By R.D. van Wagner
The 1st Air Commandos were sired by General of the Army Henry H. “Hap” Arnold and brought to life by the imagination of two men, Lieutenant Colonel Philip G. Cochran and Lieutenant Colonel John R. Alison. In gathering men of character and tenacity, these two visionaries molded a unit which had to overcome orthodox military minds, paralyzing fear, and Burma’s impregnable terrain before taking the fight to the Japanese. With a focus on the might and flexibility of air power, Cochran and Alison constructed an experimental unit which cut across the structured lines of conventional organizations. Forming an air arsenal which was totally unique in its composition and application, they combined the firepower of P-51A fighters and B-25H bombers with the logistical tentacles of C-47 transports, CG-4A gliders, L-5 and L-1 light planes, and UC-64 bush planes to reach far behind Japanese lines. The list of firsts is noteworthy – first airborne glider “snatch” in combat, first double tow of gliders into a combat arena, first helicopter operations, first helicopter combat rescue, first gunship employment, and first rockets fired against an enemy. Unorthodox and eclectic, the 1st Air Commandos serve as a model for conventional and special operations today.
Size: 8.5in x 11.0in | Pages: 176
| over 200 b/w photos, maps