He wrote that he could no longer remember the ultimate destination of his
ill-fated flight into a blind valley of the rugged mountainous area of
the “The Hump.” He does remember he was to report weather conditions
and deliver an “Eureka” radar set to the Chindits at the front lines.
The “Eureka” was the ground unit of the “Rebecca-Eureka” radar system developed
that pilots could zero in on their targets for para-drop of supplies even
if the area was ‘sacked in.’ In addition he was carrying personal equipment
and instructions for an American sergeant with the Chinese Army Group that
the Twenty-Seventh was supporting from the air. The system met with
great success in the “Battle of Britain” and was being prepared for use
in all of our theaters. It was felt that it would be of extreme value
in the Burma area due to the ruggedness of the mountains and the severe
weather that prevailed a large percentage of the time.
Allied forces fighting behind the front lines relied solely on their equipment
and supplies being supplied from the air. If the area was socked
in for any length of time the men would be in a dire situation in need
of arms and supplies to exist. The “Rebecca” (an air unit) and the “Eureka”
a ground unit made up a radar system that would assist in getting through
to the target even in the worst of weather conditions which the “Hump”
was famous for.
The allied command was most anxious get the program into service – so anxious
that at one time General KENNEDY, commander of the sixty-ninth composite
wing, chewed “Ed” out dearly for being on the ground rather than in the
air no matter the weather conditions. The general was very much impressed
with the importance of completing the missions to get this equipment to
the front lines. He gave explicit orders to “Ed” that he was not
to rest until the system was operational.
It was some time before his body mended and he could fly again.
Harry A. Blair
This tales is a composite from a letter received from COOK, Edward L., memos from the collection of VAN WINKLE, Lester J. and the background of yours truly as a graduate of the early radar courses and one of the first radar observers sent into the CBI Theater.
The system was not only used for dropping of supplies but was of great value in getting equipment to the target during glider invasions.
Glider pilots, especially with the Twenty-Seventh Squadron, were trained to fly the small L-5 aircraft. It was often used as a hospital ship to get wounded out from and behind enemy lines. While stationed at Dunnellon Field, Florida the glider pilots and flight engineers trained often with this aircraft