1774th Ordnance Supply and Maintenance Company (Aviation)


The 1774th Ordnance Supply and Maintenance Company, Aviation, was formed on or about 1 July 1943 from existing in-theater units (1052nd Ordnance Company Aviation AB and the 1774th Ordnance MM Company Aviation) as directed by a letter from VIII Bomber Command, subject: "Redesignation, Reorganization and Disbandment of certain Ord Units with the AAF dtd 22 June 1943." Captain Charles A. Baker was the organization's commanding officer, until he was transferred to 384th Bomb Group Headquarters on 1 January 1944, with Captain Stanley C. Surratt taking over the ordnance company's command thereafter.

Role, Function and Unit Composition

The 1774th OS&M Company was a combined unit, which performed two functions: aircraft ordnance handling and vehicle maintenance. When the units which performed these functions merged, the company designation became the OS&M Company (Aviation) due to the specialized component handling the aircraft ordnance. As the war progressed, men assigned to this unit would recognize both functions combined instead of the older single purpose units.

The OS&M Company contained two sections, the station bomb dump and the motor transport workshops. Aircraft ordnance focused on bomb dump operation including receiving, unloading, storing, stocking and issuing bombs from the dump to the squadron armament sections. The vehicle maintenance shop was charged with 2nd and 3rd echelon maintenance for all transport on the base. The OS&M Company was assigned to the 443rd Sub Depot at Grafton Underwood for administration. The 443rd sub Depot provided all support to the combat squadrons. While Group HQ exercised direct daily command over the OS&M Company, it was ultimately controlled by 8th AF Service Command. The number of personnel assigned to the OS&M Company varied, but initially included four commissioned officers and 75 enlisted men.

Daily Duties

The OS&M Company received and stored all bomb types including general purpose, incendiary, fragmentation, poison gas, and early versions of controllable bombs at the station bomb dump. The bomb dump section was responsible for selecting the correct bombs based on mission requirements specified in the group order, and loading them on dollies for transportation to aircraft dispersals. The ordnance section could also be tasked with affixing the bomb tail fins at the dump. Frequently, operational requirements dictated OS&M Company ordnance personnel would be called upon to supplement squadron ordnance sections in loading aircraft. The ordnance section was also charged with bomb dump administration, which included reporting daily usage to group HQ staff for resupply and current stock levels of all bomb types.

The OS&M Company motor transport shops performed repair and maintenance work on all motor vehicles on station. The section did not operate the station’s transport but was assigned specialty vehicles for accomplishing the assigned task. The vehicle repair shops were well-equipped to perform heavy maintenance requirements, from tracked vehicles to the ever-present jeeps and 2-½ ton trucks, including all makes and models. Assigned maintenance tasks included repairing engines, transmissions and changing tires to fixing damage caused in accidents. These shops were able to rebuild vehicles as well as perform body work. Assigned personnel could also repair electrical and hydraulic failures. While the 443rd Sub Depot provided most required parts for the repairs, the repair shops frequently built their own replacement parts. The OS&M Company provided status to Group HQ on all vehicles in work for all customers.

See this photo of Col Milton's staff, including Captain Surratt, 1774th CO, and many photos of the officers and men of the 1774th.

Information provided by the 384th Bomb Group Historian, John Edwards; additional information adapted from As Briefed (page 209).