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Combat Camera Unit insignia | 4th, 6th 7th, 9th & 12th CCUs

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COMBAT CAMERA UNITS

 

Today I received the April-June, 2018 issue of ASMIC's Trading Post. Spread across pages 53-56 is my article on AAF Combat Camera Units of World War II, highlighting an image that appeared on page sixteen of the October-December, 2017 issue seeking identification of the insigne on the left breast of the A-2, shown below. It belongs to the 6th Combat Camera Unit (“CCU”). As usual, Dave Kaufman has published another great issue, and it was this photo that prompted my article.

 

tp_o-d-17-c.jpg

 

It appears to me that the insignia is painted onto the A-2, rather than a patch sewn to it. He seems to have attached a picture of his wife or girlfriend over the right pocket, perhaps as a tribute to the person for whom he had this photograph taken.

 

During World War II the fourteen US Army Air Force Combat Camera Units provided still and motion picture coverage of the war in every theater of operations. They used a variety of motion, still and aerial photography to create a visual record of operations and battlefields used for battle planning, training, public news reels and historical record. Their visual record was used for operational analysis, training, public information, and as a permanent historical record. After the war, military photographic units inactivated as the US turned to peacetime duties.

Below are some of the images from my article, in a larger format to better show these rare patches.

Only sporadic records exist for these obscure 30-man Combat Camera Units of World War II. It is estimated that probably not more than 350 cameramen served in all CCUs combined during the war. These units were only parts, albeit extremely influential ones, of a larger photographic effort. The Army, for example, had more than 3,000 photographic personnel (including of course lab personnel and other technicians) overseas on June 30, 1945, and the Navy had more than 3,000 enlisted personnel alone assigned photographic duties by March 1944.

Combat Camera Units were trained by the First Motion Picture Unit at the Page Military Academy in Los Angeles. Training included intensive instruction in photography with a variety of motion picture and still cameras, camera maintenance, aerial photography and cinematography under true flight conditions, rigid physical training, ground combat and weapons training.

Information about the CCUs was not published by Maurer Maurer. However, the Air Force compiled historical information which, along with other research I have compiled, is highlighted in my article, in part is shared below.

 

6th Combat Camera Unit | 13th AAF CBI

The 6th Combat Camera Unit was assigned to the 13th AAF, South Pacific, 1943-1945, XIII Bomber Command.

 

Stations: Culver City, CA; Morotai Island, (Halmahera Group of eastern Indonesia’s Maluku Islands).

Embroidered on wool. Two varieties. Design by Walt Disney Studios.

 

6ccu-2.jpg

 

In August 1944 the 6th CCU had 20 officers and men qualified for flying duty, but a year later it had fewer than half that many. Occasional replacements had arrived but they were usually not aerial cameramen, their neediest category.

With its detachments scattered all over the South Pacific covering the 13th Air Force, the 6th CCU’s communication problems were extreme. “Our situation, therefore,” lamented the unit historian, “is comparable to that of trying to run a business in Los Angeles with an office in Chicago, no telephone connections and only in different mail service.” It regularly took more than two weeks for exposed film to arrive at headquarters; in a few instances the commanding officer did not hear from a detachment or months.

 

6th CCU's Bill Rogister

2018-01-02_15-35-06.jpg

Among its notable documentaries was “American POWs”, filmed on Morotai Island on January 19, 1945, with Palawan Massacre survivors.

 

In a letter to the Commanding Officer, 6th Combat Camera Unit, Major General St. Clair Streett used these words to praise the efforts of the officers and men of the 6th CCU, while the war was still in its early stages.

"It is with gratification and pleasure that I commend you, your officers and men for your outstanding performance of duty in the South Pacific and Southwest Pacific Theatres. Since the assignment of the 6th Combat Camera Unit to the Thirteenth Force in March 1944, it has consistently exhibited daring, ingenuity and a high degree of skill, recording operations of this Command in motion pictures. Members of your organization have accompanied extremely hazardous bombing missions to Rabaul, Truk, Palau, Yap, Biak, Noemfoor and many other heavily defended enemy targets, in order to obtain important films of bombing activities; accumulating over 130 combat missions in this manner. In the first three months with this Air Force the, 6th Combat Camera Unit shot over 40,000 feet of film which were adjudged highly by the official processing laboratories in the United States. The diligence and proficiency of the services rendered by your unit reflect great credit upon yourselves and the Thirteenth Air Force."

