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Redeployment and demobilization are essentially different activities. Both terms imply movement of men and materiel; both include much more than that. Redeployment is the “transfer of a unit, an individual or supplies deployed in an overseas theater to another theater, or to another location within the theater, or to the zone of interior for the purpose of further employment”;1 it entails procurement, supply, and maintenance. To the AAF in World War II redeployment meant, specifically, the transfer of units and equipment from the European and Mediterranean theaters to the Pacific and China-Burma-India theaters. Demobilization is “disbanding military forces; changing over from a war footing to a peacetime footing.’2 It embraces, in addition to the separation of personnel, the termination of contracts, the sale of surplus property, and the disposal of facilities not required in times of peace. Different as are the two concepts, they were always coupled together in the planning that was carried on during the war years. Indeed, the story of the planning is almost all there is to tell about redeployment; for the plans were aborted by the sudden collapse of Japan. Almost as soon as it had begun, redeployment was turned into demobilization.

Demobilizations of the Past

The United States had never been confronted with the problem of such a large-scale redeployment as that contemplated by the military during the years from 1942 to 1945; but demobilization was an old story. Six times before World War I1 the people of this country had had to muster their forces for war. Six times they had seen those


forces—save for an almost infinitesimal body of professional soldiers—hastily returned to civilian life at the end of hostilities. Historical tradition, and more particularly the experience of World War I, argued that all planning for yet another demobilization must take into consideration the strongest popular pressures for a speedy release of the civilian-soldier.

The first major demobilization carried out in the United States was that which followed the Civil War. As in our previous wars, throughout the period of hostilities men were being discharged, as short-term enlistments expired. But no consideration seems to have been given to the problem of postwar demobilization until after Lee surrendered. Then the government was confronted with the task of discharging 1,034,000 Union soldiers.3 The hastily devised demobilization plan called for each division to be moved intact to one of nine rendezvous areas where, upon the completion of muster and pay rolls, divisions and corps were inactivated. Lesser units were thus considered to have been mustered out of the federal service and were transferred to their home state, or camp of original organization, for the final act of individual separation from the service. With many soldiers simply taking Dutch leave from their units once the fighting stopped, over 600,000 officers and men had been discharged by early August 1865; by the end of the year the total was near 900,000. The one million mark was passed before 30 June 1866, and by 1 November of that year 1,023,021 had been mustered out. A few volunteers were kept in service, for various reasons, more than a year longer; the last volunteer organization was not disbanded until 30 December 1867.4

Of World War I a prominent historian has written: “There were times in the history of mobilization in which the government of the United States looked like a madhouse; during demobilization there was lacking even the madhouse in which the crazy might’ be incarcerated. They were at large.”5 Not until October 1918 did the War Department give any serious thought to the problem of demobilization.6 After briefly considering demobilization according to length of individual service or the needs of the civilian economy, and after rejecting the suggestion that local draft boards might serve as the agency for separation from service, the Amy adopted the simplest method-demobilization by unit. From Armistice Day to the end of 1918 and throughout 1919 the Army had one impelling motive: to relieve itself from the public, journalistic, and congressional pressure


by responding to the demand, “Bring the boys home!” And bring them home it did.

Demobilization began on 11 November 1918. Within an hour after the news of the signing of the Armistice reached Washington, separations from the service were taking place.7 In more than one instance a troop train, loaded with newly sworn-in draftees headed for training camp, was stopped and sent back to its starting point; there the men were immediately discharged from the service. Units in the United States, from development battalions to combat divisions in training, were disbanded or inactivated and their personnel discharged as fast as the necessary processing could be accomplished. As combat divisions and other organizations overseas were declared by General Pershing to be no longer required in the theater, they were shipped back to the United States to be disbanded or inactivated if not required as components of the Regular Army. Thousands of men overseas who had become detached from their organizations, generally because of having been hospitalized, were sent to casual camps such as the one at St. Aignan (known to its inmates as “St. Agony”) and held there until service records were received from Tours, the records depository. When a group of some two hundred soldiers had been matched with their service records, the men were organized into a casual company, put in charge of a couple of officers similarly detached from their organizations, and loaded onto the first available States-bound ship. From the port of debarkation the casuals were sent to a camp on the eastern seaboard; there they were held for a few days while groups, one for each of the thirty-odd demobilization centers, were organized. Every soldier was assigned to the group headed for the separation center nearest his home.

Some deviations from the principle of unit demobilization occurred, as in the early discharge of approximately 81,000 soldiers classified as anthracite coal miners, railroad employees, and railway mail clerks.8 An order issued by the Chief of Staff in February 1919, making eligible for discharge all troops who had been in this country on 11 November 1918, excepted certain categories-Regular Army troops, medical personnel, and soldiers engaged in administrative work connected with demobilization. But the last group complained so bitterly about being kept in service that in March 1919 they were replaced by civilian.9

Although the lack of administrative personnel trained in discharge


procedures imposed delays on the processes of demobilization, by the end of November 1918 more than 43,000 troops had been discharged. In December a peak of 643,043 separations was reached. During the first half of 1919 men were discharged at rates ranging from 274,479 per month in March to 404,588 in June; by I July a total of 2,735,986 had been separated. At the end of November 1919 the total number of separations accomplished was 3,416,066. The strength of the Army was then less than 275,000; by 30 June 1920 it was 209,901.10

Rapid as this progress would seem to have been, it was not rapid enough for the troops being discharged or for their families and friends; that being so, it follows that it was not rapid enough for the members of the United States Congress. A flood of correspondence from the Senate and House Office Buildings poured into the War Department; the volume of it, and the fact that every message had to be answered promptly (for such is the feeling of an Executive department toward any member of Congress), greatly impeded the demobilization program. Throughout the demobilization period the Secretary of War, the Chief of Staff, and others who should have been permitted to devote themselves to other purposes were compelled to spend much of their time in what was largely a vain attempt to defend the Army and its policies. While the Army was demobilizing 3,500,000 soldiers, the Navy, which had grown from 65,777 officers and men on 1 April 1917 to 497,030 on 11 November 1918, was returning more than 400,000 men to civilian life.11

World War II Plans

United States planning for World War II redeployment and demobilization began early enough to have assured a highly successful operation, had earliness of planning been the only requisite for success. In a message to Congress of 14 January 1942 President Roosevelt charged the National Resources Planning Board (NRPB) with “the preparation of long-range plans . . . for post-war full employment, security, and building America.”12 In response to this mandate, a conference was held in the summer of 1942; present were the members of the NRPB and representatives of the War, Navy, and Labor Departments, the War Manpower Commission, the Veterans Administration, and other federal agencies. Late in 1942 the NRPB published Post-war Agenda, outlinirig plans for demobilization and for many other post-bellum activities. Planning by the NRPB continued


into 1943 and culminated in a report, Demobilization and Readjustment; this was submitted to the President on 30 June 1943 and was made public on 3 I July. The plans outlined in this report had a very considerable impact, since many of the ideas suggested were subsequently put into effect by one or another agency. But the NRPB itself made no further contribution to demobilization planning because the Congress refused to appropriate funds to permit it to operate after fiscal year 1943.13

All planning for demobilization during World War II was complicated by the fact that there were really two wars to be taken into account. It was assumed by the planners that the war in Europe would end before the war against Japan, probably a year before. It was also assumed that part of the forces deployed against Germany would have to be redeployed to the Pacific or to the Asiatic mainland, in order to assure the promptest possible end to the Japanese war. The marked differences in the characteristics of the two wars argued that the requirements of redeployment would fall unequally on the several arms and services. It was assumed that redeployment would involve chiefly naval and air forces, while a large percentage of the ground forces would become eligible for demobilization upon the accomplishment of victory in Europe. And this assumption undoubtedly helps to explain the early attention that was given by military leaders to the problem of demobilization.

Serious planning at AAF Headquarters began in the spring of 1943 with the appointment of Col. F. Trubee Davison as the chief of a special staff section-the Special Projects Office (SPO) . Its particular mission was described as “legislative planning,” and it soon received a directive calling for study of the problems of demobilization and of the postwar air force.14 Simultaneously, the Chief of Staff called upon the head of the Army Service Forces (ASF), Lt. Gen. Brehon B. Somervell, to “initiate preliminary studies exploring the fields of basic policy and broad planning for demobilization of our military organization after the cessation of hostilities.”15 The result of General Marshall’s directive was the establishment in the ASF of the Project Planning Division, headed by Brig. Gen. W. F. Tompkins.16 There seems to have been some thought that demobilization would become the special responsibility of ASF, but in July the Secretary of War fixed that responsibility in the War Department itself by establishing a Special Planning Division (SPD) as part of the War Department


Special Staff.17 The Project Planning Division was abolished, and General Tompkins and his staff were transferred to the new division. Colonel Davison, who continued at the head of the SPO, became the AAF representative on SPD. The Army Ground Forces (AGF) had no formal representation but kept in close touch with SPD through the Control Division of the AGF G-1 Section.18

Great stress was laid on the necessity for keeping secret the purpose of the new division “in order to avoid a public relaxation in the war effort should it become known that we were deeply involved in preparations for demobilization.” This fear of a public reaction was probably well founded. One AAF officer, when he read in a secret document that a group had been organized to engage in demobilization planning, took a red pencil and underlined the word “demobilization,”19 adding a question mark in the margin opposite. Then, below the question mark, he wrote “Already!”20

First thoughts naturally tended to favor demobilization by unit. From the military point of view this procedure had every advantage, as a memo of June 1943 from Col. J. H. McCormick of A-1 pointed out to General Arnold.21 Unit demobilization is simple to administer, it ignores equity and other social considerations on the ground that they lie without the purview of the Army, and it keeps units not yet demobilized at war strength and fully operational. The advantages in other methods had to be admitted: they made it possible to reward individuals who had served longest and sacrificed most by releasing them first and might provide controls that could be helpfully adjusted to the capacity of the civilian economy to reabsorb discharged personnel. But Colonel McComick, along with other officers concerned, felt that the Army should consult first its own interests and leave to appropriate civilian agencies the primary responsibility for the solution of the nation’s social problems. Accordingly, A-1 recommended that standard procedures be based on a plan of unit demobilization.

