a. USCINCEUR's Concept. The redeployment of the USEUCOM forces to Europe could not be scheduled because of the uncertainties of the operations in the Congo. However, as of 21 November USCINCEUR envisaged that first the force would return to Kamina, when requested by the Belgian paratroop commander. At Kamina, the force would be protected from exposure to urban areas, to reduce adverse political effects. Once all elements had arrived at Kamina, the Belgian troops would be redeployed to Belgium, preferably by Sabena charter aircraft. The USEUCOM airlift would be used to transport items of military equipment that could not readily be transported by commercial flights. However, if USEUCOM airlift was used to redeploy the entire force, 16 C-130E's would be required.1
b. CINCSTRIKE/USCINCMEAFSA's Instructions. On 22 November CINCSTRIKE/USCINCMEAFSA directed JTF LEO to airlift Belgian personnel and equipment upon request of the Belgian representative in the Congo. Concurrently all USAFE aircraft would return to Europe.2
1. Cable ECJCA-00340, 21 Nov 64, cited above.
2. Cable 1091/64, 22 Nov 64, cited above.
On 27 November the airlift force recovered the Belgian paratroopers at Stanleyville and Paulis and carried them to Kamina. At a meeting held there on 28 November to plan for the redeployment of the task force to Europe, it was agreed that the force would depart for Ascension at 0500 hour a on 29 November. No DRAGON ROUGE or DRAGON NOIR aircraft could overfly Spain.
The task force arrived at Ascension without incident on 29 November and remained there overnight. On the following day the tents were struck and loaded—along with cots, a communications van, and rigging gear—into three C-124 support aircraft furnished by USEUCOM. On 1 December the force was joyously received in Brussels, and the King of the Belgians decorated both the airlift and airborne commanders with the Order of Leo II. The 322d Air Division aircraft returned to their home station at Evreux on 2 December.3
3. 322d AD After Action Rept, undtd, cited above.