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333rd Bombardment Group, USAAF

333rd Bombardment Group, USAAF


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333rd Bombardment Group, USAAF

History - Books - Aircraft - Time Line - Commanders - Main Bases - Component Units - Assigned To

History

The 333rd Bombardment Group, USAAF, had two incarnations during the Second World War, first as a training unit and then as a B-29 group in the Eighth Air Force in the Far East.

The group was activated in July 1942 and joined the Second Air Force. At first it was used as an Operational Training Unit, preparing B-17 groups for combat. It later became a Replacement Training Unit, training individual crews to fill gaps in existing combat units. This version of the group was inactivated on 1 April 1944.

The group was reactivated on 7 July 1944 as the 333rd Bombardment Group (Very Heavy). It trained with the B-29 and prepared for combat in the Far East. After the end of the war in Europe work began on moving the Eighth Air Force from Europe to the Far East, and the 333rd was allocated to the re-located air force.

The first aircrews from the 333rd began to fly into Kadena on Okinawa on 7 August 1945, but the war ended before the group could enter combat. After the end of the fighting it was used to ferry Allied POWs from Japan to the Philippines, before it was inactivated on Okinawa on 28 May 1946.

Books

To Follow

Aircraft

July 1942-April 1944: Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress
July 1944-May 1946: Boeing B-29 Superfortress

Timeline

9 July 1942Constituted as 333rd Bombardment Group (Heavy)
15 July 1942Activated and assigned to Second Air Force
1 April 1944Inactivated
7 July 1944Activated as 333rd Bombardment Group (Very Heavy) and assigned to Second Air Force
June-August 1945To Pacific theatre and Eighth Air Force
28 May 1946Inactivated

Commanders (with date of appointment)

Unkn: Jul-Aug 1942
Col Leo W De Rosier: c. 25 Aug 1942
LtCol Ted Faulkner: 1943
Lt Col DonaldW Saunders: Sep 1943
Maj Walter DAtkins: 3 Jan 1944-unkn
Capt Harry JWhelchel: 26 Jul 1944
Col Milton F Summerfelt:11 Aug 1944
Lt Col Ray H Martin:15 Aug 1g45-unkn

Main Bases

Topeka, Kan: 15 Jul 1942
Dalhart AAFld, Tex: 22 Feb 1943-1 Apr1944
Dalhart AAFld, Tex: 7 Jul 1944
Great Bend AAFld, Kan: 13 Jan-18 Jun1945
Kadena, Okinawa: 5 Aug 1945-28May 1946.

Component Units

435th Bombardment Squadron: 1944-1946
460th Bombardment Squadron:1944-1946
466th Bombardment Squadron: 1942-1944
467th Bombardment Squadron:1942-1944
468th Bombardment Squadron: 1942-1944
469th Bombardment Squadron: 1942-1944
507th Bombardment Squadron: 1944-1946

Assigned To

1944-45: 316th Bombardment Wing
1945-46: 316th Bombardment Wing; Eighth Air Force (Far East)


COMBAT STORIES FROM World War II

6:00 | His crew had been split up and B-17 bombardier Dequindre McGlaun was waiting for an assignment. He was sent to the 94th Bomb Group, but when he was grounded with ear problems, his pilot was killed in a crash landing. Once again, he was a wandering bombardier without a crew.

More From Dequindre McGlaun

Keywords : Dequindre McGlaun B-17 Salt Lake City UT Boise ID Alamogordo NM Biggs Field El Paso TX Juarez Mexico Pueblo CO

WWII

Dequindre McGlaun | WWII | 333rd Bombardment Squadron, 94th Bombardment Group, 8th Air Force | 5:04

Dequindre McGlaun was in bombardier training when Pearl Harbor was attacked. It was going well until he got sick and had to be held back and graduate with a later class. He was finally flying in B-17's when his crew was split up and he became an unassigned crew member.

Dequindre McGlaun | WWII | 333rd Bombardment Squadron, 94th Bombardment Group, 8th Air Force | 5:40

The man at the pilot physical said that Dequindre McGlaun had eyes like a horse with outstanding peripheral vision. That didn't help when he was washed out by an overzealous captain. He went back to work in a civilian job but he contacted the Army Air Corps and offered himself up for bombardier training.

Dequindre McGlaun | WWII | 333rd Bombardment Squadron, 94th Bombardment Group, 8th Air Force | 5:13

Dequindre McGlaun volunteered for combat by taking the place of a bombardier who got cold feet. He didn't have to go but he was trained for it and he was tired of beating around the States, waiting for assignments. They got new B-17's to fly to England but, immediately, a problem developed.

Dequindre McGlaun | WWII | 333rd Bombardment Squadron, 94th Bombardment Group, 8th Air Force | 6:49

The B-17 crews had crossed the Atlantic and were organizing in England. On his second mission, bombardier Dequindre McGlaun's plane was shot up so bad it had to be replaced. He told his mates that they had to get their attitude straight if they were going to deal with things like that and still be successful. After six missions, he was named lead bombardier.

Dequindre McGlaun | WWII | 333rd Bombardment Squadron, 94th Bombardment Group, 8th Air Force | 6:42

B-17 bombardier Dequindre McGlaun recalls several of his bombing missions over Northern Europe. There were other bombers that nearly hit his and there were people on the ground who wanted to kill him. He changed planes and crews when he was made lead bombardier and he describes the nose art on the new plane.

Dequindre McGlaun | WWII | 333rd Bombardment Squadron, 94th Bombardment Group, 8th Air Force | 9:51

The mission to Kiel was a fateful one for B-17 bombardier Dequindre McGlaun. The group was disorganized because of a base reassignment and the men were awakened at 3 AM with no advance notice of a mission. After hitting the target, his squadron was swarmed by enemy fighters. Every 50 cal machine gun on the plane was firing as the bomber slipped lower and lower toward the water.

