578TH AIR MATERIEL SQUADRON
25TH AIR SERVICE GROUP
HISTORICAL REPORT (JANUARY 1945)
The first of the New Year saw our Quartermaster Supply Officer, Lieutenant Robert Peterson, off on a well deserved leave of absence to Rest Camp #2, at Darjeeling. Three days later we witnessed the long awaited promotion to Captain of our Stock Control Officer, W. E. Dreve. It came in the first Special Order put out for the New Year by the newly formed Office of the Deputy Commander, Twentieth Air Force. On the 6th of the month, one of our men received an emergency furlough through the XX Bomber Command. It's importance lay in the fact that the men of the squadron realized that the personal problems of the average soldier were not being ignored, in spite of the problems of replacement and transportation that the Bomber Command faced in this "end of the line" Theater of Operations.
On the 3rd and 4th of the month, squadron members participated in a very successful Service Group musical revue, "All 'Zin Fun", featuring the top G.I. band in India, the Jive Bombers, who broadcast almost daily from the American Armed Forces Radio Station, VU2Zu, in Calcutta. A combination of skits, songs, and featured specialties made it the best G.I. show ever seen on this base, in the opinion of scores of enlisted men and officers who witnessed it.
There was some change and movement among the squadron officers. Our Commanding Officer, Major Lewis E. Schwarz, Jr. was transferred to the 142nd Station Hospital in Calcutta for a short period of treatment. During his absence Captain Wendell E. Dreve acted as Commanding Officer. Our Deputy Air Corps Supply Officer, Warrant Officer Jack Lewis, was transferred to Headquarters, Air Service Command in India. Later in the month, 2nd Lieutenant Jess Fisher was assigned to the squadron and was designated as Communication Equipment Officer.
On the 13th, a group of men from the squadron participated in an All-India track meet in Calcutta. A soldier from the Ammunition Company attached to our Service Group established a new record for the high jump in India, with a leap of 6 feet, 5 inches. The same group of men participated in a track meet held in the neighboring town of Kharagpur on the 28th, and one of our men managed to place fourth in the mile run against very tough competition. The enlisted man who had won the high jump event at the Calcutta meet, a former West Coast track star, also walked away with the event at the Kharagpur meet.
In an effort to bring the squadron up to full strength, two men who had recently seen service at advanced bases in China, and one corporal direct from the States were assigned to us. The return of our First Sergeant and three other enlisted men from rest camp at Madras brought the squadron almost up to operating strength. Near the end of the month, two other men were fortunate in winning the drawing to fill the squadron rest camp quota for February and they left for a well earned vacation to the rest camp at Madras. They were accompanied by 1st Lieutenant John T. Wakefield. Our Quartermaster Supply Officer, Lieutenant Robert Peterson, returned on the 18th from the rest camp at Darjeeling. He confirmed the reports that the mountainous north country had undergone it's worst cold spell in fourteen years.
On the 22nd, our squadron, heretofore designated as the 578th Materiel Squadron, was redesignated by offical order as the 578th Air Materiel Squadron, in line with the previous redesignation of our 25th Service Group as the 25th Air Service Group. This follows the Air Force policy of identifying it's service organizations more closely with it's tactical groups, both as a morale factor and in order to more easily distinguish between Air Force and Ground Force service units.
Inspections by base and Bomber Command Air Inspectors during the month again attested to the high efficiency rating that this squadron has enjoyed since it's activation in July of 1944. Of special note were the superior ratings awarded to our large Air Corps Supply section, where there were "no irregularities or deficiencies noted". The vital tactical equipment and clothing continually supplied to the Bomb Squadrons by this section with high efficiency and dispatch has earned the thanks of tactical groups and plane commanders alike. The section still maintains it's record of never allowing a plane which was alerted for a mission to be grounded for lack of spare parts. With a supply line 14,000 miles long, this is indeed a record to be proud of.
The recent stepping up of operations both in Europe and in the Pacific has led to a reappraisal and preparation of organizational equipment for possible movement. While no word has been received from the Bomber Command of any future move, it has been the policy of this organization to be thoroughly prepared for any eventuality. In line with this policy, which the squadron has followed since it was activated, plans set up and initiated almost since activation have been carried out and will continue to be carried out until official word is received to take final action. Whatever the order and whenever it may come, this squadron stands ready to carry it out with speed and dispatch.