Air Transport Command (United States Air Force)
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (January 2013)|
|Air Transport Command|
Emblem of Air Transport Command
|Branch||United States Army Air Forces|
|Role||Worldwide transport of aircraft, personnel and cargo|
|Size||11,000 personnel at creation (June 1942)
30,518 personnel; 346 transports (December 1942)
209,201 personnel; 3,224 transports (August 1945)
|Engagements||World War II
The Hump Airlift
The Air Transport Command (ATC) is an inactive United States Air Force formation. Its mission as a global instrument of the United States Army Air Forces was to meet the urgent demand for the speedy reinforcement of the United States' military bases worldwide during World War II, using an air supply system to supplement surface transport. ATC also operated a worldwide air transportation system for military personnel. Air Transport Command was the precursor to what became the Military Air Transport Service in 1948, renamed the Military Airlift Command in 1966 and today's Air Mobility Command.
- 1 History
- 2 Air Transport Command
- 3 Post-World War II era
- 4 Organization of Command
- 5 Major stations
- 6 See also
- 7 Notes
- 8 References
- 9 External links
With the passage of the Lend-Lease Act in March 1941, a method was necessary to safely send aircraft to the United Kingdom, and later to the Soviet Union. In establishing overseas lines of supply, the United States had of necessity to rely most heavily on water transport. There was no other possible means of moving the bulk of tonnage required.
Britain pointed the way towards developing long-range strategic air supply routes from North America to the UK and onward to bases in the Middle East. In November 1940, a Canadian civilian agency under contract to the British government began ferrying US-built bombers across the North Atlantic from Newfoundland (Canada) to Prestwick (near Glasgow) (Scotland / UK). This was the first step in the spanning of the North Atlantic with an aerial supply bridge. The hazardous route across the North Atlantic constituted, however, only one segment of a long supply line that reached from the aircraft factories of Southern California –and other regions of the USA– to the airfields of Britain. The bombers, purchased for cash from US manufacturers prior to the passage of the Lend-Lease Act, were first ferried by factory-employed pilots from California to Montreal (Canada). There they were turned over to the civilian pilots of the British Atlantic ferrying organization for the flight to Scotland. By ferrying these bombers under their own power, vital shipping space was saved and factory-to-combat deliver time was cut from approximately three months to less than ten days.
Air Corps Ferrying Command
The British ferrying service was well under way when the Lend-Lease Act became law on 11 March 1941. With the North Atlantic sea lanes vulnerable to German U-boat attacks, General Henry H. Arnold established the Air Corps Ferrying Command on May 29, 1941, to deliver lend-lease aircraft overseas from the USA. Commanded and organized by Brig. Gen. Robert Olds, the mission of the new command was, first, "to move aircraft by air from factories to such terminals as may be designated by the Chief of the Air Corps," and second, "to maintain such special air ferry services [i.e., air transport services] as may be required to meet specific situations." These were broad powers, and working within them, the Ferrying Command eventually expanded far beyond the limits imagined by those responsible for its creation. The second assignment provided specific authority for the establishment of a military air transport service over the North Atlantic between the USA and the United Kingdom, a project which had been under consideration for some months.
Ferrying Command relied initially on two-engine and single-engine pilots detailed from the Air Force Combat Command (formerly GHQ Air Force) for thirty- to ninety-day tours of temporary duty. More highly qualified four-engine pilots of the Combat Command, as well as navigators and other crew members, were borrowed to fly the trans-Atlantic transport shuttle. In the summer and fall of 1941, approximately 200 pilots were trained at Barksdale Field, Louisiana, especially for ferrying duty, although they were assigned to the Combat Command and served, as did the others, on temporary-duty status with the Ferrying Command.
During the fall of 1941, the Ferry Command had assumed an additional responsibility for delivery of some of the AAF's own planes from factory to stations within the United States. After the Pearl Harbor Attack, the ferry of aircraft within the USA quickly became a major function of the Command. From the domestic ferrying assignment it was only a step to the Command taking over the responsibility for delivering or supervising the delivery of AAF and lend-lease aircraft to theaters of war scattered across the world.
