Aerial re-supply was crucial to aid Australian troops along the infamous Kokoda Trail in thwarting the Japanese advance across New Guinea's Owen Stanley Mountains, and was one early example of airlift by Douglas C-47 "Skytrains". Airlifters moved people and material
throughout the vast Pacific area. In many places, a primary role for fighters and bombers was to ensure safe passage for the transports. The delivery of food, fuel, ammunition, and reinforcements often meant the difference between victory and defeat. Without a comparable
airlift capability, Japanese troops often starved.
In the China-Burma-India Theater, the "Airlift over the Hump" became the longest sustained re-supply operation of WWII. An aerial delivery of troops and supplies in India turned back the Japanese invasion and became the ultimate victory in Burma. Nowhere was the spirit of
American ingenuity more evident than in the airlift community where, for example, equipment and vehicles too large for the aircraft were cut into manageable pieces and flown into the battle area. Paratroop assaults called for troop carrier airlift and return trips brought wounded and sick GIs to rear areas for medical attention. Little was more vital to ground troops or the conduct of the war than US airlift and troop carrier units.