C-46—the Commando. Unlike the C-47, the C-46 lacked genealogy. Its prototype, the CW-20, had been designed in 1940 at the St. Louis plant of Curtiss-Wright as a two-engine commercial competitor of the four-engine Douglas DC-4 and the Boeing Stratoliner. An original order for 200 of the C-46 military version had been placed by the Air Corps in September 1940, and 256 more were ordered in May 1941, but, because of the extensive modifications required, only two models actually existed when war came. However, the plane had been sufficiently modified and tested to cause the Air Forces to request that Curtiss-Wright proceed with its production. Two were ready for acceptance on 18 July 1942, and by the end of the month three more had been accepted. All were turned over to the airlines for use in domestic contract services until they had been more fully tested. The first reports were altogether good, with only the ordinary number of defects reported. Eastern Air Lines, after 200 hours of testing, reported that its C-46 carried 10,000 pounds of cargo (nearly double the maximum payload of the C-47) and, so loaded, could cruise at an average indicated air speed of 200 miles per hour with a consumption of 135 gallons of gasoline per hour. This was excellent performance.51

After the first encouraging reports, however, came discouraging ones. In heavy rain the fuselage "leaked like a sieve" because the joints had not been properly sealed, the camouflage paint began to peel off, and much more serious trouble developed with the hydraulic system and the fuel system. In late August 1942 it became necessary to ask for fifty-three immediate modifications, exclusive of winterization, and to recommend forty-six additional changes as desirable. The first thirty C-46's delivered to ATC had to be sent back to the factory. They began to return early in 1943 as the C-46A, a modified version which was flyable but still far from satisfactory.

In the meantime the Air Transport Command had made a heavy commitment to the C-46, especially because of the hope that the new plane might meet the need for an expanded airlift from India to China. The responsibility for such an expansion after December 1942 had fallen on the newly established India-China Wing of ATC, and since there was no prospect that four-engine transports could be made available for the job, ATC had little choice but to pin its hopes on the greater cargo capacity of the two-engine C-46.52 Perhaps this


helps to explain a persistent optimism at ATC Headquarters regarding the prospect that the plane's defects could be overcome. As late as April 1943, when many of these defects had become known, Brig. Gen. Cyrus R. Smith, Chief of Staff of the Air Transport Command and one of the country's ablest airline executives, declared that, for hauling cargo over distances of 1,500 miles or less, the C-46 was more efficient than the C-54. For short hauls of around 1,000 miles, he insisted that the C-46 offered "twice the value of the C-47."53 The War Production Board, too, had gone all out for the C-46, declaring it to be the most efficient and economical cargo aircraft then in production, and the C-47 the least efficient of the short-haul carriers. That the C-46 could be produced in quantity was amply demonstrated. By the end of 1943 acceptances reached the total of 363. An additional 1,321 were accepted during 1944, and by the end of the war the grand total stood at 3,123.54 That the plane helped to increase ATC's airlift during a critical period of the war is also demonstrable. On the run from Miami to Natal, Eastern Air Lines' contract service used it with outstanding success, and in Africa as well as on the India-China run it carried many tons of freight, not to mention many passengers, who otherwise could not have been given a lift. But from first to last the Commando remained a headache. It could be kept flying only at the cost of thousands of extra manhours for maintenance and modification. Although Curtiss-Wright reported the accumulation by November 1943 of the astounding total of 721 required changes in production models, the plane continued to be what maintenance crews around the world aptly described as a "plumber's nightmare." Worse still, the plane was a killer. In the experienced hands of Eastern Air Lines and along a route that provided more favorable flying conditions than were confronted by military crews in Africa and on the Hump route into China, the plane did well (enough. Indeed, Eastern Air Lines lost only one C-46 in more than two years of operations.55 But among the ATC pilots the Commando was known, with good reason, as the "flying coffin." From May 1943 to March 1945, Air Transport Command received reports of thirty-one instances in which C-46's caught fire or exploded in the air. Still others were listed merely as "missing in flight," and it is a safe assumption that many of these exploded, went down in flames, or crashed as the result of vapor lock, carburetor icing, or other defects.


In the face of continuing disappointment with the C-46, ATC had no choice but to place its heaviest dependence for medium-range transport on the undervalued C-47. At the peak of operations in August 1945, well over a third of ATC's major transports—to be exact, 1,341 out of 3,090—were C-47's. In the subsequent reduction of its wartime fleet, ATC had elected by March 1946 to retain in service 402 C-47's as against only 5 C-46's.56 While AAF storage fields filled up with C-46's retired from government service and rejected by the civil airlines, the demand for all available C-47's continued brisk.

In its attempts to develop an ideal four-engine cargo plane, the AAF came no closer to meeting the wartime need than it did in the case of the two-engine plane. In the Douglas C-74 and in Boeing's C-97, each of them capable of carrying under normal operating conditions a maximum payload of some 40,000 pounds over a distance of 1,000 miles and better than 22,000 pounds for 3,000 miles,57 the AAF finally found the long-range transports it needed, but none of either type had been delivered at the close of the war.58 Meantime, as with medium-range transport, it was necessary to depend upon an adaptation of a passenger-type aircraft—in this instance the DC-4, which as the C-54 proved to be as stout a plane as the C-47.

When war came, the AAF had a choice among four large land-based transports. In addition to the Douglas Skymaster (C-54), there were Lockheed's Constellation (C-69), the Boeing Stratoliner (C-75), and the converted Liberator bomber (B-24 and LB-30*). Because the Stratoliner could carry a payload of only 4,100 pounds at maximum range, there was never any thought of producing the plane in quantity.59 Production of the Lockheed C-69, which offered great promise, was held back because of the priority given to the P-38 fighter at the Lockheed factory. Eighty Constellations had been contracted for by TWA and Pan American Airways before Pearl Harbor. These contracts were taken over by the AAF after war started, and an additional 180 of a more advanced model were also ordered. The first numbers were scheduled for delivery in 1943, but even this late date proved to be too optimistic. Only a few test C-69's were produced during the war, and none was used in regular wartime transport operations.60

* The LB-30 was an early model of the B-24 modified for British use.


