Letter from James Moran

17th Troop Carrier Squadron

World War II




217 South B Street

Livingston, MT 59047

(406) 222-3271


27 August 2000




Lt. Phil Kinnison

8347 Kuter Court, Unit F

Elmendorf AFB, Alaska 99506



Dear Sir:


I was more than a bit surprised by your recent telephone call. I had no idea that my name was on the Internet regarding the old 17th TCS. Sounds like the work of my old crew chief, Bob Bramble, who was nicknamed "Dirty" Bramble! I'll do my best to honor your request, and hope it will meet your needs. I have read several histories of the 17th, and found them either incomplete or inaccurate. Therefore, I compiled my own history, with the use of my diary, which could have contained more information than it does. Excuse the delay, while I extract this info.


To begin with, I should give you a bit of my background: Shortly after Pearl Harbor, I quit high school, falsified my age, and enlisted in the Army Air Corps. I had three choices of assignment, and requested a gunnery assignment with the 19th Bomb Group at March Field, CA. After being sworn in at Fort Missoula, MT, I was sent to Fort Lewis, WA, for further processing. It was then that I learned that Air Transport Command had priority over all enlistees and draftees in the IX Army Corps area, which included the northwest states. I was subsequently assigned to Hamilton Field, CA, and then to the 17th Transport Squadron. This was the first in a series of lucky breaks that followed me throughout the war.


Headquarters, 64th TG and the 17th TS were tenant units on a base commanded by the 4th Pursuit Group (Lockheed P-38 Lightning's). I could understand the reason for AW92s expansion, as the 17th was far from being combat ready. We had only eight older transports and one Lockheed Hudson light bomber. There were about 10 Regular Army pilots and only five radio operators. I was assigned with roughly 200 other recruits to the 17th, and given an abbreviated period of Infantry basic training, as we were considered soldiers first, and airmen second. Three others and I were assigned to the communications section and became 0JT radio operators. The T/O called for thirteen aircraft, and about fifteen crews, which left us still short in every category.


On to the history, which will contain many events that may not be of use to you, but will convey circumstances of those memorable days. Hope you enjoy it.




James A. Moran

SMSgt., USAF (Ret)




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