After the USA entered World War II, it became clear that the fastest and most economical method of moving combat aircraft from the factory to the front, which might be 10,000 to 15,000 miles away due to the worldwide nature of the conflict, was to ferry them under their own power. Also, to keep aircraft at their highest efficiency, an air transport system for the rapid delivery of spare engines and parts, auxiliary equipment of all kinds, flight crews, and ground personnel became an absolute necessity, and supplementary to the traditional and considerably slower method of surface transport.
During 1941, four major air routes were developed. These were:
- The North Atlantic route, earliest to be developed for military purposes, provided an air connection between the Eastern USA and Britain, while
- The Northwest Staging Route connected mainland USA with Alaska and the Soviet Union via Siberia.
- The South Pacific air ferry route in World War II connected the USA via Hawaii with Australia and islands of the Western Pacific.
- The South Atlantic air ferry route linked the USA with West Africa via Natal, Brazil, the Middle East, India and China.
Secondary routes between Australia and India, and between Australia and the Philippines were also developed.
Later, a Mid-Atlantic route was developed via the Azores to link the USA with Europe and North Africa. While this route was not opened until late 1943, the USA and Britain were at all times prepared to occupy the Azores, had the security and future use of this route been threatened by the Axis Powers.
By early 1942, it had become clear that the Philippines could not be held, principally because the Japanese had cut the only sea and air lanes over which available reinforcements, such as they were, could reach General MacArthur. By the end of February 1942, the air connection between India and Australia was also cut due to the advancement of Japanese forces into Southeast Asia, although some heavy bombers and other reinforcements from the USA were able to get through before the Japanese captured Singapore and overran the Netherlands East Indies. Fortunately for the Allies, the five remaining major routes were held.
During 1942, the South Atlantic route to West Africa and beyond assumed an importance far surpassing that of any of the others. In contrast to the slowness of the North Atlantic, South Pacific and Alaskan routes, the South Atlantic airway immediately came to support a heavy volume of air traffic that, because only four former Pan American Clippers, two TWA Stratoliners, and 11 converted B-24 Liberators were capable of hauling cargo on the trans-Atlantic leg during the first six months of 1942, strained its facilities and personnel to the limit. Lend-lease aircraft and supplies were sent over the route to the British forces in Egypt and the Russians through Persia, with a smaller volume going via India into China. The earliest heavy bomber reinforcements sent to the US Air Forces in the Southwest Pacific following the Japanese attack traveled over the route, prepared, briefed, and supported by the Ferrying Command, as were most of the aircraft and crews that would form the Ninth Air Force in the Middle East and the Tenth Air Force in India. Fighter aircraft for the Ninth and Tenth Air Forces and for the American Volunteer Group in China were shipped by water to the west coast of Africa where they were assembled and flown overland to their destinations. And, while ferrying operations were increasing steadily, the air transport service in support of both ferrying and combat operations was enlarged and extended, albeit in piecemeal fashion.
During the thirteen months of its existence, Ferrying Command had grown from an original staff of two officers and a civilian secretary to a strength of over 11,000 officers and enlisted men, in addition to its civilian employees and those of the civil air carriers operating under its supervision. As the name implies, ferrying had been its main job, and during the period its pilots ferried 13,595 aircraft to final domestic destinations, while 632 planes were delivered to foreign destinations under the supervision of the command.
Air Transport Command
Change of roles
Air transport services conducted by the Ferrying Command (before the Pearl Harbor attack), were first to Britain beginning July 1941 and later in October to Cairo. They were like courier services and were secondary to the major job for which the command was created, that of ferrying aircraft from US factories to Canada and onward to Britain or to US ports of embarkation. Probably no one then foresaw that a network of long-range transport routes, supporting the daily movement of hundreds of tons of supplies and thousands of passengers, would spread across the world and that daily flights to such remote areas as the Aleutians, Australia, the Philippines, India, and China would become commonplace.