With the elimination of the Stratoliner and the Constellation, the AAF had a choice between the Douglas C-54 and the modified Liberator bomber. The Douglas plane was a gamble, because at the time of Pearl Harbor it existed only in prototype. Had the C-54 turned out to be another C-46, the ATC would have been in a bad way indeed, but happily the gamble paid off handsomely. The original, a passenger model first delivered in June 1942, carried a payload of 9,600 pounds when fueled for a 2,500-mile flight. Its maximum range was over 3,000 miles—which gave it a safe margin for operation on the Atlantic and the Pacific air routes—with a payload at that range of 6,400 pounds. Its use for cargo was limited by both the fixed seats and the flooring, which was not designed to carry heavy loads, but these were difficulties that could be overcome. By August 1942, four C-54's were in scheduled service on the Pan American Airways' contract run from Miami to Natal, and by October C-54's flew regular schedules on the North Atlantic route into Britain.61

While proceeding with the production of C-54's, the Douglas Aircraft Company adapted its factory in Chicago to the manufacture of C-54A's, a cargo version with bucket seats (metal folding seats along both walls of the fuselage) and a stronger floor. Various minor improvements were embodied in this model, and the gross takeoff weight was raised to 68,000 pounds, giving it a payload of 9,000 pounds at extreme range and 10,900 for a 2,400-mile trip. The first C-54A was delivered for testing on 3 February 1943 and was in scheduled service by March. The C-54B, embodying further improvements, was ready for testing in March 1944. In this newer model, two of the four auxiliary fuel tanks in the cabin were eliminated in favor of additional wing fuel tanks, thereby increasing the cabin space and reducing the fire hazard; the passenger capacity was increased from 30 to 49, and litter capacity for air evacuation of the wounded from 24 to 36. The bucket seats were replaced by canvas folding seats with web backrests that resembled cots and were placed lengthwise along each wall. Their use meant a saving in weight of seven pounds per passenger-space, and, unlike the bucket seats, they were fairly comfortable for either sitting or sleeping. The C-54C was literally a unique aircraft, a single plane built and equipped especially for the use of President Roosevelt. The C-54D, essentially a C-54B with more powerful engines, came into use in August 1944; the others, the C-54E, a luxurious passenger model, and the C-54G,


the corresponding cargo model, were not available until 1945. In August 1945, ATC had 839 C-54's of all models in service.62

The AAF had hedged its bet on the C-54 by a substantial investment in the modified Liberator. As early as July 1941 the Ferrying Command, in the absence of long-range transports, had begun using stripped-down B-24 bombers in its North Atlantic service. The B-24 was unusually well suited for transport work after most of its armament had been removed and its bomb-bay section rigged to accommodate passengers and cargo. With full fuel tanks, the plane was estimated to have a maximum range of 4,000 miles; two of the B-24A's in the North Atlantic service made a special 3,500-mile non-stop flight from Scotland to Moscow via Archangel without difficulty. Stripped of all combat equipment and armor plate, the Liberator could carry 7,500-8,000 pounds of payload with full fuel tanks. In addition to its long range and powerful lift, the Liberator alone among major aircraft then in production or planned for early production had one prime characteristic of true cargo aircraft—its fuselage stood low to the ground, and so it could be easily loaded.63

Of the eleven B-24 transports employed by the Air Corps Ferrying Command at the time of Pearl Harbor, three were lost in the Southwest Pacific during the early months of the war. Because of the more urgent need for combat models, no others were turned over to the command until June 1942, when five B-24D's were sent to the South Atlantic, at a time when the fortunes of the Allies in the Middle East were at lowest ebb and when a number of critical aircraft supply items were needed badly. In the meantime, five Liberators of the LB-30 model, repossessed from the British shortly after Pearl Harbor, had been placed in service on the Pacific run from California to Australia. The LB-30 was found to have a shorter range than the B-24, but was capable of carrying a heavier payload.

These two improvised transports served as prototypes for the Liberator Express (C-87), which came directly from the factory as a transport plane in the late summer of 1942.64 The C-87 had an extreme range of 3,250 miles and was capable of carrying a payload of from 7,500 to 9,400 pounds, a performance not quite measuring up to that of the C-54. Lack of loading space both fore and aft of the center of gravity limited the cargo capacity and forced weight-and-balance officers to exercise the greatest care in distributing weight. By October 1942 seven C-87's had been placed in operation across


ATC Training Programme: Radio Mechanics

ATC Training Programme: Engine Mechanics

ATC Aircraft Types: Douglas C-47

ATC Aircraft Types: Curtiss C-46

ATC Aircraft Types: Consolidated C-87

ATC Aircraft Types: Douglas C-54

ATC Planes at Iceland Base

the Pacific as a badly needed addition to the small LB-30 fleet. The highest number in use by the command at one time was 308, in January 1945. By the end of hostilities the C-87 was obsolescent by comparison with the later models of the C-54 and had been largely replaced by them.65

Finding the Pilots

The problem of finding the pilots for ATC's varied services was in some ways more difficult than that of finding the planes. Prior to the Pearl Harbor attack there had been no difficulty. The primary mission of the Ferrying Command had then been the delivery of U.S.-built aircraft from California to British agencies on the East Coast, and for that purpose Air Force Combat Command (AFCC) placed its pilots on loan to ACFC for thirty- to ninety-day periods which served to provide them helpful experience with the latest types of combat aircraft.66 But, after Pearl Harbor, AFCC faced the immediate need to ready all its units for overseas service, with the result that the Ferrying Command suddenly had its normal source of pilots cut off.67 Not only did the flow of pilots from combat units cease but a reverse trend resulted from the prompt demand by AFCC that sorely needed pilots be returned. Indeed, the Ferrying Command was fortunate in being able to keep even a few of its more experienced pilots.

The problem became all the more serious because the command was required to assume by mid-January 1942 virtually full responsibility for the ferrying of AAF aircraft within the United States. It was no easy job. The ferrying of a half-dozen different types of British-owned aircraft from the West Coast to the East Coast at the rate of 200-odd planes a month—the sum of deliveries just prior to 7 December—had been simple. It was quite another matter to provide, in addition to this service, pilots who could fly practically every type of American military aircraft from factories to depots and modification centers and from these points to training bases and staging areas all over the United States—and to provide them in numbers that kept pace with an expanding combat force.68

Under these pressures the Ferrying Command had no recourse but to employ civilian pilots, a practice authorized in June 1941 but as yet untried. The unattached civilian pilots then available—bush fliers, small feeder-line operators, test pilots, stunt fliers, crop-dusters, barnstormers


and individuals who flew their own planes for the purposes of business or pleasure—were men, for the most part, of limited flight experience who would need a good deal of training. Accordingly, it was decided to employ civilians for a preliminary ninety-day probationary period of training. If found qualified at the end of that period, they would be commissioned as officers in the Army of the United States in ranks ranging from second lieutenant to major, depending upon age and experience, and with the aeronautical rating of service pilot, a rating established primarily for the use of ACFC with qualifications somewhat lower than those for a combat pilot. If not found qualified, they might be hired for another probationary period or released.69

Among the specifications laid down for the employment of civilians, the most important pertained to the hours of flying experience. The requirement at first was 500 hours, but this was soon cut to 300, and even for a brief period to 200. By September 1942 the figure had been raised again to 300 hours, and by 1944, when pilots were no longer so scarce, a prospective civilian employee had to show a total of 1,000 hours.70

At the end of January 1942, less than two months after recruiting began, 343 civilian pilots had been assigned to ACFC's Domestic Wing. Two months later the number had increased to nearly 800, at which time there were 315 military pilots on duty with the wing.71By the end of 1942, a total of 1,730 civilian pilots had been recruited, and, of these, 1,372 had been commissioned.72 Civilians continued to be hired after 1942, but the rate sharply declined as civilian sources were dried up and more military pilots became available. Not until 1944 did recruitment of civilians become again an important factor in ATC's pilot procurement program. By that year the AAF's training program had been so cut back as to release a large number of highly qualified civilian flight instructors, each of them having at least 1,000 hours of flying time to their credit. From them came perhaps the best-qualified group of pilots ever recruited by ATC.73

