Flying Over The Hump

It was 1944. I had been in Assam, India for a few months waiting for transportation to China. Travel Day arrived and we were transported to the airfield where a C46 was waiting for us. This was a two-engine plane that appeared a little too fat to be capable of flying. I would have been happier with a C47, which was the equivalent of the commercial DC3.

We put on parachutes and then led into the plane. There were no conventional seats. We sat on a sort of bench along side the windows. The plane took off.

Soon, all we could see below were a forest of very tall peaks of the Himalayan Mountains. I thought that if we had to abandon the plane and float down with parachutes, we would surely be pierced by those peaks. The idea of trying to maneuver in the unfriendly-looking environment below.

What we were doing was called “flying over the hump.” What I saw below didn’t look like a hump. I think a better term for what were doing was “flying over the peaks.”

The flight didn’t take too long. We soon landed at an airport that looked like it was half finished. There were many workers with rollers and shovel improving the runways for the planes. This was Kunming Airport. I was fascinated by the difference in the appearance of the building to what I had seen in India. The buildings looked exactly as I had seen pictures of Chinese architecture. Now I was right in the middle of it.

There were temporary quarters for us for the night. We were scheduled to take a long road trip in the morning to central china where we would be doing our work.

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