History was not one of the predominant worries of the young men who served in the China-Burma-India Theater during World War II, nor was it initially deemed significant by the Army. Soon, however, Washington issued a directive that required submission of monthly histories from every unit. Already short of people and overworked, most squadrons either assigned the task as an additional duty to one of the pilots or added it to the job description of the squadron intelligence officer. The quality of those monthly history reports depended largely upon the skill and interest of the unit historian, the support of each squadron commander, and the circumstances under which the unit then was operating. Once a history was written and submitted to higher headquarters, there never was any assurance that it would finally reach the proper agency in Washington.
After retirement from thirty years of active duty, the author accepted a position as a civilian historian with the Air Force Historical Research Center at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. Searching for the squadron histories in the archives, he discovered that there was only an incomplete file, and those histories on the file obviously were second or third carbon copies, light and fading with age. No one knows what became of the originals. Interestingly, a photographic unit apparently had not submitted a single photograph with its histories.
Certainly the squadron deserved to have a history on file in the Air Force archives. All of the existing monthly reports were exploited for the pertinent data and a thick file of weekly Status and Operations Reports was screened for every bit of usable information. The histories of the 8th Photo Group and other squadrons in the Theater produced some data, and a review of thousands of pages of official orders issued by Tenth Air Force, the India-Burma Sector, CBI Theater Headquarters, and others produced some additional information. The skeleton of a history slowly developed, but there was little meat.
A telephone call from Fred “Doc” Daugherty gave renewed hope that a history might yet develop. A quadroon reunion association was formed and annual reunions followed. The members of that unit association have shown an outstanding willingness to talk about their experiences, lend personal photographs and documents, and dig out additional sources of the “meat” needed to flesh out the history.
It is hoped that this history will contain some useful information for future historians and provide a tiny niche in our country’s history in which some unusually fine men can be remembered, respected, and saluted. This effort is dedicated to every individual who ever was assigned to the 9th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron, the best ever!
William H. Greenhalgh