This inclination to favor unit demobilization probably reflects the feeling at AAF Headquarters that no substantial reduction of the Army’s air arm could be expected before the defeat of Japan. In September 1943 Maj. Gen. Thomas T. Handy, Chief of the Operations Division, apparently assumed that as many as 43 air groups would be eligible for demobilization after the defeat of Germany. But this opinion seems to have been corrected within the month, for


General Handy is on record as of 21 September 1943 with the opinion that none of the 112 air groups expected to be released from “the European-African Theater” by the defeat of Germany would be immediately eligible for demobilization.22

The Special Planning Division, viewing demobilization as it affected the entire Army and not just the air arm, had been quick to recognize that unit demobilization, however much it might be preferred by the military authorities, would not be acceptable to the American GI’s or to their friends and relatives. Its director had expressed to General Marshall the belief that no one of the methods that had been discussed—demobilization by skills, by length of service, by age, and by dependency—would be acceptable by itself, that the determination as to priority of separation would have to be made on the basis of a combination of factors.23

Already the AAF had been forced to direct special attention to the particular problems of the war-weary airman who might require return to the United States for rest and recuperation or even separation from the service. On 15 August 1943 the AAF had activated its Redistribution Center at Atlantic City24 with a mission “to receive all Army Air Forces Personnel returning to the continental United States from overseas, except those returned for hospitalization or on specific assignment, and to receive such Army Air Forces personnel as may be transferred to the Redistribution Centers by continental commands and air forces, and after examination and re-evaluation assign them to appropriate stations, detail them to rest camps or effect their separation from the service.”25 Simultaneously with the establishment of the Redistribution Center, there were activated Redistribution Stations No. 1 and No. 2 at Atlantic City and Miami Beach, Florida, respectively, and rest camps at Lake Lure, North Carolina, Castle Hot Springs, Arizona, and Camp Mystic, Texas. The Redistribution Center, which became the Personnel Distribution Command (PDC) on 1 June 1944, later opened redistribution stations at Santa Monica and Santa Ana in California, at Camp Davis and Greensboro in North Carolina, and at San Antonio, Texas. The PDC also acquired during 1944 and 1945 more than a dozen convalescent hospitals (some of which also served as regional hospitals) and several overseas replacement depots.

For planning purposes it was assumed that the earliest probable date for the termination of the war against Germany was 1 September


1944.26 On the critical question of method, it was decided that the principle of individual separation would be followed under rules basing the right to separation on multiple factors. In determining those factors, the requirements of the military forces came first; after that, physical condition, length of service, combat service, and dependency were listed in that order. Demobilization was expected to fall into two phases: Period I, the interval between the surrender in Europe and the termination of hostilities in the Orient; and Period II, the final transition to a peacetime basis.27 After a year of study, during which attention was given not only to redeployment but also to projected requirements for occupation forces in Europe, the War Department published Readjustment Regulation 1-1, issued on 30 August 1944.

Although modified by changes from time to time, RR 1-1 remained to the end the basic plan for the demobilization of enlisted personnel. It provided that the War Department, as soon as a readjustment of the troop basis should become possible, would inform the commanding general of each theater what his new mission was to be and what would be the troop basis proposed for accomplishing that mission. Suggestions from the field commanders would be invited, and then the War Department would decide how many elements from each theater or command would be placed in each of four categories: (1) units to be retained for continued service in their then current commands; (2) those to be transferred from one theater to another or to the United States or from the United States to a theater; (3) those to be reorganized and then put in one or the other of the first two categories; and (4) those to be inactivated or disbanded. Each commanding general would then designate specific organizations to make up his quota of units in each category.*

By the terms of RR 1-1, any married female member of the Army, commissioned or enlisted, 'was to be separated upon application, regardless of any other consideration, if her husband had been separated. Unmarried female and all male enlisted personnel were to be separated according to a point system based on length of service after 16 September 1940, overseas service, combat service, and parenthood. The War Department would decide how much weight to give to each of

* By the spring of 1945 the categories had been changed: (1) units scheduled for direct redeployment to another theater; ( 2 ) units scheduled for redeployment through the United States; (3) units to be assigned to the occupation air force; and (4) surplus units and personnel scheduled for return to the United States for inactivation or separation.


the factors constituting the Adjusted Service Rating (ASR) Score and then, after V-E Day, when partial demobilization would be in order, would set a “critical score” at such point that, by the separation of all personnel having that score or a higher one, the Army would be reduced to the size regarded as necessary to win the war against Japan.

The AAF had approved the ASR system for the separation of enlisted personnel, but it strongly objected to subsequent efforts to apply the same policy to commissioned officers. In August 1944, officers might be relieved from active duty under regulations which made provision for relief of those who were over forty-five years of age “for whom no suitable assignments” were available, those whose relief was “essential to national health, safety or interest,” and those who could prove “undue hardship.”28 Colonel Davison argued in December 1944 that, no matter how much emphasis might be given to the principle that military necessity came first, the use of a critical score for officers would inevitably lead to pressure for the separation of high-score officers and would, at the same time, impede the separation of officers of marginal efficiency who had low scores and wished to remain in uniform. Colonel Davison pointed out that every officer had accepted his commission voluntarily and insisted that the higher pay and other advantages of commissioned rank imposed on each officer an obligation to remain in the service as long as he was needed.29 On this point the AAF won a partial victory. RR 1-5, dated 30 April 1945,* provided for an ASR score for officers, but there was to be no critical score, and military need was to be the controlling factor.30 It was possible under RR 1-5 for the AAF to retain its most capable officers on the ground of their military essentiality and to meet successive reductions of the troop basis by releasing from active duty its less efficient commissioned personnel, along with high-score enlisted men.

AAF leaders were gravely concerned over the possible result of the first public announcement of their plans for Period I. They feared that there might be a disastrous lowering of morale in the AAF when it was revealed that, while there would be partial demobilization for the AGF and ASF, there would be nothing but redeployment for AAF units. General Arnold thought that any very serious morale problem could be averted by emphasizing the vital importance of the

* RR 1-2, covering the personnel movements that would be required after V-E Day; RR 1-3, prescribing an athletic and recreational program for Period I (the time between V-E Day and V-J Day); and RR 1-4, setting up an Army educational program, were published on 15 September 1944.


role that the AAF was to play in the Japanese war-the necessity for throwing our entire air potential against Japan in order to minimize losses and hasten the end of the war. At the same time he recognized that AAF personnel, especially those who had long been engaged in service that was hazardous or arduous, or both, were in all fairness as much entitled to be returned to civilian life as were their opposite numbers in the AGF and ASF. Hence he proposed to discharge AAF personnel in the same proportion as the other forces by replacing those released with new inductees and with ground and service personnel whose units would be inactivated but who as individuals would not be eligible for discharge.31 He thought that a clear statement of this policy, and a promise that AAF personnel redeployed directly to the Pacific could expect early separation or at least rotation to the United States, would go far toward alleviating dissatisfaction.32


The redeployment of AAF units had its beginning while plans for the larger movement were still in a formative stage. In the fall of 1943 it was expected that operations in the Mediterranean could be cut back by the following spring to such an extent as to make several units available for transfer to the CBI.33 The claims of ETO, where the build-up for the coming invasion of western Europe was under way, naturally were given first place." Nevertheless, the 33d and 81st Fighter Groups were sent to China by way of India in February and March; there they flew P-40's and P-47's for the Fourteenth Air Force.34 Later, in September, the 33d was transferred to Burma, where it joined the Tenth Air Force.35 Another addition to the Tenth Air Force was the 12th Bombardment Group (Medium), which left Italy in the early spring of 1944. Originally a B-25 outfit, the group used both B-25's and A-26's in Burma.36 There was also, in India, an instance of what might be called temporary redeployment. The flying echelons of the 64th Troop Carrier Group and the 4th Troop Carrier Squadron of the 62d Troop Carrier Group left Sicily early in April 1944 for detached service in India; they rejoined the ground echelons, which had remained in Sicily, in June.37

* The very considerable redeployment of units from MTO to ETO in '943-44 is omitted from this discussion, as are the movements of air units from one Pacific theater to another.

† On 10 December 1944 MAAF ordered Flights A and C of the 1st Emergency Rescue Squadron to proceed-flight echelons via Bengasi, Libya, and water echelons via Bari,Italy-to Karachi, India. Both echelons left Bari on 5 January 1945. Flight A was returned to the MTO, less personnel and equipment, and was reassigned to the Twelfth Air Force, effective 12 February 1945 (Admin. Hist., 12th AF, Part I, Sec. 2, pp. 29-30).


