Air Transport Command Created
On May 29, 1941, the Air Corps created the Ferrying Command to fly aircraft from U.S. factories to Canada and to Atlantic ports for delivery to Great Britain. By the time of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, the command had delivered approximately 1,350 planes for Britain.
Also, the command was to establish air transport service between Washington and Britain. On July 1, 1941, Lt. Col. Caleb V. Haynes inaugurated the first flight in a modified B-24 by way of Newfoundland and soon the command was making regular flights to England. With Maj. Curtis E. LeMay as co-pilot, Haynes began a pioneering 26,000-mile survey trip on Aug. 31, 1941 across the southern Atlantic via Brazil from the U.S. to the Middle East and back.
When the U.S. went to war, the War Department was forced to turn to the civil airlines for aid in securing additional aircraft, developing new flight routes, and transporting cargo and passengers on contract over domestic and foreign routes. Thousands of new transport planes were ordered, reservist pilots were called to active duty, and hundreds of civilians were commissioned as officers and made "service pilots," a rating for which physical qualifications were lower than for a combat pilot.
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