61st Troop Carrier Group
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I do not assume that every first time reader is well-versed in the structure of the Army Air Corps in WWII, thus I offer this 1-minute crude explanation: A Troop Carrier SQUADRON consisted of approximately 80-90 officers and 230-250 enlisted men, who flew or otherwise took care of 9 aircraft at the start of their May 1943 overseas deployment. By the time the war ended in May 1945, there could be upwards of 24 aircraft in each squadron, and increased manpower to man and service them. A Troop Carrier GROUP would consist frequently of 4 SQUADRONS. A Troop Carrier WING would consist frequently of 4 GROUPS. And last I knew, Troop Carrier COMMAND consisted of 3 WINGS in Europe.
This began as a study of only the 53rd Troop Carrier Squadron- that was the intent. My father was a pilot in the 53rd TCS. As the weeks and months passed amassing information, I began to see men from one squadron be reassigned to another squadron, then to another- and sometimes return back to their original squadron. It became difficult to drop off men in these stories only to find them return. And stories of activities in other squadrons were sometimes better documented than in the 53rd. Further, reading four and sometimes five different viewpoints written, the reader begins to see for themselves the value of the differing viewpoints. Thus my focus morphed to include the histories of all four squadrons. This is a database of the names of the members of the 61st Troop Carrier Group. Some were in the 61st from the start. Others joined up later. Others transferred to other units. Too many never went home. From the period of original deployment in May of 1943 to the end of the war in May of 1945, this was the roster of approximately 2,800 person roster, as best as can be reconstructed today. For a period of time the Nursing Corps flew with the 61st TCG, and their names are included. I have included firefighters and military policeman, as they all lived together on the same base. I have included Red Cross members that served the 61st TCG. I have included the known names of the 4 orphans that the officers and EM sponsored. For some 78% of them we know their Military Occupational Specialties "MOS", for the 22% of others the records I have do not indicate what they did (until you send that data to me so it can be posted). Towards the end of the war the Army Infantry was stumbling for manpower. The attrition rates were high. Thus a plan was devised to take wounded and recovering Infantry men and rotate them back to safe rear echelon Air Corps units, to become guards, truck drivers, cooks or otherwise in positions where the bullets weren't flying- some of those men weren't fit for combat, but could still perform in a limited manner. In turn, Air Corps men were volunteered to move over into the Infantry. Your father, or grandfather or great-grandfather may have been one of them: in the Air Corps but also later in the Infantry, or vice-versa, Infantry men later moved into the Air Corps. If your father or grandfather or great-grandfather piloted or was in an aircrew, I tried to link them back to the specific aircraft they flew on combat missions or on movements ("movements" meaning the entire GROUP and SQUADRON moves to a different base-tents packed up, tools, jigs, and apparatus packed up, trucks convoyed, shacks or sheds disassembled and packed up, etc.). I know most of them received awards for their efforts: Good Conduct Medals, Air Medals, Purple Hearts, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star, some Silver Stars. I know my list of them receiving an award is incomplete and as time permits, will be updated. Tell me!