Most folks will agree that they appreciate acknowledgment for work well done. It doesn’t have to be constant, but once in a while it is nice to know that one’s work is appreciated.

S/Sgt H. Allen Larsen, 35PRS, later assigned to the 4th Photographic Technical Unit at Kunming, recently shared an example of this positive feedback from higher headquarters. In this case, at least for American forces in China, it didn’t get any higher than the Office of the Commanding General, United States Forces China Theater, Lieutenant General Albert C. Wedemeyer.

Lieutenant General Albert C. Wedemeyer, Commander of US Forces, China Theater (Courtesy Ledo Road website)

Lieutenant General Albert C. Wedemeyer, Commander of US Forces, China Theater (Courtesy Ledo Road website)

A letter from his office, with his signature, dated 25 April 1945, expressed the general’s appreciation for two short notice air photography surveys produced by the photo reconnaissance elements of 14th Air Force, Chennault’s Flying Tigers. Further, he wished a copy of his commendation to be given to all men assigned to the project.

Major General Claire L. Chennault, Commander, 14th Air Force, known as the Flying Tigers. (Courtesy Wikipedia)

Major General Claire L. Chennault, Commander, 14th Air Force, known as the Flying Tigers. (Courtesy Wikipedia)

Major General Chennault in turn indorsed this kudo from Lt. Gen. Wedemeyer, passing along his commendation for the speed and skill the men showed in preparation of these aerial photographic studies. This specific example, which you can read in its entirety, is aimed at the 4th Photo Tech Unit specifically, though the photos the PTU used to create these surveys came from the Photo Reconnaissance squadrons in China, specifically the 35PRS and the 21PRS. (Although one might also say that since many of the men in the 4th PTU came from the 35PRS, the Redhawks are kind of a “godfather” of the 4th PTU.)  Read the commendation letter at link immediately below:

Wedemeyer Kudo to Photo Recon

Generally speaking, the 35PRS received recognition for missions flown in northern and eastern China, along the China coast, Hainan Island and French-Indochina. In the case of these two aerial photo surveys which Gen. Wedemeyer lauded, they were for areas from “Cork Point to Mirs Bay” and Hong Kong to Hainan Strait.”

Cork Point is possibly on the China coast at the southern end of the Taiwan Strait at approximately 24 02 N, 117 54 E. Mirs Bay is about 260 miles to the southwest of Cork Point; Mirs Bay is just northeast of Hong Kong (incidentally, Admiral George Dewey’s Asiatic Squadron was briefly based at Mirs Bay just prior to sailing to engage in the Battle of Manila Bay during the Spanish-American War in 1898). Hong Kong is well known, and the Hainan Strait lies about 300 miles to the southwest of Hong Kong. From this brief description one can see that these two surveys covered a lot of real estate!

Short of detailed examination of the missions flown by the squadron, one can assess that the 35PRS at least covered the Hainan Strait area of these surveys, if not portions of the other areas. The 4th PTU kudo was well earned, and members like Allen Larsen do not hesitate to recognize the “Photo Joes” who went out and got the pictures they used to make the detailed surveys to satisfy critical information requirements.

Beneath the big sky, a 35PRS F-5E returns home after a photo reconnaissance mission from a China base (Courtesy John Brasko, Jr.)

Beneath the big sky, a 35PRS F-5E returns home after a photo reconnaissance mission from a China base (Courtesy John Brasko, Jr.)

With regard to what these surveys may have been used for by higher headquarters, it is possible they were used in the China theater for the planning of future operations against Imperial Japan. They may been used by peer command’s such as the Pacific Ocean Area commanded by Admiral Nimitz, or the South West Pacific Area commanded by General MacArthur. These surveys may even have been used at higher levels, such as at the Joint Chiefs of Staff and service departments as they developed their grand strategies to bring the war in the Pacific to a conclusion.

All of this is a long way of saying, it’s nice to be thanked once in a while!
References

Mirs Bay, Wikipedia entry at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirs_Bay

Cork Point, an elusive place these days, references found in old navigation document, The China sea directory. Vol. 3. 2nd,3rd ed. [With] Suppl. [and] Hydrogr. notice, Issue 1, Admiralty hydrogr. Dept., 1884, at: http://books.google.com/books?id=DfoGAAAAQAAJ&dq=cork+point,+china+sea&source=gbs_navlinks_s

General Wedemeyer picture on Ledo Road website at:http://ledoroad.home.comcast.net/~ledoroad/Ledo_Builders_Wedemeyer_Images.html

General Wedemeyer, Wikipedia entry at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Coady_Wedemeyer

General Chennault, Wikipedia entry at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claire_Lee_Chennault

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