While the Officer and Enlisted Men of the 35PRS rode the wartime rails from Will Rogers Field, Oklahoma, under Special Orders 96, some other members of the squadron on detached duty prepared to join them from Hunter Field, Georgia.

Soldiers aboard a troop train during World War II (Courtesy B&O Railroad Museum)

Soldiers aboard a troop train during World War II (Courtesy B&O Railroad Museum)

 

HEADQUARTERS THIRD AIR FORCE STAGING WING
Office of the Commanding Officer

SPECIAL ORDERS)                                                      Hunter Field, Ga.
:                                                                                          11 April 1944
NO.                    102)                E X T R A C T

7. Following pers ***** is asgd Shipment 9522-K and WP fr Hunter Field, Ga, by rail to Camp Patrick Henry, Va (Lee Hall, Va, detraining point) so as to arrive during daylight hours 13 Apr 44 for temp duty pending further dispatch to overseas destination through Hampton Roads Port of embarkation.

And from Annex “A” to this order the following excerpts:

The information contained in this annex constitutes an integral part of the attached Special Order.
(1) This is a PERMANENT change of station to an overseas destination.
(2) Personnel will not be accompanied by dependents, neither will dependents join personnel at any assembly point, staging area, airport of embarkation, or port of embarkation. Travel by privately owned conveyance is not authorized.
(3) Except as may be necessary in the transaction of official business, individuals are prohibited from discussing their overseas destination even by shipment designator. Each O and EM will be indoctrinated in matters of security and censorship of all activities of the personnel under movement orders and will be prohibited from filing safe arrival telegrams with commercial agencies while enroute and at domestic or overseas destinations.

Annex “B” listed the rank, MOS, name, service number and branch of the personnel assigned to Shipment 9522-K. The list included 35PRS Commander, Major Albert J. McChristy, the Operations Officer, Capt. Vernon E. Black, and 16 “1056s,” for a total of 18 squadron personnel.

To understand what a “1056” is, one has to understand what the Army acronym MOS stands for, which is Military Occupational Specialty (MOS). There were Officer and Enlisted Man MOS, and as the pilots were officers and the MOS was 1056, this equates to “Pilot, Two-Engine Fighter.” And that was how the pilots of the squadron’s Lockheed F-5 Photo Lightning aircraft were classified by the Army.

But although every Army Officer and Enlisted Man in the squadron had an MOS, they were also human beings made of flesh and blood. And four of the “1056s” who embarked for Camp Patrick Henry and onward for overseas duty on this day in 1944 made the ultimate sacrifice for our country thousands of miles from home. Their names are: Merroll J. Berringer, William W. Deen III, Franklin H. McKinney and Kenneth E. Shafer.

Hunter Field (Savannah Army Air Base), was an important base in the Army Air Forces buildup to World War II.  It was also the birthplace of the famed 8th Air Force.  From March, 1943 to 1945, Hunter Field processed 9000 aircraft and 70,000 crewmen for deployment overseas.  (Courtesy U.S. Army, Fort Stewart, Directorate of Public Works)

Hunter Field (Savannah Army Air Base), was an important base in the Army Air Forces buildup to World War II. It was also the birthplace of the famed 8th Air Force. From March, 1943 to 1945, Hunter Field processed 9000 aircraft and 70,000 crewmen for deployment overseas. (Courtesy U.S. Army, Fort Stewart, Directorate of Public Works)

But on this day, the pilots of the 35PRS made a beeline from Georgia for Virginia, to join up with the rest of the squadron for the journey overseas and do their part for the war effort.

References

SO #102, 11 April 1944, HQ Third Air Force Staging Wing (Courtesy Col. Sterling E. Barrow, USAF (Ret), a “1056” of the 35PRS)

Hunter Army Airfield: A History, U.S. Army, Fort Stewart Directorate of Public Works, November, 2006, accessed at: http://www.stewart.army.mil/dpw/docs/HAAFHistoryBrochure11-06.pdf

Army MOS Codes – WWII Era. Incomplete, but has some more detailed descriptions of MOS beyond title.
http://militaryyearbookproject.com/references/old-mos-codes/wwii-era/army-wwii-codes/army-mos-codes-wwii-era#zero

Military Occupation Specialty Codes (MOS), listing of numbers and corresponding titles at:
http://www.coulthart.com/134/mos.htm

A similar listing of MOS titles and some sorting options is at the 380th Bomb Group (H) page, WE WENT TO WAR, PART IV: A LISTING OF MOS/SSNs” at: http://380th.org/HISTORY/partIV-fore.html

B&) Railroad Museum website, at:                                  http://www.eduborail.org/Image-1-MHT-8.aspx

Advertisements