June 1969 Issue
The 12th Goes Home
Two Years and Two Days Later
GOING HOME, men of the 12th line the rail of the S. S. Adabelle Lykes.
TIRED members of the 12th, enroute home, sleep on deck of the SS Adabelle Lykes.
As its service center area, the 12th was given the responsibilty for the maintenance of all aircraft of the Air Forces and provision of all supplies, east of the 108th Meridian and south of the Yangtze, with headquarters at Yang Tong field, Kweilin. Sector commanding officer at the time was Colonel Wise; Colonel Kashland was Group Commanding Officer. Lt. Col. Albert J. Binsfield, now at Hq. AAFGT, was executive officer. The job of the 12th was to serve all units of the 68th Composite Wing and the forward echelon of the 14th Air Force in that area. The 12th went so far as to service the Chinese-American Composite Wing, as well as units of the 69th Composite Wing at Liuchow and Nanning. Units of the 12th were all over China, repairing and maintaining Army Air Forces planes. Its personnel were included in that group of American soldiers who did vital jobs without accompanying glamor and publicity. Theirs was a sordid, dirty, tnankless job. They went about their work at bases like Suichwan, Hengyang, Lingling, Chihkiang, Liuchow, Nanning, and were often subjected to aerial bombings. Such was the possibility of paratroop attacks that an extensive group defense system to cover that potential threat had to be set up. When the Japs began moving south threatening the Kweilin headquarters, the partial evacuation of Kweilin began on June 23, 1944. Some of the 12th A.S.G. men left by rail, motor and air for Luliang, Yangkai and Chengkung. The 12th continued to operate, however, with reduced personnel. During the time the entire group was in East China the Japs made many raids and caused much additional loss of sleep through air threats which alerted all persons. The Group will find it difficult to forget the 17 consecutive nights spent in caves in the hills surrounding Yang Tong Field. Finally being forced to evacuate on September 14, they reopened operations at Luliang and Yangkai. The sizable detachment still at Liuchow was evacuated November 8.
ROADSIDE SERVICE is conducted in China by Capt. James Kelly, 12th Air Service Group chaplain.
The 12th continued to service the 14th Air Force, particularly the 68th Composite Wing, from its new location at Luliang. It reached out to lend support to squadrons of the 341st Medium Bombardment Group of the 69th Composite Wing stationed at Yangkai. Because its men got to see more of China than any other outfit, the 12th has often been referred to as the luckiest group in China. In February 1945, headquarters was moved from Luliang to Chanyi, and then on March 31 to Peishiyi to service the Chinese-American Composite Wing. Chihkiang was designated as its headquarters from July until October when it was moved to Hankow. Its work at Hankow consisted of servicing troop carrier outfits of the 10th Air Force in the movement of Chinese troops to Peking. Then, their work done, the men were flown to Shanghai on November 12 for processing and departure stateside. Three other units, the 396th Service Squadron, the 1836th Ordnance Supply and Maintenance Co., and the 2459th Quartermaster Truck Co., which had remained at Liangshan, have been flown back over the Hump for departure from India within the past week. It's been a long time but the 12th is on the way.
THREE CARTOONS reproduced here were drawn by Sergeant Hogue of the
396th Service Squadron, 12th Air Service Group, about the time of the evacuation of Kweilin.
Captions are self-explanatory.