St. Clair Streett
Major General, U. S. Army
Commanding, 13th AAF

 

 

Patches are known to have been issued for three other CCUs (4th CCU, 7th CCU, 12th CCU), as follows:

4th Combat Camera Unit | 9th AAF
Lineage: Constituted as 4th Army Air Force Combat Camera Unit constituted, 4 Feb 1943; Activated, 12 Feb 1943; Inactivated, 2 Dec 1945. Sailed from New York, 11 Nov 1943. Arrived in England, 16 Nov, 1943.

Stations: Culver City, CA, 12 Feb-25 Oct 1943; Gosfield, England, 18 Nov 1943; Marks Hall, England, 4 Dec 1943; Ascot (Sunninghill Park), England, 17 Dec 1943;
St. Savuer Lendelin, France, 5 Aug 1944; Force, France, 23 Aug 1944; Chantilly, France, 11 Sep 1944; Bad Kissingen, Germany, 5 Jun 1945; Camp Myles Standish, MA, 1-2 Dec 1945.

Assignments: 1st Motion Picture Unit, 12 Feb 1943; Ninth Air Force, 17 Nov 1943-21 Nov 1945.

 

Embroidered on twill.

4th%20CCU%20Camera%20Unit-500.jpg

"Sweet Sixteen" likely refers to the 16mm film used at the time.

 

"Chasing Hitler" | One of the 4th CCU's films

http://youtu.be/3ch_Amy0YGI

 

 

Below, 4th CCU member Ron O'Neal makes ready to board his aircraft.

 

4th%20CCU%20ronald_oneal_1.jpg

 

ccu-4-ronald_oneal-rt.jpg

 

 

7th Combat Camera Unit | 7th AAF | South Pacific
Assigned to the 494th BG

Stations: Wendover Field, Utah, 1 Dec 1943; Mountain Home AAFld, Idaho, 15 Apr-1 June 1944; Barking Sands, TH, 15 Jun 1944; Angaur, 30 Sep 1944; Yontan, Okinawa, 24 Jun-8 Dec 1945.

 

Embroidered on wool.

 

7th%20CCU-500.jpg

 

12th Combat Camera Unit | 12th AAF
Italy and France, Libya.

 

Academy Award Winner William Wyler (July 1, 1902 – July 27, 1981) American film director, producer and screenwriter served in this unit. His notable works include Ben-Hur (1959), The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), and Mrs. Miniver (1942), all of which won Academy Awards for Best Director, as well as Best Picture in their respective years, making him the only director of three Best Picture winners as of 2017. Between 1942 and 1945 Wyler volunteered to serve as a major in the United States Army Air Forces and directed a pair of documentaries: The Memphis Belle: A Story of a Flying Fortress (1944), about a Boeing B-17 and its U.S. Army Air Force crew; and Thunderbolt! (1947), highlighting a P-47 fighter-bomber squadron in the Mediterranean. Wyler filmed The Memphis Belle at great personal risk, flying over enemy territory on actual bombing missions in 1943; on one flight, Wyler lost consciousness from lack of oxygen.

 

An insignia for the 12th CCU is known to exist, a reproduction of which is shown below. Original design by Walt Disney Studios.

 

12th%20Combat%20Camera%20Unit-300.jpg

 

 

9th Combat Camera Unit | 9th AAF
Stations: Egypt; Florence, Italy

While it seems there was no insigne for this unit, Lt. Wilbur T. Blune, a member of the unit, created a design he had painted to a piece of leather and attached to his jacket.