Indeed, a limited view of the role of long-range air transportation in World War II persisted for some months after the USA became an active belligerent. Not until the late spring and summer of 1942, when large backlogs of supplies awaiting air shipment to the front began to build up at ports of embarkation and when it became clear that almost unlimited demands would be made in future for the rapid movement of urgently needed materials and personnel, did the idea of air transport as a major instrument of logistics begin to take shape.
In order to operate a worldwide air logistics system, maximum use would have to be made of the planes,men, and facilities of the civil airlines. The Ferrying Command was in no position to expand its own military transport services. The ferrying activity continued to increase as more aircraft were turned out by the factories, as new combat units became ready for deployment overseas, and as the need for battle replacements grew more and more emphasis came to be placed on the air transportation function. Air transport had passed beyond the stage of being primarily a courier service or an adjunct of ferrying; it was well on the way to becoming a major instrument of logistical support to combat operations on the ground and in the air.
The civil airlines, in addition to having the available flying personnel and physical equipment, had another equally valuable though less tangible asset. They had the wealth of practical knowledge in conducting scheduled air transport operations, the administrative competence, and the mastery of techniques that came from long experience.
As a first step in mobilizing the resources of the airlines, President Roosevelt had signed an executive order on 13 December 1941 directing the Secretary of War to take possession of any portion of any civil aviation system required in the war effort. In addition, a letter sent by the Chairman of the Civil Aeronautics Board, Larry M. Pogue, to the White House advocated the establishment of a civilian air transportation service to operate airline contracts for the military. Pogue advocated a new organization answering directly to the White House. In response, General Henry H. Arnold proposed that the United States Army Air Forces control and direct such a service, primarily composed of pilots and aircraft contracted from U.S. civilian airlines.
Creation of Air Transport Command
The Air Service Command (before October 1941 known as the Air Corps Maintenance Command) had been operating a well-established air transport service within the continental united States for months before the Ferrying Command was established, using the 50th Transport Wing to move technical cargo between air depots and subdepots. In the first half of 1941 the ASC moved more cargo domestically than all of the civilian carriers in the United States. Several months after the war began, demands for materiel forced ASC to use civilian carriers on a contract basis, creating a Contract Air Cargo Division managed by former airline executives, who established routes outside the United States to Alaska, the upper Atlantic, and Central America. Many of their routes and services duplicated those of the Ferrying Command, and expedient attempts by Headquarters AAF to establish a clear division of authority were unsuccessful, particularly after the 50th Transport Wing was transferred at the end of April 1942 to a newly created organization, the "Air Transport Command." This left ASC with only its civilian carriers, of which considerable friction existed with Ferrying Command.
Arnold saw the need for unified control of air transport and bolstered by Pogue's memorandum, which recommended that at the least all Army air transportation should be unified under one command, submitted the issue to a board of officers with instructions to consider the whole problem. Before the board could make an official report, however, Arnold made a decision on 20 June 1942 which embodied substantially Pogue's second recommendation. The Ferrying Command was renamed the Air Transport Command and the organization already bearing that name became the I Troop Carrier Command to reflect its mission of training crews and units for the combat lifts of parachute and airborne infantry.
A change of command at AAF Ferrying Command took place in the meantime. In March 1942 General Olds was stricken with a heart attack, and was replaced by Colonel (eventually Lieutenant General) Harold L. George, who remained as ATC's wartime commander.
Effective 1 July 1942, the new Air Transport Command was given what the official history of the AAF described as "sweeping responsibilities":
- The ferrying of all aircraft within the United States and to destinations outside of the United States as directed by the Commanding General, Army Air Forces.
- The control, operation, and maintenance of establishments and facilities on air routes outside of the United States.
- The transportation by air of personnel, materiel, and mail for all War Department agencies, except those served by Troop Carrier units.