Dequindre McGlaun | WWII | 333rd Bombardment Squadron, 94th Bombardment Group, 8th Air Force | 3:44

B-17 bombardier Dequindre McGlaun discusses the change of command in his squadron and how the new commander wanted to get out of headquarters and fly. The bombardier describes the anti-aircraft flashes on the ground as German gunners took aim. "You better get me quick because I am going to get you!"

Dequindre McGlaun | WWII | 333rd Bombardment Squadron, 94th Bombardment Group, 8th Air Force | 7:15

Returning from a mission, B-17 bombardier Dequindre McGlaun saw 2 planes from his flight collide right in front of him. The tumbling planes just missed his own aircraft. On another mission, the squadron flew on to Algiers and slept under the wing of their plane, "Shackaroo," for a week in the desert, waiting to return.

Dequindre McGlaun | WWII | 333rd Bombardment Squadron, 94th Bombardment Group, 8th Air Force | 6:12

After a shuttle mission to North Africa, Dequindre McGlaun's B-17 squadron returned to it's base in England. Led by his plane, "Shackaroo," they hit a German submarine base on the way. Several highly successful missions followed, including a strike in the heart of Paris and one across the Baltic Sea that resulted in a classic photograph of the bomb run that wound up in museums.

Dequindre McGlaun | WWII | 333rd Bombardment Squadron, 94th Bombardment Group, 8th Air Force | 5:10

As his tour wound down, B-17 bombardier Dequindre McGlaun was honored to have his commanding officers flying with him. At that point in the war, the German V-1 program was still secret but the Allied bombers were already hitting their bases. Time off in London was always welcome and he tells what he found there.

Dequindre McGlaun | WWII | 333rd Bombardment Squadron, 94th Bombardment Group, 8th Air Force | 4:41

It had been quite a tour and B-17 bombardier Dequindre McGlaun returned to the States, got married and was assigned to teach new bombardiers in Texas. When VJ Day came, the town went nuts and, soon, he was out of the service and beginning a long and rewarding career as a teacher.

Dequindre McGlaun | WWII | 333rd Bombardment Squadron, 94th Bombardment Group, 8th Air Force | 4:06

B-17 bombardier Dequindre McGlaun was inspired by his leaders in the 94th bomb group, including Frederick Castle, who was awarded the Medal Of Honor posthumously for guiding his crashing bomber away from American troops at the Battle of the Bulge. Ira Eaker and Curtis LeMay also were important commanding officers in his career


Aircraft Groups

Withstood repeated assaults by enemy interceptors to bomb an aircraft factory at Regensburg on 17 Aug 1943, being awarded a DUC for the mission. Braving adverse weather, heavy flak, and savage fighter attacks, the group completed a strike against an aircraft parts factory in Brunswick on 11 Jan 1944 and received another DUC for this operation. Took part in the campaign of heavy bombers against the enemy aircraft industry during Big Week, 20-25 Feb 1944. Sometimes operated in support of ground forces and flew interdictory missions. Prior to D-Day in Jun 1944, helped to neutralize V-weapon sites, airdromes, and other military installations along the coast of France. On 6 Jun bombed enemy positions in the battle area to support the invasion of Normandy. Struck troops and gun batteries to aid the advance of the Allies at St Lo in Jul and at Brest in Aug. Covered the airborne attack on Holland in Sep. Hit marshalling yards, airfields, and strong points near the combat area during the Battle of the Bulge, Dec 1944-Jan 1945. Bombed transportation, communications, and oil targets in the final push over the Rhine and across Germany.

After V-E Day, dropped leaflets to displaced persons and German civilians. Returned to the US in Dec 1945. Inactivated on 21 Dec 1945.


The history of Forbes Field AKA-Forbes AFB, KS

TOPEKA, Kan. — We will never know just who was responsible, but detailed plans for the Topeka Army Air Field(TAAF) clearly were complete and waiting in someone’s Washington, D.C., office long before Japan attacked the United States. Congress authorized the massive building project within two weeks after the Dec. 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor. Eight months later, the completed air base — ready right down to essential buildings, hangars, repair shops, steam heating plants, fuel storage and three 7,000 by 150-foot paved runways — was formally accepted by the Army Air Corps.

August 1942 — The first troops arrived and had to be quartered in the agriculture building on the Topeka Fair Grounds because their green wood two-story barracks buildings weren’t finished yet. By September, the field was the home of the 333rd Bombardment Group.

February 1943 — The base was transferred to the 21st Bombardment Wing, and the air field’s job shifted from training new crews in flying four-engine bombers to preparing crews and new bombers for the long trans-Atlantic flight to England.

1945 — TAAF became one of three B-29 centers, where newly transitioned crews claimed new Superfortresses and took off for the Pacific to aid in the assault on the Japanese home islands.

March 1945 — Fighter pilots and tow target personnel began to stream through TAAF to claim their airplanes.

August 1945 — Command of the base shifted from the 21st Bombardment Wing to the 1st Staging Command, and beginning in October emphasis was placed on shipping ground personnel overseas rather than flight crews. Some 2,000 men were sent to TAAF to be processed as overseas replacements. That project was completed in February 1946 by ATC.

Nov. 28, 1945 — Air Transport Command took over the field, and in December nine C-47s, 80 pilots and copilots and other equipment were moved to TAAF from Fairfax Airport in Kansas City, Kan. TAAF became the only mid-continent stop for ATC’s daily transcontinental VIP flight between Washington, D.C., and Hamilton Field, Calif. Soon it also hosted two other daily shuttle flights.

