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Saturday, November 16, 2013

Roy Cordes, Sr. and 'Flying The Hump'

I got a note last week from Ronald Miller (SLHS '51) reminding me that Roy Cordes, Sr. 'flew the Hump' in WWII.  Here's the note Ron sent me:

You may want to check this out with Betty, but as I recall, Colonel Cordes "Flew the Hump."  CBI stands for China, Burma and India Theater".  By "flying the hump" it simply meant that there were a contingent of Army Air Corps crews flying C47s to deliver supplies to the forces fighting the Japanese in those countries.  This was a very hazardous mission because the service ceiling altitude of the C47 was below the very tall Himalayan Mountains.  These guys flew to support the logistics network in all kinds of weather and by some reports about 1000 crew members and 600 aircraft were lost during this very important campaign.

While the Berlin Airlift was also very important, the importance of what Roy did during WWII is lost in the CBI initials.  I had a cousin by marriage that was a foot soldier in China behind enemy lines.  He is no longer around to talk with, but he told me that they heavily relied of the supplies delivered by the guys that Flew the Hump.
I have forgotten how I heard it (I think my father told me), but I know Roy did fly the in CBI theater.  Here is some information if you're not familiar with this story.  Amazing stuff.

A modern news article summarizing the CBI story.

A 3-minute YouTube video of newsreel footage about Flying the Hump.

A lengthy Wikipedia article on the subject.