A lot if very interesting material here. It's wonderful to have Lt. Notestine's sons posting.
Jim Gray wrote:
Here's a piece for your puzzle and it's definitely your guy. I ran across this in the 347th Troop Carrier Group history: "During the latter part of October 1942, a C-49
[O-49] was assigned as a Red Cross ship to evacuate wounded from areas where it could land. S/Sgt Pilot Niel O. Maxwell of the 22nd Squadron was its pilot until about the middle of November, 1942, when Lt. Ronald E. Notestine was sent to relieve him. Over 50 men were brought to hospitals by this ship during that period, and thousands of pounds of dressings and medications were delivered to aid stations along the Kokoda trail.
The unit is the 374th
Troop Carrier Group which was "activated in Australia in November 1942 as the parent unit for the 6th, 21st and 22nd Troop Carrier Squadrons, which had been operating in the area since April ..."
Jim, is the source of your information Edward T. Imparato's history of the 374th?
The pilot was S/Sgt Neil D. Maxwell of Clare, Michigan. He made the final flight in May 1986 at the age of 67. Attached is a photo of him from November 1942 at Port Moresby after arriving from Kokoda. I believe that the person who took this was the famous war photographer George Silk. A series of photos documenting stages of the evacuation of the wounded Aussies by S/Sgt Maxwell can be found at the Australian War Memorial website though the id numbers are not all consecutive. Using the search terms "Kokoda" and "ambulance" will lead you to most of the images.
Robert and Ronald. I checked my limited sources on the 22nd Bomb Group (including the recently published history, Revenge of the Red Raiders
) but was unable to find any information on your father. I cannot speculate on why he may have changed units while in Australia. However, I have made an extensive study of the 3rd BG which flew many of the same missions as the 22nd in New Guinea during 1942. The 3rd BG suffered heavy losses in their first two months of combat operations (April & May) from Japanese fighters as well as due to the weather & terrain and take-off accidents. Quite a few pilots who witnessed these losses during their first missions requested transfers, either to staff positions or to the 21st and 22nd Squadrons of what would later be the 374th TCG. On rare occasions pilots who were wounded or layed low by malaria and dengue fever for extended periods were practically "shanghaied" by other units who were desperate for trained aircrews.
It would be great if you could post some more information on your father's service in New Guinea. I was unaware of the L-1 evacuation missions from Kokoda and Myola until yesterday. Do you have your father's flight log from this period? Thanks for the link to your flickr account.
Finally, I understand that Ken Wakefield's books are supposed to be excellent histories but they are devoted to the European theatre. Can anyone recommend a history / memoir/ web source on U.S. liaison aircraft in the Pacific? The only book that I can find at the moment is Raymond C. Kerns', Above the Thunder: Reminiscences of a Field Artillery Pilot in World War II
which covers his time working with the 33rd Infantry Division in New Guinea during 1943.
post edited by Son of FEAF -