Meanwhile, the AAF's civilian pilot recruitment program had been extended to include even women. Proposals for the use of women as pilots of military aircraft had been made well before Pearl Harbor, but all such proposals had met the stern resistance of AAF leaders on the general ground that it would be difficult to incorporate women into an organization which traditionally depended exclusively on the


male.74 It is probably true that only the extreme needs of ATC in 1942 could have broken down this resistance to the recruitment of women. In any case, the AAF adopted in the summer of 1942 a proposal of Mrs. Nancy H. Love for the recruitment of especially well-qualified women pilots for the assistance of ATC. As a result twenty-five women pilots, each having better than 1,000 hours of flying time, were recruited as members of the Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron (WAFS), an organization which quickly proved its ability to fly the most advanced types of bomber and fighter aircraft.75 At approximately the same time, Miss Jacqueline Cochran had prevailed upon General Arnold to initiate a training program for women pilots that would permit them to take over a large area of non-combat flying. The first group of graduates was ready for assignment to ATC in May 1943. By July 1944 there were 303 women pilots on duty with the Ferrying Division. In the following August the number suddenly dropped off, as the less well qualified of these pilots were transferred to the Training Command for simpler types of work. Thereafter, the number of women pilots on duty with the Ferrying Division averaged about 140 until, in December 1944, the Women's Airforce Service Pilots (WASP), the organization under which all women pilots had served since August 1943, was deactivated.* During the course of twenty-seven months women ferry pilots had completed 12,650 ferrying movements of airplanes. The aircraft ranged from the lightest liaison or trainer types to heavy bombers and the most advanced fighter types. This was an excellent record and represented a real contribution to the winning of the war.76

The largest single reservoir of experienced pilots in 1942 was that provided by the some 2,600 pilots employed by the civil airlines.77Many of these pilots had been trained originally by the Air Corps and held reserve commissions, but the AAF found itself limited in the exercise of its right to call them to active military duty by its very heavy dependence on the contract services of the civil airlines in the increasingly important area of air transport. During 1942 the airlines performed under contract with the government nearly 88 per cent of the transport work supervised by ATC. In 1943 the percentage

* For a fuller discussion of the subject of women pilots in the AAF, see below, pp. 528-36. The women recruited for pilot service in the AAF suffered from one marked disadvantage: they were not, as were the men, eligible for commissions.


fell to 68. By 1944 two-thirds of the transport work was being performed by military crews, and at the end of the war as much as 81 per cent.78

The first large group of airline reservists to be called up for active duty began arriving at Morrison Field in Florida toward the end of March 1942. Special interest is attached to this group because out of it came the pilots who were to form the nucleus of the 1st Ferrying Group, the organization that was responsible for inaugurating the airlift from India to China. In February the President had ordered General Arnold to commandeer twenty-five airplanes of the DC-3 type from the airlines and with these, and others to come from new production, to open a supply line across the Himalayas into China. Aircraft and crews brought together at Morrison Field in a temporary organization were designated the AMMISCA Project. No extensive training was necessary because the pilots had a flying experience ranging from 1,800 to over 10,000 hours in the air, much of it in DC-3's. They were not familiar, however, with long-range over-water flight and required some briefing from the veteran Ferrying Command crews at Morrison Field—a point that could be made with reference to all but a very few of the most experienced pilots at that time.79 The AMMISCA aircraft and crews began leaving Florida for India in late April, and the movement continued on into the fall.* Upon arriving in India, the crews were assigned to the 1st Ferrying Group of the Tenth Air Force, which bore the brunt of the difficult and dangerous work over the Hump during the first year of operations.80

A smaller group of reservists already had been called to active duty in connection with plans for the early heavy-bomber reinforcement of the Southwest Pacific theater. Soon after Pearl Harbor, General Arnold, upon direct instructions from the President, had ordered all heavy-bomber units then ready for overseas movement and those soon to be ready—comprising a total of eighty heavy bombers and crews—into the Southwest Pacific to reinforce that area. About a month later, in anticipation of heavy losses, orders were issued for the ferrying of eighty replacement four-engine bombers to Australia. Because no replacement crews were ready or otherwise available, the Ferrying Command was given orders to furnish the crews. The plan for delivery of the replacements was tailored to the rate of flow of

* For the movement of the ground echelon, see below, p. 118.


the aircraft from the factories. An estimated sixteen heavy bombers a month would be coming from the production line for the next several months. This would require a minimum of sixteen ferrying crews to effect delivery, but, in order to meet all possible foreign ferrying commitments in the immediate future, the Ferrying Command requested and received authority to train twice that number of four-engine crews. Each crew consisted of three officers—pilot, co-pilot, and navigator; and two enlisted men—radio operator and engineer. To prepare the crew members for the job that lay ahead, a training project, designated PROJECT 32 because it was composed originally of thirty-two crews, was organized at Morrison Field in late February 1942. This was the first program undertaken by the Ferrying Command to train its own officer and enlisted personnel for overseas ferrying.81

PROJECT 32 drew its personnel from three sources. Forming the hard core of the project were approximately thirty officer pilots and navigators and thirty-seven enlisted radio operators and engineers who had been among the Combat Command personnel assigned temporarily to duty with the Ferrying Command before the declaration of war. In this group were some of the most experienced heavy-bomber crewmen in the Army Air Forces, men who as members of the 19th Bombardment Group had participated in the first mass bomber flight from California to Hawaii in May 1941, and who, because of this experience, had subsequently been assigned to fly B-24's in the pre-Pearl Harbor transatlantic transport services to Britain and the Middle East. These men were still on loan from their combat units when PROJECT 32 was organized, but they were soon transferred to permanent-duty status with the Ferrying Command. Many were to become key operations and briefing officers in the future organization of ATC. Some would finish out the war in B-29 units in the Pacific.82 Airline pilots holding Air Corps Reserve commissions were the second element drawn into PROJECT 32. Their civilian experience had been on transport planes, principally two-engine, and their military experience had seldom gone beyond piloting two-engine bombers. Consequently, they required some transition training to fit them for four-engine ferrying work.83 The third group consisted of pilots, navigators, radio operators, and flight engineers who had recently graduated from AAF flying or technical training schools. Lacking the experience of the other two groups,


these men were first sent to a four-engine transition school at Albuquerque, New Mexico, for a month of seasoning prior to assignment to the project. But only about half of the student pilots were found qualified to join the project, and these only as co-pilots; the general level of efficiency of the navigators was even less encouraging.84When the project was finally organized into crews, all the first-pilot positions were filled with veteran Ferrying Command pilots or the more experienced airline pilots; the co-pilot positions by the remainder of the airlines men and the best of the student pilots; and the navigator positions by Ferrying Command personnel and the best of the student navigators trained at Albuquerque.85

