Military History/L-4 Liaison Planes

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Piper
Piper  
Dear Mr. Vargas,

I'm wondering if you can help me identify the Army Air Force unit that supported my father's field artillery battalion with two liaison planes. It is my understanding that the liaison planes and their pilots were not members of the Army outfit they supported, but rather, members of the Army Air Force attached to that unit. The spotters who flew with the pilots were, however, members of the supported unit, correct?

I believe the planes were Piper L-4s (see attached photo). I do not know it for a fact, but I believe the plane in the photo is most likely one of the two. Can please please confirm the airplane model from the photo?

The unit supported was the 243rd Field Artillery Battalion (8 inch gun), ETO, US 3rd Army. The pilots were Lieutenants Charles H. Brockmeyer and Vernon W. Lamoureaux.

Your help is greatly appreciated,

Mike Semenock
Snohomish, WA

Answer
Hello Mike,

Yes, the Liaison Plane in the photos is an L-4 Grasshopper, the militarized version of the J-3 Piper Cub.

Here is more information on the J-3 Piper Cub / L-4 Grasshopper.

http://www.warbirdalley.com/l4.htm

http://www.fiddlersgreen.net/models/aircraft/Piper-L4-Grasshopper.html

Lieutenant Charles (Chas) H. Brockmeyer, was an Artillery Officer who supplied the photos of the "Battle Diary: The Story Of The 243rd Field Artillery Battalion In Combat (1946)"- By Frank Smith Illustrated, Photo By Chas H Brockmeyer

https://archive.org/details/BattleDiary

https://archive.org/stream/BattleDiary/BattleDiary_djvu.txt

Most units that had Liaison Planes, especially the for Artillery…the Liaison planes were assigned to the units just like jeeps were and treated as such.

The pilots who flew them were both Enlisted and Officers, more often than not they were Enlisted Men, but as you can see in this case they were Officers and a majority of them were Combat Arms Officers of the units they were assigned to, in this case they were Artillery Officers.

Here is this history of the Liaison Pilots:

http://en.allexperts.com/q/Military-History-669/2010/10/Liason-Pilots.htm

If the links do not allow you to click on them directly, cut and paste them into a new browser.

I hope that I have been able to answer your questions. If you have any more questions, please feel free to contact me and I would me more than happy to answer them.

Regards,

John

Military History

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John Vargas

Expertise

I can answer general as well as specific questions about U.S. Army – Naval Aviation from 1913 to 1946 and WWII U.S. Airborne, to include key personalities, units, commands – doctrines. My specialty is U.S. Aviation Badges (all Branches of the Service, from WWI to the Present), U.S. Airborne Badges and Insignia (from WWII to the Present) as well as Issued Flight Gear (flight uniforms, helmets, sunglasses, etc.). I also specialize in Airborne, as well as Infantry Badges and Insignia (from WWI to the Present), both authorized as well as unauthorized of the period. I have all the actual original badges, insignia and most of the flight gear that are specific to this period of history as they are part of my personal collection. I also have access to a vast personal library of publications – text, which includes original orders, manuals, books, die card, die envelopes, guides and many other publications that are period, as well as publications – text from others...such as museums.

Experience

I have over 20 years’ experience in collecting and cataloging WWI to WWI U.S. Army Aviation – U.S. Naval Aviation, WWI to WWII U.S. Issue Aviation Flight Gear, U.S. Airborne Badges, Insignia and Airborne Equipment. I was the former assistant curator at the Gen. Wm. C. Lee Airborne Museum in NC. I have written histories of Wing Badges – Aviation Insignia for several manufacturing companies to include The Robbins Company, Bailey Banks & Biddle, and I am working on the histories for several other companies at the moment such as Bausch & Lomb Tiffany, Herff Jones as well as several others. I am a consultant on regular basis to many museums, including the U.S.A.F., U.S. Army, Private and Public Museums, the Institute of Heraldry, as well as the Department of National Defence (Canada), for the Canadian Armed Forces. I am regularly called upon to authenticate U.S. Aviation Badges, Insignia and Flight Gear (all Branches of the Service) for Fine Auctions Houses such as Bonham’s, as well as sunglass manufactures such as Including Bausch & Lomb (vintage verification) and many others.

Organizations
Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association (VHPA-FL) Historian – I am not a Vietnam Veteran nor a Vietnam Era Helicopter Pilot, I was not old enough to serve in Vietnam, unless the U.S. needed a one-year-old and then I would have Proudly Served.

Education/Credentials
I am perusing an advanced degree in history (Ph.D.), with a concentration in WWI and WWII U.S. Aviation. I am a U.S. Army Paratrooper and I am a Qualified and Rated Aviator.

Awards and Honors
Kentucky Colonel, National Honor Society, President’s List, Campbell University, Distinguished Honor Graduate, Various “Who's Who”, from 1988 to Present, Numerous Special Recognition Awards both Military and Civilian.

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