Dear YANK:

The men here in the Air Transport Command would like to know what it takes to earn a Unit Citation. During the Okinawa campaign we were flying supplies to the men of the Tenth Army as fast as they were using them. At times we were only one plane-load of mortar shells ahead of them, and they were using a hell of a lot of mortar shells. During a one-month period of the campaign, the base units along the line evacuated more than 2,000 wounded men, the all-time record for air evacuation in this war. When the campaign was over, a lot of brass did a lot of talking, but that is as far as it ever got. Our work was soon forgotten.

air transport command unit citation

Insignia of the Air Transport Command

On this same island is a B-29 outfit that got a Unit Citation for the first low-level bombing of Japan. Many of us in the ground crews of the Air Transport Command are personally acquainted with some of the men of the ground crews of that outfit, having gone to technical schools with them two or three years ago. Though we have been overseas from six months to a year more than many of them, we are not fortunate enough to sport battle stars for our work, as they are, and many of them have three or four battle stars to their credit, in addition to the Unit Citation. We are doing exactly the same jobs as they are, but on a different type of aircraft. We, of course, want to see them get full credit for their work, but because ours is considered a “non-combatant” outfit we are left out in the cold when it comes to passing out the fruit salad.

Many of the men in this base unit were here when this was considered a pretty “hot” rock, and they set up the facilities that enabled the men in the “combat” outfits to be flown in so they could begin operations. We realize that the Air Transport Command is considered a bastard cousin of the Air Forces, but why must it be that way? We think we are the forgotten men of the Air Forces and we wonder why.

—Pfc. Harold A. Stevens – Guam

air transport command unit citation

Air Transport Command C-46 Commando flying the “Hump” the Himalayan Mountains from Burma to China.

For More About the Army Air Force in the Mariana Islands Check Out:

“US Army Air C-46 SkyTrain C-47 Commando “AIR TRANSPORT COMMAND” WW2 old films DVD

The Tibbets Story

43 Seconds to Hiroshima: The First Atomic Mission. An autobiography of Richard H. Nelson, “Enola Gay” Radioman

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