A highly concentrated training program was drawn up in order to complete the course of instruction within the allotted thirty days. Most of the time at Morrison Field was taken up with ground courses in navigation, engineering, communications, and armament. At the same time the schedule was made as flexible as possible to permit the carrying-out of urgent ferrying missions during the period of training. Project crews ferried nine heavy bombers to Panama in March and six in April and moved other aircraft to points within the United States. Classes in ground school were long, running from three to five hours, and school kept seven days a week. At the end of the all-too-brief training period, the members of the project had been welded into crews, schooled on several types of equipment likely to be encountered in immediate assignments, and briefed for many parts of the world.86

Late in March 1942, PROJECT 32 crews began moving out to Hamilton Field, San Rafael, California. Their work over the period of the next several months, and especially the vital part they played in bringing up bomber reinforcements for the Battle of Midway, will be discussed later in connection with Pacific operations.* Here it will be sufficient to note that the command's overseas ferrying organization grew out of the project's original thirty-two crews. The project as an organized unit came to an end in June 1942, but its crews thereafter formed the initial cadres of three new foreign ferrying squadrons activated and assigned to the equally new ATC Ferrying Division. One squadron, the 28th, remained on the West Coast to provide crews for aircraft going to Pacific areas; the 26th was assigned to South Atlantic duty; and the 27th to the North Atlantic route. The activation

* See below, pp. 175-76.


of these squadrons enabled the Ferrying Division to provide an increasing number of crews for replacement aircraft bound overseas. Newcomers to the squadrons were mixed in with the experienced PROJECT 32 crewmen to form new crews, and these, in turn, after a period of seasoning, were broken up to form the nuclei for others.87

New pilots and co-pilots assigned to the foreign ferrying squadrons came principally from graduates of the domestic squadrons, but airline pilots in the Air Corps Reserve continued to provide a number of unusually highly qualified overseas pilots during 1942. The men filling other crew positions—the navigators, radio operators, and engineers—came directly from the flying and technical training schools. ATC adopted for its ferrying crews an in-service type of training which progressively moved its pilots from the simpler types of aircraft to the more complex types. For a time, hard and fast lines were drawn between domestic and foreign ferry pilots, but soon this distinction was abandoned. Experience proved that short ferrying trips within the United States afforded a necessary relaxation for pilots who had just completed one or more long flights overseas. Moreover, the rotation of pilots between domestic and foreign assignments made for a more efficient utilization of available pilots.88 The three foreign ferrying squadrons were stationed originally at aerial ports of embarkation, not under the jurisdiction of the Ferrying Division, but these squadrons were soon withdrawn to Ferrying Division bases for assignment to recently organized ferrying groups in which they tended to lose their special identity.

PROJECT 32 was followed by PROJECT 50, which brought a group of about ninety Air Corps reservists to active duty on 25 May 1942 for a period of training preparatory to manning the new C-54 and C-87 four-engine transports. They had been called up for service as transport pilots, but, because the transports were slow in coming from the factories and because of the need for overseas ferry pilots, most of them were shifted, at least for a time, to foreign ferrying. A few of them went immediately into C-54 training; others joined the 10th Ferrying Squadron at Boiling Field, then engaged in flying B-24 converted transports on special missions. Ten of the pilots were sent to Natal to fill co-pilot positions on five new B-24D transports just assigned to the South Atlantic run to Africa.89

One other special group of pilots who came to the command in 1942 proved to be of great assistance to ATC in building up its foreign


ferrying services. These were the experienced pilots of Pan American Air Ferries who became available for military duty when that organization, engaged for the past year in lend-lease ferrying under contract, was disbanded at the end of October. Other agencies were in competition with ATC for the services of Pan American Air Ferries personnel, but the ATC Ferrying Division was able to secure the services of about 180 pilots, all of them highly qualified, in addition to a large number of navigators, enlisted crewmen, technicians, and maintenance specialists.90

The regular assignment to ATC of graduates of the pilot schools by the AAF Flying Training Command began in mid-1942. By the end of that year some 35 per cent of the Ferrying Division's pilots were of that category. Fresh out of school, these young men lacked the experience of other groups, but, after going through the in-service training program of the Ferrying Division, they made good pilots.91Many of them, however, presented special morale problems. A natural tendency to give combat units the highest claim on Training Command graduates tended to rob an assignment to ATC of prestige. The work, moreover, often seemed dull. Ferrying and transport work, where the emphasis was on safety and economy, might be satisfactory enough for the average civilian pilot turned military, who as often as not was approaching middle age. But to many of the adventurous and ambitious young men who had completed their training in a military flying school and found themselves assigned through no choice of their own to ATC, the prospect of guiding "boxcars" from here to there and back again came as a distinct disappointment. They found neither glamor nor hope for fame and advancement in the hauling of freight or in the delivery of aircraft from factory to air base. Many of them soon caught some glimpse of the larger mission they served, but in other cases the problem remained.

In 1943 ATC began to receive returnees from overseas combat theaters—"war-weary pilots" as they were generally known. By July 1944 over 1,100 returnees had been assigned to the Ferrying Division, of which about half were former combat pilots and the other half men who had been serving with ATC overseas.92


Although ATC was fortunate in the number of experienced pilots it managed to secure, it faced an early and expanding need for development


of its own training programs. Graduates of the Training Command assigned directly to ATC usually had some 200-250 hours of flying experience. Nearly all pilots brought directly from civilian life had more than 300 hours. But this experience was limited as to the number of different planes that had been flown, with the result that some instruction on the characteristics of new or more complex types of aircraft had to be provided. The methods of instruction at first were quite informal. For transition to an unfamiliar type, the pilot received perhaps a ten-minute talk and a brief flight around the field. Then he took off, to learn the rest of his lesson by ferrying the plane to its assigned station. In educational terminology this was learning by doing—a method forced upon the command originally by circumstances, but one having enough logic in it, given the primary mission of ATC, to make it the basis of the more formal programs subsequently developed. As Col. William H. Tunner, Ferrying Division commander, explained to General Arnold in September 1942, it would have been "a waste of manpower and flying hours to train these men in cross-country and navigation type courses when they could secure this training and experience while actually delivering aircraft."93

The scheme adopted called for the progressive "up-grading" of the pilot from the simplest to the most complex types of aircraft. Five classifications were established:

Class 1—Single-engine trainer, cargo, and utility types
Class 2—Twin-engine trainer and utility types
Class 3—Twin-engine cargo and transport types
Class 4—Twin-engine medium bomber, heavy transport, attack and pursuit types
Class 5—Four-engine bomber and transport types

To these were added others, among them Class P for pilots qualified to ferry single-engine pursuits, and Class I for those holding instrument cards. As the pilot progressed through the several classes, the ideal was that he ultimately should be qualified to fly every conventional type of American military aircraft as circumstances might require.94

In such a scheme the ferrying squadron or group necessarily became the chief training agency. Refinements of the plan as it developed provided for ground instruction to be offered in time units sufficiently small to give assurance that no serious interruption of operations would result. By 1944 ground schooling had been divided into seven


stages, the last of which gave instruction preparatory to overseas service.* As this arrangement suggests, it was assumed that pilots graduating from the training program of their respective units would provide a continuing supply of men qualified for handling the more advanced types of planes and for the more difficult assignments to overseas runs. In actual fact, ATC managed to meet the growing demands for its services only by instituting a more advanced training program in specialized schools.