 

9th-ccu-insignia-500.jpg

 

 

9th-combat-camera-unit-c2.jpg

 

 

"Turkey and Trimmings" | 9th CCU film

http://youtu.be/uIEYfAG6jIQ

 

USAF Combat Camera Memorial Bench Dedication, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio

Dedication Video

 

USAF Combat Camera

 

An excellent book:

Maslowski, Peter. Armed With Cameras: The American Military Photographers of World War II. The New Press (MacMillan), 1993.

 

 

4th CCU

6th CCU

7th CCU

9th CCU

12th CCU

 

 


Long-time collector of WWII Aviation: AAF, USN and USMC.

ASMIC | OMSA | TAILHOOK

 

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More photos for this post . . . 7th Combat Camera Unit

 

 

7th CCU TSgt Antone Bruns poses with his camera kit, as well as his high-altitude flying gear.

 

TSgt%20Antone%20Bruns%20poses%20with%20h

 

 

7th%20Combat%20Camera%20Unit-800.jpg

 

7th%20ccu-1658329-800.jpg

 

7th%20CCU%201891574-800.jpg

 

7th%20CCU%201781260-800.jpg


Long-time collector of WWII Aviation: AAF, USN and USMC.

ASMIC | OMSA | TAILHOOK

 

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Your posts are far and away my favorite things on the internet. The Photo Recon. & Camera Units seem to have some of the most clever designs - they're becoming my favorites. Thanks for sharing!

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Your posts are far and away my favorite things on the internet. The Photo Recon. & Camera Units seem to have some of the most clever designs - they're becoming my favorites. Thanks for sharing!

 

That's quite a compliment, thanks.

 

Rick


Long-time collector of WWII Aviation: AAF, USN and USMC.

ASMIC | OMSA | TAILHOOK

 

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I hope you don't mind me adding to your thread. I recently picked up a A-2 jacket belonging to a Eugene (Gene) Chernoy. Eugene was a member of the 6th CCU of the 13th AAF. He was a camerman and recipient of a Purple Heart when wounded flying over Tarakan, Borneo. This is a recent find so I'm just starting my research. I've found a few things so far.

post-100432-0-09108200-1530065748.jpg

 



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COMBAT CAMERA UNITS

 

Today I received the April-June, 2018 issue of ASMIC's Trading Post. Spread across pages 53-56 is my article on AAF Combat Camera Units of World War II, highlighting an image that appeared on page sixteen of the October-December, 2017 issue seeking identification of the insigne on the left breast of the A-2, shown below. It belongs to the 6th Combat Camera Unit (“CCU”). As usual, Dave Kaufman has published another great issue, and it was this photo that prompted my article.

 

tp_o-d-17-c.jpg

 

It appears to me that the insignia is painted onto the A-2, rather than a patch sewn to it. He seems to have attached a picture of his wife or girlfriend over the right pocket, perhaps as a tribute to the person for whom he had this photograph taken.

 

During World War II the fourteen US Army Air Force Combat Camera Units provided still and motion picture coverage of the war in every theater of operations. They used a variety of motion, still and aerial photography to create a visual record of operations and battlefields used for battle planning, training, public news reels and historical record. Their visual record was used for operational analysis, training, public information, and as a permanent historical record. After the war, military photographic units inactivated as the US turned to peacetime duties.

 

Below are some of the images from my article, in a larger format to better show these rare patches.

 

Only sporadic records exist for these obscure 30-man Combat Camera Units of World War II. It is estimated that probably not more than 350 cameramen served in all CCUs combined during the war. These units were only parts, albeit extremely influential ones, of a larger photographic effort. The Army, for example, had more than 3,000 photographic personnel (including of course lab personnel and other technicians) overseas on June 30, 1945, and the Navy had more than 3,000 enlisted personnel alone assigned photographic duties by March 1944.

 

Combat Camera Units were trained by the First Motion Picture Unit at the Page Military Academy in Los Angeles. Training included intensive instruction in photography with a variety of motion picture and still cameras, camera maintenance, aerial photography and cinematography under true flight conditions, rigid physical training, ground combat and weapons training.

 

Information about the CCUs was not published by Maurer Maurer. However, the Air Force compiled historical information which, along with other research I have compiled, is highlighted in my article, in part is shared below.