In addition, before the end of June plans by the Army's Services of Supply to create its own air transportation service were halted when the SOS agreed to transfer to the AAF all of its air transportation responsibilities and its responsibility for setting priorities for travel by military and commercial aircraft. The Contract Air Cargo Division was terminated by ASC and its personnel transferred to ATC to end the division of responsibility.
The new Air Transport Command was initially only a semi-military organization, with most of its leadership coming from the ranks of airline executives who accepted direct USAAF commissions, usually as colonels or majors. Until 1944, ATC also drew heavily on the airlines for manpower, using experienced civil airline pilots, radio operators, and other aircrew personnel from the airlines to crew transports that had been purchased by the Army from civilian sources. ATC's original mission was ferrying airplanes to overseas destinations, a mission that had been originally performed by the AAF Ferrying Command that preceded it and from which ATC headquarters military personnel were drawn. As the war progressed, ATC's air transport division became more and more involved in transporting military personnel and cargo overseas.
At the time, it was redesignated and given its enlarged mission, the command was already in the process of reorganization.
The newly designated Air Transport Command consisted of two main divisions, the Ferrying Division and the Air Transportation Division, corresponding roughly to the two primary responsibilities of the command. The ATC Ferrying Division was responsible for the transfer of combat aircraft to overseas bases, and their replacement. Thousands of bombers, transport aircraft and fighters flown by combat crews on their way overseas were under ATC control during these movements. Ferrying of combat aircraft by ATC personnel became a major ATC mission to the end of the war as vast numbers of replacement aircraft had to be transferred from factory to combat theaters. The command ferried 30,000 aircraft in 1942, 72,000 in 1943, 108,000 in 1944, and 57,000 in 1945, for a total of more than 267,000 in all.
In addition, five major field organizations, known as wings, were constituted on 12 June 1942 and activated at various dates during the latter part of the month. Initially, they were known as the 23d through the 27th AAF Ferrying wings, but the command quickly requested and secured a change to more descriptive geographical names. On 5 July, they were redesignated the North Atlantic, Caribbean, South Atlantic, Africa-Middle East, and South Pacific wings. Over the course of the war, additional wings and divisions were created as the scope and complexity of the command increased.
More than 130 two- and four-engine transport aircraft had become available to the command by 1 July 1942, of which 10 or 15 were being flown by military crews and the remainder by the contract carriers. A large number of these had come from new production, some were acquired from Air Service Command, but others became available as the result of a presidential order of 6 May directing the Secretary of War to commandeer all transports of the DC-3 type operated by the domestic air carriers in excess of 200 and to refit them "for such transport services as will most effectively serve the war purposes of the United Nations." The transfer of the aircraft from the airlines to the War Department made it possible for the former also to release additional crews for employment in military operations.
In the beginning of ATC operations, the Douglas C-47 Skytrain was the primary transport plane in use. At first, the C-47 was often fitted with long-range tanks for long flights, but as larger multi-engine aircraft became available, the C-47 was redeployed for use on shorter routes.
In 1942, the Consolidated C-87 Liberator Express, a transport version of the B-24 Liberator bomber, was adopted for service with the ATC. The C-87 had a much longer range and higher service ceiling, making it a better choice for over-water transport flights, but its hurried conversion from a dedicated bomber design resulted in inevitable compromises that affected its reliability in service.
In 1942, at the personal request of General 'Hap' Arnold, Colonel Cyrus R. Smith, formerly president and director of American Airlines, was commissioned a colonel in ATC and made its executive officer, thereafter assuming the positions of Chief of Staff and Deputy Commander. During his tenure as Chief of Staff, Colonel Smith was largely responsible for ATC's considerable expansion in operations. In the same year, Col. Smith proposed that ATC assume responsibility for the Hump airlift operation, as he believed that ATC would do a better job of transporting cargo to China. However, due to a lack of navigation aids, personnel, suitable airfields and maintenance facilities, and above all, sufficient muli-engine transport aircraft suited to the difficult flight conditions, tonnage levels flown to China over The Hump did not appreciably increase until late 1943.
