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U.S. NAVY BASES IN BRAZIL - U.S NAVY BASES

4)THE WELDING MAGICIAN


When Brazil declared war on Axis in August 1942, US Navy logistics already burdened with the war in the Pacific with bases and new deployments needing immediate assistance, the Navy high command had to face one more and urgent task; The building of airfields along lengthwise Brazilian coast, specially those in the Amazon region without ports or any other facilities where engineering and ground personnel where beyond primitive conditions.


German u-boats were active in all quadrants of the Atlantic, and allied merchant navy was sustaining appalling losses. Some airfields located deep into the jungle were to be to be hastened built once US Navy had to deploy K-Ships and aircrafts to form new squadrons for anti submarine patrol sweeps. However to gain access to these lost sites soon proved to be one hard and complicated venture.


Cargo airplanes in use in the early stages of the war, like C-46 Curtiss Commando and the glorious C-47, were not large enough to carry the big and heavy construction implements as bulldozers, graders, rollers and rock-crushers and airlift them to those sites incrusted in the closed jungle.


So one ingenious US Navy employee H. Lacombe, found what would be one creative solution of literally cutting up those equipment into pieces capable to be airlifted by the cargo planes into the jungle and with the concourse of the adroit welder, the pieces were connected into operating conditions and airfields like Amapa, Belem and Igarape Assu  could receive troops, airplanes and material so that in the beginnings of 1943 VB-VP Squadrons  formed with Catalinas, Venturas and Blimps were effectively operating.


 

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