When General George in July 1942 outlined his first broad plan for the development of ATC, he recognized the critical importance of a training program designed to provide large numbers of highly qualified pilots. He proposed an immediate expansion of contract services overseas by assigning 250 additional aircraft to the civil airlines, but he anticipated a progressive militarization of all overseas services. To man the new planes, he suggested that the airlines should transfer the experienced co-pilots then employed by the contractors to first-pilot positions and that graduates of the AAF training program be substituted as co-pilots for such a period as was necessary to qualify them for a first pilot's rating. They should then be returned to the AAF, their places being taken by other graduates of the Training Command. An estimated 200-300 graduates of the AAF flying schools would be required each month from August through December, or a total of 1,388 pilots for the remainder of the year. After the initial stages of the operation had been completed, approximately 4,000 pilots would be trained by the airlines and returned to military duty each succeeding year. For other crew positions, General George estimated the need for the remainder of 1942 at 694 radio operators, 339 navigators, and 219 flight engineers. Apparently, these, too, were to be procured from the AAF schools and trained for transport duty by the airlines.95

The proposal showed imagination and a sense of the tremendous task that would be put on ATC, especially in the development of overseas transport services. But the plan foundered on the hard facts of aircraft production and, more particularly, on the low priority ATC then held on graduates of the Training Command. AAF Headquarters agreed that 200 additional transport planes could be assigned to ATC in 1942, but it knocked the training scheme in the hat by warning that, instead of the 1,388 pilots requested, there would be only 150 who could be made available for ATC. Headquarters suggested that

* See Vol. VI, 674-78.


General George look elsewhere for his pilot trainees—which was to say, outside the Army.96

General George already had consulted with representatives of the airlines on his plan, and out of further talks with them came in August an Airlines War Training Institute—a further development in the Civilian Pilot Training Program to which the airlines for some time past had looked for pilots in the expansion of their own contract operations. Prospective transport pilots were to be recruited for 150 hours of flight instruction at the CPT schools (compared with 200 hours at the AAF pilot schools), and an additional four weeks or more of transition training with the airlines before assuming the duties of a co-pilot. An allotment to the airlines of 500 CPT graduates every other month, beginning in September 1942, was made by the Air Staff. But the result of the Institute recruiting campaign was most disappointing. Instead of 500 trainees in September there were only 355, and over 200 of these washed out. The net gain was thus approximately 150 co-pilots. Of the November quota, the Institute got less than 50. By October 1943, a year after the program had started, only 234 graduates, instead of the several thousand expected, were in service as co-pilots. It had been impossible, despite energetic recruiting, to find a greater number of qualified men. The draft, the high wages paid by war industry, and the simple fact that the best-qualified men had already been recruited, either by the airlines or by the Army and Navy for regular combat programs of training, explain the disappointment. At the end of 1942 the most encouraging statistic was that provided by 378 pilots of the Ferrying Division who had qualified for special training with the airlines.97

A new and larger training program was drafted for 1943, but this time it was assumed that the basic supply of trainees would come from the AAF's own training schools. General George based his plans on the AAF's "273-group program,"* in accordance with instructions from General Arnold. Consequently, he asked for the assignment of 2,633 transport aircraft, twin-engine and four-engine, a stupendous total that included 51 C-69's, 641 C-46's, and 682 twin-engine aircraft of models that never came into use.98 Early in January 1943 the Air Staff, after taking a closer look at the estimates, reduced the total to 1,450; but on 9 January it was raised to 1,800, with 3,000 more to be expected in 1944.99 This estimate stood firm until July 1943, by which

* See Vol. VI, p. 148.


time it had become apparent that no such number of aircraft could be delivered within the year. As a matter of fact, by the end of 1943 the command had only 782 major transports assigned; 2,292 by the end. of 1944; and in August 1945, at the peak of its growth, 3,090.100

Upon the basis of an estimated 1,800 transports to be received in 1943, and 3,000 in 1944, the Air Transport Command embarked upon a flight- and ground-crew training program, to be carried out through the agency of the airlines, that was as impossible of realization as the aircraft production program to which it was geared. Starting in late December 1942, a series of conferences was held with representatives of the airlines, and by February, when the so-called "Transport Transition Training Program" had finally crystallized, the eighteen airlines had undertaken to train 7,216 pilots, 1,380 navigators, 3,608 radio operators, 1,380 aerial engineers, 20,919 radio and line mechanics, 280 control officers, and 722 air transportation officers.101 All the trainees were to be military personnel, graduates of the various schools of the Flying and Technical Training Commands.

The transition training program opened on schedule early in February 1943, following the apportionment of the first group of trainees among the several airlines. Curriculums drawn up in 1942 by the Airlines War Training Institute were employed in the new program, and the Institute continued to fill a liaison position between the Air Transport Command and the airlines. Within the ATC the program came under the direct supervision first of the Air Transportation Division and then of its successor, the Domestic Transportation Division, which was established on 15 March 1943 as part of a general reorganization of the command. The military trainees were assigned to Transport Transition Training Detachments at the schools and bases where the airlines' training was conducted. Twenty-four of these detachments were put on an activated basis during March and April 1943, with one or more officers assigned to each.102

Although the airlines training program opened on schedule, that became about the only event of major importance in the program that did occur on schedule. For some reason, probably because of the prior claims on graduates of the Flying and Technical Training Commands enjoyed by tactical units, trainees were never made available in the numbers anticipated. Extensive arrangements were made for training space and for housing and messing space, but much of the time, energy, and money expended was wasted because the space was never


more than partially occupied. If the trainees came at all, they were usually late in reporting, which threw the whole training schedule out of gear. There was a chronic shortage of training planes as well as of other types of equipment; the number of instructors was inadequate for some time; and requests for bases for flight training were long in being approved.103

Six weeks after training had started, the officer in general charge of the program reported that about 1,000 men were undergoing instruction, although the schedule had called for over 3,000. While the pilot and control officer programs approached fulfilment, the line mechanic program was operating at only 9 per cent of schedule, and the radio operator program at only 4 per cent. No flight engineers or radio mechanics had arrived, although a total of 266 in these two categories had been planned. By the end of June 1943, the program in the five main categories was running at only 45 per cent of schedule.104 At about this time, with no more than a fraction of the facilities being used and with no indication that trainees would become more plentiful in the months to come, the first steps were taken to discontinue the program. In August the Airlines War Training Institute was notified that its contract would not be extended and that its supervisory functions would be taken over by the military. The Domestic Transportation Division, reluctant to see the whole program disappear, proposed that the program's scope be reduced to more realistic proportions, but its recommendations were not followed. In October, orders were issued that training by the airlines be "forthwith reduced to a minimum, and as soon as practicable, completely discontinued."105 In the same month, all training functions of the Air Transport Command were transferred to the control of the Ferrying Division.
Emphasis on the shortcomings of the airlines training program may leave the impression that it was altogether a failure. This was not true, although it never lived up to expectations or met the crew requirements of the command. The objective had no doubt been set too high in the first place, just as had the aircraft production goal, but there may have been very good reasons, especially the need for filling flight-crew requirements of combat units, that caused AAF Headquarters to depart from the original plan and reduce drastically the number of trainees assigned. By the time the airlines training had been brought to a close, nearly 7,000 students had completed the various courses in the transport transition program and over 2,000 more had been


trained in certain special schools—a total of slightly more than 9,000 in all groups. A comparison with the original plan shows that the training accomplished approximated 25-30 per cent of that which was scheduled in February 1943.106