January 1946 — TAAF became a refueling point for the new jet planes. Starting that month, TAAF played a major role in ferrying 1,300 military planes to 40 air fields throughout the United States and in a project for delivering 2,600 others to reserve units around the country.

August 1946 — TAAF became home to ATC’s Northwestern Sector Headquarters, which coordinated U.S. Army Air Forces Air Transport Command operations from 14 bases.

September 1946 — Congress slashed military appropriations, military and civilian personnel numbers plummeted almost overnight, and base activity was cut drastically. Topeka remained an ATC air terminal and operating base, but most transport crews were transferred and several flights discontinued.

October 1946 — ATC began transferring surplus Douglas C-54s here for storage.

November 1946 — Topeka was designated a separation center for both officers and enlisted men. Air Reserve activity started here the same month, but was discontinued in March 1947.

December 1946 — TAAF took part in “Operation Santa Claus,” flying hundreds of amputees and litter cases from Army hospitals home for Christmas. Also, from December 1946 to February 1947, the base trained 26 Portuguese Air Force personnel in air-sea operations using B-17s and C-54s.

March 1947 — Northwestern Sector Headquarters closed.

Oct. 31, 1947 — TAAF inactivated.

July 1, 1948 — TAAF reactivated as a Strategic Air Command base(SAC) home to the 311th Air Division, Reconnaissance, and to the 55th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing. That mission continued until Oct. 14, 1949, when the base was again inactivated. During that activation, TAAF was renamed Forbes Air Force Base in memory of Maj. Daniel H. Forbes, a Topeka pilot killed June 5, 1948, while testing the Northrop XB-49 “Flying Wing” jet bomber near Muroc Dry Lake, Calif.

Feb. 1, 1951 — During the Korean War, Forbes AFB reopened and was again assigned to SAC.

Feb. 16 — The 21st Air Division was activated at Forbes, and the division’s 90th Bombardment Wing moved to the base in February and March. The wing trained SAC’s newly activated 376th, 308th and 310th Bomb Wings. From June 1951 to August 1953 it also trained B-29 replacement crews for combat. About 10 a month were trained until August 1952 when the bomb wing training program was concluded and the number of B-29 crews produced was doubled.

June 16, 1952 — The 90th was redesignated the 90th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing, Medium, and five months later started training recon crews as replacements for Far East Air Forces.

October 1952 — The 55th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing moved to Forbes from Ramey AFB, Puerto Rico, continuing its program of photography, photomapping and electronic reconnaissance.

August 1953 — The training mission terminated. The wing had started to develop its own capacity for reconnaissance operations earlier, and spent the rest of 1953 training its crews in refueling operations required for strategic reconnaissance.

February 1954 — The base acquired 528 more acres of land and Congress approved construction of a 12,000-foot runway to accommodate Boeing RB-47 jets. The 90th Wing began converting to RB-47s in March 1954 and the 55th in June 1954. Thereafter, both wings trained to combat readiness at Forbes. After they were declared combat ready, both units began temporary overseas duty tours but returned to Forbes for continued training each time. By the end of 1954 both wings had phased out their piston-engine RB-50s. The 55th started transitioning into the RB-47 in September 1953, the 90th in February 1954.

June 1955 — The 21st Air Division and subordinate units were assigned to Eighth Air Force, when both wings’ refueling missions were assigned. The 90th Air Refueling Squadron was activated in August, the 55th ARS in October. Both squadrons received KC-97s — large-bodied transport derivatives of the B-50, which in turn was a slightly improved B-29.

1958 — 650 units of family housing were built on 160 acres west of US-75 first phase of the Capehart housing development known as Cullen Village by the USAF and Montara by its current civilian owners. Another 414 units were constructed on an adjoining 118.75-acre tract in 1960. In addition, three “other” family units (relocated farm houses) were placed on six acres northeast of the Capehart area while another farm house and five military construction projects were built on three acres near the base hospital, in the cantonment area east of US-75.

January 1959 — The 21st Air Division and subordinate units were reassigned to the 2nd Air Force, thus completing a cycle of SAC’s three numbered air forces within the continental United States.

February 1959 — SAC announced Atlas intercontinental ballistic missile sites would be constructed around Forbes.

In June 1960 the 90th SRW was deactivated and replaced by the 40th Bomb Wing, transferred from Schilling AFB, Salina.

July 1, 1960 — A Soviet MiG-15 fighter shot down a 55th SRW RB-47H in international airspace off the Russian coast north of Norway. The pilot, Maj. Willard G. Palm, and three electronic warfare officers — Maj. Eugene E. Posa and Capts. Oscar L. Goforth and D.B. Phillips — were killed. The copilot, Capt. Freeman B. Olmstead, and navigator, Capt. John R. McKone were rescued by a Soviet fishing boat and imprisoned for six months on spying charges.

Oct. 16, 1961 — Air Force Systems Command handed the nine completed Atlas ICBM complexes over to SAC. The 548th Strategic Missile Squadron became the USAF’s first to declare the Atlas “E” operationally ready.

Aug. 31, 1964 — Tactical Air Command’s 313th Troop Carrier Wing came to Forbes.

March 1965 — Its 29th Troop Carrier Squadron became the first combat-ready unit of Tactical Air Command at Forbes. It immediately assumed a rotational commitment to Panama. The whole wing was declared operationally ready in June, and in July “ownership” of Forbes passed from SAC to TAC.

May 1966 — The 1370th Photo Mapping Wing was transferred to Forbes from Turner AFB, Ga.

Aug. 16, 1966 — The 55th SRW officially moved from Forbes to Offutt AFB, Neb.

