Pieta - Jesus Christ, Immortal Son of God, conceived and born of the blessed virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit, crucified for us - He rose again and will return from heaven
Picture of Michelangelo's Pieta - Sorrowful Mother holding her Divine Son at the foot of the Cross - in its setting at the Vatican Pavilion at the New York World's Fair. My parents and I visited the 1964 World's Fair in New York and we got this picture from the Vatican Pavilion where we saw this, the original Pieta, which had been brought there from Italy for the World's Fair.

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Jungle Skippers - 39th Troop Carrier Squadron

Number 13, the Lucky Lucy

This is my Dad's plane, see below for the "13 brand-new C-47 aircraft," mentioned in my Dad's unit's site: "At the end of 1942 the 39th was deployed to the Southwest Pacific theater, the ground echelon sailing on the good ship Maui from San Francisco to Brisbane, and the air echelon flying 13 brand-new C-47 aircraft across the Pacific to Australia."

Of those 13, when they were assigning them, number 13 stood out because of the negative connotation of the number 13, so my Dad said, "I'll take it," he said, "I didn't care about the number." So he named it the Lucky Lucy and put the emblem you see on it. I only asked him once, for the record, decades after the war, why did he go? His answer was like the rest of his generation, "I did my duty." No bragging or any of that.

They went to Church (in a tent or in a field) on Sunday and prayed in their tents at night. They were in hostile territory including their base surrounded by such from ground and water and air from day one; they flew troops and supplies into and wounded out of combat zones and they did their duty.

They were called the Jungle Skippers because they flew low to keep from getting shot down by ground fire over jungles. They flew paratroops in the Pacific at Bloody Buna, one of the few places in that theater where there were paratroops. They flew hill people who helped fight against Japanese invaders in their own land. They were chased by Zeros in the air and strafed on the ground and shot at by ground fire, in planes that had no guns on them to fire back with. Still they got their people in and the wounded out.

The Jungle Skippers

[See below for 39th Troop Carrier Association]

My Dad was Harry J. Langosh.

My Dad enlisted in the U.S. Army on September 11, 1939 at Langley Field, Virginia and had risen to rank of Sergeant in the Army. He was given an Honorable Discharge from the U.S. Army, as his Discharge then states, "on November 30, 1941, by reason of to re-enlist" and immediate re-enlistment, dated the next day, into the U.S. Army Air Corps under Public Law 99. His Enlisted Record upon his re-enlistment into the U.S. Army Air Corps on December 1, 1941 reads in part: "Prior service:...September 11, 1939 to December 1, 1941. Discharged as Sergeant, character Excellent, by reason of Convenience of the Government. No time lost under AW107." My Dad was one of sixteen men allotted from Borinquen Field, Puerto Rico, for the Spartan School of Aeronautics, Muskogee, Oklahoma for assignment to the Aviation Student Training Class beginning on December 18, 1941. As part of that, at the beginning of December 1941 they left Puerto Rico, where they had been stationed at Borinquen Field, via Troop Transport ship with Brooklyn, New York as destination. As fate would have it, they left on December 6, 1941 and were at sea when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. At that time a U-Boat chased the Transport ship my Dad was on and tried, and I am very glad to say they FAILED, to sink them. My Dad was graduated from Flight School and appointed at Randolph Field, Texas on June 23, 1942 as a Staff Sergeant Pilot, Air Corps, beginning July 3, 1942, and then assigned to and served as a Sergeant Pilot with the 39th Troop Carrier Squadron and then while with them was promoted to second lieutenant and then later first lieutenant.

The 39th Troop Carrier Squadron, 317th Troop Carrier Group,
My dad, Harry J. Langosh, flew a C-47 troop carrier, including paratroops, with the U.S. Army Air Corps Pacific Theatre Air Forces; specifically with the Fifth Air Force in the 39th Troop Carrier Squadron, 317th Troop Carrier Group, his unit, as a staff sergeant pilot and flew to the South Pacific with them in late 1942 and served with them (later promoted to 2nd and then 1st lieutenant) in 1943 and 1944, including in the overall operation generally and popularly known as “Bloody Buna”. Early in 1945 they brought him home to teach flight school. Dad passed away in 2002 but my mom is still a member (as a spouse) of his staff sergeant pilots group and his 39th Troop Carrier Squadron,
317TC Group Association (the Jungle Skippers). Below see a brief synopsis of his service in the South Pacific in W.W. II. from his Service Record. After coming home he was an instructor in the states in the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1945.
"PILOT, TWO ENGINE Flew 139 combat missions (483 combat hours) on C-47 transport over Southwest Pacific area. Transported freight, paratroops and passengers. After return, was instructor in instrument flying and assistant Flight Commander in pilot transition training school (4 months). Awarded Distinguished Flying Cross; Air Medal with 2 Clusters; Asiatic Pacific Theatre Ribbon with 2 stars, American Theatre Ribbon."
We are proud of his service and that of the staff sergeant pilots and the 39th Troop Carrier Squadron, 317th Troop Carrier Group of the 5th Air Force of the U. S. Army Air Corps in the South Pacific. Especially he was stationed in Port MoresbyNew Guinea among other places.
Stephen J. Langosh (son of Harry J. Langosh)
Naomi L. Langosh (spouse of Harry J. Langosh)
1140 Countrywood Lane
VistaCalifornia 92081-5333

