|5th Fighter Group (Provisional)
Lineage: Activated 13 Jan 44
Stations: Malir Cantonment, Karachi; Kweilin; Suichwan; Chihkiang
Commanders: Frank Rouse, Jan 1944; John Dunning, Nov 1944; Charles Wilder,
June 1945; Howard Means, Jul 1945; William Turner, Aug 1945
Aircraft: P-40N; P-51C/D/K from early 1945.
|17th Fighter Squadron (Provisional)
Lineage: Formed Mar 1944; Activated c. May 1944 (attached to 26th FS until late
Stations: Malir Cantonment, Karachi; Chihkiang
Commanders: Charles Wilder, Mar 1944; Glyn Ramsey, Nov 1944; Frank
Stevens, Apr 1945
|I am very honored to have recently acquired WWII military service items relating to Glenn "Red" Burnham, who served as an aircraft mechanic with the 17th
Fighter Squadron (Provisional), 5th Fighter Group (Provisional) of the Chinese-American Composite Wing. Thank you to his daughter Dee for allowing me to
preserve these items and keep the memory of his military service for others to learn about and enjoy. These items are part of my permanent collection and
are not for sale.
This page is dedicated to the men of the CACW and their heroic service during WWII.
|Author - Carl Molesworth
For additional information regarding P-40 Aces of the CBI and the Chinese-American Composite
Wing, see these two books by author Carl Molesworth. Each provides a fascinating insight into
the airwar over China, and the men who maintained and flew the aircraft. Both well worth the
price and a terrific research resource!
Visit www.ospreypublishing.com for more titles by Carl Molesworth.
|The Chinese-American Composite Wing (CACW)
|OCTOBER 1, 1943 - AUGUST 1, 1945
Initially formed on July 31,1943 as the 1st Bomb Group (Provisional) and the 3rd Fighter Group (Provisional), Chinese Air Force, The Chinese American Composite Wing
(Provisional) would be officially activated on October 1,1943. The operational units of the CACW would be jointly commanded by both American and Chinese air force officers,
and the unit's aircraft would be jointly manned by American and Chinese pilots and air crewmen.
ACOMPLISHMENTS OF THE C.A.C.W.
During it first year and a half of operations, the Chinese and American airmen of the CACW could claim the destruction of 190 Japanese aircraft in air-to-air combat, and 301
more on the ground. The fighters and bombers of the CACW had destroyed at least 1500 Japanese vehicles and sunk several hundred thousand tons of Japanese merchant and
naval shipping, in addition they had taken a heavy toll on Japanese ground troops, facilities, railroads and bridges. In that same time, they had lost 35 fighters and 8 bombers to
enemy ground fire, and 20 fighters to Japanese aircraft. However, not a single CACW bomber had been lost to enemy fighters, a tribute to the abilities of the Wing's B-25
aircrews, and the quality of the escort protection provided by the Wing's fighter pilots.
The most successful fighter pilot of the CACW was Lt. Colonel William N. Reed, who had first fought in China as a member of the AVG. As a "Flying Tiger," Reed had destroyed 3
Japanese aircraft in aerial combat and 8 more on the ground. Then returning to China to command the CACW's 7th Fighter Squadron and eventually its 3rd Fighter Group, he
would destroy an additional 6 Japanese aircraft in aerial combat. (Information obtained from the following website: www.sinoam.com/home.htm.) Visit this terrific website for
additional information concerning Chinese-American history during WWII.
|Shark Sighting by aviation artist John D. Shaw shows a P-40 of the Flying Tiger (American Volunteer Group) with ground crewmen and mechanics bore sighting the .30 caliber
wing mounted machine guns. This art print clearly shows how important the ground crewmen were in maintaining these aircraft and allowing the pilots to take the fight to the
Japanese. This and other works of art by Mr. Shaw can be found at the following website: www.aviationarthangar.com/johndshaw.html
|S/Sgt. Glenn "Red" Burnham
and the Chinese-American Composite Wing (CACW)
China-Burma-India Theater in WWII
|Japanese Brig. Gen. Kiyoshi, accompanied by two staff officers and one interpreter landed at the Chihkiang airfield on August 21, 1945. Brig. Gen. Kiyoshi was received by
Gen. Hsiao Yi-shu, Chief of Staff of the Chinese Army Headquarters, who, in an audience attended by more than one hundred Chinese and Allied officers, accepted the
surrender terms, ending hostilities between Japan and China.
