The 61st Troop Carrier Group (USAAF) began operations in the Mediterranean, where it took part in the invasions of Sicily and Italy, before moving to England to take part in the D-Day invasion, Operation Market-Garden and the crossing of the Rhine.
The group was activated in the United States on 1 December 1940. After American entered the war the group was allocated to the Twelfth Air Force and moved to North Africa in May 1943.
Its combat debut came during the invasion of Sicily, when the group was used to drop paratroops near Gela (9 July 1943). On 11 July the group dropped reinforcements on Sicily and came under heavy fire from both ground and naval forces (presumably Allied naval forces). It received a Distinguished Unit Citation for completed the mission despite this heavy fire.
The group moved to Sicily to take part in the invasion of the mainland of Italy. It supported the landings at Salerno in September 1943. On 13 September the group took part in Operation Giant I (revised), dropping paratroop reinforcements from the 504th Regiment of the US 82nd Airborne Division into the beachhead. On the night of 14-15 September the group flew troops from the 505th Regiment into the same area, as part of Operation Giant IV.
In February 1944 the group moved to Britain and joined the Ninth Air Force, ready to take part in the D-Day landings. It received a second DUC for its role in dropping paratroops near Cherbourg on 6-7 June 1944.
After that the group spent most of its time operating as a standard transport unit, flying supplies to the front and returning with wounded personnel.
The group took part in Operation Market Garden (September 1944). On 17 September it carried British Paratroops to Arnhem, then was used to tow glider-borne reinforcements.
In March 1945 the group moved to France and on 24 March it dropped British paratroops near Wesel during the successful crossing of the Rhine.
At the end of the war in Europe the group was allocated to Air Transport Command and moved to Trinidad. It was only there for two months and was inactivated on Trinidad on 31 July 1945.
Douglas C-47 Skytrain 1940-1945
|20 Nov 1940||Constituted as 61st Transport Group|
|1 Dec 1940||Activated|
|Jul 1942||Redesignated as 61st Troop Carrier Group|
|May 1943||To North Africa|
|9 July 1943||Combat Debut|
|Feb 1944||To England and Ninth Air Force|
|May 1945||To Trinidad and Air Transport Command|
|31 July 1945||Inactivated|
Unknowm: 1 Dec 1940-1 Feb
Capt John Waugh: 1 Feb 1941
1st Lt Thompson F Dow: c.1 Jul 1941
Maj Lorin B Hillsinger: 11 Jul 1941
Lt Charles A Inskip: unkn;
Lt Allen L Dickey: unkn
Capt John C Bennett: 26 May 1942
Lt Col Ralph J Moore: unkn
Maj Donald French: 6 Mar 1943
Col Willis W Mitchell: 11 Mar 1943
Col Edgar W Hampton: 12 Apr 1945-unkn
Olmsted Field, Pa: 1 Dec
Augusta, Ga: c. 9 Jul 1941
Pope Field, NC: 26 May 1942
Lubbock, Tex: 23 Sep 1942
Pope Field, NC: 26 Feb-4 May 1943
Lourmel, French Morocco: 15 May 1943
Kairouan, Tunisia: 21 Jun 1943
Licata, Sicily: 1 Sep 1943
Sciacca, Sicily: 6 Oct 1943-12 Feb 1944
Barkston, England: 18 Feb 1944-13 Mar 1945
Abbeville, France: 13 Mar-19 May 1945
Waller Field, Trinidad: 29 May-31 Jul 1945
14th: 1940-1945; 1946
15th: 1940-1945; 1946
53d: 1942-1945; 1946
1942: 52nd Troop Carrier Wing; US Based
1942: 51st Troop Carrier Wing
1942-43: 53rd Troop Carrier Wing; US Based
April 1943-February 1944: 52nd Troop Carrier Wing; Twelfth Air Force
1944-45: 52nd Troop Carrier Wing; IX Troop Carrier Command; Ninth Air Force