Aussies serving in USAAF Sqns SW Pacific

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Sydhuey, Jan 19, 2011.

  1. Sydhuey

    Sydhuey Member

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    #1 Sydhuey, Jan 19, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2011
    This has been a pet subject for me for awhile,
    Many Australians flew in all crew positions exept aircraft commander with many US Sqns, in particular the 13th and 90th sqns of the 3rd Bomb/Attack group at the time of the Battle of the Bismarck Sea had more than 20% of all aircrew in these 2 Sqns were RAAF,at the start of 1942 suffering a shortage of flight crews since the early days of arrival in Australia the US Groups asked if Australians could be made available to fill slots until the manpower supply could catch up from increased training facilities in the USA, the RAAF responded by posting qualified airmen from all over the country some of these aircrew were battle experianced from more than 2 years combat in Europe and North Africa. The US commanders did not have the authority to place foreign nationals in command of US aircraft (thank god that has changed today) but the Australians were used in every other crew position , Co-Pilot and Radio Operator/Air Gunner the most common. The RAAF supplied men to almost every US Bomber and Transport unit from early 1942 till mid 1943 as the supply of trained US personel court up to supply US Sqn's and aircraft became available for RAAF sqns. There contributions have been largely ignored from official US histories and publications.

    A couple of noteable RAAF personnel never mentioned in official publications , the co-pilot of the B-26 that Lyndon Johnson undeservedly won his Silver Star in was RAAF,the B-26 shot down on that mission the one LBJ was supposed to be in also had an RAAF Co-pilot,
    Captain Bob Chatt pilot of the B-25 straffer "Chatterbox" which sunk a Japanese Destroyer at the Battle of the Bismack sea had a RAAF co-pilot and radio operator in his crew.
    Major Gen John P Henebry who wrote a history of the 3rd Attack Group "The Grim Reapers" despite having almost quarter of his sqn's flight personel in early 1943 comprising Australians and flying with Australian Co-pilots and crew never mentioned Australians being in his sqn in his book.

    I believe this all goes back to a directive from Gen MacArthur (to me a self cented egotist) that his press and official releases only refer to US personel and Allies , never Australian or New Zealand or Dutch, just allies, even to the extent were US forces were in the minority it was still US and Allies , some actions with Dutch troops landing in New Guinea (yes the Dutch were there) and Australian troops at Buna and other landings with only very small US partisipation it was still US and Allied forces landed.....etc.
     
  2. Wildcat

    Wildcat Well-Known Member

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    RAAF crews flew many sorties with the 380th bomb group (b-24's) whilst we were building up our own Liberator squadrons, infact the whole 380th BG came under direct RAAF command, a feature I believe was unique during the war.
     
  3. Sydhuey

    Sydhuey Member

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    #3 Sydhuey, Jan 20, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2011
    The 90th Bomb sqn 3rd Bomb/Attack group at the Battle of the Bismack Sea had 13 B-25 C1 Staffers on strenth of the 40 aircrew involved in operations in the battle (2 missions on 03 Mar and 1 mission 04Mar) 12 were RAAF (8 pilots, 4 wireless operator/Air Gunners) of those 12 ,8 were awarded the US DFC not an unsubstansial contribution for "allies" as MacArthur grouped all non US personel.(A total of 28 US DFC's were awarded to Australian personel in ww2)
    Major Ed Larner said the RAAF contribution to the 90th bomb sqn in early operations in New Guinea gave it an oustanding core which was build on in latter operations, Ed Larner tried to have several of the RAAF pilots made up to A/C captain to no evale, several of the RAAF pilots had over 800 hrs twin engine aircraft , 500 hrs in command and up to 50 combat missions in North Africa and Europe but could only fly as Co-pilots in US Aircraft.
     
  4. R Leonard

    R Leonard Member

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    While I rarely have much objection to reasonable criticisms of General MacArthur, I suspect the crux of the matter was not any decision by Himself, but, rather, a local (or, more likely, service-wide) USAAF command policy, written or no, of “We don’t let foreigners serve as aircraft commanders in our units.” And though, perhaps on the face, a little unfair to those who may have had more experience, certainly not a totally unreasonable position. USAAF airplanes equals USAAF aircraft commanders.

