October 1983 Issue
Operations of the 24th Combat Mapping Squadron during the first half of 1945 consisted chiefly of mapping a large section of Central and Southern Burma, and parts of Thailand and French Indo-China, as well as finishing up operations in China. March was the outstanding month; in fact, a record month for the squadron from the standpoint of photo miles flown. A total of 22,234 miles of flight lines were flown in March, 11,000 being chalked up in the first ten days alone. In all, more than 455,000 square miles of territory were mapped in the six-month period, all but 18,000 square miles being in Burma, Thailand and Indo-China. On one day in January, the most successful day of operations from the Home Base, five planes took off from Gushkara and flew 2,300 photo miles over Burma, encountering no enemy action. Burma operations were carried on for the most part from two forward bases, one at Tulihal and the other at Cox's Bazaar, both in India. It was from these bases in March that 333,310 square miles were mapped. On four occasions, enemy flak was run into over Jap-held Mandalay-Lashio Railroad, and one of the planes was slightly damaged by a shell fragment. One plane, after taking off from the base at Cox's Bazaar, crashed into the Bay of Bengal. Only four of the nine crew members escaped. In winding up six months of operations in China, 2,740 photo miles were flown early in 1945. More than 435,000 square miles had been mapped in China, where the 24th made history at both of its forward bases, Liuchow and Chanyi. For these operations, under what was described in a commendation from Maj. Gen. George E. Stratemeyer as "More than hazardous conditions of battle," the squadron was awarded a battle participation star. With the return of the planes from China in February, the squadron was all together once more for the first time since the Ground Echelon had left Will Rogers Field at Oklahoma City in November 1943. At a squadron review on 17 February, nearly 100 medals - a record number for a photo squadron in the India-Burma and China Theaters - were presented to flying personnel of the 24th. Included were six Distinguished Flying Crosses. Additional awards of Air Medals, clusters and DFC's brought the total to more than 325. Soldier's Medals were received by two officers and an enlisted man for heroism in extinguishing a fire aboard a burning plane, and by four other enlisted men for putting out a refueling truck fire. Among the commendations received by the squadron - now designated the "Wily Wolves" - was one for the excellent photographs made of the Burma coast in the Akyab area at both high and low tides. The squadron changed commanding officers on 23 March, when Major John M. Hubers, formerly Operations officer, succeeded Lt. Col. Glendon N. King, who was transferred to the 8th Photo Group, Rcn., to become Group Executive Officer. Lab personnel gave two weeks of instruction to a group of officers of the Chinese National Army on mapping technique, and a training program for both air and ground personnel of the squadron was launched in April, after the completion of current missions. The 24th observed its first anniversary at its base on 5 January 1945, and reached the 18-month mark of overseas service the 17th of May. Rotation of crew members began in March when 13 officers and 26 enlisted men left for what the War Department chooses to call the "Zone of the Interior."
With the 24th Combat Mapping Squadron