Meanwhile, comprehensive plans were drawn for the eventuality of an early defeat of Germany. At the beginning of February 1944, the “Tompkins Demobilization Plan” assumed that there would be, on 1 September 1944, a total of 154 AAF groups in the European and Mediterranean theaters.” It was expected that after the German surrender 112 groups could be released for redeployment, which would leave in Europe and Africa for an occupation force 42 groups.38 Units scheduled for service in CBI would be transferred directly to their new stations. Most of those intended for duty in the Pacific would be redeployed through the United States. Some units would be assigned to the strategic reserve in the Zone of Interior, thereby releasing still other units for assignment to combat duty against Japan. In all circumstances the guiding principle was to preserve the combat efficiency of the unit. But AAF Letter 55-3, which on 10 April 1944 outlined “Policies and Procedures for Redeployment of Army Air Forces,” and SPO’s “Actions to be Taken by AAF Commanding Generals in ETO and MTO Immediately Following the Defeat of Germany,” dated 20 April 1944, recognized the special claim of an airman who had a record of long combat service.39 Whenever the transfer could be made without too seriously damaging the operational efficiency of the unit concerned, such an individual might be transferred to an organization scheduled for assignment to the strategic reserve in the United States. Understandable and compassionate as was this concession, it promised a most significant qualification of the principle that the combat efficiency of the unit should be the first consideration.

In September 1944 (September had been the earliest anticipated date for Germany’s surrender) over-all responsibility for redeployment operations at AAF Headquarters was vested in AC/AS, Operations, Commitments, and Requirements (OC&R). At the same time each AAF Headquarters staff office was called upon to appoint a redeployment officer to co-ordinate with OC&R all matters pertaining to redeployment. Likewise, each continental air force and command was ordered to appoint a redeployment officer to see that the directives and other instructions of OC&R were carried out. AC/AS, OC&R

* There actually were 149 groups in ETO-MTO on 31 August 1944 (AAF Stat. Digest, WWII, p. 6 )


immediately delegated his redeployment responsibility to the Theaters Branch of the Commitments Division.40 Instructions covering redeployment procedures had also been issued to overseas commanders, but in September 1944 the Allied armies in western Europe missed the chance for an early victory over Germany.

Perhaps it was the hard fighting of the winter campaign in Europe, and the prospect that still more hard fighting would be required before Germany could be forced to surrender, that brought a change of attitude toward those who fought. In any case, the AAF announced a new policy early in January 1945. The new plan called for replacement, “to the maximum extent possible,” of personnel in units returning to the United States for redeployment with personnel from the continental air forces and commands.41 This policy was to be interpreted as meaning that commanders would replace at least 50 percent of the personnel, exclusive of combat crews, with more than one year’s overseas service but retain in the unit a sufficient cadre of experienced personnel.

The new policy did not last long. In June it was superseded by a policy that came much closer to 100 percent replacement. Only the commanding officer, the deputy commander, holders of certain critical MOSS, and any volunteer who would sign a waiver of his right to be separated under the terms of RR 1-1 (the ASR critical score had been set on 12 May 1945 at 85 for men and 44 for women) would continue with the unit in its new assignment. An AAF letter of 18 June undertook to distinguish between those who had completed a full tour of overseas duty and those who could be credited with only a partial tour. In the case of flying personnel, complete tours were defined in terms of specific numbers of missions or hours. For heavy-bomber crews the figure was fixed at 18 missions or 110 hours; for medium- and light-bomber crews, as for fighter pilots, it was 35 missions or 150 hours; and for troop-carrier crews 100 combat hours or 500 hours in the theater. All ground personnel who had left the United States on or after 1 December 1944 were considered to have completed only partial tours. “As a guide,” AAF Headquarters advised, “normally 20% of the officers (other than air crews) by grade should be retained in redeployed units.” Likewise, “normally 20% of ground enlisted personnel should be retained.”42

Headquarters, AAF, had called upon its subordinate commands to be prepared to put into effect the AAF plans for redeployment and


demobilization immediately upon the announcement of Germany's surrender.43 The Air Technical Service Command (ATSC) , to take a typical example, apparently circulated throughout the command its indorsement to the AAF letter, supplying its subordinate components with much of the information that had been received from Washington and designating certain tasks to be performed at the proper time by specific officers.44

The ZI command that was mostly concerned with redeployment, however, was the Continental Air Forces (CAF), which had been activated on 15 December 194445 with complete supervision of redeployment as its chief mission.* Temporarily located-at first in the Pentagon and then at Bolling Field—Headquarters, CAF, activated at cadre strength only, spent much of the first part of its existence in preparing for the move to what was intended to be its permanent quarters at Camp Springs, Maryland—renamed, on 7 February 1945, Andrews Field.46 It will doubtless surprise no one to learn that Headquarters, CAF, when it went out of existence on 21 March 1946, was still at Bolling Field.

Briefly, the AAF plan of redeployment required that each organization about to be redeployed be screened for the purpose of removing all personnel ineligible for redeployment. Among such personnel would be those found to be physically unqualified for further combat duty and those who, by virtue of high ASR scores, would become eligible for separation before the organization could be redeployed or very soon after its arrival in the new theater.47 Vacancies caused by these transfers from the organization would be filled with low-score individuals from other organizations in the command, air force, or theater. Thus the unit would leave for its new assignment completely manned with personnel eligible for redeployment. 

Except for a few organizations to be redeployed direct to the CRI or the Pacific, units would first return to the United States. Upon,

* Other missions were: air defense of the continental United States, joint air-ground training, and formation and command of the continental strategic reserve at the completion of redeployment (AAF Ltr. [C] 20-9 for CGs all air forces and commands, by Lt. Gen. Barney M. Giles, Dep. Comdr. AAF and C/AS, 16 Dec. 1944, sub.: Activation of Headquarters Continental Air Forces). All four of the continental-based air forces were subordinate to the new command, as was also the I Troop Carrier Command.

† The basic authorization for all subsequent redeployment planning was a report re pared by the Joint War Plans Committee (JWPC), an agency of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. This report appeared in April 1944 as a top-secret document under the designation JCS 5z1/5. It was revised in May and was approved in June as JCS 521/6. There were also later revisions.


arrival there, each unit would proceed at once to an Intermediate Processing Station (IPS), perhaps Bradley Field, Connecticut, or Hunter Field, Georgia, for processing of personnel records, medical examinations, and the like. Within 48 hours, the returnees would be on trains, headed for 30 days of RR&R (recuperation, rehabilitation, and recovery), at the end of which the members of the organization would reconvene at a central assembly station (CAS) . There replacements would be provided for any personnel who had, for one reason or another, become ineligible for redeployment; and the unit would then be turned over to the Training Command for conversion or refresher training. Upon the completion of that training, the organization would promptly be sent to the Pacific or the CBI.

That was the plan. Theoretically it was perfect; in practice it was anything but perfect, as the experience of the air forces concerned and the units slated for redeployment will indicate.

The trouble began overseas, where theater commands were slow in making known to lower echelons their redeployment plans. General Eisenhower said48 that planning in the ETO started in February 1945;” but the tentative “European Theater of Operations Basic Plan for Redeployment and Readjustment” was not revealed until 21 April 1945—very shortly before V-E Day. This plan was approved by WDGS on 30 April and published on 15 May.49 The overseas commanders should not be judged too harshly, for they were naturally more concerned with winning the war against Germany than they were with planning for future operations against Japan. Nevertheless, the air forces were sorely handicapped by the failure of the theaters to establish any firm plan before V-E Day and by the fact that plans once made were so often and, apparently, so arbitrarily changed. In its history, the Eighth Air Force complained bitterly of the difficulty encountered in meeting the commitments made for that air force by USSTAF and Headquarters, AAF.50

The situation in MTO was much the same. The Twelfth Air Force complained that redeployment schedules prepared between November 1944 and the following March were of little value because of the rapidity and frequency with which theater plans were changed. Not until two weeks after V-E Day was there a plan sufficiently firm to

* Actually a “Redeployment Planning Group” was established as a special staff section of ETOUSA in November 1 9 4 4 (GO 118, ETOUSA, 27 Nov. 44.) and issued “Redeployment Planning Directive No. 1” on 6 January 194s (John G. Sparrow, History of Personnel Demobilization in the United States Army [Washington, 1951], p. 171 ) .


constitute a ground for action. “The actual forecast, on the basis of which most of the redeployment of this Air Force took place, was not received until 25 May 1945.”51

Lt. Col. Albert W. Jensen, Twelfth Air Force A-1, revealed graphically in a memo to his commanding general,52 the harassment to which he was subjected by higher echelons of command. In May, following instructions from higher headquarters-which seemed to him to be logical and to conform with current directives—he withdrew low-score personnel from units being redeployed through the United States and replaced them with high-score personnel. Because almost 65 per cent of the members of the Twelfth Air Force had ASR scores above the critical score of 85 points, such an action seemed imperative if there were to be low-score personnel available for manning the units that were to be redeployed directly. But higher echelons objected to Colonel Jensen’s interpretation of redeployment directives, and in June an order was issued calling for the removal of all high-score individuals—except volunteers-from units being redeployed either directly or indirectly. At this time the AC/S, A-1, AAF/MTO advised that units being redeployed through the United States might, if necessary, be shipped out of the theater at cadre strength. At about the same time, however, MTOUSA directed that every unit being redeployed from the MTO must be up to full strength. Such units as had already been sent below strength to staging areas were, before being shipped out, to be brought up to authorized strength by the transfer of personnel, either high score or low, in proper or related MOS. This MTOUSA policy made it necessary to declare essential men who had already been transferred out of four groups scheduled for redeployment in July and to reassign them to their original organizations. Most of the men involved had been overseas for two and a half years and had ASR scores of more than 100 points; they were, understandably, not pleased at the prospect of continued overseas duty, and one of them requested an investigation by an inspector general. At a mass meeting held on 11 July 1945, Colonel Jensen explained to the men why it had been necessary to declare them essential and keep them in groups destined for the Pacific; he promised that they would be the first to be rotated after arrival in the Pacific theater. During the closing minutes of the meeting, however, a telephone call from AAF/MTO revealed that enough low-score men had been discovered in the Fifteenth Air Force to permit cancellation of the reassignments.