May 1967 — All Air Force troop carrier units were redesignated “tactical airlift” units.

July 1967 — The 838th Combat Support Group and 838th Tactical Hospital were reassigned from the 838th Air Division to the 313th Tactical Airlift Wing.

August 1967 — The RB-57Bs of the Kansas Air National Guard’s 190th Tactical Reconnaissance Group moved to Forbes from the former Hutchinson Naval Air Station.

July 1968 — The Ohio Valley Exchange Region moved to Forbes.

October 1968 — The 1370th PMW designation was changed to Aerospace Cartographic and Geodetic Service.

December 1969 — The 838th Air Division was deactivated. All remaining units were redesignated part of the 313th Tactical Airlift Wing.

January 1970 — The 38th Tactical Airlift Squadron was activated.

July 1971 — The 313th Tactical Hospital was designated as a USAF hospital.

Jan. 10, 1972 — The 3301st School Squadron USAF Skill Center was activated at Forbes. It moved to newly modified facilities in September 1972.

April 1973 — The 305th Air Refueling Squadron, Detachment 2, Satellite Basing, was activated at Forbes.

April 17, 1973 — The Department of Defense announced its intention to close Forbes AFB. The announcement added the 305th Air Refueling Squadron, Detachment 2, SAC Satellite Basing (two assigned Boeing KC-135 tankers) the 5th Weather Squadron, Detachment 17 (MAC) 2027th Communication Squadron (AFCS) and Ohio Valley Region Exchange and Defense Property Disposal Office remained.

Oct. 1, 1973 — Forbes was redesignated an Air National Guard base a designation it retains today. Joint military-civilian use was authorized.

January 1974 — The city created the Metropolitan Topeka Airport Authority by charter ordinance, charging it with overseeing the transition of the bulk of the 3,100-acre federal enclave to civilian use.

April 1976 — Title was transferred to the city, less the Air Guard enclave on the northern third of the 6,000-foot north-south ramp, a portion of the south ramp and four associated buildings reserved for the Kansas Army National Guard and the former dental clinic. The last went to Unified School District 501. Shawnee County received the golf course and attendant buildings, while the USAF retained the 1,063-unit Cullen Village for later sale. The Army and Air Force Regional Exchange retained one building in the old supply depot west of US-75 and the state received the former hospital complex. The remainder — more than 2,100 acres of runway and taxiway and 283 acres of buildings and facilities mostly east of US-75 — was deeded to the city of Topeka. The cantonment area was redesignated the Topeka Air Industrial Park.

May 16, 1976 — Air carrier operations were moved from Philip Billard Municipal Airport to Forbes Field, and jet service was initiated there June 1, 1976. The field has an 8,000- by 150-foot and a 12,800- by 200-foot runway, both maintained to a high standard by Defense Department funds, plus a 100-acre parking apron and relatively moderate traffic level.

January 1979 — The MTAA, formerly a city department, was made autonomous by state legislation, with approval of Shawnee County voters. In 1982 those same voters approved bonds to build a $4.5 million air terminal, to be completed in mid-1985. The bonds were paid off in 1996. A second bond issue was approved in 1987 to rebuild the Forbes water system and erect a new water tower. Those will mature in 2002. Topeka no longer has scheduled airline service, although a number of air carriers have essayed to serve the Kansas capital since 1976. Beginning in 1977 to completion in 1978, the 190th traded its RB-57s for KC-135s and an expanded new SAC air refueling mission. Today the unit and its approximately 900 personnel routinely support USAF and allied nations’ operations around the world.


Lineage

  • Constituted as the 469th Bombardment Group (Heavy)
  • Reconstituted and redesignated 469th Electronic Warfare Group on 31 July 1985 [9]

Assignments

Components

  • 796th Bombardment Squadron: 1 May 1943 – 1 April 1944 [12]
  • 797th Bombardment Squadron: 1 May 1943 – 1 April 1944 [12]
  • 798th Bombardment Squadron: 1 May 1943 – 1 April 1944 [13]
  • 799th Bombardment Squadron: 1 May 1943 – 1 April 1944 [14]

Stations

  • Pueblo Army Air Base, Colorado, 1 May 1943
  • Alexandria Army Air Base, Louisiana, 7 May 1943 – 1 April 1944 [3]

Aircraft


Contents

Royal Air Force use

Earls Colne was opened in August 1942 and for the first year it was operated by No. 3 Group Bomber Command of the Royal Air Force. Flying squadrons included the 296 & 297 squadrons, equipped with Whitley Mk.V medium bomber aircraft.

United States Army Air Forces use

In May 1943 the airfield was turned over to the United States Army Air Forces. USAAF groups of the Eighth and Ninth Air Forces used the airfield. It was known as USAAF Station AAF-358 for security reasons by the USAAF during the war, and by which it was referred to instead of location. It's USAAF Station Code was "EC".

USAAF Station Units assigned to RAF Earls Coln were: [3]

  • 70th Service Group [4]
  • 19th Station Complement Squadron
  • 21st Weather Squadron
  • 39th Mobile Reclamation and Repair Squadron
  • 40th Mobile Communications Squadron
  • 9th Bomb Disposal Squadron
  • 98th Combat Bomb Wing
  • 1054th Quartermaster Company
  • 1060th Military Police Company
  • 1087th Signal Company
  • 1469th Ordnance Medium Maintenance Company
  • 1767th Ordnance Supply & Maintenance Company
  • 2196th Quartermaster Truck Company
  • 808th Chemical Company (Air Operations)
  • 2037th Engineer Fire Fighting Platoon
  • 200th Medical Dispensary

From 12 June 1943 to 16 October 1943, Earls Colne (along with nearby Marks Hall) served as headquarters for the 3d Combat Bombardment Wing of the 3rd Bomb Division. Marks Hall was also used for the billeting of many of the servicemen assigned to Earls Colne, [5]

94th Bombardment Group (Heavy)

The first American unit to use Earls Colne was the 94th Bombardment Group (Heavy) moved in with the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, arriving from RAF Bassingbourn on 12 May 1943. The group tail code was a "Square-A". Its operational squadrons were:

Its tenure was brief as the Eighth Air Force moved the B-17s into Suffolk on 12 June as the group was moved to RAF Bury St. Edmunds in a general exchange of airfields with B-26 Marauder groups.

