Board of Dir.
Serving the Present... Remembering the Past...
Several months ago I nominated a former weather NCO for
the Air Commando Association Hall Of Fame. His name is Cornelius L. Gray.
Mr. Gray was formerly a weather NCO in the US Army Air Corps attached
for special duty to Detachment 404, Kandy, Ceylon during the closing months
of World War II. He was recruited by the OSS for a special mission
to set up a weather observing site in Burma. In this capacity, he jumped
into enemy-held territory, with the intent of staying until the end of
the war. During this mission, Sergeant Gray was trained for and asked
to gather intelligence from behind enemy lines, to build good will among
the Karen and Burman populations, and to gather weather information. By
fulfilling these responsibilities, Sergeant Gray became one of the earliest
trailblazers for the Air Force Special Operations Weather Teams serving
today, throughout the world.
I've never read a more inspiring mission report than the one that was sent to me in support of Gray's nomination. It was not written with Newsweek in mind. Two very young men, an officer and an NCO, volunteered to paradrop, virtually alone, behind enemy lines to help bring the war to a close. It was a time of extreme courage when our fathers rose to the occasion. I know that there were many, many examples of this type of bravery during WW II. This small, secret mission, conducted by two Americans alone in a remote corner of Burma, would not have made headlines in 1945. Today, however, we can reflect on their efforts with pride because this is the stuff that American Weather Commandos are made of.
If anyone is interested in the full story of this harrowing mission, please
let me know. I've recommended this story to our producers for inclusion in our series of specials on declassified military operations for the
Discovery Channel. NOTE: I doubt that many of you caught my name in the credits for our Pilot program which aired last month, entitled A Matter of National Security. You had to tape it and run it back at really slow speed. :+)
This week, I received notification that Neil Gray will be inducted into the
ACA Hall of Fame at the ACA annual meeting this October.
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