The Twelfth Air Force would have been spared much grief had AAF/MTO made its discovery a bit sooner.

It was not the overseas air forces alone that suffered from what must have seemed the caprices and vagaries of higher headquarters. The 489th Bombardment Group (H) and the 369th Air Service Group were processed at Bradley Field, Windsor Locks, Connecticut, in the latter part of December 1944.* Personnel of the two groups scattered to their homes for 30 days on TDY for “Rehabilitation, Recuperation, and Recovery.” They were to report to the Second Air Force on 22 January 1945. Relatively minor personnel adjustments were contemplated: at least 50 per cent of the ground personnel with more than one year of overseas experience would be replaced, the bombardiers would be given transition training from the Sperry to the Norden bombsight, the navigators would get a refresher course in celestial navigation and instruction in the use of Loran equipment, and the other combat crew members would go to Davis-Monthan Field to receive such refresher training as might be required and to await the arrival of their “fly-away” B-24’s. On 23 January Second Air Force was informed that plans had been changed: the 489th was to become a B-29 outfit and the 369th was to be trained for very heavy bombardment (VHB) support. It was “typical of the administrative fumbling which characterized the entire redeployment program,” reported the historian of the Second Air Force, “that official word of the redesignation of the 489th as a very heavy bombardment group was not received by Headquarters, Second Air Force, until about 20 March 1945—two months after the decision had been taken. During all this time it was necessary to maintain two rosters of personnel—one for a heavy bombardment group of four squadrons, the other for a very heavy bombardment group of three squadrons-and to report strength, overages, and shortages of personnel on the basis of two different Tables of Organisation.”53 The readiness dates, which had been 15 February for the 369th and the ground echelon of the 489th and 1 March for the air and flight echelons of the 489th, were changed to 1 June and 1 August.

It appears that the original intention was to have the Second Air

* Some small units had been sent to the United States for redeployment even before this time. The 1st Air Combat Control Squadron, Amphibious, had arrived on 10 October, the 683d Signal Aircraft Warning Company on 7 November, and the 1st Composite Squadron on 18 November. All three were processed by the Third Air Force, the first at Hunter Field and the other two at Gulfport Army Air Field.


Force redeploy 23 combat groups.54 As it actually turned out, the Second Air Force was made responsible for the conversion and redeployment of four VHB wings, each consisting of four VHB groups and their associated service groups. Of these 32 groups, only one—the 369th Air Service Group—was redeployed; one other—the 489th Bombardment Group (VH)—was at a port of embarkation when the end of the war brought about the cancellation of the sailing. Eleven other bombardment groups and ten service groups belonging to the 47th, 20th, and 96th Bombardment Wings were partially manned; but none had completed training, and only one had been assigned any combat crews at war's end. The groups of the remaining wing, the 13th, existed only on paper.55

n addition to the 369th, only two groups—the 319th Bombardment Group and the 514th Air Service Group—were actually redeployed through the United States, both by the First Air Force. The Third and Fourth Air Forces and the I Troop Carrier Command did not complete the redeployment of any major units. Both the First and Third Air Forces operated intermediate processing stations (IPS), the former at Bradley Field, Connecticut, and the latter at Hunter Field, Georgia.56

All four 21 air forces and the I Troop Carrier Command operated central assembly stations (CAS) , At these installations, according to the original plan, units would receive old members as they returned from their RR&R, screen out any who had become ineligible for redeployment, accept replacements to bring the organization up to authorized strength, and then depart for the base at which they were to be trained for their new mission. In practice, the returnee, upon arrival at the CAS, was assigned to a squadron—frequently "X"—which was just a pool for replacements. If his old organization was one that was to be redeployed, he might or might not be reassigned to it. If he was aware that the reorganized group would have little in common with the outfit he had known, except the designation and a few key personnel, he might not much care whether he rejoined it or cast his lot with a different unit.57

The experiences of the first groups to be returned to the United States for redeployment to the Pacific vividly illustrate the best and the worst features of the redeployment program. The story of the 489th Bombardment Group and the 369th Air Service Group has just been told. The next two major units to arrive for redeployment were


the 319th Bombardment Group (M) and its associated group, the 514th Air Service Group. The members of these units were processed at Bradley Field in January 1945 and had the same kind of pleasant treatment that had been so much enjoyed by personnel of the 489th Bombardment Group and the 369th Air Service Group some five weeks earlier. “ ‘Bradley was wonderful,’ one of them said. ‘I couldn’t believe it was the Army—it was so efficient.’"58 The task of converting the two organizations from B-25's* to A-26’s was originally assigned to the Third Air Force; but on 1 February 1945 the groups were assigned to the First Air Force, and their conversion training was carried out at the First Air Force’s Columbia Army Air Base, South Carolina.59

If there had been doubt in the minds of members of the 319th and 514th about their being in the Army while they were at Bradley Field, that doubt was promptly dispelled when they reassembled, after RR&R, at Columbia AAB. No one factor was responsible for the confusion, the chaos, that surrounded the two groups during the period of their assignment to the First Air Force. The groups’ officer and enlisted personnel, Columbia AAB personnel, and the higher echelon headquarters involved—First Air Force, Continental Air Forces, and Army Air Forces—all contributed in various ways and in varying degrees to the mess that existed at Columbia in the spring of 194s. The trouble started overseas, where the groups’ administrative personnel had evidently “been more interested in watching operations … than in keeping up their paper work.’60 Records were so incomplete that it was estimated “that 75 percent of the records of the 319th and 65 percent of those of the 514th had to be completely remade at Columbia.’ 61 It can well be understood that this situation did nothing to endear the newcomers to such Columbia AAB personnel as had to work overtime to get the group records in shape. Nor did the superciliousness with which members of the groups looked upon permanent party personnel as stay-at-homes do anything to improve relations between group and base personnel; it was particularly galling to those permanent party members who had had quite as much combat experience as any member of the 319th.62

When processing got under way at Columbia, and it became apparent that the groups that would go to the Pacific would be very different

* The 319th Bombardment Group had been converted from B-26’s to B-25’s in the MTO.


from those that had returned from the MTO, morale immediately collapsed. Col. Joseph R. Holzapple, who had commanded the 3 19th since August 1943, had anticipated that 20 per cent of his personnel would have to be replaced. But when all those with more than one year's overseas service, those with dependent children, those over forty years of age, and those made ineligible by reclassification or medical disqualification had been eliminated, the replacement figure for the two groups proved to be 76 percent. The eliminees were replaced by fillers from the First Air Force. The organizations contributing personnel were under orders to provide capable, qualified replacements. Some commanders, no doubt, unselfishly sacrificed key men whom they could ill afford to lose; a larger number apparently took advantage of the opportunity to rid themselves of misfits and incompetents. Hence many of the replacements sent to the 319th and 514th proved to be in no wise qualified for the jobs they were expected to perform and had themselves to be replaced.63

An equally serious difficulty in remaining the two groups was that many of the men sent as replacements had not had the ten-day furlough required by POM directives. At first the officers of the groups, of Columbia AAB, and of Headquarters, First Air Force, thought that this would make no difference, that men could be sent overseas without furloughs on the ground of military necessity. But it was War Department policy that any man who had not had the required furlough was to be left behind; and the Deputy Chief of Air Staff ruled that that policy must be followed in the case of the 319th and 514th.64

It had been intended to have processing and such basic training as might be required all finished before the unit training began. The base officials had expected to supervise the individual training rather closely and then to allow the groups a large measure of independence in their operational training.65 Since many members of the groups had applied for and received extensions of their RR&R, and since many First Air Force units were slow in supplying fillers, the processing dragged on and had not been completed when training began on 6 March.66 From that time on training and processing were conflicting activities.

Even after operational training got under way there were difficulties such as conflicts in training schedules and shortages of essential training equipment.67 Moreover, the Columbia AAB authorities thought it necessary that they should take a larger part in the group


training program than had originally been intended; and there was, for a while, some confusion as to the division of responsibility between officers of the base and those of the groups. Nevertheless, “training progressed well enough so that required standards were met by the time the postponed readiness dates rolled around—which is another way of saying that the dates had to be set back in order that training could be finished.”68 The two groups left Columbia for Seattle on 26 April and embarked for Okinawa on 7 May, arriving at their destination on 3 July.69

Lest it be thought that Columbia Army Air Base was unique in having troubles, let the situation at Sioux Falls Army Air Field be considered. The Strategic Air Command (SAC) historian wrote, almost a year after the event: “If Sioux Falls wasn’t the busiest army air field in the United States during redeployment it certainly was one of the most chaotic. ‘Organized confusion’ was a term regularly and apparently aptly applied to the situation by the base personnel.”70

By the summer of 1945 the problem confronting the central assembly stations, of which Sioux Falls was the largest, was not to find fillers for units being redeployed; it was to get rid of returnees for whom there were no facilities for training and entertaining, even, in some instances, for housing and feeding. It was found that almost three-fourths of the officers and more than one-fifth of the enlisted men reassembling at Sioux Falls were eligible for separation; but with the ASF separation centers hopelessly bogged down, separation quotas and transportation to the centers were both lacking. Nor were those eligible for redeployment more fortunate; the overloaded Training Command could not or would not take them. Some found places in permanent party organizations; the rest just waited. During the first ten days of July more than 8,000 individuals had assembled at Sioux Falls to be separated or redeployed. Returnees continued to arrive until, by the end of the month, more than 20,000 had been processed; but only 6,382 had been shipped out. In August more than 30,000 additional returnees were received, and during September almost 8,000. In the three months a total of 48,738 were shipped out, leaving, at the end of September, more than 10,000 awaiting, by that time, not redeployment but separation.71 As this experience suggests, the problems of demobilization threatened to swamp the machinery established for redeployment.