Shown below are original photographs from Mr. Burnham's estate, showing the arrival of the surrender delegation aircraft, and their motorcade making their way from the
airfield to the surrender site. At the time of the surrender, Mr. Burnham was stationed at Chihkiang Airfield.
|S/Sgt. Glenn "Red" Burnham
5th Fighter Group (Provisional), 17th Fighter Squadron (Provisional)
Glenn "Red" Burnham, an automobile mechanic in civilian life,
entered into the United States Army Air Corps on October 19, 1942 in
Tacoma, Washington. Following basic training, Burnham was stationed
at the following airfields: Bowman Field, Kentucky (October to November
1942, Air Corps Technical School, Gulfport, Mississippi (November
1942 to April 1943), Army Air Forces Technical School, Chanute Field,
Illinois (April to May 1943), and Army Air Base, Richmond, Virginia
(June to November 1943).
On February 19, 1944, Burnham and his unit transferred to the aircraft carrier Mission Bay for transport overseas. Being used as transport and
not for flight operations, Burnham described the hanger bays of the Mission Bay and the accompanying carrier Wake Island, were filled with P-47
aircraft. Following stops in Cape Town, South Africa and Madagascar, Burnham and his unit arrived in Karachi, India. At that time, Burnham and
his unit were informed that they were replacements for a CACW unit which was lost when their ship was torpedoed by a German submarine in
Burnham and his unit were then introduced to the CACW, the 5th Fighter Group and the P-40N. After several more months of training, Burnham
and his unit were transferred to their home base of Chihkiang, China. This 5,000 foot airstrip served as the home for the 17th Fighter Squadron,
the 26th Fighter Squadron, the 29th Fighter Squadron and the 27th Fighter Squadron. In January of 1945, Burnham the units P-40s were replaced
with P-51 Mustangs. .
After spending 3 years, 2 months and 2 days in the United States Army Air Corps, Burnham was honorably discharged from service on
December 21, 1945. During his career, Burnham was earned and was awarded the WWII Victory Medal, Asiatic Pacific Service Medal,
American Theater Service Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, a Distinguished Unit Badge, and the Sharpshooter badge for pistol, rifle and
Shown here is a small cross section of items from Burnham's estate, now preserved in my permanent collection.
|Above, a few snapshots of Burnham and friends
|"Red" Burnham (center) and fellow mechanics stand near a
|Two snapshots of Burnham and his fellow mechanics. These two photographs show the primitive conditions the mechanics worked in to keep these aircraft in the
air. Identified as "Chinese Pogo sticks", this crude contraption was the only way the mechanics could overhaul the very heavy aircraft engines.
|In reading a small, wartime service diary and a letter among Burnham's
grouping, it was easy to tell that he was a loving and caring family man.
Below are a few items sent home to Burnham's wife Irene, including matching
CBI bracelets and two CBI remembrance throws.
|The medals and insignia earned and awarded by Burnham during his service time.
From left to right, the medals include: Army Good Conduct Medal, American
Defense Medal, WWII Victory Medal, and the Asiatic Pacific Service Medal.
|Dedicated to the memory of S/Sgt. Glenn "Red" Burnham and the other members of
|Above and Left: Although not from the estate of S/Sgt. Burnham, these photographs show another CBI related item, recently added to my collection.
This is an original, WWII era China War Service or Memorial Medal, awarded to all members of the American armed forces who served in Mainland China, Burma,
Vietnam and Thailand, for at least thirty days between December 8, 1941 and September 2, 1945. S/Sgt. Burnham and his fellow Air Corps soldiers would have been
entitled to the award of this medal.
This particular medal, serial numbered 0782, was awarded on September 19, 1946, to James Orlando Lide, of Camden, Arkansas.