World War II Vet Fought with the 5th Air Force

Clairus Dew served with the 5th Air Force in WWII.

I met Clairus Dew 10 years ago through another veteran I had interviewed. I liked when that occurred because it helped introduce me to World War II veterans who didn’t know me.

Clairus was very elderly but sharp about his military service. His photo of a C-46 is the one pictured on the book cover that his story is in – They Did It for Honor: Stories of American WWII Veterans.


In late summer 1942, Clairus Dew of Fort Wayne, Indiana, and other soldiers of his C-46 transport unit sailed through the Panama Canal on the USS Brooklyn, to the South Pacific. His unit would become part of the newly organized 5th Air Force.

At New Caledonia the troops were ordered to set up a coastal guard with artillery.

Dew flew on a C-46 in the South Pacific.

Dew had earned a degree in Social Science at Monmouth College in the 1930s and worked as an actuary at a life insurance company until February 1941.

The draft was being instituted and he enlisted in the Illinois Army National Guard, thinking he would be done after one year.

But when on December 7 the Japanese Imperial Military attacked Pearl Harbor, his year was extended indefinitely. Dew was attached to the Service Battery of Field Artillery Battalion, which supplied food, clothing, weapons and other items needed by its 875 men.

After training with aviation radar, he was assigned to a C-46 transport. 

Military patch for the Army’s 5th Air Force.

In 1943, his outfit landed at Australia and American troops were billeted (assigned to stay) with civilians. Dew and another soldier stayed in the home of a man and his two daughters. After the troops left, one of the daughters wrote to Dew’s family, telling them where he was and that he was headed to New Caledonia.

By the time the war ended in summer 1945, Clairus Dew had served four years and nine months. He was discharged in November 1945.

“When enemy submarines arrived at our shores, we Americans were not content to be isolationists any longer,” he said.


Read more about Clairus Dew’s adventures in the South Pacific in my book, They Did It for Honor: Stories of American WWII Veterans.

It is also available in Kindle.

The End

5 thoughts on “World War II Vet Fought with the 5th Air Force

Add yours

    1. Yes, they were talented, hard-working, and dedicated. Working together taught them teamwork which is something many of them told me helped them in careers. Thanks for your continual support.

    2. I have to admit, he didn’t talk about the 11th Airborne so I didn’t mention it. But he was 100 years old when I interviewed him. I’ll have to do some research. Thanks.

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