It is not surprising that, when Japan surrendered in mid-August


1945, the units redeployed from Europe to the Asiatic-Pacific theaters were still insignificant in number. Perhaps the setback AAF planners had suffered when Germany failed to collapse on schedule, in the fall of 1944, caused them to be caught off balance when V-E Day did come, despite the fact that it had been so long in sight; perhaps it was merely the magnitude of the operation that made the redeployment machine so slow in getting under way. It had been the original intention to send many units of the Eighth, Twelfth, and Fifteenth Air Forces (the Ninth was to be the occupation air force in Europe) direct to the Asiatic and Pacific bases from which they could most effectively operate against the Japanese. But on 15 May 1945 the War Department issued a “Revised Redeployment Forecast.” This provided that only the headquarters and ancillary units of the VIII Air Force Service Command, two air-service groups, and one fighter-wing headquarters would go direct; all other organizations were to be disbanded or inactivated in the theater or sent to the United States for redeployment to the Pacific, assignment to the strategic reserve, or inactivation.72

What actually happened was that Eighth Air Force headquarters was transferred, on 16 July 1945, less personnel and equipment, to Okinawa (it was manned in the new theater by personnel from the XX Bomber Command and from the Zone of Interior, along with a few key figures from the old Eighth Air Force) ; seven bombardment groups, three fighter groups, and a number of service units were transferred to the Ninth Air Force to become part of the occupation air force; seven of the Eighth‘s bombardment groups, with their associated service groups, were transferred to the Air Transport Command; and 2,192 heavy bombers, with crews, were used in the HOME RUN (otherwise known as the WHITE plan) project—transporting personnel from the ETO and MTO to the United States. Redeployment began in the Twelfth Air Force even before R (for redeployment) Day—12 May 1945. The movement of the 319th Bombardment Group and the 369th and 514th Air Service Groups to the United States and eventually to Okinawa has already been discussed. A good many other units-among them a fighter group, two bombardment groups, and six air-service groups—had been scheduled for direct redeployment to the Pacific during the spring and summer; instead they were sent to the United States, and most of them were inactivated


soon after arrival in the Zone of Interior.* Many other units were disbanded, discontinued, or inactivated in the theater. There is evidence that the Fifteenth Air Force intended to redeploy directly to the Pacific the 734th Military Police Battalion and the 31st and 52d Fighter Groups, as well as a number of other organizations. Instead, the fighter groups were sent to the United States, and what happened to the military-police battalion is a bit of a mystery.† Thus it appears that redeployment from the ETO and MTO was limited to one bombardment group, the 369th, and two air-service groups, the 369th and 514th, all deployed through the United States. No record has been found of any major unit's having been redeployed directly to the CBI or the Pacific between V-E and V-J Days.73


Demobilization of the AAF had its beginning before Japan's surrender in August 1945. The AAF had reached its peak strength in military personnel in March, 1944. At that time, 306,889 officers and 2,104,405 enlisted men comprised a total of 2,411,294.‡ During the

* Two flights of the 1st Emergency Rescue Squadron were sent to the CBI in January 1945. Two Twelfth Air Force units, the 35th Fighter Group and the 547th Air Service Group, had got as far on their way to the Pacific as the Panama Canal on V-J Day; with the announcement of the Japanese surrender, orders were changed, and the transport headed for New York. 

† The historian of the Fifteenth Air Force wrote: "On 9 June the 734th Military Police Battalion , . . departed the Air Force for the Pacific Ocean Area" (Hist. 15th 3 I May-31 July 1945, p. 8). The historian of the 5th Wing, to which the 734th was assigned, says that personnel of the military-police battalion were replaced by a squadron guard made up of individuals selected from various units of the wing (Hist. 5th Wg., June 1945, p. 1) ; and the unit is omitted from the list of components of the wing given on the title page of the June installment of the wing's history. It is listed, however, in the July and August installments as one of the wing's components.

‡ The following table represents total AAF personnel at the ends of the months indicated:

Month Total Commissioned Enlisted Month Total Commissioned Enlisted
1944 1945
Mar. 2,411,294 306,889 2,104,405 Nov. 1,200,247 200,152 1,000,095
June 2,372,292 333,401 2,038,891 Dec. 888,769 164,004 724,765
Sept. 2,391,281 357,924 2,033,357 1946
Dec. 2,359,456 375,973 1,983,483 Jan. 733,786 141,643 592,143
1945 Feb. 564,605 115,243 449,362
Jan. 2,345,068 377,426 1,967,624 Mar. 500,472 102,286 398,186
Feb. 2,324,377 385,111 1,939,266 Apr. 485,151 95,906 389,245
Mar. 2,325,842 385,916 1,939,926 May 472,563 88,746 388,817
Apr. 2,328,534 388,278 1,941,256 June 455,515 81,733 373,782
May 2,310,436 388,295 1,922,141 July 450,626 72,983 377,643
June 2,282,259 381,454 1,900,805 Aug. 441,852 68,452 373,400
July 2,262,092 371,269 1,890,823 Sept. 419,670 65,991 353,679
Aug. 2,253,182 368,344 1,884,838 Oct. 406,802 61,252 345,550
Sept. 1,992,960 310,443 1,682,517 Nov. 373,960 50,272 323,328
Oct. 1,555,867 241,226 1,312,641 Dec. 341,413 49,529 291,884

The low mark in the postwar era was reached in May 1947 with a total of 303,614.


second quarter of 1944 there was a decrease of 65,614 in the number of enlisted men; but the decline in total strength was only 39,002, because in the same period commissioned strength increased by more than 26,000. This loss of enlisted personnel seems to have been attributable largely to involuntary transfers from the AAF to the AGF—transfers that were noticeable especially in the ETO. There was an increase of some 22,000 AAF enlisted personnel in July but a net loss for the third quarter of 1944 amounting to 5,534. Continued losses in the last three months of the year brought the number of enlisted personnel below the 2,000,000 mark—to 1,983,483, as of 1 January 1945. Officer strength continued to increase month by month; at the end of 1944 it was 375,973. The phenomenon of decreasing enlisted strength and increasing officer strength continued through the first five months of 1945; an increase in May brought the number of AAF officers to the peak figure of 388,295; a total of 1,922,141 in enlisted personnel made a combined total of 2,310,436.74 The decline between 30 May and 31 August was only 57,354, but after V-J Day the reduction in force was greatly accelerated. By the end of 1945 the total strength of the AAF, commissioned and enlisted, was only 888,769. This figure was lowered in January by 154,983; in February by 169,181; and in March by 64,133. Total AAF strength in military personnel at the end of March 1946 was only a little more than half a million.75

This rapid demobilization had been made possible by the AAF's, assumption of a large part of the responsibility for the separation from the service of its own personnel. The operation of separation centers had initially been assigned to the Army Service Forces, which at the beginning of September 1945 had some twenty-two centers with an estimated total monthly capacity of 300,000. At that time the backlog of those eligible for separation already stood at approximately 500,000, and it was expected that the rate at which veterans were returning from overseas theaters would reach a comparable figure by 1 October. Consequently, on 1 September Headquarters, AAF, called upon CAF to submit a plan for separating AAF personnel at AAF installations. The plan was submitted on 3 September and won prompt approval from Headquarters, AAF. War Department approval was quickly secured; and on 6 September Commanding General, CAF, was directed to undertake the separation of AAF personnel in the Zone of Interior as such personnel became eligible for separation under RR 1-1 .76

Permanent party personnel of the Personnel Distribution Command


and individuals being processed in PDC installations were to be separated by PDC rather than CAF. This exception in favor of PDC was later countermanded; effective 19 October 1945, CAF was given complete responsibility for AAF separations.77 In addition, the term of CAF's responsibility was extended beyond the original date of I December 1945 "for whatever period is necessary to provide for prompt separation of all eligible personnel in the Z/I, in excess of the capacity of WD separation centers."78 The CAF promptly set up thirty-two separation bases, all of them being in operation by 26 September. The daily rate of separation rose during the first week of operations from 754 to 2,395, and by 30 September had reached 3,948.79

Changes as of 1 October in War Department rules governing separation, one of which was the lowering of the critical score from 80 to 70,* made some 84,500 enlisted men and women eligible for separation. Thus, despite the fact that more than 3 1,500 were separated during the month of September, the backlog of AAF candidates for separation was larger in early October than it had been in mid-September.80 However, the AAF separation bases operated with efficiency and dispatch; by 1 November 304,564 members of the AAF had been separated, and there was no backlog.81 The number of AAF separations during November was 208,945,† and separation bases were being inactivated. By the middle of December, CAF had secured AAF approval of a plan to operate, beginning 1 January 1946, separation bases at only nine installations, with a total daily capacity of 2,800. Having accomplished their mission, these bases were closed between 9 and 18 February 1946. On 20 February CAF announced that its separation program WAS concluded, with 734,715 officers and enlisted personnel having been processed at AAF separation bases.82

* The critical score had been reduced from 85 to 80 on 3 September (Army–Navy Register, 8 Sept. 1945, p. 7). On I November it was lowered again; enlisted men with ASR scores between 50 and 59, inclusive, and two years of active service, and enlisted women with scores between 29 and 33, inclusive, with one year of active service, became eligible for separation (Daily diary, D&PR Br., AC/AS-1, 31 Oct. 1945). At the end of November an enlisted man who was the father of three or more children under eighteen was entitled to be separated (ibid., 29 Nov. 1945). There were successive lowerings of the critical score, the idea being to have the score at such point by March 1946 that at that time all enlisted men with two years of service would have the number of points required for separation; the joint system would then be abolished and two years of service would be the criterion for eligibility for separation (Army–Navy Register, 13 Oct. 1945, p. 5).

