16th COMBAT CAMERA UNIT



(submitted by Mr. Tony Strotman, compiled from AFHRA records)

The 16th AAFCCU was activated by a restricted letter from the Adjutant General dated 26 April 1943, File AG 320.2 (4-19-43) OB-I-AFRPG-M. By this letter the Commanding Officer, 1st Motion Picture Unit, Culver City, California was directed to furnish the cadre, pursuant to this, the 1st Motion Picture Unit issued General Order No. 4 dated 1 May 1943.

Following classified radio message orders, Advance Cadre left Culver City by train on 20 May 43; Capt. Cline, 1Lts. Nicklin and Wiler, 2Lt. Dale, Sgt. Roberts and Pfc. DeLucenay left by train. Arrived Boca Raton, FL 25 May.

Remaining officers of 16 CCU departed Culver City on 21 July, the remaining enlisted men entrain for Pittsburg, CA on 22nd. All these personnel embarked on USAT "Brazil" on 30 July 43. At Hobart, delayed two days, transferred to USAT "Uruguay" and sailed on 23 August for Perth, Australia, arriving on 29th. On 30th departed Perth to cross Indian Ocean in convoy. Arrived Bombay Harbor on 10 Sep 43.

Took two days to unload. Majority departed Bombay by train for Deolali, four remained behind to supervise transfer and loading of equipment and photographic supplies. Quartered in British rest camp at Deolali, four-man detail caught up on 19th.

5 Sep, ordered to move, entrained and departed Deolali at 0330 hours 6 Sep. They transferred men and equipment from differing gauge railways at Santahar and continued onward to reach Dhubri, five days later (12th). Boarded a river streamer on 13 Sep, starting up the Brahmaputra River at to Pandu. Transferred equipment to another narrow gauge train, rested for remainder of the day then departed for Dikum, Assam. After 27 hours they arrived and were trucked to American air base on the Old Polo Grounds at Chabua.

After a few days to rest and clean up, they boarded C-87 transport the morning of 25 Sep 43 and were flwwn to Kunming, The advanced cadre had established some space. Within 48 hours they Unit had established orderly and supply rooms in the ATC area of the airfield, and three men were off on assignment to photograph American activities in China.

29 April 45, received orders to immediately pack up in preparation to move stations. 6 May, ten men not on detached assignment boarded plane for Fung Wan Shan Airfield, Chengtu, remainder started three-week trip in truck convoy with Unit's equipment and supplies. On 18 May, ordered move was cancelled and administrative personnel returned to Kunming, to be followed by remainder of personnel at Chengtu.

By 30 May the unit knew its next station was to be at Peishiyi, with all HQ 14th Air Force organizations. However, hostel areas were not yet ready and may not be fit for occupation for two months. On 4 June the last of the men who had travelled to Chengtu returned to Kunming. August 5th the Unit received orders to proceed to Peishiyi Air Base, advance cadre of two departed Kunming on the 6th, and nine others departed in motor convoy on 7 Aug. By 22 Aug 16th CCU headquarters and operations were established at Peishiyi.

7 Sep 45, 16th CCU notified they were "in surplus" and to prepare for move to Yangkai on the 8th for processing. At Yangkai, in order to expedite their return to the U.S., men were transferred into the 16th CCU from 24th Statistical Control Unit and 90th Airdrome Squadron, plus handful of individuals.

30 Sep 45, 16th CCU personnel, including the recent additions boarded trucks at Yangkai for travel to Kunming Airfield. Immediately upon arrival they were placed aboard a C-54, and soon departed China for Calcutta, India, where they were quartered at Camp Kanchrapara.

4 Oct 45, men were notified to prepare to board ship, the "General Hodges" on the 5th. The left Calcutta Harbor on October 6th, and reached New York Harbor on 1 Nov. Quickly disembarking, they were taken to the nearby processing center.

The 16th Combat Camera Unit was disbanded on 2 November 1945 at Camp Kilmer, New Jersey.

Unit Commanders: Major Wilfrid M. Cline, May 43 - Feb 45; Major Howard W. Pennebaker, Feb-Aug 45; Captain Thomas Fleming, Aug-Sep 45.


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