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Lt. Gen. George H. Brett established two US Air Commands on 4 May 1942 to enable flexibility of control of offensive operations. No. 1 U.S. Air Command  was established in Darwin in the northwest area under the command of Colonel (later Brigadier-General) Albert L. Sneed. No. 2 U.S. Air Command, in the northeast area under the command of Brigadier- General Martin F. Scanlon, established itself in the Operations and Signals Building at 3 Ramsay Street in Garbutt in Townsville

The two US Air Command headquarters were meant to be prepared to direct all types of air operations. This did not happen as the US Aircraft continued to be controlled by area commanders. As a result the two US Air Commands were dissolved by the end of May 1942. 

Their aircraft were allocated operationally to the commanding general of the land forces in the Northern Territory and the commander of the New Guinea Force. These Commanding Officers were directly responsible to the commander of the Allied Land Forces. They were ordered not to interfere with the control of air operations by air officers except in the event of an imminent attack. This led to a very confusing command structure.


Brigadier-General Martin Scanlon with the General's
Air Staff Officer, Captain Marburgh in the background
on 22 May 1942. This photograph may have been taken
at Garbutt airfield in Townsville, Queensland.


Brigadier-General Martin Scanlon standing in front of a B-17 Flying
Fortress is interviewed by Allied War Correspondents on 22 May 1942.
This Photograph may have been taken in Townsville at Garbutt airfield.


Brigadier-General Martin Scanlon and Major-General Ralph G. Royce watch a some bombers taking off from an advanced operational base on 27 June 1942. This was possibly from Garbutt airfield in Townsville, north Queensland, Australia. Perhaps that is Castle Hill in the background. (Only an assumption on my part)


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Lyndon Baines Johnson (on right) shaking hands with Brigadier-General Martin Scanlon on the morning of 9 June 1942 at 7 Mile airfield in Port Moresby prior to him taking off for a bombing raid on Lae.


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This page first produced 1 August 2004

This page last updated 01 March 2020