Meanwhile, ATC had established its own schools or, to use the more exact terminology of the Army, its own operational training units (OTU's).* The OTU was intended to meet the more advanced requirements of operational training. The earlier phases of training emphasized the instruction of the individual, as pilot, navigator, radio operator, or flight engineer. In OTU the individual became a member of a team, where the purpose was to transform three or more individuals into a crew and to give it flight experience on the type of aircraft it would fly under the conditions to be expected in actual service. When the transport training program was in the planning stage, some consideration was given to a proposal to place operational as well as transition training in the hands of the airlines, but it was finally decided to keep the operational phase under strictly military control.107

The Air Transport Command established its initial operational training school, later designated the 1st Operational Training Unit, at Rosecrans Field, St. Joseph, Missouri, early in July 1942. While the St. Joseph school was intended originally to train both ferrying and transport crews in transoceanic flying, with emphasis on instrument flying and those special skills peculiar to long-range operations, the existing shortage of overseas ferrying crews forced concentration for a year or more on ferrying instruction. The shortage of ferry crews had been so acute, indeed, that most of the highly experienced transport pilots of PROJECT 50, fresh from the airlines, were transferred to ferrying work immediately or were sent through the St. Joseph school. In August 1943, when the supply of ferry crews more nearly approached demand, the 1st OTU at St. Joseph began a gradual shift to C-47 crew training.108

In the meantime the command had established two other operational units for the training of transport crews. A school for transport pilots, to become later the 2d Operational Training Unit, opened at Homestead, Florida, in November 1942. The Homestead base, just south of Miami, had been employed by Pan American Air Ferries (PAAF) in training ferry pilots for its contract operations to the Middle East and had become available to the Air Transport Command

* See Vol. VI, pp. 675-78.


as the result of the termination of the PAAF contract at the end of October 1942. The course of instruction at Homestead was designed originally for pilots only, rather than full crews, but in March 1943 a curriculum for the operational training of crews was adopted. In the new course a standard of forty-five hours of flying instruction was set for all crews, regardless of the type of plane. By fall, after the course had been revised several times, it was decided that the same requirements for the crews of all planes were not advisable and that, in order to attain proficiency on the C-46 and four-engine types, more flying instruction was required. Flying time was then increased to 60 hours for C-47's, 75 hours for C-46's, and 100 hours for C-54's and other four-engine craft. Also at this time a new feature was introduced into transport-crew training. One object of operational training was the simulation, for crew members, of conditions which they would meet after graduation. Accordingly, whenever it was possible to carry cargo on training flights, the ships were loaded. A substantial amount of cargo was carried between air installations in this way; in fact, so much more cargo was being carried than was necessary to the training mission that the practice was later curtailed on the ground that it interfered with the attainment of other training objectives. Another type of training was given Army co-pilots at Homestead by substituting them for the civilian co-pilots on Pan American Airways' C-47 contract run from Miami to Natal or to intermediate points in the Caribbean. By June 1943, at which time operational training of transport crews was expanded and C-46 training moved from Homestead to another base, 403 transport crews had completed their courses and been assigned to duty, all but a few of them graduating from Homestead. Their distribution according to the planes in which they had qualified were as follows: C-46, 245 crews; C-47, 131 crews; C-60, 12 crews; C-54, 3 crews; and C-87, 12 crews. The large number of C-46 crews is accounted for by the decision to substitute C-46's for C-47's on the India-China operation and to raise the Hump tonnage to 10,000 tons a month. Only a few military crews had been trained for four-engine aircraft because, up to this point, nearly all the C-54's and C-87's assigned to the command were operated by the contract airlines, which were responsible for their own operational crew training.109

Following the decision to employ C-46's on the run to China, C-46 crew requirements became so great that the Homestead school was


unable to fulfil them without reducing sharply, or eliminating, all other types of training. Accordingly, it was decided to establish an additional OTU for the training of C-46 crews only. Meanwhile, in order to maintain a steady supply of crews while the new school was getting under way, two of the contract airlines—Northwest and Western—were requested to concentrate on the training of 240 C-46 crews. The Air Transport Command's 3d Operational Training Unit, established for the training of C-46 crews exclusively, was activated at St. Joseph, Missouri, on 7 June 1943 and shortly thereafter was shifted to the AAF base at Reno, Nevada, then being evacuated by the Air Service Command. The Reno site was selected for a very good reason. Since the C-46 crewmen would be flying over the rugged, mountainous country of the Himalayas—often without benefit of radio range, and at high altitudes—it was important that training should take place in an environment in which weather and terrain would be as nearly similar as possible to conditions in the CBI theater. The Sierra Nevadas near Reno provided as ideal training conditions as could be found in the United States. At Reno, as at Homestead, cargo was carried on training flights when possible.110

Heretofore, the OTU at St. Joseph had served the Ferrying Division, while those at Homestead and Reno had been intended primarily to meet the needs of the Transport Division. But in October 1943 the Ferrying Division was made responsible for new foreign military transport services employing military crews exclusively. The 1st Operational Training Unit at St. Joseph shifted gradually from ferrying instruction to C-47 transport-crew training, which had been started as early as August 1943, and for a time in 1944 abandoned crew training for the instruction of individual pilots in instrument flying. Later, some C-46 crews were trained at St. Joseph in order to supplement the output of the Reno school, which had not been able to meet all requirements.111

After C-46 training was shifted to Reno, and the St. Joseph school began turning out C-47 crews, the 2d OTU at Homestead became exclusively a four-engine school specializing in C-54 instruction but also giving operational training to a number of C-87 and B-24 crews. In November 1943 the Ferrying Division opened the "Fireball" run from Florida to India in which C-87's and later C-54's were employed, and early in 1944 started the C-54 "Crescent" and "Snowball" flights across the Middle and North Atlantic. A similar service across the


Pacific was operated by the Pacific Division. Homestead trained the crews for these military operations and later furnished four-engine crews to the India-China Division when the C-46's on the Hump were replaced with C-54's and C-87's.112

Three other operational training units for the training of either transport or ferry pilots were established by the Ferrying Division before the war came to an end. The 4th OTU opened at Brownsville, Texas, on 1 April 1944 to train ferry pilots on pursuit-type aircraft. Early in the next year it was shifted to Greenwood, Mississippi.113Advanced pursuit instruction had been carried on for some time by the Ferrying Division at Palm Springs, California, before the 4th OTU was activated at Brownsville. When the shift to Brownsville was made, a specialized school for C-47 pilots was established at Palm Springs, and thereafter the course was lengthened to five weeks and transformed into a regular C-47 transport-crew course.114

This provision for an increased production of C-47 crews reflects the command's new appreciation of the C-47. In 1944, ATC took over a large intratheater transport operation in the Southwest Pacific, employing chiefly C-47's and reaching from Australia up into New Guinea and the islands to the north.* The same year brought full militarization of the domestic transport services of ATC, which employed more C-47's than any other type of craft.

