Flying the Hump

On May 29, 1941 the US Army created the Air Corps Ferrying Command. Out of this small organization grew the US Air Transport Command, under the command of Maj. Gen. Harold L. George.

"It seems almost incredible," Gen. William H. Tunner remarked in his memoirs, "that up until three o'clock in the afternoon of May 29,1941, there was no organization of any kind in American military aviation to provide for either delivery of planes or air transport of materiel."

When the Japanese closed the Burma Road, the US devised an initial plan that called for sending 5,000 tons of supplies each month over the Hump into China as soon as possible. American C-47s delivered the first, small load of supplies in July 1942. It was a meager beginning. If the resupply effort was to be greatly expanded, airfields would have to be built, pilots would have to be trained, and transports would have to be manufactured and ferried to the China-Burma-India (CBI) theater.

The air transport task in the CBI fell first to Maj. Gen. Lewis H. Brereton, commander of Tenth Air Force. The Ferrying Command was to deliver seventy-five C-47s to the CBI, but some were diverted to support British forces in North Africa. Of the sixty-two that finally reached the theater, about fifteen were destroyed or lost, and many of the rest were out of service for long periods due to a shortage of parts and engines.

It was obvious that the theater air commander should not be responsible for a supply route reaching from factories in the US to destinations in China. On October 21, 1942, Air Transport Command (ATC) officially took over the task.

Operations under ATC began in India on December 1. The original small air transport unit was established as ATC's India-China Wing. As air transport activity increased, it became the India-China Division, comprising several wings. "Every drop of fuel, every weapon, and every round of ammunition, and 100 percent of such diverse supplies as carbon paper and C rations, every such item used by American forces in China was flown in by airlift," General Tunner said later.

"The distance from Dinjan to Kunming is some 500 miles. The Brahmaputra valley floor lies ninety feet above sea level at Chabua, a spot near Dinjan where the principal American valley base was constructed. From this level, the mountain wall surrounding the valley rises quickly to 10,000 feet and higher.

"Flying eastward out of the valley, the pilot first topped the Patkai Range, then passed over the upper Chindwin River valley, bounded on the east by a 14,000- foot ridge, the Kumon Mountains. He then crossed a series of 14,000-16,000-foot ridges separated by the valleys of the West Irrawaddy, East Irrawaddy, Salween, and Mekong Rivers. The main 'Hump,' which gave its name to the whole awesome mountainous mass and to the air route which crossed it, was the Santsung Range, often 15,000 feet high, between the Salween and Mekong Rivers."

Pilots had to struggle to get their heavily laden planes to safe altitudes; there was always extreme turbulence, thunderstorms, and icing. On the ground, there was the heat and humidity and a monsoon season that, during a six-month period, poured 200 inches of rain on the bases in India and Burma.

The success of the Hump operation under ATC became apparent from statistics released on August 1, 1945. On that day, the command had flown 1,118 round trips, with a payload of 5,327 tons. A plane crossed the Hump every minute and twelve seconds; a ton of materiel was landed in China four times every minute. All of this was accomplished without a single accident.

When the war was over, Air Force historians added up the figures. The peak month was July 1945, when 71,000 tons of cargo were carried. Some 650,000 tons of gasoline, munitions, other materiel, and men had been flown over the Hump during the airlift, more than half of the tonnage delivered in the first nine months of 1945.

Besides helping to defeat Japan, the Hump operation was the proving ground for mass strategic airlift. The official Air Force history comments: "Here, the AAF demonstrated conclusively that a vast quantity of cargo could be delivered by air, even under the most unfavorable circumstances, if only the men who controlled the aircraft, the terminals, and the needed materiel were willing to pay the price in money and in men."

