XIX Nagaghuli & Dmrgaon August 1944
XIX Nagaghuli & Dmrgaon August 1944
1. Organizational changes:
Officer strength of the squadron decreased during the month from 64 to 62. Reflected in this change was the return to the states of 1st Lts. Amick, Bell, Tracy, Nall and Hartswick and the regrettable loss in action of 1st Lt. Edward C O'Connor. Additions during the month included the assignment of 1st Lt. David W. Walton who took over Lt. Amick’s duties as Communications Officer and 2nd Lts. Clifford C Wright and Charles P Schaefer, pilots. Lts. Tracy, Nall and Hartswick were assigned to us from the old 51st fighter group. Enlisted strength of the squadron increased from 236 at the beginning of the month to 260 at the months end.
The Japanese stronghold of Myitkyina fell to Allied forces on August fifth, and a week later we sent a flight led by Major Harrell and subsequently augmented by the transfer of the flight from Tingkawk Sakan, to, this forward base to relieve the planes of the 88th fighter squadron which had been doing yeoman service here during the siege of this Japanese base. Later in the month it was determined to transfer the entire squadron to Myitkyina, and this move got underway during the closing days of the month.
Operations during the month, the bulk of which were carried out by the plane space at Myitkyina, are reflected in the following tabulations:
Combat 951 hours flown; sorties 445; bombs dropped 88.75 tons; ammo expanded 239,696 rounds
A large number of these missions were run in support of the British 36 division operating along the so-called railroad quarter or south of Mogaung. A direct commendation for the “good work” done was received from Brigadier Haslett, Commanding. Other missions included river and airdrome sweeps as well as road sweeps in the Tengchung – Lung ling – Waneling area on the Burma Road. These latter missions disclosed increased Jap activity on the Salween front and resulted in the destruction of a considerable number of enemy motor transport being used in aid of these operations. Bridge targets were also attacked successfully by our planes
In connection with the fall of Myitkyina Major General Davidson in a special order of the day commended all units of the 10th Air Force for the part played by them in the reduction of this strategic enemy base. A copy of such commendation is annexed as appendix 36
3. Contact with enemy aircraft:
On August 18, 1944 an unarmed A-24 flown by Major Harrell and escorted by 2 P-47’s piloted by Capt. McMillan and Lt. May took off on a search mission for Lieutenant E.C.O'Connor which had been forced to bail out in the vicinity of Kutkai on the previous day. While in this mission the flight was intercepted by two Oscars just south of Kutkai. In the ensuing combat Lt. May scored hits on one of the enemy planes it was observed to break away trailing black smoke. This plane is claimed as damaged. Captain McMillan's plane sustained a bullet hole in the wing but no other damage was sustained by any of our planes.
4.Awards and decorations
During the month awards were made to pilots of the squadron as follows:
SECOND OAK LEAF CLUSTER TO THE AIR MEDAL:
Major William S. Harrell
FIRST OAK LEAF CLUSTER TO THE DISTINGUISHED FLYING CROSS
1st LT. Robert D Bell
1st LT. Louis T Chapman
1st LT. Raymond B McReynolds
FIRST OAK LEAF CLUSTER TO THE AIR MEDAL:
Capt. Elbert R. McMillan Jr.
1st LT. Ralph E. Rodes
THE DISTINGUISHED FLYING CROSS
1st LT. Herbert H Dowdy
1st LT. Thomas R Rogers
2nd Lt. Herbert D. Kanatzar
Copies of these orders confirming the above awards are annexed as appendix 37
Members of the squadron who accompanied the flights to Tingkawk Sakan and Myitkyina soon came to appreciate the comparative luxury and comfort of Nagaghuli. Although August saw the monsoon at its height in the valley, the mud and rain at Nagaghuli could not compare with that at Tingkawk Sakan nor could the heat approach the astronomical figure of 140° plus registered at Myitkyina. B
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6. In Memoriam:
It is with deep regret and a keen sense of loss that we record the death of 1st Lt. Edward C. O'Connor Edward "Okie" as he was known to all, was participating in a bombing mission on August 17, 1944 directed at a road bridge at Hsenwi in Central Burma. His plane, which caught fire after leaving the target area, is believed to have been damaged by ack ack encountered over the target area. Although he bailed out successfully he is reported to have died of his burns by a forward British patrol which found and buried him.
“Okie” had been with the squadron since prior to a shipment overseas. At all times he had displayed an eagerness and enthusiasm which contributed much to the squadron as a whole. He will be keenly missed in his enviable record in this in theater long remembered by all.
An appropriate letter of condolences was sent to his next of kin and it is the squadrons wish that a copy of this letter be appended to this history as appendix 38