The 6th Operational Training Unit, for the training of C-54 pilots and co-pilots, was established by the Ferrying Division at Charleston, South Carolina, at the end of May 1945. Up to this point, four-engine training had been concentrated at Homestead; a second school was required not only to meet the normal needs of ATC's expanding foreign transport services but also to take care of the requirements of the great transatlantic air redeployment project known as the GREEN project, which was shortly to be undertaken. In the last months of the war the two four-engine OTU's were turning out between 300 and 400 pilots and co-pilots a month.115

* See below, pp. 189-96.


Contents * Previous Chapter (Foreword) * Next Chapter (2)


1 Grover Loening, "Ships over the Sea, Possibilities and Limitations of Air Transport in War." Foreign Affairs, XX (Apr. 1942), 490-91.

2 ATSC, Development of Transport Airplanes, pp. 47-51, 85-86, 102-5.

3 Leonard Eiserer, "Army Air Corps Outhauls All Domestic Carriers in Volume of Freight Shipments," American Aviation, V, (t Aug. 1941); ATSC, Development of Transport Airplanes, pp. 107-9.

4 ATSC, Development of Transport Airplanes, pp. 108-12, 121-22, 134-44, 202; Material Division Consolidated Report for the Month of March, 1942, Sec. II, Part I, 51-54; War Production Board Aircraft Branch Report 8-J, 15 Apr 1942, Tables 16, 24.

5 ATSC, Development of Transport Airplanes, pp. 10-205, 164-88.

6 Munitions Requirements of the AAF for the Defeat of Our Potential Enemies (short title, AWPD/1).

7 Ibid.

8 Statistical Hist. of the Air Transport Command, 29 May 1941—31 May 1948, p. 69. The exact figures, for 31 Aug. 1945, are 1,020 four-engine transports and 2,070 two-engine major transports.

9 Memo for C/AAF from Col. E L. Naiden, 3 Dec. 1941.

10 Pertinent documents and discussion are found in Administrative Hist. of the Ferrying Command, 29 May 1941—30 June 1942, a study by the Historical Branch of ATC.

11 Ibid., pp. 15-20.

12 Quoted in Administrative Hist. of the Air Transport Command, June 1942—Mar. 1943, p. 33.

13 Administrative Hist. ATC, 1941-42, pp. 66-70.

14 Ibid., pp. 71-83.

15 Ibid., pp. 94-95.

16 Ibid., p. 106.

17 Ibid., especially p. 105, for a list of proposed commissions and appointments in the spring of 1942 from among airline executives. Not all who were desired could be secured

18 Ibid., pp. 109-19

19 Ibid., p. 117

20 AAF General Orders #8, 20 June 1942..

21 Administrative Hist. ATC, June 1941—March 1943, pp. 18-21, 28-31.

22 Quoted ibid., pp. 29-30.

23 Ibid. pp. 31-32

24 Ibid. pp.8-18

25 See especially Oliver La Farge "Strategic Air Supply," Air Transport, II (Sept. 1944), 21-25; and the fuller discussion by the same author in Eagle in the Egg (Boston 1949). Colonel La Farge was historian of ATC during the war years.

26 Ltr., TAG to Commander-in-Chef, SWPA et al., 6 June 1942.

27 Quoted in Administrative Hist. ATC, June 1942—Mar 1943, p. 136.

28 Ibid., pp. 137-38, quoting TAG Memo #W95-19-42, 21 Sept. 1942.

29 Ibid. pp. 138-39, quoting TAG Memo #W95-6-43, 26 Feb. 1943.

30 Administrative Hist., Ferrying Command, 1941-42, pp. 124-25.

31 Administrative Hist. ATC, 1942-43, pp. 142-50.

32 E.g., Administrative Hist. ATC, Mar. 1943—July 1944, pp. 194-95.

33 Ibid., p. 197.

34 Ibid., pp. 197-205.

35 Ibid., pp. 205-14, for discussion of this and other problems involving relations with the civil airlines.

36 Ibid., p. 216; Administrative Hist. ATC, 1942-43, p. 204; AAF Stat. Digest, pp. 23, 33.

37 AAF Stat. Digest, p. 300.

38 Ibid., pp. 304-5

39 Ibid., p. 302.

40 For full discussion of these organizational developments of 1943, see Administrative Hist. ATC, 1942-43 and 1943-44, especially summary discussions at the end of each.

41 Executive Order #8974, 13 Dec. 1941.

42 Minutes of Mtg. of Special Aviation Committee, 14 Dec. 1941.

43 Civil Aeronautics Board, Final Report of Changes in War Air Service Pattern, 18 May 1942—15 Oct. 1945, Table 3. This table gives a breakdown by type and ownership of multiengine transport aircraft owned by domestic air carriers at the end of each month from Sept. 1939 to Aug. 1942. Aircraft owned by Pan American Airways were not included in the table, but this information was supplied to CAB to the ATC Historical Office, 10 Jan. 1947. PAA aircraft are included in the totals given here, which are for 30 Nov. 1941.

44 Memo for Sec. of War from Pres. Roosevelt, 6 May 1942. For distribution of aircraft commandeered and those retained by the airlines, see the following: memo for the Sec. of War from Lt. Gen. H. H. Arnold, 9 May 1942; memo for the Military Director of Civil Aviation from Lt. Gen. H. H. Arnold, 9 May 1942 ltr., L. Welch Pogue, Chm, CAB to Brig. Gen. Donald H. Connolly, 18 May 1942. When the transaction was finally completed, the airlines were left with only 190 DC-3 type aircraft, the remaining 10 being of the lighter Lockheed Lodestar type. Furthermore, 35 of the DC-3's were operated under contract for the air cargo service of the Air Service Command, so that only 165 actually remained for regularly scheduled commercial operations of the carriers, a reduction of over 50 percent since the opening of the year.

45 Lt. Col. Oliver La Farge, ATC Historical Office, ATC Transport Aircraft in World War II: A Study of Types, Performance and Fleet Augmentation, pp. 36-37.

46 Development of Transport Airplanes, pp. 164-67.

47 Ibid., pp. 164-69

48 Ibid., pp. 169-73.

49 Ibid., pp. 173-80.

50 Ibid., pp. 180-88, 246; USAF Handbook, Erection and Maintenance Instructions, L-82A Aircraft, 6 Jan. 1947 (Rev. 5 Apr. 1949), Sec. V; AMC, Standard Aircraft Characteristics, C-82A, 23 May 1950, p. 5; Daily Activity Rpt., M & S, 19 Nov. 1944; Narrative Rpt., C-82 Operation by the Air Transport Command, 28 May 1947; ATC Daily Diary, Opns. Div., 14 Jan. 1947.

