CAPTAIN ALONZO PHILIP MERCIER
INITIALLY 208TH CA AA
THEN US ARMY AIR CORPS
THEN US ARMY AIR FORCE
IN AUSTRALIA DURING WWII

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Captain Alonzo P. Mercier, USAF (1911-2001) was in the U.S. Army 208th Coast Artillery Antiaircraft Regiment 208 CA (AA) and disembarked in Brisbane, Australia on the USS Matsonia, a troop ship in March 1942. He transferred to the U.S. Army Air Corps in July 1942, was promoted to Major in that year and moved forward to New Guinea and eventually to the Philippines and only returned to the U.S. in May of 1945 as a Lieutenant Colonel.

He kept a diary which was a day-by-day record of his observations and thoughts for a 6 month period from when the 208th CA (AA) Regiment left Camp Edwards in Massachusetts via troop train to San Francisco in February 1942, and their arrival in Brisbane in March 1942.

On arrival in Brisbane he was quartered at Camp Doomben, where he was placed in charge of Policing duties.

Captain Mercier relocated to Townsville and the "Status of Officers and Enlisted Men" dated 19 June 1942, shows him stationed in the Townsville area as Adjutant for Hq & Hq Battery, 1st Battalion, of the 208th CA (AA) .

He was promoted to Major in December 1942.

 


Photo:- Courtesy of the National Museum of the United States Air Force

Men of the 208th Coast Artillery (AA) Regiment at Camp Doomben

 

The December 1942 Military Telephone Directory for Brisbane shows Major A.P. Mercier as follows:-

 

Headquarters - Fifth Air Force and Air Service Command

AIR SERVICE COMMAND

ENGINEERING AND MAINTENANCE:

Engine and Accessories:
    Major A.E. Bennett             
McIntosh Bldg.  AMP 186
    Major A.P. Mercier             
McIntosh Bldg.  AMP 186
    M/Sgt. Marvin Nix               
McIntosh Bldg.  AMP 186

Aircraft and Accessories:
    Capt. E.H. Graham, Jr.      
McIntosh Bldg.  AMP 93
    Lt. W.W. Kirk, Jr.              
McIntosh Bldg.  AMP 95
    W/O Peter Kolb, Jr.           
McIntosh Bldg.  AMP 95

Equipment Section:
    Major A.W. Schmitt           
McIntosh Bldg.   AMP 93
    Lt. K.O. Cartwright            
McIntosh Bldg.   AMP 184

Enemy Equipment:
    Lt. C.D. Gessel                 
McIntosh Bldg.   AMP 184

Executive:
    Lt. G.H. Wessler, Jr.         
McIntosh Bldg.   AMP 95

Miscellaneous:
    Lt. R.J. Hoyle, Jr.             
McIntosh Bldg.  AMP 93

Records and Publications:
    Lt. J.J. Whalen                 
McIntosh Bldg.   AMP 187

 

The October 1943 Military Telephone Directory for Brisbane shows Major A.P. Mercier as follows:-

FIFTH AIR SERVICE COMMAND

Allison Overhaul
    Maj. A.P. Mercier       Res. Phone. B6805     Office Phone MLX 616

 

The May 1944 Military Telephone Directory for Brisbane shows Major A.P. Mercier as follows:-

FIFTH AIR SERVICE COMMAND

ENGINEERING DIVISION

Engines and Maintenance:
    Major Mercier, A.P.               McIntosh Bldg.   FLX 326

 


Photo:- Courtesy of the National Museum of the United States Air Force

Major A. P. Mercier at his desk in the McIntosh Building
at
324 - 328 Wickham Street, Fortitude Valley

 


Photo:- Courtesy of the National Museum of the United States Air Force

Major A. P. Mercier at his desk in the GMH Allison Overhaul Shop at Breakfast Creek

 

Assistant Engineering Officers, 5th Air Service Command
Seated L to R:- Maj. Alonzo P. Mercier, Maj. Charles H. Belvin, Maj. William H. Hubner
Standing L to R:- 1st Lt. John J. Whalen, 1st Lt. John T. Rogers

 

Lieutenant Colonel Alonzo P. Mercier later served as Assistant Chief of Staff, A-5, Headquarters, Fifth Air Force Service Command at Nadzab (New Guinea), Biak (Netherlands East Indies), Leyte (Mindoro), and Luzon (Philippines).

Mercier supervised all engineering units in that command and designed several improvements and modifications for Fifth Air Force aircraft. Lt. Col. Mercier planned the relocation of other equipment in F6 aircraft to allow the installation of IFF Equipment. He improvised and constructed rocket launcher mounts for A-20 Havoc aircraft making it possible for the A-20 to launch 12 rockets during a single flight. Using plans for the installation of DDT spray equipment in L-5 aircraft, he improvised the installation of this type of equipment in C-47 aircraft. He also devised an arrangement to allow the P-38 Lightning to carry six 500-pound bombs instead of the normal load of two 500-pound bombs.

General George C. Kenney wrote a letter to Lt. Colonel Mercier's mother on 11 October 1945 advising her that he had the pleasure of awarding her son a Bronze Star Medal for meritorious achievement in connection with military operations in the Southwest Pacific Area from 29 April 1944 to 30 April 1945.

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to thank Rick Mercier, son of Colonel Alonzo P. Mercier  for his assistance with this web page.

 

Can anyone help me with more information?

 

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 Peter Dunn 2015

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This page first produced 29 December 2016

This page last updated 12 January 2017