323rd Bombardment Group (Medium)

Replacing the 94th at Earls Colne was the 323d Bombardment Group (Medium) which arrived from RAF Horham on 14 June 1943. The group was assigned to the 3rd Bomb Wing and flew Martin B-26B/C Marauders with a Horizontal white tail band for its group marking. Operational squadrons of the 323d were:

The 323rd inaugurated medium altitude bombing missions on 16 July 1943.

In common with other Marauder units of the 3d Bomb Wing, the 323rd was transferred to Ninth Air Force on 16 October 1943. Tactical missions were flown against V-weapon sites along the coast of France and attacked airfields at Leeuwarden and Venlo in conjunction with the Allied campaign against the German Air Force and aircraft industry during Big Week, 20–25 February 1944.

On 21 July the group was moved south to RAF Beaulieu in Hampshire, a move designed to extend their range over western France.

Back to Royal Air Force use

In September 1944 the airfield returned to RAF control, with No. 38 Group RAF bomber station operating the Armstrong Whitworth Albemarles and Handley Page Halifaxes. 38 Group was used as a glider towing unit (Squadrons Nos. 296 and 297).

Both squadrons participated in Operation Varsity, the airborne part of the Rhine Crossing in March 1945. These squadrons remained at Earls Colne until early in 1946, when the former was disbanded and the other moved out in March. When de-requisitioned in 1955 much of the airfield was returned to agricultural use.


333rd Bombardment Group, USAAF - History

Story from The Topeka Capital-Journal

Photomapping info in Red

TOPEKA, Kan. -- We will never know just who was responsible, but detailed plans for the Topeka Army Air Field(TAAF) clearly were complete and waiting in someone's Washington, D.C., office long before Japan attacked the United States. Congress authorized the massive building project within two weeks after the Dec. 7, 1941 , attack on Pearl Harbor. Eight months later, the completed air base -- ready right down to essential buildings, hangars, repair shops, steam heating plants, fuel storage and three 7,000 by 150-foot paved runways -- was formally accepted by the Army Air Corps.


August 1942 -- The first troops arrived and had to be quartered in the agriculture building on the Topeka Fair Grounds because their green wood two-story barracks buildings weren't finished yet. By September, the field was the home of the 333rd Bombardment Group.


February 1943 -- The base was transferred to the 21st Bombardment Wing, and the air field's job shifted from training new crews in flying four-engine bombers to preparing crews and new bombers for the long trans-Atlantic flight to England.


1945 -- TAAF became one of three B-29 centers, where newly transitioned crews claimed new Superfortresses and took off for the Pacific to aid in the assault on the Japanese home islands.


March 1945 -- Fighter pilots and tow target personnel began to stream through TAAF to claim their airplanes.


August 1945 -- Command of the base shifted from the 21st Bombardment Wing to the 1st Staging Command, and beginning in October emphasis was placed on shipping ground personnel overseas rather than flight crews. Some 2,000 men were sent to TAAF to be processed as overseas replacements. That project was completed in February 1946 by ATC.


Nov. 28, 1945 -- Air Transport Command took over the field, and in December nine C-47s, 80 pilots and copilots and other equipment were moved to TAAF from Fairfax Airport in Kansas City, Kan. TAAF became the only mid-continent stop for ATC's daily transcontinental VIP flight between Washington, D.C., and Hamilton Field, Calif. Soon it also hosted two other daily shuttle flights.


January 1946 -- TAAF became a refueling point for the new jet planes. Starting that month, TAAF played a major role in ferrying 1,300 military planes to 40 air fields throughout the United States and in a project for delivering 2,600 others to reserve units around the country.


August 1946 -- TAAF became home to ATC's Northwestern Sector Headquarters, which coordinated U.S. Army Air Forces Air Transport Command operations from 14 bases.


September 1946 -- Congress slashed military appropriations, military and civilian personnel numbers plummeted almost overnight, and base activity was cut drastically. Topeka remained an ATC air terminal and operating base, but most transport crews were transferred and several flights discontinued.


October 1946 -- ATC began transferring surplus Douglas C-54s here for storage.


November 1946 -- Topeka was designated a separation center for both officers and enlisted men. Air Reserve activity started here the same month, but was discontinued in March 1947.


December 1946 -- TAAF took part in "Operation Santa Claus," flying hundreds of amputees and litter cases from Army hospitals home for Christmas. Also, from December 1946 to February 1947, the base trained 26 Portuguese Air Force personnel in air-sea operations using B-17s and C-54s.


March 1947 -- Northwestern Sector Headquarters closed.


Oct. 31, 1947 -- TAAF inactivated.


July 1, 1948 -- TAAF reactivated as a Strategic Air Command base(SAC) home to the 311th Air Division, Reconnaissance, and to the 55th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing . That mission continued until Oct. 14, 1949, when the base was again inactivated. During that activation, TAAF was renamed Forbes Air Force Base in memory of Maj. Daniel H. Forbes , a Topeka pilot killed June 5, 1948, while testing the Northrop XB-49 "Flying Wing" jet bomber near Muroc Dry Lake, Calif.