    The USAAF had the quaint notion that their aircraft, especially crew-manned, were “ships,” a terminology which survives to today in some circles. Thus, just as the USN would be loath to consider the concept of a non-USN officer to command a US warship, the USAAF, as a organization, and not as represented by a squadron commander in the field, would equally not permit non-USAAF types to command USAAF “ships.” This is a valid, legal command issue, not a fairness issue. To view it as a fairness, or, even experience issue, is to totally mis-read the concept of national assets command responsibility. Disappointing sure, for some, but a command reality.

    For the record, I would also point out that Lyndon B Johnson was never, as was posted above, awarded the Navy Cross; he was awarded, deserved or no (and in my opinion it was a slimy political award), an Army Silver Star - and, yes, in US service one differentiates the service source of certain decoration awards when made to a member of one service by another service . . . as a naval officer, Johnson received an Army decoration. His award was through MacArthur’s command chain . . . a chain without authority to recommend or award the Navy Cross.

    Rich
     
  5. Sydhuey

    Sydhuey Member

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    Thanks Rich , as I said in the first post the days of only US A/C captains is over, these days many exchange pilots from Australia , UK, Canada etc are in the US in comamnd of US aircraft and US pilots doing the same in other countries, one interesting story I was told was one of the first F-15's over New York on CAP after the towers were hit had an Australian exchange pilot at the controls, also one of the AWACS over the area also had as the mission commander on board an Australian and one of the first aircraft to land in New York was a brand new RAAF C-130J with personel and equipment for the disaster with a US aircraft Captain. But back in WW 2 unfortunatly that sort of logic didn't happen , another example of no logic , when American P-40's were being assembled at Amberley in early 1942 a combat experianced RAAF P-40 pilot from North Africa was allowed to test fly the freshly assembled machines but not allowed to help instruct new pilots, major waste of experiance.
    LBJ's Medal thanks for comfirming it was a SS I have seen SS and NC in various references, even one of his biographers said it was one of the most undeserved medals of the war and was purly a political jesture.
    and MacArthur and his ego the less said the better.
     
  6. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    #6 pbfoot, Jan 21, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2011
    delete
     
  7. Wildcat

    Wildcat Well-Known Member

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    Here's a list of those killed in action whilst serving with USAAF sqaudrons. List from the Australian War Memorial Honour roll.

    Andrews, George Stewart 6694 ATTD 435 Bomb USAAF Headquarters North Eastern Area 1939-1945

    Anstey, Frederick William 116993 530 Squadron USAAF 1939-1945

    Badger, Neil Thomson 407161 ATTD 528 Squadron Headquarters North Western Area USAAF 1939-1945

    Bailey, Lloyd Maxwell 405710 3RD Bombardment GP USAAF 1939-1945

    Barber, William Ronald 423587 530 Squadron USAAF 1939-1945

    Bird, Walter James 62526 530 Squadron USAAF 1939-1945

    Clapinson, Henry William 6109 RAAF Headquarters ATTD USAAF 1939-1945

    Cook, James Edward 429432 530 Squadron USAAF 1939-1945

    Cropley, Alan Arthur 416078 530 Squadron USAAF 1939-1945

    Davidson, Stuart Hugh 413969 530 Squadron USAAF 1939-1945

    Earp, Frederick Wentworth 403325 RAAF N Eastern Area ATTD 93 Bomber Squadron USAAF 1939-1945

    Fairfax, Allan Graham 412502 65 Squadron USAAF 1939-1945

    Friday, Arthur Ian 408805 13 Bomber Squadron (USAAF) 1939-1945

    Gibson, John Arthur 405549 13 Bomber Squadron (USAAF) 1939-1945

    Graham, John Alexander 414374 44 Radar Direction Finding USAAF 1939-1945

    Hamilton, Ian Chatwood 405378 90 Bomber Squadron USAAF 1939-1945

    Harrison, Alan Lindsay 408190 530 Squadron USAAF 1939-1945

    Hawter, Edgar Horace 406129 90 Bomber Squadron USAAF 1939-1945

    Herbert, Donald Norrie 433297 ATTD 531 Squadron USAAF Headquarters N Western Area 1939-1945

    Jamieson, Stewart Hugh 36474 530 Squadron USAAF 1939-1945

    Killen, Keith Leonard James 416861 530 Squadron USAAF 1939-1945

    Mackay, William Alexander 414624 41 Radar Direction Finding att 63 Bombers Squadron USAAF 1939-1945

