On the first Sunday in September, 1945, at 1030 Japan time, the Second World War came to a close on the decks of the US Navy battleship USS Missouri.

 General Yoshijiro Umezu, Chief of the Army General Staff, signs the Instrument of Surrender on behalf of Japanese Imperial General Headquarters, on board USS Missouri (BB-63), 2 September 1945. Watching from across the table are Lieutenant General Richard K. Sutherland and General of the Army Douglas MacArthur. Representatives of the Allied powers are behind General MacArthur. Photographed from atop Missouri's 16-inch gun turret # 2. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.   (US Navy)

General Yoshijiro Umezu, Chief of the Army General Staff, signs the Instrument of Surrender on behalf of Japanese Imperial General Headquarters, on board USS Missouri (BB-63), 2 September 1945. Watching from across the table are Lieutenant General Richard K. Sutherland and General of the Army Douglas MacArthur. Representatives of the Allied powers are behind General MacArthur. Photographed from atop Missouri’s 16-inch gun turret # 2. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives. (US Navy)

Over in China, members of the 35th Photo Recon Squadron were scrambling as the instrument of surrender was signed by Japanese representatives on the Missouri. This movement was the result of the Japanese decision to accept the terms of the Potsdam Declaration and end the war.

When the Japanese decision to surrender was first announced on 15 August, the squadron headquarters was in the midst of a move from Chanyi Airfield north of Kunming eastward to Liuchow Airfield north-northeast of Nanning.

Liuchow was a Fourteenth Air Force base for much of the war, but in November, 1944, Imperial Japanese ground forces had captured it as part of their large-scale China offensive. The base was recaptured from the enemy in June, 1945. Once restored to an operational capability, air units were able to move there again, hence the 35PRS change of station.

LIUCHOW AIRSTRIP as it looked when Chinese troops recaptured the airfield. Note large craters in runway.  (US Army, via Iblio.org)

LIUCHOW AIRSTRIP as it looked when Chinese troops recaptured the airfield. Note large craters in runway. (US Army, via Iblio.org)

The Squadron’s move to Liuchow began on 26 July 1945 when two officers, Major Harvey E. Lounsbury, Jr. and Capt. Jack R. Curnutt, left for Liuchow as an advanced echelon. This presaged some other changes, as on 1 August, the squadron was reassigned from Fourteenth Air Force to Tenth Air Force. The two numbered air forces had moved just prior to this date, with Tenth Air Force moving from India to Kunming, China, and Fourteenth Air Force displacing from Kunming to Peishyi, near Chungking.

The squadron’s movement to Liuchow stepped up a notch when Capt. Casimir J. Ostrowski and 12 men left for the new base on 3 August. But the operational picture in the Far East changed drastically by mid-month when the Japanese surrendered. A period of uncertainty took place regarding American forces in China. But on 27 August the squadron received orders to return all personnel to Chanyi.

Another command and control change occurred on 30 August, when the squadron was reassigned from Tenth Air Force back to Fourteenth Air Force, a development which boosted squadron morale, as members were proud of their Flying Tiger affiliation. VJ-Day found personnel still filtering in from other locations, but by 6 September 1945, all personnel from Liuchow and the outlying flights at other airfields had reached Chanyi, eagerly anticipating further orders.
References

Operation Ichi-Go, Wikipedia entry, at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Ichi-Go

Tenth Air Force, Wikipedia entry, at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tenth_Air_Force

Fourteenth Air Force, Wikipedia entry, at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourteenth_Air_Force

“14th Air Force Punching Way Back To China’s ‘Bataan’ – Liuchow,” The China Lantern, 8 June 1945 issue, at: http://cbi-theater-1.home.comcast.net/~cbi-theater-1/lantern/lantern060845.html
Images

Surrender aboard USS Missouri, at: http://www.history.navy.mil/our-collections/photography/us-people/m/macarthur-douglas-in-japan-august-1945-june-1950/80-g-332701.html

Liuchow Airfield, at: http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/USA-CBI-Time/USA-CBI-Time-12.html

Advertisements