Feb. 1, 1951 -- During the Korean War, Forbes AFB reopened and was again assigned to SAC.


Feb. 16 -- The 21st Air Division was activated at Forbes, and the division's 90th Bombardment Wing moved to the base in February and March. The wing trained SAC's newly activated 376th, 308th and 310th Bomb Wings. From June 1951 to August 1953 it also trained B-29 replacement crews for combat. About 10 a month were trained until August 1952 when the bomb wing training program was concluded and the number of B-29 crews produced was doubled.


June 16, 1952 -- The 90th was redesignated the 90th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing, Medium, and five months later started training recon crews as replacements for Far East Air Forces.


October 1952 -- The 55th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing moved to Forbes from Ramey AFB, Puerto Rico, continuing its program of photography, photomapping and electronic reconnaissance .


August 1953 -- The training mission terminated. The wing had started to develop its own capacity for reconnaissance operations earlier, and spent the rest of 1953 training its crews in refueling operations required for strategic reconnaissance.


February 1954 -- The base acquired 528 more acres of land and Congress approved construction of a 12,000-foot runway to accommodate Boeing RB-47 jets. The 90th Wing began converting to RB-47s in March 1954 and the 55th in June 1954. Thereafter, both wings trained to combat readiness at Forbes. After they were declared combat ready, both units began temporary overseas duty tours but returned to Forbes for continued training each time. By the end of 1954 both wings had phased out their piston-engine RB-50s . The 55th started transitioning into the RB-47 in September 1953, the 90th in February 1954.


June 1955 -- The 21st Air Division and subordinate units were assigned to Eighth Air Force, when both wings' refueling missions were assigned. The 90th Air Refueling Squadron was activated in August, the 55th ARS in October. Both squadrons received KC-97s -- large-bodied transport derivatives of the B-50, which in turn was a slightly improved B-29.


1958 -- 650 units of family housing were built on 160 acres west of US-75 first phase of the Capehart housing development known as Cullen Village by the USAF and Montara by its current civilian owners. Another 414 units were constructed on an adjoining 118.75-acre tract in 1960. In addition, three "other" family units (relocated farm houses) were placed on six acres northeast of the Capehart area while another farm house and five military construction projects were built on three acres near the base hospital, in the cantonment area east of US-75.


January 1959 -- The 21st Air Division and subordinate units were reassigned to the 2nd Air Force, thus completing a cycle of SAC's three numbered air forces within the continental United States.


February 1959 -- SAC announced Atlas intercontinental ballistic missile sites would be constructed around Forbes.


In June 1960 the 90th SRW was deactivated and replaced by the 40th Bomb Wing, transferred from Schilling AFB, Salina.


July 1, 1960 -- A Soviet MiG-15 fighter shot down a 55th SRW RB-47H in international airspace off the Russian coast north of Norway. The pilot, Maj. Willard G. Palm, and three electronic warfare officers -- Maj. Eugene E. Posa and Capts. Oscar L. Goforth and D.B. Phillips -- were killed. The copilot, Capt. Freeman B. Olmstead, and navigator, Capt. John R. McKone were rescued by a Soviet fishing boat and imprisoned for six months on spying charges.


Oct. 16, 1961 -- Air Force Systems Command handed the nine completed Atlas ICBM complexes over to SAC. The 548th Strategic Missile Squadron became the USAF's first to declare the Atlas "E" operationally ready.


Aug. 31, 1964 -- Tactical Air Command's 313th Troop Carrier Wing came to Forbes.


March 1965 -- Its 29th Troop Carrier Squadron became the first combat-ready unit of Tactical Air Command at Forbes. It immediately assumed a rotational commitment to Panama. The whole wing was declared operationally ready in June, and in July "ownership" of Forbes passed from SAC to TAC.

May 1966 -- The 1370th Photo Mapping Wing was transferred to Forbes from Turner AFB, Ga.


Aug. 16, 1966 -- The 55th SRW officially moved from Forbes to Offutt AFB, Neb.


May 1967 -- All Air Force troop carrier units were redesignated "tactical airlift" units.


July 1967 -- The 838th Combat Support Group and 838th Tactical Hospital were reassigned from the 838th Air Division to the 313th Tactical Airlift Wing.


August 1967 -- The RB-57Bs of the Kansas Air National Guard's 190th Tactical Reconnaissance Group moved to Forbes from the former Hutchinson Naval Air Station.


July 1968 -- The Ohio Valley Exchange Region moved to Forbes.

October 1968 -- The 1370th PMW designation was changed to Aerospace Cartographic and Geodetic Service.


December 1969 -- The 838th Air Division was deactivated. All remaining units were redesignated part of the 313th Tactical Airlift Wing.


January 1970 -- The 38th Tactical Airlift Squadron was activated.


July 1971 -- The 313th Tactical Hospital was designated as a USAF hospital.


Jan. 10, 1972 -- The 3301st School Squadron USAF Skill Center was activated at Forbes. It moved to newly modified facilities in September 1972.


April 1973 -- The 305th Air Refueling Squadron, Detachment 2, Satellite Basing, was activated at Forbes.


April 17, 1973 -- The Department of Defense announced its intention to close Forbes AFB. The announcement added the 305th Air Refueling Squadron, Detachment 2, SAC Satellite Basing (two assigned Boeing KC-135 tankers) the 5th Weather Squadron, Detachment 17 (MAC) 2027th Communication Squadron (AFCS) and Ohio Valley Region Exchange and Defense Property Disposal Office remained.


Oct. 1, 1973 -- Forbes was redesignated an Air National Guard base a designation it retains today. Joint military-civilian use was authorized.


