#18 in a series
2nd. Lt. Lawrence R. Ryan, US Army Air Force, China, World War II
By Paul A. Roales
In December of 2010 I bought two folders of WW2 documents belonging to 2nd. Lt. Lawrence R. Ryan of the US Army Air Force. One file contained orders, certificates, written tests, and other miscellaneous material. The other file was the complete Individual Flight Records for his enlistment. What caught my eye was his training as a glider pilot and his service in China as the pilot of C-46's and C-47's right after the end of hostilities. Here is his story.
Lawrence R. Ryan was born on August 20, 1920 in Varina, Iowa. Larry graduated grade school and attended high school in Varina, Iowa at St. Columbille High School. After graduation Larry attended the Spartan School of Aeronautics in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He was working at an aircraft assembly plant in California when he enlisted in the Army on January 29, 1943 (enlisted serial number 39280162).
After Basic Training he was sent to a Flight Indoctrination School run by Butler University and Hoosier Airport Inc. at Indianapolis, IN in August and September of 1943 where he obtained 10 hours of dual instruction in a J3F Piper Cub.
He attended Primary Flight School at Grider Field in Pine Bluff Arkansas from Feb. to April of 1944 flying PT-19's. He then went to Basic Flight School at Independence Field in Independence, KS from April to June, 1944, where he flew in BT-13A's and BT-14's. He took Advanced 2-Engine Flight Training at Frederick Army Airfield at Frederick, OK in a UC-78B. He graduated on September 8, 1944 as a Flight Officer (serial number O-2024557) in class 44-H. He was also certified as Instrument Rated at Frederick on August 26, 1944.
He began training at Sedalia Army Air Field in Warrensburg, MO for the Troop Carrier Command in Oct., 1944 flying C-47's, C-46's (tow planes) and the CG-4A (glider). It was one of the eight bases in the United States dedicated to training glider pilots for combat missions performed by the Troop Carrier Command. Pilots flew C-46 or C-47 transports and the Waco CG-4A cargo and personnel glider. He had a total of 8 hours and 20 minutes of flight time in the CG-4A gliders and more in the tow planes. He completed this training in June, 1945. He then qualified in the small L-5 Liason aircraft. He was briefly assigned to bases in Chico, CA and Topeka, KS before being shipped overseas to join the 330th. Troop Carrier Squadron at Shanghai, China on October 4, 1945.
He flew his first flight in China on November 1, 1945. During his tour of duty there he flew C-46's and C-47's with supplies and soldiers of the Nationalist Armies and peace keepers attempting to resolve the dispute between the Nationalist and Communist forces being his main cargo. In March of 1946 he was promoted to 2nd. Lt. On April 17, 1946 he was transfered to the 332nd. Troop Carrier Squadron in Peiping, China where he remained until he was returned to the US on Oct.19, 1946. His last three months of flying activity in China are shown on the attached Individual Flight Record.
He was transfered to the 140th. AAFBU at Sioux City Army Air Base in Sioux City, Iowa, released from active duty and joined the Air Force reserve on November 21, 1946. He then moved back to Burbank, CA. He remained in the Air Force reserves for a number of years, but the last date in my document files is October 30, 1949.
In 1952 Larry married Natalie Eva Gore in Tulsa, Oklahoma at the Holy Family Cathedral. Larry was a corporate pilot for Sinclair Oil Co. and, after their merger, ARCO. In 1960 he was piloting a Sinclair corporate airplane which made an emergency landing at Midland, TX with a faulty landing gear. He retired in 1979 and the family moved to Independence, KS. He died there March 11, 2003. His wife died August 16, 2003. Both are buried in Tulsa, Oklahoma. They were survived by two daughters.
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