    Marsh, Thomas 411504 13 Bomber Squadron (USAAF) 1939-1945

    Milne, Francis Debenham 33516 ATTD 6 Troop Carrier Squadron 1 Administrative Wing USAAF 1939-1945

    O'Dea, Donald John 408590 530 Squadron USAAF 1939-1945

    Page, Allan Reginald 401145 ATTD 13 Bomber Squadron USAAF Headquarters North Eastern Area 1939-1945

    Passmore, Lorne Allan John 412675 ATTD 22 BOMBER Squadron USAAF Headquarters North Eastern Area 1939-1945

    Patton, John Crockett 405646 3 Bomb Group USAAF 1939-1945

    Robertson, Graham Brindley John 412717 19 Bombardment Squadron USAAF 1939-1945

    Scanlan, William Llewellyn 406736 2 (B) Squadron (USAAF) 1939-1945

    Soundy, John Trevor 408059 13 (B) Squadron (USAAF) 1939-1945

    Wilken, Charles Leslie 408448 530 Squadron USAAF 1939-1945

    Wilson, Robert Murray 406122 3 Bomb Group ATT USAAF 1939-1945
     
  8. Sydhuey

    Sydhuey Member

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    #8 Sydhuey, Jan 22, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2011
    One bit of info I have found , the Japanese did a major bombing attack on Port Moresby 12 Apr 1943 , over 100 bombers attacked and destroyed US and Australian A/C at various strips around the area the 13th bomb sqn lost several and so did the 90th bomb sqn, weather by coincidence or it was already planed all Australian aircrew were transfered from US units back to Australian units within 2 weeks of this raid leaving some units like the 13th and 90th short of crews as RAAF aircrew made up over 20% of these 2 units flying personel, other units were not as effected as much as they had a much lower % of RAAF Aircrew in there Sqn's.
     
  9. Sydhuey

    Sydhuey Member

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    Wildcat, one that doesn't show on your honour roll:
    Pilot Officer Edward T Mobsby 407799 KIA 26/7/42 Co-pilot B-25 41-12470
    13 Bomb sqn.

    12 of 34 KIA with US Sqns were lost with the 13th and 90th Bomb sqns of the 3rd Attack group.
     
  10. Wildcat

    Wildcat Well-Known Member

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    Yeah not a definitive list, I can also add -

    Sgt Joseph Holohan 412532 KIA June 43 whilst serving as a RCM operator on a 531st sqn B-24.

    P/O Keith Bevan 35952 KIA on 21-11-43 whilst serving as a RCM operator on a 528th sqn B-24.

    F/Sgt Keith Harris 430734 KIA on a raid to Rabaul on 28-11-44 in a HBRTU B-24.
    It's also worth noting that the RAAF did field entire crews (including pilots) with 380th BG squadrons.
     
  11. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    Wow, I had no idea Aussies had served in the USAAF - thanks for the education fellas!
     
  12. Sydhuey

    Sydhuey Member

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    Wildcat were the RAAF crews in the 380 BG B-24's also flying as Aircraft Captains or just Co-Pilot position ? If they flew as Captains this is the first time i've heard of RAAF pilots in a A/C Captains position in a USAAF before the Korean war, have seen records of RAAF captains in C-47's ,C-119's and B-29's in Korea with USAF units there, on the other foot quite afew US Navy and AAF pilots flew as A/C captains in RAAF A/C,
    Lt G Hutchinson US Navy was the A/C captain of RAAF Catalina A24-9 of 11 Sqn when they were shot down by Japanese carrier fighters off Salamaua NG 21 Jan 42
    Lt Seymour US Navy was the Captain of Catalina A24-17 of 20 Sqn when it was attacked by US Navy fighters while trying to land in Havannah Harbour 27 Jun 42 , the a/c was repaired by US forces no crew wounded luckily , this incident caused the RAAF to drop the red centre in its roundals and replace with white centres, the US Navy fighter pilots when interviewed said they didn't notice it was a Catalina and only saw the red in the roundal and assumed it was Japanese!!! Nice aircraft recognition!!! Unfortunatly a well recordrd fact with US forces in WW2 and also why the US dropped the red centre in there own markings.
    I read an interview with a RAF Spitfire pilot and when asked what was the most dangerous thing about combat over Europe he said US pilots and gunners at least you knew the germans were your enemy .
     
  13. Wildcat

    Wildcat Well-Known Member

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  14. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Thanks for those links Wildcat!

    The 380th BG has to be one of the least known groups of the war.
     
