27th Troop Carrier Squadron Foundation papers
Scope and Contents
This collection related to the 27th Troop Carrier Squadron includes a manuscript that consists of memoirs entitled "Freedom Rings," which were gathered from members of the Army's 27th Troop Carrier Squadron about their time in the China-Burma-India (CBI) Theater. The squadron was in the CBI Theater from 1942-1945. The squadron was involved in many Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and SACO (Sino-American-Cooperative-Organization) operations, including rescues and liberations of P.O.W.'s. The collection includes their veteran's association magazine/newsletters as well.
- Created: 1942-2002
- Other: Majority of material found within 1948-1982
- Other: Date acquired: 05/18/2002
- Blair, Harry A. (Person)
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open to all researchers.
Conditions Governing Use
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Biographical or Historical Information
The 27th Troop Carrier Squadron was constituted as the Twenty-Seventh Transport Squadron on 19 January 1942, activated at Daniel Field, Augusta, Georgia 1 February 1942, re-designated as the Twenty Seventy Troop Carrier Squadron 2 July 1942 and deactivated in China 27 December 1945.
In a rare general order, the Army Air Force Combat Command created the Eighty-Ninth Transport Group consisting of five squadrons while normal policy called for a group to consist of four. The 27th life with the Eighty-Ninth was short lived as the squadron was transferred out and sent on through most of its glorious career as a unique singular unit carrying out missions never before assigned in such broad scope to any unit of the Troop Carrier Command.
Its early responsibilities were that as a training unit for squadrons and personnel with graduates going on to all corners of the earth carrying out their assignment with high valor to advance the efforts to rid the world of the Axis and Japanese aggressors. The squadron earned the honor of being rated the number one training unit in the First Troop Carrier Command. Twice alerted for overseas duty the orders were aborted by High Command in Washington with the reasoning being that it was far too valuable as a training unit here in the United States.
In late 1943 Japan invaded India with the British and Indian forces having a most difficult time of it. Allied forces submitted an urgent request to High Command requesting the 27th's assignment to the theater due to its outstanding record of night flying in all types of weather and over all terrains. The squadron had been assigned to the Tactical Air Command on 29 November only to once again see orders aborted by High Command on the 30th with new cut sending the unit overseas immediately. A change in Commanders was made on the 6th December and additional personnel brought in to bring the squadron up to full strength. Its air echelon flew to Baer Field, Fort Wayne, Indiana to accept thirteen new Douglas C-47 aircraft then on to Morrison Field, Florida where a fourteenth aircraft and crew joined the flight. The formation departed Florida on 25 December 1943, flying the southern Atlantic route, for assignment to the China-Burma-India theater arriving in Karachi, India on 10 January 1944.
Assigned to the South East Command, under the command of Vice Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten, the unit flew on to Sylhet, Assam, India and immediately began flying combat mission around the clock, over and behind enemy lines, giving assistance to the surrounded forces - often landing on grass strips behind the lives to evacuate wounded personnel.
The ground echelon departed the United States on 13 January 1944 joining the operation on 28 March.
With the defeat of the Japanese at Imphal, India the squadron immediately began flying support to help rid North Burma of enemy control. From North East India, General Stilwell (with Chinese Forces) and Major General Orde Wingate (with his beloved "Chindits") entered Burma with two columns each driving to the South and South/East. This was followed by the famed "Merrill's Marauders" (Amercian Forces) entering the country at the same point driving towards the industrial and rail center of Myitkyina.
In August 1943, at the "Quadrant Conference" in Quebec, Canada, President Roosevelt, Prime Minister Churchill and Marshal Stalin gave a green light to General Orde Wingate and his dream of a long-range penetration invasion behind enemy lines with the entire operation, including the furnishing of supplies and removal of wounded, being carried out from the air. The maneuver was to be used in the invasion of Burma from central East India. The 27th was assigned, along with the First Air Commandos, to partake in this invasion entitled "Operation Thursday". The flights, towing at times two gliders each, into the mountains were made in the middle of the night in extreme weather. The invasion called for airstrips, often surrounded by Japanese forces, to be established in the middle of the jungles to facilitate air support short landings.
The taking of Myitkyina by the allied forces saw the 27th transferred to the Fourteenth Air Force "Flying Tigers" in China under the direct command of Major General Claire Chennault. The squadron at once partook in the "Salween Campaign" - the invasion of Burma from West China.
With the opening of North Bruma by the Allied forces, the squadron turned its efforts to the Eastern China offensive operations. During this period of history, it gave support to the O.S.S. (forerunner of the C.I.A.) and "Saco" in their guerrilla activities at and behind enemy lines in addition to guerrilla units in French Indo China. The later was a secret endeavor with much action kept from the press and the public. The squadron evacuated Admiral MIles, Commander of "Saco", from a small grass strip behind enemy lives in Manchuria giving him freedom after over three years in five Japanese prison camps. In the final days of the war in ChIna, the squadron was directly under the operational orders of the O.S.S. through the Headquarters Command of the Tenth Air Force flying covert and search missions behind enemy lines in Manchuria, China, and French Indo China.
During its glorious career, the 27th flew 6805 missions over the worse terrain in the world in the most vicious weather mother natural could dream up. On many occasions, personnel of the squadron served in the middle of battle as liaison with allied ground forces. The 27th Troop Carrier Squadron received 25 commendations from Theater Command as well as from Washington, D.C., Great Britain and Nationalist China. The personnel of the squadron is some of the most recognized of the war receiving 1271 decorations.
Note written by Harry A. Blair
Language of Materials
Source of Acquisition
Harry A. Blair
Method of Acquisition
- China--Foreign relations--United States Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- China--History--1937-1945 Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- United States--Foreign relations--China Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- United States. Army Air Forces. Troop Carrier Squadron, 27th
- World War, 1939-1945--Burma Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- World War, 1939-1945--China Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- World War, 1939-1945--India Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- 27th Troop Carrier Squadron Foundation papers
- Huaqing Shi
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- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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