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Spinelli, Joseph L.

Joseph Spinelli was born on 27 October 1915 in Huntsville, AL. He joined the US Army Air Corps on 22 November 1940, where he tained as a radio operator and mechanic. Staff Sergeant Spinelli served in the First Ferry Group in India-Burma theater and the Central Burma theater druing World War II. He flew over 300 hours of operational flight in transport aircraft over the dangerous and difficult Assam-China air routes (The Hump), where enemy interdiction and attack was probable and expected. Regular Hump operations began in May, 1942, with 27 aircraft (converted U. S. Airline DC-3s, C-39s and C-53s) and approximately 1,100 personnel from New Malir Air Base, a British base located in the Sind Desert about 20 miles east of Karachi in western India. The aircraft and personnel were members of the First Ferry Group, provided by the U. S. Army Air Forces Ferry Command. The Group was attached to the U. S. Army 10th Air Force, newly established in India and headquartered in New Delhi, for logistical support. Their first regular Hump operations crossed India and eventually jumped off for the Hump leg of their flights from Dinjan, a British Air Base located in the upper Assam Valley. During April and May approximately 96 tons of supplies were delivered to China. Flying at night as well as by day, at high altitude over impassable mountainous terrain through areas characterized by extremely treacherous weather conditions necessitating long periods of operations on instruments, often encountering servere icing conditions and mechanical difficulties requiring courageous and superior performance of their respective duties to overcome, they accomplished their missions with distinction. The Hump took such a toll on aircraft, that it became known as 'Aluminum Alley' due to the large number of downed aircraft along the route - on a clear day, you could see the sun reflecting off the wreckage of crashed planes lying there. Their herioc achievement in the face of the hazards and difficulties faced regularly and continuously with steadfast devotion to duty, rreflected much credit on Staff Sergeant Joseph Spinelli and the Army Air Forece. For his heroic achievements, Staff Sergeant Spinella was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross on 20 April 1945.