CNAC photos — in color

I’ve been neglecting this blog lately due to revisions of an article about my adventures in Iran earlier this summer, a lot of home improvement projects (a new deck and an art studio for Tina), and some good surf, but Steve Michaels just emailed over some excellent photos his father took while he was flying for CNAC, a few of which are in color (scanned from color slides), and too good not to post. Here they come:

Loading cotton at Sian:

Transportation between town and the Kunming airport, late 1940s:

CNAC facility at Kunming airport:

C-46 with crew transportation at Kunming, late 1940s:

Loading cotton onto a C-46:



  1. Hello Mr Crouch,
    My name is Diana Agy. I am a teacher at Jackson College in Michigan. One of our alumni, Captain William Maher was a CNAC pilot. In 2005, I promised him I would have my students remember our local heroes, including his two friends, Zenneth Pond and Elwood Bailey, who lost their lives in Guadalcanal. It was Captain Maher’s life long wish to have them remembered, and we are continuing to do so with museum displays and documentaries.

    Our students in this work are volunteers. They donated over 20,000 hours of their time on weekends, nights, and holidays to research Pond and Bailey. Their work garnered the the Governor’s Award for Service in 2019.

    We are now working on William Maher’s documentary and museum display. We so desperately need photos or diary entries and artifacts related to the Hump and his experiences in China.

    I believe he was on the board for the CNAC reunions for years.
    Do you have any scans of China, the loading of the planes, the pilots etc… that we might be able to use for our film? It would be so appreciated! I can send you the memorial we made to Elwood Bailey last year so you can see the fine work these volunteer students do. It won two Michigan Historical Society Awards!
    2nd Lt. Elwood Bailey’s remains were found two years ago—just as we were starting his project. We were honored to be invited to be part of his burial at Chapel Hill Cemetery.

    William Maher wanted to make sure his friends were remembered and honored and were not left behind. We would like to do the same for him. I believe he was instrumental in helping the CNAC pilots get recognized as part of the military, if I remember correctly.
    We have some photos of Maher with Moon and Rossi and Len Parrish and many others.
    Again, thank you so much for your book and website.
    My bottom note is this: Do you have any photos, film clips, diaries, any help for us so we can honor William Maher, CNAC pilot and friend to our JC Heritage Center?
    Also, would you like a copy of our most recent documentary as a gift? I love sharing the hard work our dear students do and I love watching their faces as the community responds with love and joy that the next generation is recognizing the sacrifices of those who came before.
    My best regards: Diana Agy. Endowed Chair for Regional History. Jackson College in Jackson Michigan.
    Here is a link to our Heritage Center and if you scroll down, you will be able to click into some of the boxes to see the projects the students have done. The two boys in the pilot caps are Captain Zenneth Pond and Captain William Maher (CNAC pilot)

    1. Dear Diana,

      Such a pleasure to hear from you, and of course you’re welcome to anything I might have that can help honor Bill. Aside from what he did during WWII, he was the greatest champion of the CNAC Association that has ever lived, no rival.

      My best collection of photos is here:

      That’s all of the best CNAC-related photos and images I’ve been able to collect put into one page. I don’t control the rights to most of the images, but I can point you to the person(s) who do depending on what photos your people select.

      I’m almost certain there won’t be any issues.

      I don’t recall any diaries from Bill directly, but there are a handful of others written by other people that treat with the time Bill was with CNAC. I’m think of that of Donald McBride most specifically.

      I transcribed that at some point. (It’s not great, but did serve to precisely identify the dates of certain events.)

      Thanks for reaching out, and don’t hesitate to have your people contact me directly:



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