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The 19th Operations Group added the airlift mission in 2008; yet, the group performed its first airlift sortie during the early months of World War II. While pilots flew extreme-long-range bombing flights over the Philippines, they also airlifted supplies, including arms and ammunition, while evacuating ground personnel assigned to the 19th Bombardment Group from the Philippines. On March 16, 1942, three B-17 aircrews evacuated Gen. Douglas MacArthur, commander of the U.S. Army Forces Far East, his family, and staff. Later that month aircrews evacuated Philippine President Manuel Quezon. The B-17 wasn’t designed to carry a large number of passengers or cargo; therefore, many people were left behind after the aircraft were filled to capacity. The Group personnel left behind fought as infantry in defense of Bataan; however, some were captured by the Japanese, and participated in the infamous Bataan Death March before living many long and brutal years as prisoners of war.

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