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403rd Troop Carrier Group

The 403rd Troop Carrier Group arrived in the South Pacific in August 1943, with the 63rd and 64th Troop Carrier Squadrons attached.  The precise nature of the 403rd TCG's relationship with SCAT is somewhat murky and requires further research.  Analysis is hampered by the lack of detailed unit records, particularly at the group level, further complicated by organizational confusion about the relationship between SCAT's USAAF, USMC, and USN components among all of the services, then and now.  In 1964, Air University's Aerospace Studies Institute and the Army's Chief of Military History argued that while some of its components were assigned to SCAT, the 403rd TCG itself "was not attached to or operating with SCAT," denying the group the SCAT Navy Unit Commendation despite its explicit inclusion in the original citation (however, the AFHRA unit history for the 403rd Operations Group still includes the award).  The 1964 analysis seems to leave out critical connections, however, as there is evidence that group personnel were indeed "operating with SCAT."  Certainly that is the case for Col. Harry J. Sands, commanding officer of the 403rd TCG, who served as SCAT's executive officer after December 23, 1943.  Beyond Col. Sands, it seems impossible that a headquarters organization for two SCAT squadrons (the 13th and 63rd TCS) and a third that contributed to SCAT operations, at least on occasion (the 64th TCS), could have operated fully independently of SCAT.  The commanding officer of the 801st Medical Air Evacuation Squadron also stated in that unit's history that Headquarters, 403rd TCG, was assigned to SCAT–which, while not definitive, comes from the perspective of an officer who reported to both organizations and was in a position to understand their interrelationship.  And, of course, the Navy saw fit to award the entire group the Unit Commendation, which would not have been done lightly.  At the same time, there is also ample evidence that not all of the 403rd TCG's operations were in support of SCAT.

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