† This figure is very nearly 70 per cent of the total number of separations at AAF personnel that occurred during the month; only 144,675 were separated by ASF centers, hospitals, and other installations.


No less impressive is the rate of demobilization by unit. Between the Japanese surrender in mid-August 1945 and the following Christmas the AAF was reduced from 218 groups to 109. In other words, the force had been cut in half (by this standard of measurement) within the span of four months, and the rate continued precipitously downward through the first half of 1946. By the end of June the nominal strength of the AAF, then 54 groups, had been cut in half again.* Actually, the real loss in terms of effective strength was much greater than even these figures suggest. A plan of demobilization giving priority of separation to the more experienced and the more expert soon took its toll of every unit, and each unit paid twice. First came the loss of key personnel and then their replacement by men drawn from a variety of sources—men who may have had the right MOS but also had little in common with the older members of the unit beyond a desire for early separation from the service. What had been lost was not only key men but that indefinable quality variously described as morale or spirit which, by whatever name, so largely affects the strength of a military organization. As early as October 1945 Maj. Gen. St. Clair Streett of CAF felt compelled to warn General Arnold that “we will have soon reached a point, if it has not been reached, at which the Army Air Forces can no longer be considered anything more than a symbolic instrument of National Defense.”83 In General Streett’s view “a potpourri of warm bodies” was no substitute for an air force.

The postwar transition involved things as well as people. On 30 September 194s the AAF had 1,895 installations, of which 1,333 were located in the Zone of the Interior.† At the end of the year, the latter figure had been reduced to 429, including auxiliary fields.84 On V-E Day, to rake another example, there were in AAF hands in Europe 24,000 spare aircraft engines, 238,000 long tons of technical supplies, nearly 12,000 special-purpose vehicles, and over 466,000 long tons of bombs and ammunition. By 1 January 1946 USAFE had disposed of 19,006 engines, 126,603 tons of technical supplies, 5,151 vehicles, and

* The peak strength of the AAF had been reached in March 1945 at 243 groups. The following shows strength in groups at the close of the indicated months from September 1945 through August 1946: September, 201; October, 178; November, 128; December, 109; January, 89; February, 81; March, 71; April, 65; May, 60; June, 54; July, 52; August, 52.

† The peak figure for installations of all kinds, reached by the end of December 1943, was 2,252 (see Vol. VI, 120).


184,950 tons of bombs and ammunition. With its requirements set at 2,099 in the first category, 36,653 in the second, 3,172 in the third, and 67,500 in the fourth, USAFE found itself at the beginning of 1946 facing the prospect of disposing of 3,234 spare engines, 74,771 tons of technical supplies, 3,669 vehicles, and 213,750 tons of bombs and ammunition.85

The AAF’s role in the disposal of this and other such property was limited by national administrative and legislative action. Planning for economic demobilization had been begun at the White House level as early as 1943. The Surplus Property Act of October 1944 created the Surplus Property Board and made it responsible for the supervision, care, handling, and disposition of surplus property and for its transfer between government agencies. In response to a directive from the Director of the Office of War Mobilization and Reconversion, the Secretary of War and the Secretary of the Navy established the Army–Navy Liquidation Commission; this agency was charged with the disposal of surplus property located outside the United States except that in US. territories and possessions. Executive Order 9541, effective 1 May 1945, transferred the Office of Surplus Property, with jurisdiction over surplus property in the United States and its territories and possessions, from the Treasury Department to the Department of Commerce. Congress acted on 18 September 1945 to replace the Surplus Property Board with the Surplus Property Administration. Executive Order 9630, dated 27 September 1945, abolished the Army–Navy Liquidation Commission and transferred to the State Department all authority over the disposal abroad of surplus property. Executive Order 9643, of 19 October 1945, transferred the Office of Surplus Property from the Department of Commerce to the Reconstruction Finance Corporation; the latter immediately created the War Assets Corporation as its agency for handling surplus property. Still another Executive Order—this one 9689, dated 1 February 1946—made the War Assets Corporation responsible for disposal of most surplus property in the United States. And congressional action on 1 August 1946 made the Department of State the sole disposal agency in overseas areas, except Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.86

The main responsibility falling thus upon AAF organizations was that of declaring to the appropriate agency such of their material stocks as were to be considered surplus to existing and anticipated


needs. A few statistics selected from the great plethora of those available will be sufficient to suggest the scale of these transfers. Much AAF equipment was covered by bulk sales agreements with the British, French, and Italian governments negotiated during I 946, the first being one entered into in March with Great Britain at a contract figure of $532,000,000. By the end of 1946 the Office of the Foreign Liquidation Commissioner in Europe had disposed of AAF property listed at the following totals: airplanes, $47,000,000; airplane and other parts, $274,300,000; bombs and ammunition, $117,800,000.87 Early reports from the depots of the Far East Air Service Command showed that over 30 percent of AAF property on hand had been declared surplus by November 1945. The sale of aircraft originally costing $120,000 a piece for a little more than $19,000 each is suggestive of the phenomenal losses sustained in postwar disposal of surplus items.88 In the 21, the Air Materiel Command by the end of January 1947 could report a total of $4,800,000,000 in surplus property. Of this total, property worth $226,000,000 had been “transferred, donated, or redistributed”; items worth $843,000,000 had been shipped on War Assets Administration (WAA) instructions; AAF disposal in scrap and salvage accounted for $2,2 27,000,000; and the remainder-worth $1,504,000,000—had been declared to WAA but was still in AAF possession awaiting instructions from WAA.89

Included in the property not declared surplus were some 15,000 aircraft—B-17's, B-24’s, B-29’, A-26’s, P-47’s, P-51’s, PT-13’s, C-46’s, C-47’s, and P-80’s-that were stored for possible later use by the AAF and reserve organizations. Of 24,114 AAF planes in continental United States on 1 May 1946, there were 8,224 in use, 840 had been declared excess, and 15,050 were in storage.* The storage program presented many difficulties. Of the eight depots employed, some had unfavorable climatic conditions, others limited space. A new technique of cocooning-the plane was covered with a layer of webbing and then sprayed with a liquid which hardened into a protective envelope- promised at first to answer all storage problems. But experience soon proved, despite obvious merits in the technique, that there were bugs to be worked out.90

Meanwhile, the end of hostilities had brought to a halt the huge and varied procurement program of the AAF except such parts of it as

* The total of aircraft on hand, including those belonging to overseas units, as of that date was just over 36,000.


were necessary for the curtailed operations of the future. A freeze was ordered until all inventories had been checked and all actions involving cancellations, reinstatements, and new procurements had been completely co-ordinated. Simultaneously, General Arnold suspended all modification of aircraft until the AAF could be certain that it was not “shoeing any more dead horses."91 The Materiel Command’s procurement personnel dropped from 25,443 in July 1945 to 8,308 by 1 January 1946, and by the end of 1946 the total was down to 2,871.92 As wartime procurement gave way to postwar programs, the AAF by 30 July 1946 had contracts for $654,000,000, with twenty-seven aircraft companies, of which total $479,000,000 was for production and $175,000,000 for research and development.93

Organization adjustments to the fact of demobilization were rendered additionally complex by a national policy that looked forward to the maintenance of military forces outside our own territories for an indefinite period of time and by the prospect that the AAF might fulfil its ambition for equality with the Army and the Navy in the postwar organization of national defense. Although this last question remained unsettled in any final sense until the enactment of the National Defense Act of 1947, all interim plans were made in the expectation that a long-deferred ambition would be soon achieved. Much less subject to the uncertainties of future policy were the immediate demands for occupation forces in Europe and the Far East, not to mention the intervening bases and air routes that were necessary to the maintenance of those forces.

At the close of the war with Germany in May 1945, the AAF was represented in ETO and MTO by four air forces: the Eighth, Ninth, Twelfth, and Fifteenth. As has been previously noted, the first of these had been selected for redeployment against Japan and reequipped with B-29’s. The Ninth, largest of all the wartime air forces and as a tactical organization one of the most diversified in its equipment and potentialities, had been selected as the occupation air force.94 This left the Twelfth and Fifteenth for inactivation or reassignment, It may seem that the history of each of these great air forces and of their superior headquarters—Mediterranean Allied Air Forces (MAAF) in the MTO and United States Strategic Air Forces (USSTAF) in the ETO—should be brought to a neat ending at whatever point of time they ceased to exist or were reassigned. But the end of an air force, like its beginning, presents a bewildering complex of


paper actions—activations and inactivations, assignments and reassignments, covering a multitude of subordinate organizations—that has appeal only for those who enjoy the antiquarian's interest in the record for its own sake. Subordinate units may survive the parent organization with designations perpetuating the memory of the parent long after its demise, as in the case of the XI1 Tactical Air Command, which outlived its parent, the Twelfth Air Force, And so let it be noted here, merely, that the great concentrations of air power which helped to win the war in Europe began soon after the victory to disappear as their units were inactivated, redeployed, or reassigned—some of them looking like themselves in a reincarnation, some of them having no resemblance whatsoever to the original. In time, it became necessary to do something. about the superior headquarters which no longer presided over a military force sufficient to have any real utility, and these famous commands might have their ends in nothing more than the inactivation or redesignation of a headquarters squadron. For whatever it may be worth to the historian or the antiquarian, let it be recorded that USSTAF had its ending with the redesignation to Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron, United States Air Forces in Europe (USAFE), on 16 August 1945. MAAF* was dissolved on 31 July 1945, and its AAF functions were taken over by Army Air Forces in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations (AAF/MTO) ; the latter was discontinued on I October 1945. It has already been noted† that Headquarters, Eighth Air Force, was transferred, less personnel and equipment, to Okinawa on 16 July 1945. The Twelfth Air Force was inactivated on 3 I August 1945 and the Fifteenth on I 5 September of the same year.95

Much more to the point is the fact that in March 1946 there were 47,544 members of the AAF in the European theater, and 2,555 in the Mediterranean area.96 USAFE had set up its headquarters in Wiesbaden, Germany, in September 1945;97 to the command were assigned the XII Tactical Air Command, with two fighter wings, a reconnaissance group, a photo-reconnaissance group, an air service group, a tactical control group, and other auxiliary units; the European Air Transport Service, with a troop-carrier wing; the European Aviation Engineer Command, with an engineer aviation regiment; the AAF/European Theater Reinforcement Depot; the Base Air Depot Area

* MAAF was a joint RAF-AAF operational headquarters.

