A Chronological Summary of Some of
August, 1945 – WWII ends
September 1945 – Whiting Willauer represents Corcoran brothers’ interest in establishing an airline in
Cathay-S.A. He merges the interest with Chennault who was working with Governor
Kung Yun to establish a commercial airline to rebuild war torn China . China
January 1947 – General George C. Marshall mission ends. He reports failure to reconcile Nationalists and Communists and recommends limited aid to Chiang Kai-Shek. The Truman Administration was divided as to whom to support in
January 27, 1947 – First C-47 lands in Shanghai from Clark Field, Manila, piloted by Lew Burridge and Var Green, followed by three more C-47s piloted by Stu Dew, Paul Holden, Weldon Bigony, Bill Hobbs, Harry Cockrell and Frank Hughes.
March 1947 – First C-46’s arrive in
with Dick Rossi, Joe Rosbert and Bob Conrath as Captains. Shanghai
April 1947 –
amended to allow airlifts of other Chinese government and relief agency cargoes
beyond United Nations contract. This amendment probably saved CAT
financially and drew CAT more directly into
the Chinese Civil War.
May and June 1947 – With contracts with Chinese Post Office and other governmental agencies, only 40% of
cargo are now UNNRA.
July 1947 –
established under the National Security Act.
July 1947 –
operations credited with saving millions of flood refugees in . Kwangtung
July to December 1947 –
grows as a commercial cargo airline hauling
raw materials from the interior of China to the coast and needed medical
supplies in the opposite direction under increasing hostile conditions in the
communist held countryside.
1948 marks the change from a relief cargo airline into a contract airline with the Chinese Nationalists government. Still flying medical supplies, cows, sheep, silkworm eggs and other exotic cargo,
begins transporting soldiers and refugees out of besieged Nationalist
January 1948 –
carries supplies into Communist surrounded city of .
Over a period of five months flies out 4500 wounded soldiers and 22,000
March 1948 –
CAT flies to
the rescue of CAT employees out of Communist
surrounded Linfen. Communist reports describe a CAT
bomber flew low level runs scattering their troops.
April 1948 – Weishien surrounded by communist forces trapping
CAT employees. CAT
aircraft, with no military weaponry dropped flares and whistling empty beer
bottles scattering the communist forces and allowing the rescue of besieged
1948 – As each Nationalist city falls to the Communists, debate rages in the
as to what to do in United States . China
November 1948 –
industrial heart of
falls to the Communists. Chiang Kai Shek chooses Hsuchow near China Nanking,
to fight a set piece battle to defeat Mao’s forces. CAT
flies in supplies and ammunition and evacuates wounded soldiers.
April 1949 – As the Berlin Airlift is at its height,
wages an equally heroic defense of ,
but is unable to save the city. Taiyuan
May 1949 – Chennault testifies before Senate Committee that the
help save U.S.
from communist takeover. Chennault has first meetings with China CIA
officials about utilizing CAT to help save . China
January 1950 – After extensive losses in the Chinese Civil war and the loss of the mainland,
Truman orders the Seventh Fleet into the Straits of Formosa, protecting
from PRC invasion. Taiwan
Winter of 1950/51 – Chinese military victories in Korea causes the Truman Administration to become obsessed over where China might strike next – Hong Kong, Taiwan or French Indochina. The
turnsTaiwaninto a base for launching clandestine anti-Communist operations
throughout Asia. CAT
planes air drop men and supplies to guerrilla teams inside ,
which forces Mao Tse-tung to keep combat troops in China
that would otherwise have been fighting Americans in China . Korea
Korean War establishes
jurisdiction in the Far East and creates the basic
paramilitary capability that the Agency employs for twenty years. CAT
was an essential component of this paramilitary capability.
July 1950 – Al Cox arranges a contract through intelligence sources for
CAT aircraft to operate between
and Japan . Korea
January 1951 –
diminishes as U.S. Air Force takes over. Korea
February 1951 –
pilots fly missions to support the invasion of
by Nationalist Army units from their sanctuary in China .
Burma CAT pilots secretly airlift weapons,
supplies, and American advisors to the Nationalist troops. The invading
Nationalist army is easily defeated and quickly retreats to ,
creating unforeseen problems for Burma
foreign policy for the next twenty years. U.S.
June 1953 – Korean War ends.
November 1953 – Operation Repeat begins,
evacuates Nationalist Army from
to great public fanfare. Receive hero’s welcome upon arrival inTaiwan.
“Soldiers” turned out to be local tribesman with antiquated weapons, old men,
women and children. The bulk of the Army remained in Burma
to lay the foundation for the infamous “Golden Triangle” drug cartel. Burma
September 1955 –
pilot Bob Buol released by Communists after Geneva Conference on IndoChina.
air drops in support of the Tibetan resistance against the Communist Chinese
conquest of .
The Tibetan resistance reaches its height when Tibet CAT
successfully airlifts the Dalai Lama to safety in
in March of 1959. India
1959 – Air
becomes an “arm” of America CAT. CIA
relegates CAT to a cover role during the
1960’s serving as an international flag carrier for the Republic of China.
1961 – Pilots from
help train the ill-fated pilots in the America Bay of Pigs
fiasco in . Cuba
1968 – Mandarin Jet has fatal accident ending
as an airline and the era of Air
continues until the fateful evacuation of the America Saigon
embassy in 1975.