Scott Air Force Base News

This month in Scott AFB history: 375th Troop Carrier Group moved to Philippines from its bases in New Guinea and Biak Island

Pictured is the Curtiss C-46 Commando in the Pacific Theater of Operations, similar those flown by the 375th Troop Carrier Group in late 1944-45.
Pictured is the Curtiss C-46 Commando in the Pacific Theater of Operations, similar those flown by the 375th Troop Carrier Group in late 1944-45.

On Feb. 17, 1945, the C-47 and C-46 aircraft of the 375th Troop Carrier Group moved from its bases in New Guinea and Biak Island to San Jose Airfield on the Island of Mindanao in the Philippines.

The 375th TCG was constituted Nov. 12, 1942, and was activated Nov. 18, 1942. The 375th TCG used Douglas C-47 Skytrain aircraft during stateside training for overseas duty at Sedalia Army Airfield, Missouri; Laurinburg-Maxton Army Air Base, North Carolina; and Baer Field, Indiana.

The 375th TCG was constituted Nov. 12, 1942, and was activated Nov. 18, 1942. The 375th TCG used Douglas C-47 Skytrain aircraft during stateside training for overseas duty at Sedalia Army Airfield, Missouri; Laurinburg-Maxton Army Air Base, North Carolina; and Baer Field, Indiana.

The 375th TCG moved to the Pacific theater of operations during June and July 1943, initially based at Brisbane, Australia, on July 13, 1943; Port Moresby, New Guinea, on July 31, 1943; and Dobodura, New Guinea, on Aug. 19, 1943.

On Sept. 5, 1943, 31 375th TCG C-47s participated in the first airborne operation in the Southwest Pacific, dropping U.S. paratroops of the 2nd Battalion, 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment to seize Japanese bases and cut overland supply lines at Nadzab, New Guinea.

The Group transferred back to Port Moresby, New Guinea, on Dec. 19, 1943. On April 22, 1944, the group moved to Nadzab, New Guinea and to Biak Island on Sept. 27, 1944.

From July 1943 until February 1945, the 375th TCG was busy transporting men, supplies, and equipment to forward bases on New Guinea, New Britain, the Solomon Islands, and the Admiralty Islands. The 375th TCG sometimes used armed Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress aircraft for the more hazardous missions that involved landing on fields under enemy attack.

In late 1944, the 375th TCG began to convert from the venerable C-47A/B Skytrain to the larger C-46D Commando. After the Group moved from New Guinea and Biak Island to the to the San Jose Airfield, Mindoro in the Philippines in February 1945, most of its missions were supply flights to ground forces on Luzon and neighboring islands.

The group moved to Porac Airfield on the Island of Luzon on May 20, 1945. The group also transported cargo to forces in the Ryukyu Islands in June and July 1945, then moved to the newly-captured Japanese island of Okinawa in August to transfer troops from the Luzon staging in the Ryukyus for the planned November 1945 invasion of Japan.

The World War II commanders of the 375th TCG were: Col. Joel G. Pitts, starting Nov. 20, 1942; Lt. Col. Maurice W. Wiley, starting Dec. 25, 1944; Lt. Col. John L. Ames Jr., starting in August 1945; and Lt. Col. Benjamin C. King, starting in September 1945.

After Japan surrendered, the 375th TCG ferried liberated Allied prisoners from Okinawa to Luzon. In September 1945, to group moved to Tachikawa Air Base, Japan as part of the Allied occupation of Japan.

The World War II commanders of the 375th TCG were: Col. Joel G. Pitts, starting Nov. 20, 1942; Lt. Col. Maurice W. Wiley, starting Dec. 25, 1944; Lt. Col. John L. Ames Jr., starting in August 1945; and Lt. Col. Benjamin C. King, starting in September 1945.

For its service in the Pacific Theater during World War II, the 375th TCG was awarded the Air Offensive-Japan; New Guinea; Northern Solomons; Bismarck Archipelago; Western Pacific; Leyte; Luzon and Ryukyus Campaign streamers and the Philippine Presidential Unit Citation. Today’s 375th Air Mobility Wing was bestowed the honors of the 375th TCG.

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