"The Heroic Pilots & Copilots Who Flew The Hump"
Capt. John K. Alexander AAF
Capt. Raymond Allen AAF
Lt. Ernest M. Allison AAF
Capt. Dean Anderson AAF
Capt. Geo. H. Anderson AAF
Lt. H. E. Anderson, Jr. AAF
Capt. Robert E. Anderson AAF
Capt. Robert S. Angle AAF
Capt. Samuel Anglin AAF
Capt. T. E. Applegate AAF
Capt. Leo Atwater AAF
Capt. Wm "Bill" Atwood AAF
Maj. Orvon Gene Autry AAF
Capt. Sherwin T. Ball AAF
Capt. Paul F. Baer AAF
Capt. W. E. Bartling AAF
Capt. Samuel Belieff AAF
Capt. Harry J. Bennett AAF
Capt. John P. Billon AAF
Capt. Lewis Bishop AAF
Capt. P. Russell Bivens AAF
Lt. Bob Black AAF
Capt. Jack M. Blackmore AAF
Lt. Carey Bowles AAF
Capt. Casey Boyd AAF
Capt. Charles B. Branen AAF
Capt. Hiram Broiles AAF
Capt. Carl K. Brown AAF
Capt. Harold Brown AAF
Capt. Jack Brown AAF
Capt. Les Brown AAF
Capt. James S. Browne AAF
Capt. Stephen Bruck AAF
Capt. Gifford Bull AAF
Maj. Howard L. Buller AAF
Capt. Donald E. Bussart AAF
Capt. Howard Butts AAF
Capt. J. Vincent Byrne AAF
Lt. Glenn H. Carroll AAF
Capt. Allan Chambers AAF
Capt. James Charville AAF
Capt. Lester Chin AAF
Capt. Moon Fun Chin AAF
Capt. Donald Codree AAF
Capt. R. W. Coldren AAF
Capt. Robert Cole AAF
Capt. K. G. Colthorpe AAF
Capt. Charles Cook AAF
Lt. William R. Cooper AAF
Capt. Ursel E. Coulson AAF
Capt. Lynn Crapuchettes AAF
Capt. Carl Cummins, Jr. AAF
Capt. Doug Cunningham AAF
Capt. Perry B. Cutburth AAF
Capt. James Dalby AAF
Capt. Bill Davis AAF
Capt. John J. Dean AAF
Capt. V. DeSalvatore AAF
Capt. R.I. Dever AAF
Capt. Wm Carter Dill AAF
Capt. Joseph A. Dionne AAF
Capt. Wm "Bill" Dotson AAF
Lt. William A. Dudding AAF
Capt. Ralph Du Vze AAF
Capt. Robert Erne AAF
Capt. Bill Ewing AAF
Maj. Roy Farrell AAF
Capt. Wyly Flint AAF
Capt. Jack Foltz AAF
Capt. James R. Fox, Jr. AAF
Capt. Joe Frampton AAF
Capt. James A. Frick AAF
Lt. Everett Gardner AAF
Capt. Robert Gast AAF
Capt. Norm Geiger AAF
Capt. J. Gen Genovess AAF
Capt. Robert Gentry AAF
Capt. Russell A. Gibson AAF
Capt. Raymond Gilliland AAF
Capt. Aleck Gingiss AAF
Capt. Oliver Glenn USN
Capt. Peter J. Goutiere AAF
Lt. Richard Green AAF
Capt. Roan J. Green AAF
Capt. James Gregg AAF
Capt. Clifford G. Groh AAF
Capt. Les J. Hafferkamp AAF
Maj. Barton N. Hahn AAF
Capt. Burton Hall AAF
Capt. Lester Hall AAF
Capt. Charles Hammel AAF
Capt. Jeff Hanan AAF
Capt. Fletcher Hanks AAF
Capt. Henry J. Hardin AAF
Capt. Hugh W. Hash AAF
Lt. Donald K. Hassig AAF
Capt. Ray Hauptman AAF
Capt. Frank J. Havelick AAF
Capt. Ken W. Healy AAF
Capt. Robert P. Hedman AAF
Capt. Robert B. Heilig AAF
Capt. William Helling AAF
Maj. Earl T. Hemminger USMC
Capt. Hugh Hicks AAF
Capt. Frank Higgs AAF
Capt. Raymond Hilgert AAF
Capt. Arthur Hing AAF
Capt. Robert G. Hinkle AAF
Lt. T. R. Hockswender USMC
Capt. Fred Hodges AAF
Capt. R.S. Holmes, Jr. AAF
Capt. R. Hoyer AAF
Capt. George Huang AAF
Capt. James Hubbard AAF
Capt. Harvey Hughs AAF
Capt. James Hurst AAF
Capt. Robert W. Jenkins AAF
Capt. Birger Johnson AAF
Lt. Russell Johnson AAF
Capt. Henry R. Johnston AAF
Capt. Glenn W Jones AAF
Capt. Dennis Kelly AAF
Capt. John W. Kenehan AAF
Capt. Walter C. Kent AAF
Col. Paul W. Kessler AAF
Capt. Arthur R. Kidder AAF
Capt. Arthur Kininmonth AAF
Capt. Jay Kirkman AAF
Maj. Enos C. Kirkpatrick AAF
Capt. Frank A. Knapke AAF
Capt. Richard V. Krupke AAF
Capt. Joe Kurzman AAF
Capt. Stephen A. Kusak AAF
Capt. Henry Lambert AAF
Capt. James Lane AAF
Capt. C. H. Laughlin USMC
Lt. Edward Leatherbury AAF
Capt. Royal Leonard AAF
Capt. K.Y. Liang AAF
Capt. Anson Lisk, Jr. AAF
