Photos and History of the 36th Troop Carrier Squadron
from Richard E. "Dick" Anderson
Provided by Mary Jane Sheehan Anderson
After being drafted, Richard Anderson was assigned to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas with the US Army Air Force. He was sent to
Wichita Falls, Texas for basic training and glider maintenence training. Anderson joined the 36th Squadron at Austin, Texas and traveled
by train to Fort Patrick Henry, Virginia where he boarded the USS Mariposa on December 21, 1942, sailed around the Cape of Good Hope, and landed at Suez, Egypt on February 2, 1943.
The 36th Troop Carrier Squadron of the 316th Troop Carrier Group was assigned to the 9th Air Force and worked with the British 8th Army for about five months on C-47s. After that the
squadron moved to Casablanca and assembled gliders.
Anderson joined the 7th Squadron of the 67th Troop Carrier Group and maintained gliders in Tunisia where the British Airborne trained with gliders. Gliders were towed from Tunisia to Sicily during Operation Husky.
"The invasion plan called first for British and U.S. airborne
assaults, the former by glider and the latter by parachute. The British began
their operation on the evening of July 9 when 147 tow planes, each pulling a
loaded glider, took off from Tunisia. The aircraft, nearly all C-47s from the
AAF's Troop Carrier Command, carried the British I Airborne Division. Their
mission focused on seizing a canal bridge south of the city of Syracuse on
Sicily's east coast. Regrettably, strong winds, flak, and poor visibility
caused most tow pilots to release their gliders in the wrong areas. Only twelve
came down in the landing zone; at least forty-seven gliders crashed into the
sea, drowning many of the troops aboard. But the British managed to engage the
enemy at the canal bridge and captured it the next day." See
Anderson tranferred back to the 36th Squadron of the 316th Troop Carrier Group after
being stationed on Sicily for about three months. While there he was hit with a tow rope from
an incoming C-47 that released it out of the drop zone. Anderson was not awarded a Purple Heart. Another soldier
at the end of the runway was less fortunate and broke both his legs when the rope entangled him.
In 1944, Anderson was sent to England where glider pilots were trained for D-Day and
he was trained in maintenance of the British Horsa gliders.
His final assignment was in France with the 23rd Squadron of the 349th Troop Carrier Group in 1945 before returning
to the States and culminating his three years and 10 days of military service.
These notes were compiled by Mary Jane Sheehan Anderson who has been married to Richard Anderson for 59 years as of this date (February 25, 2007).
Mary Jane Sheehan Anderson is the sister of Bill Sheehan of the 446th Bombardment Squadron.
Jan Bos from Holland wrote to me and indicated that two of Dick Anderson's photos above may be mislabled.
Jan suggests that photos #6 & #11 are actually of the 316th Troop Carrier Group C-47 named
Geronimo which was Major Ferris' aircraft. According to Jan Bos,
participated in operation Husky, the invasion of Sicily on 11 July 1943,
the plane was hit by a parachute bundle that hit the plane and went straight
through the skin of the plane, the suspension lines cut through the skin."
Jan supplied the following photos of Major Ferris's aircraft, Geronimo:
As it turns out, Jan Bos is quite an authority on the 316th Troop Carrier Group:
"I am Dutch, my parents and parents in law lived in Nijmegen
during the war. Nijmegen is a city of 160,000 inhabitants (today) and is
situated in the eastern part of Holland, close to the German border.
We have the Waal River streaming in the middle of our town. The Waal River
is a branch of the Rhine River, coming up from Switzerland, passing through
Germany and Holland.
I became interested in the 82nd Airborne Division when I was a kid of 12-13
years old. Since I wrote a letter to Fort Bragg, North Carolina I received
pictures and a shoulder patch of the 82nd Airborne Division. In the beginning
I was only focused on operation Market Garden - only the part of the 82nd.