 

6th Combat Camera Unit | 13th AAF CBI

The 6th Combat Camera Unit was assigned to the 13th AAF, South Pacific, 1943-1945, XIII Bomber Command.

 

Stations: Culver City, CA; Morotai Island, (Halmahera Group of eastern Indonesia’s Maluku Islands).

Embroidered on wool. Two varieties. Design by Walt Disney Studios.

 

6ccu-2.jpg

 

In August 1944 the 6th CCU had 20 officers and men qualified for flying duty, but a year later it had fewer than half that many. Occasional replacements had arrived but they were usually not aerial cameramen, their neediest category.

 

With its detachments scattered all over the South Pacific covering the 13th Air Force, the 6th CCU’s communication problems were extreme. “Our situation, therefore,” lamented the unit historian, “is comparable to that of trying to run a business in Los Angeles with an office in Chicago, no telephone connections and only in different mail service.” It regularly took more than two weeks for exposed film to arrive at headquarters; in a few instances the commanding officer did not hear from a detachment or months.

 

6th CCU's Bill Rogister

2018-01-02_15-35-06.jpg

 

Among its notable documentaries was “American POWs”, filmed on Morotai Island on January 19, 1945, with Palawan Massacre survivors.

 

In a letter to the Commanding Officer, 6th Combat Camera Unit, Major General St. Clair Streett used these words to praise the efforts of the officers and men of the 6th CCU, while the war was still in its early stages.

 

"It is with gratification and pleasure that I commend you, your officers and men for your outstanding performance of duty in the South Pacific and Southwest Pacific Theatres. Since the assignment of the 6th Combat Camera Unit to the Thirteenth Force in March 1944, it has consistently exhibited daring, ingenuity and a high degree of skill, recording operations of this Command in motion pictures. Members of your organization have accompanied extremely hazardous bombing missions to Rabaul, Truk, Palau, Yap, Biak, Noemfoor and many other heavily defended enemy targets, in order to obtain important films of bombing activities; accumulating over 130 combat missions in this manner. In the first three months with this Air Force the, 6th Combat Camera Unit shot over 40,000 feet of film which were adjudged highly by the official processing laboratories in the United States. The diligence and proficiency of the services rendered by your unit reflect great credit upon yourselves and the Thirteenth Air Force."

 

St. Clair Streett

Major General, U. S. Army

Commanding, 13th AAF

 

 

Patches are known to have been issued for three other CCUs (4th CCU, 7th CCU, 12th CCU), as follows:

 

4th Combat Camera Unit | 9th AAF

Lineage: Constituted as 4th Army Air Force Combat Camera Unit constituted, 4 Feb 1943; Activated, 12 Feb 1943; Inactivated, 2 Dec 1945. Sailed from New York, 11 Nov 1943. Arrived in England, 16 Nov, 1943.

 

Stations: Culver City, CA, 12 Feb-25 Oct 1943; Gosfield, England, 18 Nov 1943; Marks Hall, England, 4 Dec 1943; Ascot (Sunninghill Park), England, 17 Dec 1943;

St. Savuer Lendelin, France, 5 Aug 1944; Force, France, 23 Aug 1944; Chantilly, France, 11 Sep 1944; Bad Kissingen, Germany, 5 Jun 1945; Camp Myles Standish, MA, 1-2 Dec 1945.

 

Assignments: 1st Motion Picture Unit, 12 Feb 1943; Ninth Air Force, 17 Nov 1943-21 Nov 1945.

 

Embroidered on twill.

4th%20CCU%20Camera%20Unit-500.jpg

"Sweet Sixteen" likely refers to the 16mm film used at the time.

 

"Chasing Hitler" | One of the 4th CCU's films

http://youtu.be/3ch_Amy0YGI

 

 

Below, 4th CCU member Ron O'Neal makes ready to board his aircraft.

 

4th%20CCU%20ronald_oneal_1.jpg

 

ccu-4-ronald_oneal-rt.jpg

 

 

7th Combat Camera Unit | 7th AAF | South Pacific

Assigned to the 494th BG

 

Stations: Wendover Field, Utah, 1 Dec 1943; Mountain Home AAFld, Idaho, 15 Apr-1 June 1944; Barking Sands, TH, 15 Jun 1944; Angaur, 30 Sep 1944; Yontan, Okinawa, 24 Jun-8 Dec 1945.