As the war progressed, ATC received improved aircraft types for transport duty, including the Curtiss-Wright C-46 Commando and the Douglas C-54 Skymaster, a militarized transport version of the DC-4. The C-54 in particular took over the C-87's duties in long-distance, over-water transport flights. In the China-India theater, the C-54, with nearly five times the load capacity of the C-47 and twice that of the C-46, significantly increased cargo tonnage levels flown to China, becoming the primary lifter for Hump operations. Even though the C-54 had a service ceiling of only 12,000 feet, plans were made to replace all the C-87s in the Hump operation with Skymasters by October 1945, and have 540 assigned by April 1946 to bring load capability up to 86,000 tons monthly.
ATC transports were used primarily to deliver high value cargo and important personnel to overseas destinations. For example, ATC C-87s delivered new engines to Libya to replace those worn out on the B-24s used on the famous low-level mission against Ploesti. An emergency shipment of artillery fuzes helped win the battle of Tobruk. When the first B-29s were sent to China, advance party personnel and additional combat crew personnel proceeded the bombers aboard ATC C-87s. On return flights, C-87s and C-54s brought back combat crews who had finished their combat tours and were returning to the States. At the end of the war, ATC C-54s transported 11th Airborne Division personnel from Okinawa to Japan.
While little known the Caribbean Division And South Atlantic Divisions of ATC also operated its own small navy for rescue of down pilots comprising converted submarine chasers and Catalina seaplanes. While not limited to rescuing ATC pilots the main role was that of insuring a rescue of ATC pilots who were downed on the first leg of the southern trans-Atlantic route to Europe and SE Asia. In areas where ATC aircraft flew where there were a possibility of hostile aircraft or ships, other services provided air to sea rescue. ATC rescue services operated only in areas where there was nil chance of armed encounter.
By the end of World War II, Air Transport Command had developed into a huge military air carrier with a worldwide route pattern. From an organization of approximately 37,000 personnel (6,500 of them overseas) in December 1942, it numbered nearly 210,000 in August 1945, the bulk stationed overseas (150,000). By the end of the war the command had 3,090 major transports assigned. Although in the first half of 1944 the C-46 appeared to be headed for ascendancy as the predominant transport type of the command, and ATC more than tripled its inventory of C-54s in the final year of the war to 839 transports, the C-47 remained the workhorse transport of ATC throughout the conflict, never exceeded in total by any other type. Its numbers remained steady throughout 1942 and 1943, but increased dramatically in the last 18 months of the war, rising to a total of 1,341.
Routes had been established to places where aircraft had been unheard of before the war. Airline personnel who had never left the United States before joining the military had become veterans of long over-water flights to the remotest regions of earth. In its final full month of wartime operations (July 1945), ATC carried 275,000 passengers (50,000 domestically) and 100,000 tons of mail and cargo, 96.7% of it overseas.
Post-World War II era
With the end of the war, the Air Transport Command found itself in limbo. Senior USAAF authorities considered ATC to be a wartime necessity that was no longer needed, and expected its civilian personnel, including former airline pilots, to return to their peacetime occupations. Senior ATC officers, on the other hand, thought that ATC should be developed into a national government operated airline, an idea that was soundly opposed by the airline industry. While the war had firmly established the necessity of a troop carrier mission, most military officers believed the role performed by ATC should be provided by contract carriers.
When the United States Air Force was established as a separate service in 1947, the Air Transport Command was not established as one of its missions. The ATC commander and his staff took it upon themselves to convince the new civilian leadership of the newly created Department of Defense (DOD) (and Secretaries of the Army and Air Force) that ATC had a mission. They seized upon testimony by former Troop Carrier Command commander Major General Paul Williams that the Air Force should have a long-range troop deployment capability, and began advocating that ATC transports could be used to deploy troops. Williams had been pressing for the development of a long-range troop carrier airplane when he made his statement.
