UNITED STATES AIR TRANSPORT COMMAND
IN AUSTRALIA DURING WW2

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visits since 3 November 2004

 

In June 1942, the Air Corps Ferrying Command was reconstituted and redesignated as the Air Transport Command. It comprised two Divisions:-

"Dusty" Rhoades and fellow United Airline pilots, Johnny Roberts, Rube Wagner
and Johnny Johnson inspecting an air route map of Australia.

 

Air Transport Command official emblem

 

A different version of the emblem made in Australia in 1944

General Henry H. Arnold personally requested that Colonel Cyrus Rowlett Smith be appointed as the Executive Officer of the Air Transport Command. He went on to become the Chief of Staff and then Deputy Commander of Air Transport Command. CR Smith was promoted to Brigadier General in October 1942. C.R. Smith had resigned in April 1942 as president and director of American Airlines to enter the Army.

In 1943, General C.R. Smith arranged a special visit to Australia by Eleanor Roosevelt who travelled in a Red Cross uniform to help boost the morale of allied servicemen. 

Mrs Eleanor Roosevelt greeted by Mrs Jean MacArthur
at Archerfield airfield on the south side of Brisbane on 13 September 1943

Brigadier General Smith was promoted to Major General in September 1944.

Weldon "Dusty" Rhoades was one of the pilots of Air Transport Command. He was a civilian pilot with United Air Lines but wore a standard Army Officer's uniform and wore a special insignia for civilian flight crews operating Air Corps aircraft for the Air Transport Command. This was to ensure they would be treated as a POW in case they were shot down and captured by the Japanese, rather than be treated as an enemy spy. United Air Lines was operating Air Transport Command aircraft under a military contract. "Dusty" went on to become the pilot of General Douglas MacArthur's private B-17 Flying Fortress "Bataan".

The United States Air Transport Command had an extensive communication network within Australia. They shared a radio station at Amberley airfield west of Brisbane with the 5th Air Force and had Teletype facilities at:-

In January 1943 the total number of combined personnel at Amberley airfield was 2290. Units sited at Amberley comprised:-

The October 1943 Military Telephone Directory for Brisbane shows the following entries for Air Transport Command:-

BRISBANE OFFICE:
    Priorities & Traffic Section:
    Executive:
        Capt. Kerns, K.
    Assistant Executive:
        Lt. Breindel, G.J.
    Chief Clerk:

AMBERLEY FIELD:
    Commanding Officer:
        Col. Gillespie, E.F.
    Special Assistant:
        Capt. Lash, I.F.
    Chief Executive:
        Major Millard, H.R.
    Executive for Personnel:
        Major Meyncke, A.R.
    Military & Civilian Personnel:
        Capt. Richards, S.S.
    Executive for Operations:
        Major Millard, H.R.
    Operations Officers:-
        Major Merrick, C.I.
        Capt. League C.E.
        Capt. Holcombe, W.C.
        Lt. Patterson, W.J.
        Lt. Atwater, Jr., D.H.
        Lt. Lee, W.F.
        Lt. Wells, Jr., C.B.
        Lt. Davies, J.
        Lt. Becker, J.F.
        Lt. Bossert H.J.
        Lt. Boisserang, J.T.
        Lt. Baut, D.C.
        Lt. Carter, H.W.
        Lt. Blaskiewicz, F.T.
        Lt. Aueritt, W.T.
        Lt. Barker, Jr., A.R.
        Lt. Bruno, G.K.
        Lt. Carlisle, D.L.
        Lt. Gyurcsik, J.C.
        Lt. Blair, G.O.
        Lt. Bishop, J.E.
        Lt. German, G.E.
        Lt. Heston, Jr., A.O.
        Lt. Janak, P.S.
        Lt. Jones, G.W.
        Lt. Kratzer, R.L.
        Lt. Nolte, H.F.
        Lt. Martin, W.W.
        Lt. Parker, H.L.
        Lt. Roser, L.J.
        Lt. Still, K.R.
        Lt. Woods, J.L.
        F/O Kauffman, J.D.
    Priorities & Traffic Section:
        Executive:
            Capt. Kerns, K.
        Assistants:
            Lt. Collins, J.W.
            Lt. Schernekau, J.H.
            Lt. Phipps, S.H.
    Air Intelligence:
        Major Arnold, B.C.
        Lt. Hilton, D.E.
    Inspection:
        Capt. Hanson, D.C.
    Maintenance Engineering:
        Capt. Flesher, R.E.
    Communications:
        Capt. Renshaw, L.A.
        Lt. Babb, W.R.
        Lt. McGary, R.E.
        Lt. Glenn, E.B.
    Executive for Priorities & Traffic:
        Capt. Kerns, K.
    Cargo:
        Lt. Schernekau, J.H.
        Lt. Phipps, Jr., S.H.
        Lt. Collins, J.W.
    Postal:
        Lt. Beach, F.J.
    Executive for Supply & Service:
        Capt. Curry, E.D.
    Supply:
        Lt. Tutwiler, A.S.
        Lt. Atcher, R.I.
    Services:
        Capt. Ring, C.E.
        Capt. Bradley, L.H.
    Motor Transportation:
        Lt. Brindley, Jr., E.V.
    Adjutant:
        Meyncke, A.R.
        Sgt. Major
    Finance:
        W/O Tomasini, H.E.
    Surgeon:
        Capt. Smolev, J.M.
        Capt. Alexander, J.
    Statistics:
        Lt. Jupina, J.
    Special Services:
        Lt. Tutwiler, A.S.
    Dispensarty
    Freight Shed
    Message Center
    Personnel Records & Payroll
    Billeting Office
    Officer's Club
    Dispatcher
    Radio Shop
    Technical Supply
    Enlisted Mess
    Orderly Room
    American Red Cross
    Consairways:
        Station Manager
        Office
        Quarters
        Kitchen
    United Air Lines:
        Station Manager

The May 1944 HQs Base Section Two, APO 922, Telephone Directory for Townsville shows the following:-

GARBUTT FIELD AND PROJECT TWO AREA

AIR TRANSPORT COMMAND

HEADQUARTERS STATION 25 - PACIFIC WING
COMMANDING OFFICER:
    Col. C.A. Charles
Executive Officer:
    Capt. W.A. Pugh
Adjutant:
    Lt. I.C. Winkle
Engineer Officer:
    Lt. P.E. Murphy
Priorities and Traffic Officer:
    Lt. A. Clements
Operations:
    Capt. W.J. Patterson

In December 1945, Lieutenant General Archie J. Old, Jr, became commanding general of the Southwest Pacific Wing of Air Transport Command. In January 1946 he assumed additional duty as commanding general of the China Wing.

 

S/SGT Jack E. Seese, Radio Operator,
United States Army Air Force Air Transport Command

 

REFERENCE BOOKS

Allied Air Transport Operations South West Pacific Area in WWII
Volume One - Development of Air Transport 1903-1943
by Robert H. Kelly

"Flying MacArthur to Victory"
by Weldon E. (Dusty) Rhoades

"The Eagle in the Egg"
Unofficial history of Air Transport Command (ATC) in World War II
by Oliver La Farge

Oliver La Farge Collection

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to thank Leisa Lees and Jack Seese for their assistance with this home page.

 

Can anyone help me with more information ?

 

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 Peter Dunn 2003

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This page first produced 3 November 2004

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