JUNE 1942 - JUNE 1945

Compiled by Roger Coleson, September 1987

Additions as Noted*


The 64th was activated as a Transport Group in December of 1940 and was moved from the west coast to Westover Field, Massachusetts during the first part of June 1942. The Group, at that time, consisted of the 16th, 17th, and 18th squadrons with the 35th joining the 64th on the 7th of June.

* It all began with the 64th Transport Group at Duncan Field on December 6, 1940. Group Headquarters moved to March Field July 1, 1941. The 16th to Portland, Oregon, the 17th to Hamilton Field, and the 18th to March Field. On June 3, 1942, the Group was re-designated as the 64th Troop Carrier Group and moved to Westover Field and then to Barnes Airport at Westover, Massachusetts. The 35th joined the group at Westover after having been formed at Middleton Air Depot, Pennsylvania. (Additional comment courtesy of Bob Bramble)

The air crew cadres from these four squadrons were augmented with an estimated group of about 50 pilots from class 42-E which had just graduated in May, 1942. The Group was soon re-designated as the 64th Troop Carrier Group, which meant that its primary function would be to transport paratroopers and tow gliders in airborne operations. The primary airplane assigned to the Group was the C-47, which was the military version of the DC-3 used in commercial aviation. Extensive training was conducted in the next several weeks at Westover Field (Chicopee, MA) and nearby Westfield (Barnes Municipal Airport). The first paratrooper drop, for some airplanes in the Group, was conducted later in June staging out of Pope Field, North Carolina, and dropping at Fort Jackson, North Carolina. We believe that officials which observed this paratrooper drop included President Roosevelt, General Arnold and Winston Churchill.

By the end of July 1942, the Group and all squadrons were considered ready for duty. The ground echelon left Fort Dix by ship during the first part of August and the air echelon, with an estimated 49 planes, departed about the same time for England by way of Presque Isle, Maine; Goose Bay, Labrador; Greenland; Iceland, and Scotland.

Sidenote: The 35th Troop Carrier Squadron departed Westover on August 5th, 1942, enroute to England. The squadron did a RON (Remained Over Night) at Presque Isle, Maine, and departed there on August 7th, arriving at Goose Bay, Labrador, on the same day.

The 35th TCS departed Goose Bay on August 9th, 1942, for Bluie-West 1 (BW-1), flying up Tunugdliarfik Fjord to the air base located in Narsarsuaq, Greenland. After our arrival in England, the squadron officers briefed the aircrews that, on August 8th, 1942, Second Lieutenant John L. Pere' from Abbeville, Louisiana, and Second Lieutenant Arthur Schalamon from Ohio, went hiking along the shoreline of the ocean near Goose Bay and disappeared. As I recall, the terrain in the area was a relatively flat sandy plateau and nothing like the mountains of Greenland.

Later on, I was the Commanding Officer of the 35th TCS and had access to records such as this incident. These records showed that no further information was ever obtained by anyone in our squadron and, as far as I know, no other person. The dates cited are from my logbook (Form 5). Roger Coleson, Colonel USAF (Ret.), November 2003.



On the way to England, in August of 1942, we were in Keflavik, Iceland, when a four-engine German Focke Wulf FW-200 Condor reconnaissance bomber tried to bomb us. A P-38 of the 14th Fighter Group shot him down. (Addition by Bob Bramble)


Note: Two Lightning squadrons (the 27th and the 50th) were held over in Iceland to assist the Curtiss P-40Cs of the 33rd Fighter Squadron in the flying of defensive patrols over the Atlantic.

On Friday, August 14, 1942, 2nd Lieutenant Joseph D Shaffer from the 33d Fighter Squadron and flying a P-40C, and 2nd Lieutenant Elza E Shahan from the 27th Fighter Squadron and flying a P-38F, jointly shoot down an Fw 200 off the coast of Iceland. This is the first aerial victory of the AAF in the ETO. (Combat Chronology of the US Army Air Forces)


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