The DOD believed it should have its own air transport service and decided that ATC should become the Military Air Transport Service, supported by the USAF, even though not listed as a formal military mission. When the ATC commander wrote a mission statement for the proposed new command he inserted "deployment of troops" as a mission, although the change had never been formally requested, the Secretary of the Air Force either allowed it to remain or overlooked it when signing the mission statement.
- Established as Air Corps Ferrying Command on May 29, 1941.
- Re-designated: Army Air Forces Ferry Command on March 9, 1942
- Re-designated: Army Air Forces Ferrying Command on March 31, 1942
- Re-designated: Air Transport Command on July 1, 1942
- Established and activated as Military Air Transport Service on 1 June 1948
- Mission and operational control of Air Transport Command, established on 29 May 1941, consolidated into organization same date
- Air Transport command was discontinued and inactivated on the same date.
Organization of Command
Established 1 July 1942, to replace the Domestic Wing, Army Air Forces Ferrying Command, established 28 December 1941 as the Domestic Division ACFC and re-designated Domestic Wing, AAFFC on 26 February 1942.
- Northeast Sector (re-designated 2d Ferrying Group)
- Detroit Sector (re-designated 3d Ferrying Group)
- Nashville Sector (re-designated 4th Ferrying Group)
- Midwest Sector (re-designated 5th Ferrying Group)
- California Sector (re-designated 6th Ferrying Group)
- Northwest Sector (re-designated 7th Ferrying Group)
The division was reorganized 22 October 1944 into three component ferrying wings (East, West, and Central). The Ferrying Division absorbed the Domestic Transportation Wing (created March 1943 for military passenger and cargo service within the ZI) on 27 November 1944.
Operated primarily by civilian contract pilots, including the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP), the Ferrying Division moved aircraft and parts from manufacturing plants in the United States to and between various training bases within the USA and to Ports of Embarkation for overseas shipment (Hamilton Field, California; Morrison Field, Florida; Presque Isle Field, Maine; and Anchorage-Elmendorf Field, Alaska). From the Ports of Embarkation, aircraft were flown to final overseas destinations primarily by contracted civil airline pilots or former airline pilots serving in the AAF. The ATC Ferrying Division was also responsible for the preparation for and movement of combat units overseas and for the movement of replacement aircraft and crews, who were temporarily assigned to the ATC Ferrying Division from the time they left the United States until they arrived at their assigned theater.
Air Transportation Division
Established 28 December 1941 as the Foreign Division, ACFC; re-designated Foreign Wing, AAFFC on 26 February 1942; re-designated Air Transportation Division 1 July 1942. The division was dissolved in March 1943 and its wings placed directly under command of Headquarters ATC.
- North America
- Alaskan Wing (re-designated Alaskan Division on 1 July 1944)
- Established October 1942. Supported Eleventh Air Force in Alaska and the Aleutian Islands. Controlled the Alaska-Siberia Route (ALSIB) to transport airborne lend-lease aircraft and support material from the Minneapolis, Minnesota and Great Falls, Montana via Central and Western Canada to Ladd Field, Alaska, where Soviet pilots collected the aircraft to fly them westward to air bases in Siberia. Also operated transport route into Northern Canada.
- Central/South America
- Caribbean Wing (established as 27th AAF Ferrying Wing 19 June 1942; re-designated Caribbean Wing on 1 July 1942; re-designated Caribbean Division on 1 July 1944)
- Transported aircraft, personnel and cargo from South Florida airfields (Morrison Field) to Waller Field, Trinidad over the South Atlantic Route. During World War II, over 16,000 tactical and cargo aircraft transited this route, carrying over 100,000 crew personnel and passengers. Also operated transport routes to Havana, (Cuba); Nassau, (Bahamas); and Sixth Air Force Caribbean lend-lease bases, and to Panama and Puerto Rico. Also operated an aircraft ferrying route between Brownsville, Texas and the Panama Canal Zone via Mexico and Central America. From Howard Field, Panama Canal Zone, it flew a route to the Galapagos Islands and along the west coast of South America to Salinas, Ecuador and to Talara, (Peru).