  15. Sydhuey

    Sydhuey Member

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    #15 Sydhuey, Jan 23, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2011
    Thanks Wildcat good stuff as Syscom 3 said very little known bomb group, one thing I found interesting crew 19 of 528 bmb sqn Wing Commander R.E. Bell , he was the CO of 22 sqn with Bostons when they went to New Guinea 2 years before and got officialy reprimanded for maybe being the one to have autherised the conversion to straffers , with out RAAF headquaters approval was replaced soon after by WC K Hampshire who was known for being by the book.

    Also found the 380 th web site one of the best i've seen , bigger more famous units like the 3rd Attack group and 345th bomb group don't have sites like the 380th the infomation on that site is amazing
     
  16. Wildcat

    Wildcat Well-Known Member

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  17. Sydhuey

    Sydhuey Member

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    Never knew such large numbers served in a USAAF unit, as it says in the site the 380th was a training ground for the future RAAF B-24 Liberator force its almost like two complete groups sharing one set of aircraft , now I can understand how the 5 RAAF B-24 Sqn's came on line so quickly after the aircraft arrived in Australia , obviously the US and Australia came to agreement with Australians commanding US a/c ,the agreement must of happened after RAAF personel left previous AAF units in Apr 43 and before the 380th started operations with B-24's out of Darwin
     
  18. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    I think it was Aussie crews getting the experience while under the command of a US pilot. Just by having an Aussie as a copilot for a few missions would have given him a firm basis for assuming the command of his own B24 with RAAF markings.
     
  19. Sydhuey

    Sydhuey Member

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    #19 Sydhuey, Jan 24, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2011
    syscom3 , reading the 380th site the RAAF crews had to aquire 100hrs combat flying in regular 380th missions looking at crews and losses it looks like the RAAF crews flew together, some mixed crews ,some all Australian one a/c loss was a B-24J "Sleepy Time Gal" of the 530 th BSqn lost over Timor 30 Oct 1944 with an all Australian crew (11 RAAF crew 1 Australian Army observer), it appears in mission logs for eg: there may be 12 a/c on a mission 3 or 4 may be crewed by Australians and the other 8 or 9 with US or mixed crews, so the a/c were under the command of RAAF pilots with no US personnel on board , as I said before I have found I few instances of US personnel in Command of crewed RAAF a/c but this is the first time I have seen Australians in Command of US A/C on Missions in WW2.
     
  20. Jollygreenslugg

    Jollygreenslugg New Member

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    G'day folks,

    I've read this forum for years but haven't posted until now. I was particularly interested in this thread, and the following quote;

    Indeed he did. The co-pilot was Flight Lieutenant Maurice Carse, born 1918, died 2002. One of life's true gentlemen. I was privileged to know 'Carsie' from 1996 until his death. After his time with the USAAF, he flew in a unit which carried out testing. When the war ended, he was flying Liberators out of Darwin. His service history is unknown as he didn't like talking about himself. After the war, he flew Lancastrians with Qantas, and around 1948 he started working with the Department of Civil Aviation. Not long after that, he followed up on his thoughts of a spiritual nature and he gave flying away, choosing to study as a Catholic priest. He was ordained in 1956 and worked all over Australia, from central Melbourne to Karratha and other places up in the north of Western Australia. He had retired to Wagga Wagga when I met him.

    He was a gentleman and had a very gentle approach to people. He didn't judge, he didn't tell people what to do, but he was very caring and considerate of everyone. He spoke and wrote about the need for forgiveness in people's lives.

    He answered the odd question about his time in the air, but would stop when I started inadvertantly getting too deep. He'd say "that'll do for today" and that would be that. I found that asking technical questions was a better approach. The tricycle undercarriage of the B-25 wasn't overly tricky, the P-40 was a good and solid aeroplane to fly and respnded well to testing, the Liberator was a little slippery and the Lancastrian contributed to his hearing loss!

    He did tell me that he was in the 90th Bomb Squadron of the 3rd Attack Group of the 5th Air Force. He also told me that bombing from mast-top height was a heart-racing experience. He didn't mention that he won a US DFC, nor did he mention anything else personal.

    So, it's nice to have known someone who contributed to history and was interested in the well-being of people. I was a pall-bearer at his funeral, which was attended by many, including a number of men of the RAAF.

    Rest in peace Carsie.

    Cheers,
    Matt
     
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