A rumor that was first heard at Morotai in May 1945 by the men of the 2nd Emergency Rescue Squadron finally became a reality in September 1945 when on September 17th, Headquarters was moved to Clark Field, Luzon. For all but 50 men (who were left as a rear echelon at Morotai) the move meant the long awaited jump from “jungle living” to “civilianized living”. Over 15 months in the jungles from May 29th, 1944 to September 17, 1945 made the original members of the Squadron wonder if they would know how to react to life among civilians. Of course it was known that no New York City would be found on Luzon but we felt life in the Philippines would take us one step nearer to our homes in the U.S.A.

      But for our departure tragedy struck our Squadron. On September 1st a
B-17 crew consisting of Lieutenant Hannigan, Lieutenant Bliss, Flight Officer Steen, Staff Sergeant Grajeda, Sergeant Kupferschmid, Sergeant Gerbracht, Sergeant Eldridge, Sergeant Paratore and Sergeant Dennison took off from Morotai on an operational flight to Merauke, New Guinea. The plane never reached its destination. It crashed near Okaba, Dutch New Guinea and not one of the crew of nine members escaped death. Just what caused the crash will always remain a mystery. The natives of the area recovered 8 of the 9 bodies and burial services conducted by the natives were held for the men.

      On September 15th 25 Enlisted men with over 85 points, departed on the first leg of the long return trip to the good ole U.S.A. A majority of these men had been with the Squadron when it landed at Oro Bay, New Guinea on 29 May 1944. On September 16th Captain James L. Jarnigan became Squadron Commander relieving Major Gerard F. Wientjes, who was returning to the U.S.A. Captain Jarniagan came to the organization from Headquarters, Thirteenth Air Force.

      On 22 September we lost 35 more enlisted men who had 80 or more points. They were transferred to a replacement depot  and from there would head for their homes in the U.S.A.
And then on 27 September, they took our enlisted men who had 70 or more points and our Officers with over 85 points. This meant a loss of 59 EM and 8 Officers. Soon it seemed, all of the original members of the Squadron would be saying good-bye to the SWPA, for the announcement of the War Department that men with 60 or more points would be eligible for release on November 1st meant that every one of the original members would be in that transfer. Replacements began to arrive during the later part of the month and operations of the Squadron proceeded as usual. Missions were being flown out of Clark Field in full force by the end of the month. Each department was in full swing and "open for business" as usual.

      By the end of the month our area at Clark Field had begun to take shape. The big Mess Hall was just about completed and it promised to be the best the Squadron had seen since its foreign service beginning at Oro Bay. Plans were being formulated for daily improvements of the area and good showers and latrines were taking shape. All this, in addition to good food, promised a bright future for the organization. Yes, as the month drew to a close, all in the Squadron could well say that September had been an eventful month. Those who wondered at Morotai about fitting into the Clark Field picture had appeared on the scene and had readily become a part of the picture. The 2nd Emergency Rescue Squadron was at the end of the month, fully ready to carry on its assigned mission.

      Various members of the squadron were awarded the Air Medal and Oak Leaf Clusters as well as the Presidential Unit Citation during the month. A copy of these orders are attached to this history.

GENERAL ORDERS No. 19941   HQ, Far East Air Forces, 19 September 1945
GENERAL ORDERS No. 20421 HQ, Far East Air Forces, 28 September 1945


Download a printable version of the September 1945 history on pdf
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

This report was copied verbatim from the "Official" Squadron History that was obtained via microfilm from Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama. The text that is in brackets [ ], I added to clarify the information. It is not Official. Some documents are original and some are reproductions.

1 Official Squadron rosters, orders, or documents obtained from the microfilm - Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama.
APO numbers from "Numbered Army & Air Force Post Office Locations" - 7th Edition - by Russ Carter
3 From Individual Aircraft Record Cards - Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama


DEC'43 - APR 15, '44 | APR 16, '44 - JUN'44 | JUL'44 | AUG'44 | SEP'44 | OCT'44 | NOV'44 | DEC'44
JAN'45 | FEB'45 | MAR'45 | APR'45 | MAY'45 | JUN'45 | JUL'45 | AUG'45 | SEP'45 | OCT'45 | NOV'45 | DEC'45
SUMMARY 1944 | 5230th Organizational History |
 History of Air Sea Rescue | "Dumbo" Missions

2nd Emergency Rescue Squadron -  All Rights Reserved