Mr. Mark Bursian

My Father, T/Sgt Robert Bursian, was an aircraft engineering crew chief with the 330th Aerodrome Squadron, attached to the 10th Combat Cargo Squadron/3d Combat Cargo Group/10th USAAF. They serviced and maintained the 10th CSS's C-47's. Dad arrived in the CBI on 8/26/44 in Bombay aboard the USS General H.W. Butner along with the Mars Task Force, the relief unit for the 5307th Composite Unit (Merrill's Marauders). They travelled by narrow gage rail to a British rest camp near Ramgarh, where the Mars Task Force stayed for intensive jungle training. The 330th ADS switched trains and went further northeast as far as the Bramhaputra River in the Assam Province. They boarded a river ferry and traveled north on the Bramhaputra to Dinjan, India. They arrived in Dinjan on 9/5/44 and finally met up with the 10th Combat Cargo Squadron.

The 330th ADS was the FIRST aerodrome squadron formed and trained together as one cohesive unit. The aerodrome consisted of all support personnel for the operation and function of the combat cargo squadron: doctors, mechanics, cooks, clerks, etc. As with the 10th CCS, these personnel were expedited to the CBI with little training to answer Stillwell's immediate need for air transport and supply in Burma. The squadrons were to return stateside and receive the prescribed and proper training their counterparts had gone through, once they were relieved. These guys never went back, they were there for the duration.

The 330th ADS has the distinction of being the first unit in the CBI to receive the War Department's Meritorious Service Unit Plaque: for maintaining 94% of the aircraft operational during a nonstop four month Hump airlift operation into China and Myitkyina, Burma. On 6/2/45, the 10th CCS/330th ADS moved operations to Myitkyina. Upon arrival by C-47, they got caught in the middle of a battle at the airfield between the Japanese and the Chinese. While at Myitkyina, Dad earned the Soldier's Medal for saving the life of a fellow soldier from drowning in the Irrawaddy River, which was adjacent to the airfield and camp.

On 10/2/45, the 10th CSS/330th ADS relocated to Shanghai, China. On 12/20/45 they were relieved from duty and sent to Seattle to start their respective journeys home. Dad was fortunate enough to be selected in a lottery of 200 soldiers to be expedited home and discharged by Christmas. Dad arrived in Chicago on 12/24/45, and made it home to his mother's in Petoskey, Michigan on Christmas Day.

Photo was taken on the Bramahputra River ferry enroute to Dinjan. Dad doesn't remember how long they were on the ferry, but from point A to B is probably well over 100 miles and they're traveling against the current. He said there were rats on board everywhere, getting into their food, gear, and supplies...they'd crawl on you while trying to sleep or eat. It sounds pretty nasty though; during the monsoon seasons the rivers would flash flood and consume anything in the proximity. In the aftermath the river banks would be strewn with human bodies and rats. My dad is on the bottom right corner (in glasses) in the image.

'The Night Gang', my Dad's crew of aircraft mechanics. The photo was taken in Dinjan.

One of the 10th CCS aircraft.

Photo taken at Myitkyina.

Photo taken at Myitkyina.

Photo taken at Shanghai.

Please send additions / corrections to