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442nd Troop Carrier Group remained in Europe following World War II

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Michael Morrison
  • 442nd Fighter Wing Historian
The time spent by the 442nd Fighter Wing and its antecedent organizations in an active wartime footing is but a small part of the history of the wing. 

While researching the histories of the wing, I found an article, written by an ad-hoc committee of wing members committed to preserving the wing’ s history, which recorded the activities of the wing in the final days of World War II. 

The following, culled from a retrospective Mohawk article found as a supporting document in the wing’ s 1985 narrative history, details the 442nd Troop Carrier Group’s mission shortly before the focus of the war shifted from fighting to occupation.

"During the final phase of the war in Europe, the 442nd Troop Carrier Group’s primary mission was to fly gasoline and other critical supplies to the ground forces, which were driving deep into the heart of Germany. 

"Forward landing fields, often within range of the enemy lines, were used as delivery points for the 15,068,036 pounds of supplies, which were ferried by the group during the final three months of March, April and May (1945). The peak effort achieved by the Group came in April, when close to 10,000,000 pounds of priority air cargo was carried forward. Airfield Y-34 at Metz, France, was used as the operational base for most of the missions flown during this period. 

"VE-Day on May 8 was followed by significant change in the history of the 442nd Troop Carrier Group. On May 15 it was learned that the organization would remain in Europe as part of the Occupation Forces, with its eventual base designated as R-82 at Munich, Germany. 

"The Group was also transferred from the 50th Troop Carrier Wing to the IX Air Force Service Command, under an arrangement whereby operational commitments were received from Combined Air Transport Operations at SHAEF…

"The type of work accomplished by the 442nd following the victory in Europe consisted chiefly of ferrying displaced persons, allied POWs, and redeployment personnel. In May and June, 45,525 passengers in these categories were lifted by aircraft of the Group."

It is evident by the 442nd Troop Carrier Group’s continued participation in the post-war occupation of Germany that many vital, if not exciting, missions remained. As time would prove, this first taste of war and reconstruction would not be the 442nd’s last experience defending liberty.