But the paratroopers and glider infantry men of the 82nd could not have done
their job properly without the superb support of the Troop Carriers, afterall
their planes and gliders were needed to transport the paratroopers and glider
infantry. The C-47s also delivered resupplies and evacuated wounded. Since then
I also started to collect all kind of documentation, stories and pictures of the
Troop Carriers. The time I became involved with the Troop Carriers go back to
the late 1970s. When I came in touch with veterans of the 316th TC Group early 1981,
when they came over to visit the battle fields here in Holland. I have
attended many reunions of both organizations and have been tour guide here
in Holland when veterans or family came over to visit the battlefields.
Have also been a tourguide in Sicily for a group of veterans and family members
of the 316th TC Group.
I have collected a lot of material of both the 82nd and Troop Carriers,
many pictures and many books. During my contacts with veterans of the 82nd
Airborne Division I came in touch with veterans of the 376th Parachute Field
Artillery Battalion and have collected a lot of material, enough to write a
book about their wartime here in Europe. The book came out in 1992, counted
226 pages and is in English. Only a limited edition. It is sold out now.
There will be no reprint, although . . .
The 376th was on board of the airplanes from the 316th TC Group during operation
Husky II - July 11, 1943. They were on the tailend of the serial and caught
hell, when allied gunners opened up on the incoming airplanes. A total of
twenty/three [ 23 ] C-47s were shot down in a very short time, 47 planes were
damged including Geronimo, the airplane was you have posted the picture of.
After the book was published I received a lot more of information about that
tragedy that actually should be in the book. Am consindering now to write a
book, only about the `friendly fire`, besides that I am still collecting all
kind of information about the men and the airplanes of the Troop Carrier Groups.
I have contacts by e/mail with all Troop Carrier Groups that flew in North
Africa and Europe.
Any information about Richard is more than welcome, would very much like to
hear his story, perhaps he had written down his accounts.
In the meantime I have scanned all the pages of my book and put it in a file,
added all my pictures I have on the 376th Parachute Field Artillery Battalion
to it, have scanned many reports and am almost finished with that, then I will
put it on a DVD and make it available to all who are interested in it.
I do not know who sent me the pictures about Geronimo, the damaged airplane,
but they were sent by someone in the 316th TC Group. I was informed that the
battle damaged was done by a parapack that went through the skin of the plane,
but the trailing parachute had to crash the airplane, so actually do not know
what caused the damage, perhaps Richard can help out.
I am still looking for information about the invasion of Sicily: Troop Carriers,
82nd Airborne Division, Navy and AirForce. D-Day for operation Husky was
July 10, 1943, when the amphibious landing took place. Preceding these
landings, the 505th Regimental Combat Team [505th Parachute Infantry Regiment,
456th Parachute Field Artillery Battalion, B Company 307th Airborne Engineer
Battalion), 3rd Battalion 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment and several
miscellaneous troops [all 82nd Airborne Division] were dropped from 226 C-47
and C-53 transport planes. The paratroopers were dropped in a wide area in
southern Sicily. At the same time British Airborne troops landed by glider
in the eastern part of Sicily. Eight planes of the American Troop Carriers
were shot down by enemy fire.
During the night of July 11, 1943 (Husky II) 144 C-47s and C-35s took off from
airfields in Tunisia. The planes flew to southern Sicily, passing Malta. Then
they approached the invasion fleet lying offshore. During the day the fleet
was under constant attack by the German Luftwaffe (Airforce), the ships were
bombed and strafed. Ships were hit and sunk, German planes were shot down.
Just some 20 minutes after the last German plane had cleared the sky
(others state that the Luftwaffe was still around) the first C-47s came over.
The first planes passed unharmed, but then someone opened up, more and more
anti-aircraft gunners both on land and on the ships opened up, it became a
tragedy. Many young Americans were killed by American gunfire.
Thank you very much,
Go back to Corsica Map showing 57th Bomb Wing bases in 1944.