This is my Dad's unit, he was with them from the beginning until they brought him home towards the end of World War II in 1945 and made a flight instructor out of him after he was way over his required number of hours in combat flight. He served diligently like the rest of his compatriots. He was Honorably Separated on July 17, 1945 and went to work for the Airlines (First Penn Central Airlines and then Capital and then United as each of the former merged with the later) as a Pilot and retired as a Captain in 1981 on 747's on the LAXFO to Hawaii run for United Airlines.

He started working for the Airlines when given his Honorable Separation from the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1945 and was given his Honorable Discharge from the U.S. Army Air Corps by the War Department, Washington D.C., on June 25, 1947.

From His unit's website.

39th Troop Carrier Association



The 39th Troop Carrier Squadron has had a grand and glorious history. It is one of the few World War II squadrons of any kind that is still active today. Now renamed the 39th Airlift Squadron and flying C-130 aircraft, it still uses the same squadron insignia and performs many of the same functions that it did during World War II.

The unit was originally formed at Duncan Field in San Antonio, Texas in early 1942 as the 39th Transport Squadron. Shortly thereafter it was designated the 39th Troop Carrier Squadron and was assigned to Bowman Field in Louisville, Kentucky, as a part of the 317th Troop Carrier Group along with the 40th, 41st, and 46th Troop Carrier Squadrons. During the next six months the squadron received its aircraft (mostly older, well used DC-3s requisitioned from the airlines). During the next few months it was manned and trained at Bowman Field as well as at Lawson Field, Georgia and Laurenburg-Maxton Field in North Carolina. At the end of 1942 the 39th was deployed to the Southwest Pacific theater, the ground echelon sailing on the good ship Maui from San Francisco to Brisbane, and the air echelon flying 13 brand-new C-47 aircraft across the Pacific to Australia.

Over the next three years the 39th went north with the U.S. forces as they marched island-by-island across the Pacific to Japan. In New Guinea the squadron was first based at Port Moresby, and then Finchhafen (where its first commander, Major Joe Ford, was lost in a fiery takeoff crash). Missions included sorties to Lae, Salamaua, Nadzab, and the Wau-Bulolo Valley (where the unit supported U.S. and Australian troops in a major battle with the Japanese - and earned the first of its two Presidential Unit Citations). It later moved to Hollandia and Biak as the U.S. forces moved up the New Guinea coast. During those and subsequent years, the 39th flew thousands of combat missions, taking ammunition and supplies into the battle areas and evacuating the wounded to rear area medical facilities.

In late 1944 and early 1945 the 39th made the long jump back to the Philippines with General MacArthur. The first step was to Leyte (where our advanced unit was attacked by Japanese paratroopers). While at Leyte the 39th participated in our own paratroop assault against the highly fortified island of Corregidor in the mouth of Manila Bay. Because of its tiny drop zones, this mission has been called the most difficult assault in airborne history and earned the 39th its second Presidential Unit Citation. Later the squadron moved on to the Lingayen Gulf area of Luzon, and still later to Clark Field, also on Luzon. While in the Philippines the squadron flew many missions to hidden fields behind the Japanese lines to support the Philippine guerrilla forces.

The 39th was at Clark Field when the Japanese surrendered on August 15, 1945. The next day it moved to the island of Okinawa and later to Japan. Plans for a probable invasion of the mainland of Japan had been formulated long before. Had the atomic bombs not been used, forcing the Japanese to surrender, the 39th would undoubtedly have been in the forefront of an invasion force, dropping paratroopers on Japan at low speed and low altitude. Unquestionably the casualties would have been extremely high, and many probably would not have survived.

[end of excerpt]


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Mark has left a new comment –

“…I am searching for information, perhaps diary entries or such in regards to a flight perhaps by the 39th TCS from Hollandia to Biak on Sunday, July 23rd of 1944. I am piecing together the movements of my cousin Harvey Dodge (USN) in the theatre at that time. The aircraft in question was listed as missing along with her crew and passengers. No tail numbers or other details are known at this time. Wreckage and remains were located in about 1972 (details not yet verified) as Harvey was later returned stateside and is now interned at Vancouver Washington. If you have access to such diaries or other unit notes that may shed some light on the loss of these brave men, please contact me. I have recently sent along similar requests to the 39th Association and also to the 317th in hopes of chaining together possible resources. In advance, thank you for sharing these memories of 'Lucky Lucy' and the chance to glimpse back in time. …”

“ …a flight perhaps by the 39th TCS from Hollandia to Biak on Sunday, July 23rd of 1944.”

Hope these help!








Best regards.