Capt. Howard Littlefield AAF
Capt. Ernest W. Loane AAF
Lt. Andrew Longbotham AAF
Capt. Thomas Loomis AAF
Capt. Howard G. Loux AAF
Capt. H.R. Lucas AAF
Lt. K. R. Lundberg AAF
Capt. W.W. Lundy AAF
Capt. William J. Maher AAF
Capt. David P. Majors AAF
Capt. Richard Marchant AAF
Lt. James H. Maupin AAF
Capt. Donald McBride AAF
Capt. Robert B. McCaleb AAF
Capt. Lloyd C. McClellan AAF
Capt. J. R. McCleskey AAF
Lt. Howard C. McCracken AAF
Lt. Bill C. McDonald, Jr. AAF
Capt. James H. McDivitt AAF
Capt. Victor B. McHenry AAF
Lt. Thomas McKinney AAF
Capt. E.A. McLlwain AAF
Capt. Edward Meyer AAF
Maj. Francis J. Michiels AAF
Maj. Einar I. Mickelson AAF
Maj. Robert P. Miller AAF
Capt. Sam A. Miller AAF
Capt. Stanley A. Miller AAF
Maj. Hewitt F. Mitchell AAF Capt. Ralph Mitchell, Jr. AAF Capt. James Monahan AAF Capt. Ladnor M. Moore AAF
Capt. Preston Moore AAF Capt. Richard Moore AAF Col. Ogburn L. Morgan AAF Lt. Paul R. Morton AAF
Capt. Robert C. Moss AAF Capt. Richard C. Mulloy AAF Capt. Millard K. Nasholds AAF Capt. Floyd Nelson AAF
Lt. Richard C. Newmeyer AAF Capt. Archie E. Newton AAF Capt. Earl R. Norman AAF Capt. T.A. Nosalik AAF
Capt. Howard Norris AAF Capt. Jack O'Brien AAF Capt. William Odom AAF Capt. Byron O'Hara AAF
Lt. Joseph J. O'Hare AAF Capt. John S. Papajik AAF Capt. Leonard L. Parish AAF Capt. Harry A. Peattie, Jr. AAF
Capt. Bert H. Pollock AAF Capt. Gordon Poon AAF Maj. R. W. Pottschmidt AAF Capt. Eugene J. Powers AAF
Capt. Robert W. Prescott AAF Capt. Rolf B. Preus AAF Capt. A. J. Privensal AAF Lt. Eddie Quinn AAF
Capt. Walter Quinn AAF Capt. Robert J. Raine AAF Capt. Donald C. Reece AAF Capt. Robert Rengo AAF
Maj. Roger M. Reynolds AAF Capt. Ace Richards AAF Capt. David C. Robb AAF Capt. Leon F. Roberts AAF
Capt. David F. Robbins Lt. George A. Robertson AAF Capt. Camille J. Rosbert AAF Capt. John R. Rossi AAF
Capt. George Rummel AAF Maj. Eddie R. Russell AAF Capt. Tom Sailer AAF Lt. Arnold Schilperoot AAF
Capt. C.R. Schofield AAF Capt. Michael Schroeder AAF Capt. William H. Schuler AAF Lt. Stephen W. Schuster AAF
Capt. James Scoff AAF Lt. Emil Silvan Scott AAF Capt. Cecil G. Sellers AAF Capt. Van Shapard, Jr. AAF
Capt. Charles L. Sharkey AAF Capt. Charles L. Sharp, Jr. AAF Capt. Robert B. Sherwood AAF Col. Eriksen E. Shilling AAF
Capt. John Shoemaker AAF Maj. Gerald R. Shrawder AAF Capt. Richard Simmonds AAF Capt. Felix T. Smith AAF
Capt. Gordon Smith AAF Capt. Henry A. Smith AAF Capt. Oakley M. Smith, Jr. AAF Capt. V. Edward Smith AAF
Lt. William Smith AAF Capt. Richard Snell AAF Capt. Wayne P. Snyder AAF Col. Nelson R. Stewart AAF
Capt. Richard Stratford AAF Capt. Richard Stuelke AAF Capt. Charles M. Sundby AAF Capt. Harold A. Sweet AAF
Maj. Clyde T. Tarbet AAF Capt. James Tate AAF Capt. Joey Thom AAF Capt. Warren Thornley AAF
Lt. Albert Thorwaldson AAF Capt. John R. Tucker AAF Capt. Weldon Tutwiler AAF Capt. Charles Uban AAF
Lt. L. H. Vancelette AAF Capt.J. A. VanderVoorde AAF Lt. Charles S. Vaughn AAF Capt. John Vivian AAF
Capt. Jules H. Watson AAF Capt. Jeff Weiner AAF Lt. Orin Welch AAF Capt. Charles T. Wellsted AAF
Capt. Charles B. West AAF Capt. Sidney Wilson AAF Capt. Tommy S. Wing AAF Capt. Carl Wiss AAF
Capt. Donald S. Wong AAF Capt. George Wong AAF Capt. Thomas S. Wong AAF Capt. Young G. Wong AAF
Maj. Allen M. Wright AAF Capt. Wilson York AAF Capt. Austin Young AAF Capt. J. Young AAF
Capt. Robert F. Zalusky AAF Lt. D. R. Zimmerman AAF    
~ © 2003 David L. Griffith ~

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