51 Most of the information given here on the C-46 is taken from two sources: La Farge, ATC Transport Aircraft, pp. 22-35, and ATSC, Development of Transport Airplanes, pp. 143-63. See also La Farge, Notes on Interview with Major Raymond R. Hajek, AC, Maintenance Engineering, AC/S, Operations, ATC, May 14, 1946.

52 ATC Plans Div., Rpt. on Air Cargo Capacity from India into China during 1943, 8 Jan. 1943; ATC, Estimated Requirements to Meet July and September Objectives for India-China Operation, 23 May 1943.

53 Memo. Rpt. of Meeting on Standardization of Transports, 14 Apr. 1943.

54 These figures are taken from a table given in ATSC Development of Transport Airplanes, p. 162. The June and July delivery figures do not agree with La Farge, ATC Transport Aircraft, p. 22.

55 Hist., Caribbean Division, Air Transport Command, Part IV, p. 84; Part VI, pp. 39-40.

56 Stat. History ATC, pp. 69-70.

57 ATC Daily Diary, Opns. Div., 7 Aug. 1946.

58 ATSC, Development of Transport Airplanes, pp. 219-21.

59 La Farge, ATC Transport Aircraft, pp. 9-10.

60 Ibid., p. 12; ATSC, Development of Transport Airplanes, pp. 211-19.

61 La Farge, ATC Transport Aircraft, pp. 18-21; ATSC Development of Transport Airplanes, pp. 200-211; Wkly. Rpt. of Activities of ATC, 14 Aug., 4 Sept., 23 Oct., 1942.

62 Interview with Capt. Sidney H. Feldman, Maintenance Engineering, ATC Opns., by Elizabeth A Herndon, 2 May 1946; Stat. Hist. of the Air Transport Command, p. 69.

63 La Farge, ATC Transport Aircraft, pp. 5-7, 14-18; ATSC, Development of Transport Airplanes, pp. 189-93.

64 See sources cited in n. 63.

65 Ibid.; Stat. Hist. ATC, p. 69; OWI, American Air Transport, p. 4.

66 Administrative Hist., Ferrying Command, 29 May 1941—30 June 1942, pp. 27-30; Hist. FC Operations, 29 May-7 Dec. 1941, pp. 18, 33-34.

67 Hist., FC Operations, 7 Dec. 1941—30 June 1942, pp. 35-36.

68 Ibid., pp. 30-31. The ferrying responsibilities of the Ferrying Command and other organizations were restated in AAF Reg. 55-6, 16 Apr. 1942.

69 Hist., FC Operations, 7 Dec 1941—30 June 1942, pp. 36-37, 40; Procurement and Training of Pilots in the Ferrying Division, ATC, May 1941—Sept. 1941, p. 26.

70 Hist., FC Operations, 7 Dec. 1941—30 June 1942, pp. 39-41; Procurement and Training of Pilots, pp. 81-107.

71 Hist., FC Operations, 7 Dec. 1941—30 June 1942, pp. 37-39, 42.

72 Activities of the Ferrying Division, ATC, 1942, p. 11.

73 Procurement and Training of Pilots, pp. 94-107.

74 Women Pilots in the ATC, pp. 3-10 This study, prepared by the ATC Historical Officer, is a revision and condensation of an earlier work by the Historical Officer of the Ferrying Division, ATC, entitled; Hist. of the Women Pilots of the Ferrying Division, Air Transport Command, Sept. 5, 1942—Dec. 20, 1944.

75 Women Pilots in the ATC, pp. 10-42.

76 Ibid., pp. 53-75

77 CAA, Statistical Handbook of Civil Aviation, 1949, pp. 63, 83.

78 Statistics supplied by Stat. Services Div., Military Air Transport Service, Mar. 1949.

79 Hist., FC Operations, 7 Dec. 1941—30 June 1942, pp. 117-20.

80 Ibid.

81 Hist., Caribbean Div., ATC, Part II, pp. 169-78.

82 Ibid., pp. 170-72, 180-81, 190-95, 200-203.

83 Ibid., pp. 181-82, 190-95, 202.

84 Ibid., pp. 178-81.

85 Ibid., pp. 194-95.

86 Ibid., pp. 185-90.

87 Ibid., pp. 198-200; Hist. Ferrying Div., ATC, III, 122-31.

88 Hist., Ferrying Div., ATC, III, 122-31.

89 Hist., Caribbean Div., ATC, Part II, 203-16.

90 Procurement and Training of Pilots, pp. 132-41; Hist., Ferrying Div., ATC, III, 75..

91 Procurement and Training of Pilots, pp. 59-75.

92 Ibid., pp. 76-80.

93 Memo for CG AAF from Col. William H. Tunner, 26 Sept. 1942.

94 Procurement and Training of Pilots, pp. 147-83; Women Pilots in the ATC, pp. 43-52.

95 Memo for CG AAF from Brig. Gen. H. L. George, 14 July 1942.

96 Memo for CG ATC from Brig. Gen. T. J. Hanley, Jr., 21 July 1942.

97 Hist., Domestic Transportation Division, ATC, 15 Mar. 1943—1 Apr. 1944, pp. 45-58. (Cited hereafter as Hist., DTR ATC.).

98 R&R, Brig. Gen. T. J. Hanley, Jr., to Gen. George, 18 Dec. 1942, and comment 1, George to Hanley, 22 Jan. 1943; Program for 1943 and 1944 for ATC, 16 Jan. 1943; ATC Transport Aircraft in World War II, p. 39.

99 R&R Brig. Gen. O. A. Anderson to ATC, 9 Jan. 1943; Program for 1943 and 1944, Breakdown into ATC Wings, 26 Jan. 1943.

100 Stat. Hist. of ATC, 29 May 1941—31 May 1948, pp. 10, 69-70. Major transports include the heavier two-engine planes, C-46's and C-47's and the four-engine craft, C-54's and C-87's. Not included are the lighter two-engine types such as the Lockheed Lodestar or C-60.

101 Hist., DTR ATC, pp. 66-77.

102 Ibid., pp. 9-13, 16-19, 83-85, 88.

103 Ibid., pp. 95-104, 111-13.

104 Ibid., pp. 85-87.

105 Ibid., pp. 104-11.

106 Hist., DTR ATC, pp. 87-88.

107 Ibid., pp. 114-15.

108 Ibid., pp. 61-63; Procurement and Training of Pilots, pp. 328-52.

109 Hist., DTR ATC, pp. 63-64, 121-25; Procurement and Training of Pilots, pp. 353-64..

110 Hist., DTR ATC, pp. 19-20, 119-25; Procurement and Training of Pilots, pp. 366-67, 503-11.

111 Procurement and Training of Pilots, pp. 368-79, 484-88, 505-11.

112 Ibid., pp. 489-502; Hist., Ferrying Div., ATC, VI, 182-90.

113 Procurement and Training of Pilots, pp. 515-16; Hist., Ferrying Div., ATC, VI, 95-106, 196-99.

114 Procurement and Training of Pilots, pp. 512-15; Hist., Ferrying Div., ATC, VI, 211-17, VIII, 118-19.

115 Hist., Ferrying Div., ATC, VIII, 114-18.

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