Soldiers, Eggs and the ATC: The unsung heroes….

Posted by on February 17, 2009

 Hello again everyone.  It’s been a while since I posted, but it’s honestly been a bit crazy around here.  Sickness, lots of deadlines and just a really busy schedule makes it hard to post like I really want to….so I’m squeezing in this post this morning because it’s such a great topic!

What topic is that you say?  Well, let’s start with this:



 “…Roaring over strange lands and strange seas by day and by night, an unheralded group of flying heroes is taking the fight to America’s enemies all over the globe…They are the pilots and the members of crews of the Air Transport Command…” (2)

 Never as glamorous as the gallant infantry nor as speedy as the the dashing fighter pilots, the ATC remained a vital link in America’s success during World War II.  Brought to life in 1942 by “Hap” Arnold, the two main components of the ATC were the Ferrying Division and the Transport Division.  The first part was responsible for airplane delivery as well as personnel, while the second part was the material delivery arm, responsible for both the United States as well as worldwide support. 



By the end of the war, over 3,000 aircraft were serving in the ATC and the service was deployed in major bases all over the globe, from Europe to the Pacific and even the Middle East.



While we all know about the more famous planes of the war, the ATC had several notable models as well, including the:

C-47 SkyTrain

C-53 (modified SkyTrain)

C-46 Commando

C-54 Skymaster

Also serving in limited numbers was the C-87, a modified B-24 Liberator:



Other aircraft included were the C-61, the C-64, and the C-45!



Flying these aircraft and these routes under wartime conditions was never easy.  Bob Buck, in his work North Star Over My Shoulder, said this:

“…These were not easy flights; they were pioneering, in the sense that we didn’t know all that much about long-range flying over oceans….So the flights were long, some up to twenty hours…”

Listen now, to this adventure in a C-87:

“…The C-87 left the ground, it’s wheels barely missing the earth piles, but dead ahead were the trees…the ship skimmed the top of the branches.  At last, precious altitude, and they began a gradual turn towards the ocean….”

(To The Four Winds, Google Books)

In any event, the ATC achieved worldwide success in it’s goals of supplying both planes and material for the duration of the war.  With thousands of troops and aircraft, the ideals and ideas of air transport pushed even further, setting the stage for the postwar advances that were to come.  Take a look at the links below for more details and great information!

Have a great day!


The Logistics of War (Google Books)

The Army Air Forces in World War II (Google Books)

Flight To Everywhere (Internet Archive Full-Text)

Air Transport Command Map-Newsmap



Air Force Journal of Logistics (Google Books)


(1)LOC Prints & Photographs Division

(2) Popular Mechanics, May 1943

(3)LOC, American Memory Project

(4)LOC Prints & Photographs Division

(5)Flight To Everywhere (Internet Archive Full-Text)

(6)LOC Prints & Photographs Division

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