† See above, p. 565.


(at Burtonwood, England) ; the 40th Bombardment Wing; and the European Air Materiel Command (originally IX Air Force Service Command) .98

Much larger were the forces (71,959) at that time still deployed in the Pacific under the control of, at first, either United States Army Strategic Air Forces in the Pacific (USASTAF)—the Eighth and Twentieth Air Forces—or Far East Air Forces (FEAF)—the Fifth, Seventh, and Thirteenth Air Forces. However, on 6 December 1945 USASTAF was abolished by the inactivation of its headquarters and headquarters squadron, and FEAF was redesignated Pacific Air Command;99 the new command assumed jurisdiction over all AAF units in the Pacific except those belonging to the Air Transport Command. The five Pacific Air Forces had a total of six very-heavy-bombardment groups, nine fighter groups, two light-bombardment groups, and two troop-carrier groups, along with three tactical reconnaissance, five air-sea rescue, five night-fighter, two liaison, two tow-target, and two very-long-range photographic-reconnaissance squadrons. The Fifth Air Force was deployed in Japan, the Eighth and Thirteenth in the Philippines, the Twentieth in the Marianas, and the Seventh in Hawaii. There was also the Pacific Air Service Command, later Far East Air Service Command100

In China the AAF was represented in March 1946 by 7,668 of its personnel, who functioned under the control of Headquarters, United States Army Air Forces, China; the command had dwindled from two air forces," one air service command, and one photographic group to an aggregation comprising one fighter squadron, a two-squadron troop-carrier group, two air-service groups, one air-depot group, one airdrome squadron, two military-police companies, one weather squadron, and one Army Airways Communications System group.101 In Alaska the Eleventh Air Force had been redesignated Alaskan Air Command (AAC) on 21 December 1945; at the end of March 1946 its components, in addition to its headquarters and headquarters squadron and various service troops, were one fighter group of three squadrons

* When Rangoon came into Allied hands in May of 1945, the air phase of the war in Burma was virtually concluded; hence the Eastern Air Command, which had exercised jurisdiction over the Tenth Air Force and various other AAF units in the India- Burma theater, was disbanded on I June 1945, and the Tenth Air Force was transferred to China to become part of USAAF, China (The Deployment of the AAF to China from India and Events after August 1945, p. 1). The Tenth and Fourteenth Air Forces were inactivated at Seattle, Washington, on 6 January 1946 (GO 1, ASF Seattle POE, 2 Jan. 1946).


and one heavy bombardment and one troop-carrier squadron.102 In the Caribbean the Sixth Air Force was redesignated Caribbean Air Command (CAC) on 31 July 1946; at the time of the redesignation the CAC‘s personnel strength of 7,934—almost 5,000 greater than it had been at the beginning of 1946—was distributed among fourteen squadrons: four heavy-bombardment, six fighter, two reconnaissance, one troop carrier, and two tow target.103

At the end of the war the Air Transport Command (ATC) was operating with nine divisions, eight foreign and one domestic. One year later there were only three—the Atlantic, Pacific, and European Divisions. The Ferrying Division, having taken over the Alaskan Division, was renamed the Continental Division. Then the Continental Division was absorbed by the Atlantic Division, as were also the North Atlantic, South Atlantic, and Caribbean Divisions. The India–China Division terminated its Hump operations in November 1945; its other activities were taken over early in 1946 by the Pacific and North African Divisions. The North African Division, in turn, was taken over by the European Division. In the course of this contraction and consolidation ATC personnel strength was reduced from its August 1945 peak of 209,201 military and 104,667 civilian personnel to 42,090 military and 17,590 civilian personnel in December 1946.104 The mission of ATC was substantially enlarged in March 1946 when the Army Airways Communications System, the AAF Weather Service, the Aeronautical Chart Service, the Flying Safety Service, and the Air Rescue Service were all assigned to it. But a trend toward an over-all reduction of activity was emphasized in regulations of June 1946 defining ATC‘s transport operations as “supplementary” to those of U.S. civil air carriers. Upon ATC fell the responsibility for maintaining necessary liaison with the civil airlines, except for such technical matters as might belong to the Materiel Command.

Reorganization of the AAF

In March 1946 ATC had become one of the eight major commands into which the AAF was at that time divided. At the end of the war the AAF’s basic organization depended upon the following subordinate commands: Air Technical Service, Air Transport, Training, Proving Ground, and Personnel Distribution, plus the Continental Air Forces, which had as components the I Troop Carrier Command and the four U.S.-based air forces—First, Second, Third, and Fourth. After


considering a variety of alternatives, the AAF put into effect on 21 March 1946 a plan providing for the Strategic Air Command, Tactical Air Command, Air Defense Command, Air Materiel Command, Air Training Command, Air Transport Command, Air Proving Ground, and Air University Command. At the same time the CAF was inactivated. Headquarters, CAF, in effect, became Headquarters, SAC, The Second Air Force, at the time when SAC was activated, was relieved from assignment to CAF and assigned to SAC; but a few days later it was inactivated and assigned, in an inactive status, to Air Defense Command. Other CAF components, except the First, Third, and Fourth Air Forces and the IX Troop Carrier Command, were assigned to SAC. Personnel of the Second Air Force were used to man the Fifteenth Air Force, which at this time was reactivated and assigned to SAC.105 The Air Defense Command (ADC), with headquarters at Mitchel Field, New York, assumed full responsibility for the air defense of the continental United States* and for co-ordinating air defense activity supplied by other services.106

The Tactical Air Command (TAC), established first at Tampa, Florida, and moved in the latter part of May 1946 to Langley Field, Virginia, originally had as its components three air forces—the Third, the Ninth, and the Twelfth; with the inactivation of the Third on 1 November 1946, the number was reduced to two.107 The stated mission of TAC was “to participate in joint operations with ground and/or sea forces; to co-operate with the Air Defense Command in the air defense mission; to operate independently in offensive operations; to train units and personnel for the maintenance of the tactical forces in all parts of the world; to co-operate with Army Ground Forces in training of airborne troops; to perform such special missions as the Commanding General, Army Air Forces may direct.”108 In

* To carry out its mission, ADC planned to use six air forces, one for each Army Area. The First Air Force would be responsible for the New York–New England territory. The Eleventh Air Force, reactivated at Olmsted Field, Pennsylvania, on 13 June 1946, would have the region of which the corners are Indiana, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Kentucky. The Fourteenth Air Force, reactivated at Orlando Army Air Base, Florida, on 24 May 1946 would be assigned the southeastern states—Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, North and South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. The Tenth, reactivated at Brooks Field, on 24 May 1946, would have jurisdiction over New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana. The Second Air Force, activated at Fort Crook, Nebraska, on 6 June 1946, would serve Wyoming, Colorado, North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Michigan. The Fourth Air Force, at Hamilton Field, California, would defend the eight westernmost states.


sum, SAC, TAC, and ADC shared the responsibility for the AAF’s combat missions.

The functions and organizational structure of the Air Technical Service Command (ATSC)-which had been created in 1944 by the merger of the Materiel Command and the Air Service Command—were in a state of continual change during 1945. These structural and functional changes varied in nature and degree. Some were total innovations, some were slight revisions of existing structures or practices. All were the result of an attempt to improve ATSC’s wartime organization and to make its working structure more suitable for peacetime operations. When ATSC became the Air Materiel Command (AMC) on 9 March 1946, the new command’s chief postwar task had already been made clear: to transform a huge, sprawling, production-at-any-price organization into a compact, efficient, cost-conscious and economy-minded concern. The AMC continued to provide logistical and technical support to the AAF in the fields of research and development, procurement, supply, and maintenance, but the emphasis shifted from quantity production for immediate needs to long-range programs which would improve the quality of AAF performance.109

Uncertainty as to the ultimate size, form, and functions of various elements of the postwar defense organization exerted a harmful influence on all AMC operations. The Bureau of the Budget, for example, twice proposed to Congress a year’s moratorium on all research and development. With the sword of Damocles thus hanging over it, the AMC Engineering Division could not be sure that it had any mission at all. Also acute budgetary troubles began to plague the AMC with attendant reductions in force and cancellation of programs, A formidable workload of essentially unproductive activities had fallen to the command as a result of the war’s termination. Vast amounts of aircraft and aeronautical equipment spread out all over the globe had to be disposed of or stored for possible future use. What in normal time would be a relatively minor function then required thousands of employees and produced endless complications. Not only did materiel have to be disposed of but the vastly expanded facilities of the command—and of the whole complex of 21 installations as well—had to be reduced to a size commensurate with new requirements. Stations had to be inactivated, warehouses consolidated, and leased property vacated. The completion of this activity was greatly hampered by the lack of firm planning commitments by higher authority.