January 1974 -- The city created the Metropolitan Topeka Airport Authority by charter ordinance, charging it with overseeing the transition of the bulk of the 3,100-acre federal enclave to civilian use.


April 1976 -- Title was transferred to the city, less the Air Guard enclave on the northern third of the 6,000-foot north-south ramp, a portion of the south ramp and four associated buildings reserved for the Kansas Army National Guard and the former dental clinic. The last went to Unified School District 501. Shawnee County received the golf course and attendant buildings, while the USAF retained the 1,063-unit Cullen Village for later sale. The Army and Air Force Regional Exchange retained one building in the old supply depot west of US-75 and the state received the former hospital complex. The remainder -- more than 2,100 acres of runway and taxiway and 283 acres of buildings and facilities mostly east of US-75 -- was deeded to the city of Topeka. The cantonment area was redesignated the Topeka Air Industrial Park.


May 16, 1976 -- Air carrier operations were moved from Philip Billard Municipal Airport to Forbes Field, and jet service was initiated there June 1, 1976. The field has an 8,000- by 150-foot and a 12,800- by 200-foot runway, both maintained to a high standard by Defense Department funds, plus a 100-acre parking apron and relatively moderate traffic level.


January 1979 -- The MTAA, formerly a city department, was made autonomous by state legislation, with approval of Shawnee County voters. In 1982 those same voters approved bonds to build a $4.5 million air terminal, to be completed in mid-1985. The bonds were paid off in 1996. A second bond issue was approved in 1987 to rebuild the Forbes water system and erect a new water tower. Those will mature in 2002. Topeka no longer has scheduled airline service, although a number of air carriers have essayed to serve the Kansas capital since 1976. Beginning in 1977 to completion in 1978, the 190th traded its RB-57s for KC-135s and an expanded new SAC air refueling mission. Today the unit and its approximately 900 personnel routinely support USAF and allied nations' operations around the world.


US 8AF airmen pose for Life photographer Margaret Bourke-White in 1942.

Pictures shown are purely for educational purposes and no permission has been sought. Names, ranks, and callsigns are representative of the latter years of the war and do not correspond to any certain date. If any errors are found, please contact me.

US Strategic Air Forces in Europe (USSTAF)
Bushy Park, London, England
GEN Carl A. Spaatz, USAAF
WIDEWING

US Eighth Air Force (8AF)
High Wycombe, Wycombe, England
LTG Jimmy H. Doolittle, USAAFR
PINETREE

1st Air Division (1AD)
Brampton Grange, Brampton, England
MG Howard M. Turner, USAAF
(Triangle)

1st Bombardment Wing (1BW)
RAF Bassingbourn, England
BG William M. Gross, USAAF
(Boeing B-17s)
(Red Vertical Stripe)
GOONCHILD

91st Bombardment Group (91BG)
RAF Bassingbourn, England
(A)

322nd Bombardment Squadron (322BS)
(LG-)
LINGER

323rd Bombardment Squadron (323BS)
(OR-)
OBOE

324th Bombardment Squadron (324BS)
(DF-)
DIMPLE

401st Bombardment Squadron (401BS)
(LL-)
MUTTER

381st Bombardment Group (381BG)
RAF Ridgewell, England
(L)

532nd Bombardment Squadron (532BS)
(VE-)
AFGHAN

533rd Bombardment Squadron (533BS)
(VP-)
TABBY

534th Bombardment Squadron (534BS)
(GD-)
MIDGET

535th Bombardment Squadron (535BS)
(MS-)
COLBY

398th Bombardment Group (398BG)
RAF Nuthampstead, England
(W)

600th Bombardment Squadron (600BS)
(N8-)
MOORHEN

601st Bombardment Squadron (601BS)
(3O-)
NEWWAY

602nd Bombardment Squadron (602BS)
(K8-)
ENCLASP

603rd Bombardment Squadron (603BS)
(N7-)
ADORN

40th Bombardment Wing (40BW)
RAF Thurleigh, England
BG Anthony Q Mustoe, USAAF
(Boeing B-17s)
(Horizontal Stripe)
BULLPEN

92nd Bombardment Group (92BG)
RAF Podington, England
(Red Horizontal Stripe)
(B)

325th Bombardment Squadron (325BS)
(NV-)
SANDPIPE

326th Bombardment Squadron (326BS)
(JW-)
GOLDFINCH

327th Bombardment Squadron (327BS)
(UX-)
DAVEY

407th Bombardment Squadron (407BS)
(PY-)
QUILLPEN

305th Bombardment Group (305BG)
RAF Chelveston, England
(Green Horizontal Stripe)
(G)

364th Bombardment Squadron (364BS)
(WF-)
LIFTBOY

365th Bombardment Squadron (365BS)
(XK-)
MONSOON

366th Bombardment Squadron (366BS)
(KY-)
GRUBBY

422nd Bombardment Squadron (422BS)
(JJ-)
ANCIENT

306th Bombardment Group (306BG)
RAF Thurleigh, England
(Red & Yellow Horizontal Stripes)
(H)

367th Bombardment Squadron (367BS)
(GY-)
MOREPORK

368th Bombardment Squadron (368BS)
(BO-)
NULAR

369th Bombardment Squadron (369BS)
(WW-)
BAEMA

423rd Bombardment Squadron (423BS)
(RD-)
EATING

41st Bombardment Wing (41BW)
RAF Molesworth, England
BG Maurice A. Preston, USAAF
(Boeing B-17s)
(Over-sized Triangle)
FATGIRL

303rd Bombardment Group (303BG)
RAF Molesworth, England
(Red & White Over-sized Triangle)
(C)

