This tale is of an ill-fated L-5 flight of COOK, Edward L.

    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.

    On this flight Lieutenant COOK crashed into the side of the mountain and was severely injured.  The Chinese army ran across the crash site and assisted “Ed” with his wounds as much as they could then getting him to an area where one of our C-47s, with our flight surgeon aboard, could get to him and transport to American medics.  He had broken bones, was bruised all over and had many of his teeth knocked out.

    It was some time before his body mended and he could fly again.

Harry A. Blair

Twenty-Seventh Troop Carrier Squadron
La Crosse, Wisconsin
14 February 1990

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