The elimination of excess properties was retarded by necessary retention of numerous installations for possible future use (such as for the Air Reserve program), by political pressures in some localities, and by delays in the acceptance of stocks by the War Assets Administration. Another postwar workload was the adjustment, settlement, and disposal of wartime procurement contracts cancelled after V- J Day. This involved task was the preoccupation of the procurement activity of AMC throughout 1946.

At the same time it was necessary for AMC to assume certain new responsibilities, such as the evaluation, for purposes of technical intelligence, of a vast number of captured enemy records. Little wonder that Headquarters, AMC, remained large in proportion to the size of the command throughout I 946. Though the strength of the command was reduced during the year from 166,000 to 99,000, the personnel strength of the headquarters remained constant at about 15,000.110

Less difficult was the postwar adjustment of another wartime giant, the AAF Training Command, which had begun to dwindle long before the war ended. Indeed, the decline in technical training began in the middle of 1943 and that in flying training during 1944.111 After the merger of the Flying Training Command and the Technical Training Command in July 1943, the resultant AAF Training Command (AAFTC) had become an organization of three flying training commands—comprising twenty-two flying training wings—and three technical training commands. At the beginning of 1946 standard pilot training was being conducted at eight Training Command stations, but early in the year it was discontinued at three of these.112 In August 1945 commissioned strength of AAFTC had been 89,852, and the enlisted strength was 336,648; by the end of the year the command had only 30,118 officers and 129,422 enlisted men. Personnel strength continued to decline throughout the next twelve months, and by the end of 1946 the commissioned strength was 7,866 and the enlisted strength 77,470.113

On V-J Day the AAF Proving Ground Command (AAFPGC) at Eglin Field, Florida, was part of the AAF Center. Other components of the center were the AAF School, the AAF Board, and the Arctic, Desert, and Tropic Branch; these three components and Headquarters, AAF Center, were at Orlando, Florida. The AAFPGC consisted of single base units at Aberdeen, Maryland; Edgewood, Maryland; Madison, Indiana; Hope, Arkansas; Tooele, Utah; Huntsville,


Alabama; Watertown, South Dakota; Muroc, California; and Pinecastle, Florida, with three base units at Eglin Field, Florida. There was also the Cold Weather Testing Detachment in the Arctic. On 8 March 1946 the AAF Proving Ground Command at Eglin Field became the AAF Proving Ground (AFPG); at the same time the designation AAF Center was dropped, and the headquarters at Orlando became Headquarters, AAF Proving Ground.114 At the time of the redesignation the military personnel of the command comprised 1,554 officers and 5,741 enlisted personnel. By the end of 1946 officer strength had declined to 544, but enlisted strength had increased to 6,872. On 24 June 1946 the headquarters at Orlando was moved to Eglin Field; thus the installation at Eglin became the AFPGC, and the term AFPG was dropped. Then, on 10 July 1946, the AAF Proving Ground Command was redesignated Air Proving Ground Command (APGC).

On 19 November 1945 the Army Air Forces School had been transferred from Orlando, Florida, to Maxwell Field, Alabania,115 prewar home of the Air Corps Tactical School.* Early in 1946 plans were being shaped for concentration under one command at Maxwell of all the AAF’s specialized schools. By 6 April 1946 these plans had become firm enough to permit the issuance of an AAF regulation defining the functions of a new Air University intended to incorporate, according to a pattern conventional enough in civilian education but new to the military services, all the AAF’s advanced educational programs. The adoption of the term “university” found additional justification in the institution’s assumption of responsibility for the encouragement of research activity appropriate to the University’s educational mission.

Wartime Planning for the Postwar Air Force

In conclusion, a few words should be added on wartime plans for the postwar air force, a responsibility which had been assigned to the Special Projects Office in 1943.† From the beginning of SPO’s activity, AAF leaders had talked in terms of an air force of 105 groups.116 Plans for the deployment of this force, as expressed in September 1943, called for 21 groups to be assigned to the Atlantic, including Europe and Africa (10 very heavy bombardment, 10 fighter and

* See Vol. I, 46–52.

† See above, p. 549.


fighter-bomber, 1 troop carrier); 58 groups to the Pacific and Asia (25 very heavy bombardment, 1 heavy bombardment, 25 fighter and fighter-bomber, 1 reconnaissance, and 6 troop carrier); and 26 groups to the Zone of Interior, Alaska, and the Canal Zone (5 very heavy bombardment, 1 heavy bombardment, 4 medium and light bombardment, 10 fighter and fighter-bomber, 2 reconnaissance, and 4 troop carrier).117 It was estimated that combat personnel for 105 groups would total more than a half-million men; with the necessary training and transport troops and antiaircraft artillery, the total personnel would be more than a million. At the estimated annual cost of more than $4,000 per man, a “self-contained, complete U.S. Post War Air Force”118 would require more than four-fifths of the amount that could realistically be expected to be made available, according to one War Department estimate,119 for all the armed forces of the country.

The men who drafted these proposals were intelligent men—men who were familiar enough with the realities of national and service politics. Perhaps they understood too well the need to establish a bargaining position before entering into the negotiations through which the tax dollar available to the armed services was customarily divided. Perhaps they saw a need, at a time when the independence of the AAF had not yet been conceded, to take the most aggressive position. Perhaps they spoke chiefly for the record. This was a time of war, when the heaviest penalty on a military leader was imposed for asking less than he might need and when the nation asked only what it could do to save itself. Perhaps these airmen, together with leaders of the other armed services, should be credited with some anticipation of a situation in the postwar world that would quickly make prewar standards for military budgets wholly unrealistic. The historian has trouble in going behind the record to interpret such problems of motivation. He can only state that by mid-February 1944 the AAF was ready with its IPWAF (Initial Post War Air Force) Plan which called for an air force of 105 groups (31 very heavy bombardment, 11 heavy bombardment, 4 medium and light bombardment, 45 fighter and fighter-bomber, 3 reconnaissance, and 11 troop carrier), plus 30 separate squadrons (night fighter, photo reconnaissance, tactical reconnaissance, and mapping). The personnel for such a combat force would total 525,000120 and would have to be complemented by an equal or larger number of troops for administration, training, and other ZI activities.


By 7 July 1944 all War Department planning had come to be based on an assumption that the grand coalition of Great Britain, the Soviet Union, China, and the United States might be perpetuated into the postwar era to stabilize the world situation. Consequently, PWAF Plan No. 2 on that date projected a 105-group air force for the period “after the defeat of Japan and prior to the establishment of an effective organization to maintain peace.”121 Upon the establishment of such an organization, the Air Force would be reduced to a strength of 75 groups.

On 13 November General Marshall, apparently disturbed by the fact that the then current planning—even with PWAF Plan No. 2 substituted for IPWAF—would require an annual outlay for the armed forces of almost $7,000,000,000, directed a resurvey of postwar military strength. This study was to be based on the assumption that the total annual expenditure for the military would be $5,000,000,000, of which the War Department share would be $2,800,000,000. Allowing $1,500,000,000 for Universal Military Training and $200,000,000 for the Reserve, National Guard, and ROTC, the amount left for the Regular Army, including the AAF, would be $1,000,000,000.122

The Committee to Re-survey Postwar Strength, on which the AAF representatives were Maj. Gen. Laurence S. Kuter, Col. George P. Baker, and Col. R. C. Moffat, held an organization meeting on 16 November. At the second meeting, held on 27 November, it was agreed that $1,100,000,000 would be sufficient for an Army of 275,000, of whom 25,000 would be officers. It was further decided that 55,000 of the total should go to the ASF, 100,000 to the AGF, and 120,000 to the AAF.123 The AAF could hardly quarrel with an allocation that gave it more than 43 percent of the total;* but a 120,000-rnan air force was a far cry, indeed, from one of 105 or even 75 groups. It was thought in the AAF that a proper distribution of the 120,000 would assign 30,000 to overhead and commands and 40,000 to the training establishment, leaving only 50,000 for the tactical components. That number of combat personnel would suffice for fewer than 20 groups.124 At their third meeting, held on or before 1 December, the members of the committee considered the possibility

* Colonel Davison did point out that such an arbitrary division of strength among the three components-without consideration of the mission of each-did not seem wise (Memo for Advisory Council by Col. F. T. Davison, 13 Dec. 1944; see also Memo for Dir. SPD by Col. Davison, zz Dec. 1944).


of a postwar Army with 400,000 enlisted men. Such an Army would have made possible an air force of from 20 to 24 groups.125

The committee’s work ended in War Department Plan for the Post War Military Establishment, published in November 1945. This document gives no figures to show the number of enlisted men there were to be in the postwar air force; but, since provision is made for an officers’ corps of 25,000,126 it is safe to assume that a total personnel of 275,000 was what the planners had in mind. Thus there would have been a 16-group, 120,00-man air force.

The fortunes of the AAF-USAF did not sink quite that low. The nadir in groups was reached in June 1950, at which time the USAF could muster only 46 groups,127 many, if not all, of which were below authorized strength;128 military personnel at this time totaled 411,277.129 The low-water mark in personnel was established in May 1947; at that time the total was only 303,614.130 But in June 1950 came Korea; and, without ever having reached the minimum size once planned for it, the Air Force began to expand.


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