The 2nd Combat Cargo Group was a transport unit that served with the Fifth Air Force in the Southwest Pacific from the end of 1944 onwards.
The group was originally formed for use in the China-Burma-India theatre, along with two Air Commando groups and a second Combat Cargo group. However the increase in Allied air power over Burma meant that these specialised units were no longer required and instead the decision was made to send them to the Fifth Air Force, fighting in the Pacific. General Kenney, commander of the Fifth Air Force, saw these groups as giving him more operational independence from the Navy, allowing him to move his groups around without using sea transport.
The group moved to Biak in November 1944. Although the original reason for the change of destination was a belief that Burma no longer offered enough opportunities for daring air missions (instead air supply became almost routine during the last phase of the war in Burma), the group ended up operating regular long range transport links, connecting US Bases in Australia, New Guinea, the Admiralty Islands and the Philippines. During this period it was also used to drop supplies to American troops and Philippine Guerillas.
At the start of January 1945 the air units blockading the Luzon coast were running dangerously short of fuel. Between them the 2nd Combat Cargo Group and the 317th Troop Carrier Group managed to fly 600 drums of gasoline per day into Mindoro between 3-10 January, filling a dangerous gap. However the extra capacity of naval supply was demonstrated when a Navy Service Group dropped off 10,000 barrels in a single day, more than twice the total amount delivered by air.
In May 1945 the group moved to Leyte. It continued to operate regular flights to Australia, New Guinea and across the Philippines, but also extended its range of operations to the Ryukyu Islands, flying supplies to the islands and evacuating casualties on the way back.
After the end of the war the group moved to Japan where it was inactivated on 15 January 1946.
Curtiss C-46 and Douglas C-47 Skytrain
|25 April 1944||Constituted as 2nd Combat Cargo Group|
|1 May 1944||Activated|
|Oct-Nov 1944||To Southwest Pacific and Fifth Air Force|
|Sept 1945||To Japan|
|15 Jan 1946||Inactivated|
|8 October 1948||Disbanded|
Col. William J Bell: May
Maj Arthur D Thomas: 10 Dec 1945-unkn.
Syracuse AAB, NY: 1 May
Baer Field, Ind: 9-27 Oct 1944
Biak: Nov 1944
Dulag, Leyte: May 1945
Okinawa: c. 2o Aug 1945
Yokota, Japan: c. 22 Sep 1945-15 Jan 1946
5th Combat Cargo Squadron: 1944-1946
6th Combat Cargo Squadron: 1944-1946
7th Combat Cargo Squadron: 1944-1946
8th Combat Cargo Squadron: 1944-1946
1944-46: 54th Troop Carrier Wing; Fifth Air Force