Biscuit Bomber Bob

 

This is the story of the 57th Troop Carrier Squadron in the Southwest Pacific during WWII as seen through the experiences of one of its pilots. Bob Mosier grew up in Southern California. A few months before Pearl Harbor Bob’s father died suddenly and Bob and his older brother Jack were faced with the need to support their mother and younger sister. Bob graduated from High School and at age 18 in 1943 and immediately volunteered for the Army. He was accepted as a cadet for pilot training in the USAAF Western Training Command and gained his wings as a 2nd Lt. in June 1944. Three months later he was in New Guinea flying troop support missions with the 57th. Bob epitomizes the thousands of young Americans who left their homes and undertook hazardous flying conditions in unarmed planes. This is just as much their story as it is his.

The troop carrier squadrons played a vital but largely unsung role in the Pacific War. Their motto was"Vincit Qui Primum Gerit," which meant “He conquers who gets there first.” Flying first C-47s, the military version of the DC-3, and then later the larger C-46s, the Troop Carrier Squadrons ferried troops, ammunition, nurses, food, and supplies from one island battlefield to the next, airlifting the wounded or ill to hospitals in the rear. In this capacity they earned their nickname of the “Biscuit Bombers.” They flew in all kinds of weather with minimal navigation aids, often long stretches over open water where no rescue was possible, seeking out and landing on dirt airstrips carved out of the jungle, often while the shooting was still going on. They dropped paratroops on to enemy held airfields, and as soon as the perimeter was secured, landed more troops and supplies.

The troop carrier squadrons were the infrastructure that made General MacArthur’s “Island Hopping” campaign feasible. By bypassing and isolating Japanese troop concentrations on remote islands, this strategy reduced Allied casualties and shortened the war. While this is Bob’s story, it is also the story of dozens of other troop carrier squadrons and the flight and ground crew members that kept the C-47s and C-46s in working order.

Bob describes the squadron’s moves from New Guinea to Biak Island, then flying in and out of Peleliu, and on to Leyte when MacArthur made his celebrated return. From Leyte they moved to Luzon, and among other missions, helped rescue American civilians who had been imprisoned by the Japanese. On Okinawa, Bob learned of the Japanese surrender, and soon was among the first planes to fly into the Japanese airfields at Tokyo.

When the war ended, Bob returned home where he met and married his wife Beverly. Then, like thousands of other returning veterans, he restarted the life he’d put on hold four years earlier. He enrolled at UCLA, got a degree in electrical engineering, raised a wonderful family and went on to a distinguished career in electronics, digital communications, and took part in many new and innovative developments that were building blocks for the internet and eventual creation of the World Wide Web.

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