 

Embroidered on wool.

 

7th%20CCU-500.jpg

 

12th Combat Camera Unit | 12th AAF

Italy and France, Libya.

 

Academy Award Winner William Wyler (July 1, 1902 – July 27, 1981) American film director, producer and screenwriter served in this unit. His notable works include Ben-Hur (1959), The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), and Mrs. Miniver (1942), all of which won Academy Awards for Best Director, as well as Best Picture in their respective years, making him the only director of three Best Picture winners as of 2017. Between 1942 and 1945 Wyler volunteered to serve as a major in the United States Army Air Forces and directed a pair of documentaries: The Memphis Belle: A Story of a Flying Fortress (1944), about a Boeing B-17 and its U.S. Army Air Force crew; and Thunderbolt! (1947), highlighting a P-47 fighter-bomber squadron in the Mediterranean. Wyler filmed The Memphis Belle at great personal risk, flying over enemy territory on actual bombing missions in 1943; on one flight, Wyler lost consciousness from lack of oxygen.

 

An insignia for the 12th CCU is known to exist, a reproduction of which is shown below. Original design by Walt Disney Studios.

 

12th%20Combat%20Camera%20Unit-300.jpg

 

 

9th Combat Camera Unit | 9th AAF

Stations: Egypt; Florence, Italy

 

While it seems there was no insigne for this unit, Lt. Wilbur T. Blune, a member of the unit, created a design he had painted to a piece of leather and attached to his jacket.

 

9th-ccu-insignia-500.jpg

 

 

9th-combat-camera-unit-c2.jpg

 

 

"Turkey and Trimmings" | 9th CCU film

http://youtu.be/uIEYfAG6jIQ

 

USAF Combat Camera Memorial Bench Dedication, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio

Dedication Video

 

USAF Combat Camera

 

An excellent book:

Maslowski, Peter. Armed With Cameras: The American Military Photographers of World War II. The New Press (MacMillan), 1993.

 

 

4th CCU

6th CCU

7th CCU

9th CCU

12th CCU

 

 

Small world, I recently re-created the 9th CCU for a veteran's relative who also told me only one jacket patch was ever made, Iasked if it was O.K. to do a bit of work on the "face" of the photog as It just didn't look right , he was O.K. with this and got the patch just the other day, was thrilled with it, I'll share the patch image here , enjoy :)

post-2068-0-96429500-1531286016.jpg

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Updating this post, and the Trading Post Article:

 

 

2nd Combat Camera Unit (AAF, CBI)

Lineage: Constituted as 2nd Army Air Forces Combat Camera Unit on 4 February 1943. Activated on 12 Feb 1943. Redesignated as 2 Combat Camera Unit on 1 August 1945. Inactivated on 30 November 1945.

Assignments: 1 Motion Picture Unit, 12 Feb 1943; AAF, India-Burma Sector, c. 27 Jun 1944 (attached to 8 Photo Reconnaissance Group, Jul-26 Oct 1944; XX Bomber Command, 27 Oct 1944-c. Apr 1945); XXI Bomber Command, c. 8 Jun 1945; Twentieth Air Force, 16 Jul-30 Nov 1945.

Stations: Culver City, CA, 12 Feb 1943-3 May 1944 (not manned, Feb-Aug 1943); Karachi, India, 27 Jun 1944; Bally, India, 10 Jul 1944; Tollygunge, India, Jul 1944; Kharagpur, India, Nov 1944; Hijli, India, Nov 1944-6 May 1945; Tinian, 8 Jun-30 Nov 1945.

 

 

Theater-made. Embroidered on wool.

2nd%20Combat%20Camera%20Unit-500.jpg


Long-time collector of WWII Aviation: AAF, USN and USMC.

ASMIC | OMSA | TAILHOOK

 

donation2017.gifdonation2018.gifdonation2019.gifdonation2020.gif


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