- South Atlantic Wing (established as 24th AAF Ferrying Wing 27 June 1942; re-designated South Atlantic Wing on 1 July 1942; re-designated South Atlantic Division on 1 July 1944)
- Responsible for operating the South Atlantic Route from Waller Field, Trinidad along the north-eastern coast of South America to Natal (Brazil) and from there across the South Atlantic Ocean via Ascension Island to West Africa. It also operated routes along the eastern coast of Brazil to Montevideo (Uruguay) and to Asuncion (Paraguay).
- North Atlantic Wing (established as 23d AAF Ferrying Wing 20 June 1942; re-designated North Atlantic Wing on 1 July 1942; re-designated North Atlantic Division on 1 July 1944)
- Operated North Atlantic Route for aircraft, personnel and cargo from Presque Isle AAF to Prestwick Airport, Scotland, via Greenland, Iceland or directly from Nova Scotia. Operated transport routes into Labrador, Northeast Canada and to bases in Greenland. In 1945, it operated a transport route from Iceland to Oslo, Norway, and to Stockholm, Sweden.
- European Wing (re-designated European Division on 1 July 1944)
- Created in July 1941 at Prestwick Airport (Scotland) as a courier service. Received aircraft flown from the United States across the North Atlantic Route. On 19 June 1942, it took over the transatlantic operations from TWA and Northeast Airlines at Prestwick to ferry passengers to the European Theater. Established January 1943 as European Wing. It served as the operational component of ATC in Europe. Initially, it flew transport operations from the United Kingdom to Spain and Portugal, later on also to French Morocco. Clandestine transport operations were also made into Occupied Europe and to Scandinavia in 1943. Routes were established into France in 1944 and throughout Occupied Germany, Italy and to the Balkans and Greece in 1945.
- Atlantic Wing
- Operated the Mid-Atlantic Route from the Eastern United States (New York City, Washington DC, Miami) to Bermuda and on to the Azores / Portugal to ferry aircraft to England from early 1943. Later operated routes from the Azores to Portugal and France to provide connections with intra-European routes after 1944 as part of the North Atlantic Division.
- Africa/Middle East
- Middle East Wing (established as 26th AAF Ferrying Wing 27 June 1942; re-designated 1 July 1942 as Africa-Middle East Wing; re-designated June 1943 as Middle East Wing)
- Delivered lend-lease aircraft, personnel and cargo from Cairo, Egypt to destinations in the Middle East. Operated the Eastern Mediterranean Route via Lydda (British-Mandated Palestine) and Beirut (Lebanon) to Adana (Turkey. It also ferried lend-lease aircraft to Tehran (Iran) for onward shipment to Russia via Baku. A connecting route linked Baghdad (Iraq) with Karachi, India, along the Persian Gulf coast.
- Central African Wing (re-designated Central African Division on 1 July 1944)
- Established June 1943 from a split of the Africa-Middle East Wing with headquarters in Khartoum, Sudan. Responsible for moving aircraft, personnel and cargo from West African transport hubs over the Trans-Africa Route via Khartoum to Cairo (Egypt) and to Aden (South Arabia) and on to Karachi (India). This was discontinued when the route along the coast of West Africa from Dakar (Senegal) to French Morocco became available in 1943. Also operated a transport route to Leopoldville (Belgian Congo) for the transport of uranium to the United States. This route was later extended to Pretoria (South Africa Rep.) via Elizabethville (Belgian Congo).
- North African Wing (re-designated North African Division on 1 July 1944)
- Established June 1943 from a split of the Africa-Middle East Wing. Moved aircraft, supplies and cargo from West African transport hub supporting Twelfth and Fifteenth Air Forces. Also part of South Atlantic Route transport extension via West Africa to Casablanca (French Morocco) and to Britain. Operated the Mediterranean Air Transport Service from Casablanca (French Morocco) to Cairo (Egypt) and later from Algiers (Algeria) to Naples (Italy) in 1944.
