Air University Press


Good Outfit: The 803rd Engineer Battalion and the Defense of the Philippines, 1941–1942

  • Published
  • By Paul W. Ropp

This book is the account of the 803rd Aviation Engineer Battalion and its deployment to the Philippines during WWII. It is a cautionary tale, detailing the failures of leadership at all levels which led to ineffective infrastructure development, and eventually, the destruction of the heavy bomber fleet and the attrition of troops due to disease and death from a lack of supplies and support.





AuthorPaul W. Ropp
AU Press CodeB-166

Author of Good Outfit: The 803rd Engineer Battalion and the Defense of the Philippines, 1941–1942

Paul W. Ropp has had a lifelong interest in the defense of the Philippines during World War II because of a familial connection: his uncle and namesake, Sgt Paul A. Kloecker, was a noncommissioned officer in the Engineer Battalion (EB). Ropp earned a bachelor of arts degree from Ohio University in 1965. He returned for graduate work in history with a specialization in Southeast Asia. Subsequent doctoral studies at American University also concentrated on Asia. Immediately after earning his master of arts degree, he began a career at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), first as a political analyst focused on the Republic of the Philippines and then as an editor of finished intelligence studies concerning Southeast Asian issues. Later, he was involved in intelligence collection operations. The work resulted in his selection for the CIA’s senior executive service. Ropp also had a parallel career as an intelligence officer in the US Air Force Reserve. In the process, he completed both Air Command and Staff College and Air War College as a nonresident student. Official and personal travel provided Ropp the opportunity to tour many of the sites where the 803rd EB developed and maintained airfields and infrastructure in central Luzon, Bataan, and Corregidor during late 1941 to early 1942. From 2006 until its dissolution in 2009, Ropp served as the executive secretary for the American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor. He is the author of two peer-reviewed, published articles on the 803rd EB: “Thomas Delamore and the Defense of the Philippines: Heroism, Bureaucracy, and Fate,” and “Saga of the 8–Inch Guns in the Defense of the Philippines,” both in the Journal of America’s Military Past.

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