- Pacific/CBI Theater
- Pacific Wing (established as 25th AAF Ferrying Wing 27 June 1942; re-designated South Pacific Wing on 1 July 1942; re-designated Pacific Wing in January 1943; re-designated Pacific Division on 24 July 1944)
- Operated the South Pacific Air Route from Hamilton Field, California via Hickam Field, Hawaii to either Brisbane or Williamstown, Australia, via Nadi, Fiji and Noumea, New Caledonia for cargo and passengers. Later on, links were established with New Zealand and via Honiara, Solomon Islands with Hollandia and Biak, Dutch East Indies.
- India-China Wing (re-designated India-China Division on 1 July 1944.)
- Established 1 December 1942. Responsible for transport operations across the Himalayan Mountains ("The Hump") between airfields in India and China, formerly performed by the 10th AF India-China Ferrying Command, and operated a western Indian sector in Karachi. Responsible for the materiel support of the Fourteenth Air Force in China and of the Tenth Air Force operations. Four component wings in ICD: Assam Wing (activated 1 July 1944); India Wing (1 July 1944); Bengal Wing (1 December 1944); China Wing (1 December 1944)
- West Coast Wing
- Established January 1943 from a split of the South Pacific Wing. Operated a transport route from Seattle, Washington to Elmendorf AAF, Alaska, along the coast of British Columbia primarily to deliver Boeing aircraft to Alaska. Component of Pacific Division 1 August 1944.
- Central Pacific Wing (activated 1 August 1944, Pacific Division)
- Operated route from Hawaii via Marshall Islands to Mariana Islands for logistical support for Seventh and Twentieth Air Forces in the Marianas. The route was later extended to Manila, Philippines; Okinawa; and lastly to Tokyo, Japan in 1945. A transport route was established from Manila to Kunming, China.
- Southwest Pacific Wing (activated on 1 August 1944, Pacific Division)
- Eastern Pacific Wing (activated on 10 April 1946)
- Western Pacific Wing (activated on 10 April 1946)
- Postwar reorganization of Pacific transport routes within Far East Air Force connecting Hawaii, Australia, the Philippines, Okinawa and Japan.
South Pacific Region
Western Pacific Region
- Curtiss-Wright C-46 Commando
- Douglas C-47 Skytrain
- Douglas C-54 Skymaster
- Consolidated C-87 Liberator Express
- Lockheed C-69 Constellation
- Boeing C-75
- AAF Statistical Digest, Tables 11 and 20 (personnel) and Table 204 (aircraft)
- Gann, Ernest, Fate Is The Hunter, New York: Simon & Schuster (1961), ISBN 0-671-63603-0, pp. 160-164
- Glines, C.V., Flying the Hump, Air Force Association Magazine (March 1991) Vol. 74 http://www.afa.org/magazine/1991/0391hump.asp
- Gann, Ernest, Fate Is The Hunter, New York: Simon & Schuster (1961), ISBN 0-671-63603-0, pp. 213-217
- CBI Hump Pilots Association, Flying the Hump: A Fact Sheet for the Hump Operations During World War II, (USAAF) China-Burma-India (CBI) Theater of Operations http://www.cbi-history.com/part_xii_hump5.html
- "The Army's Navy to the Rescue." Popular Mechanics, February 1945, pp.72-74
- Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.
- Stanley M. Ulanoff, MATS: The Story of the Military Air Transport Service, 1964, The Moffa Press, Inc.
- Office of Air Force History, The United States Army Air Forces in World War II, edited by Craven and Cate
- James Lee, Operation Lifeline - History and Development of the Naval Air Transport Service, 1947, Ziff-Davis Publishing Company
- Army Air Forces Statistical Digest, World War II. Office of Statistical Control, Headquarters AAF. Washington, D.C. December 1945
- Tables 1-73, Combat Groups, Personnel, Training, and Crews
- Tables 74-117 Aircraft and Equipment
- Tables 118-218 Operations and Miscellaneous