358th Bombardment Squadron (358BS)
(VK-)
WHIPCREAM

359th Bombardment Squadron (359BS)
(BN-)
EAVESDROP

360th Bombardment Squadron (360BS)
(PU-)
TOYDOLL

427th Bombardment Squadron (427BS)
(GN-)
NEWROW

379th Bombardment Group (379BG)
RAF Kimbolton, England
(Yellow & Black Over-sized Triangle)
(K)

524th Bombardment Squadron (524BS)
(WA-)
NIGHTJAR

525th Bombardment Squadron (525BS)
(FR-)
HAIRCUT

526th Bombardment Squadron (526BS)
(LF-)
MYSTIC

527th Bombardment Squadron (527BS)
(FO-)
HEARTSTRING

384th Bombardment Group (384BG)
RAF Grafton Underwood, England
(Black & White Over-sized Triangle)
(P)
RAILLESS

544th Bombardment Squadron (544BS)
(SU-)
CLINKER

545th Bombardment Squadron (545BS)
(JD-)
LEESON, SPLASHBOARD

546th Bombardment Squadron (546BS)
(BK-)
MAYLEAF, LUGGAGE

547th Bombardment Squadron (547BS)
(SO-)
OLDSPORT, DRAGOON

94th Bombardment Wing (94BW)
RAF Polebrook, England
BG Julius K. Lacey, USAAF
(Boeing B-17s)
(Slanted Stripe)
RAGWEED

351st Bombardment Group (351BG)
RAF Polebrook, England
(Red Slanted Stripe)
(J)

508th Bombardment Squadron (508BS)
(YB-)
CARLTON

509th Bombardment Squadron (509BS)
(RQ-)
HOTMINT

510th Bombardment Squadron (510BS)
(TU-)
TIPSTAFF

511th Bombardment Squadron (511BS)
(DS-)
PARTNERSHIP

401st Bombardment Group (401BG)
RAF Deenethorpe, England
(Yellow Slanted Stripe)
(S)

612th Bombardment Squadron (612BS)
(SC-)
JABWOCK

613th Bombardment Squadron (613BS)
(IN-)
MARCO

614th Bombardment Squadron (614BS)
(IW-)
GOLFCLUB

615th Bombardment Squadron (615BS)
(IY-)
BUZZARD

457th Bombardment Group (457BG)
RAF Glatton, England
(Blue Slanted Stripe)
(U)

748th Bombardment Squadron (748BS)
(Red Prop)
WEDON

749th Bombardment Squadron (749BS)
(Blue Prop)
ECLIPSE

750th Bombardment Squadron (750BS)
(White Prop)
BLUEBELL

751st Bombardment Squadron (751BS)
(Yellow Prop)
CUTTER

67th Fighter Wing (67FW)
Walcot Hall, Southorpe, England
BG Edward W. Anderson, USAAF
(North American P-51s)
MOHAIR

20th Fighter Group (20FG)
RAF King’s Cliffe, England
(Black & White Striped Nose)
DENTON

55th Fighter Squadron (55FS)
(Triangle Tail)/(KI-)
TOWNTALK

77th Fighter Squadron (77FS)
(Circle Tail)/(LC-)
REBUKE

79th Fighter Squadron (79FS)
(Square Tail)/(MC-)
CROWNRIGHT

352nd Fighter Group (352FG)
RAF Bodney, England
(Blue Nose)
HATFIELD, TOPSY – PACKLOAD (A), BEARSKIN (B), CLOISTER (C)

328th Fighter Squadron (328FS)
(Red Rudder)/(PE-)
TURNDOWN, DITTO (A), TARMAC (B)

486th Fighter Squadron (486FS)
(Yellow Rudder)/(PZ-)
HANDSPUN, ANGUS (A), ROCKET (B)

487th Fighter Squadron (487FS)
(Blue Rudder)/(HO-)
CROWNPRINCE, TRANSPORT (A), VICAR (B)

356th Fighter Group (356FG)
RAF Martlesham Heath, England
(Red & Blue Diamond Nose)
SOUNDWAVE, LAMPSHADE (A), NOTEBOOK (B), SEAWEED (C)

359th Fighter Squadron (359FS)
(OC-)
BEACHHOUSE, FARMHOUSE (A), BUCKET (B)

360th Fighter Squadron (360FS)
(PI-)
PLASTER, VORTEX (A), DEANSGATE (B)

361st Fighter Squadron (361FS)
(QI-)
MOLECAT, CHINWAG (A), WEBBER (B)

359th Fighter Group (359FG)
RAF East Wretham, England
(Green Nose)
WALLPAINT, CHAIRMAN (A), CAVETOP (B), RAGTIME (C)

368th Fighter Squadron (368FS)
(CV-)
JACKSON, JIGGER (A), HANDY (B)

369th Fighter Squadron (369FS)
(IV-)
TIRETREAD, TINPLATE (A), EARNEST (B)

370th Fighter Squadron (370FS)
(CR-)
WHEELER, REDCROSS (A), ROLLO (B)

364th Fighter Group (364FG)
RAF Honington, England
(Blue & White Striped Nose)
SUNHAT (A), WEEKDAY (B), HARLOP (C)

383rd Fighter Squadron (383FS)
(N2-)
GYRO, ESCORT (A), TANTRUM (B)

384th Fighter Squadron (384FS)
(5Y-)
SIDEKICK, GOLDFISH (A), ZEETA (B)

385th Fighter Squadron (385FS)
(5E-)
BALLOW, EGGFLIP (A), PILLOW (B)

1st Scouting Force (1SF)
BUCKEYE, CAVARLY

2nd Air Division (2AD)
Ketteringham Hall, Norwich, England
MG William E. Kepner, USAAF
(Circle)

2nd Bombardment Wing (2BW)
RAF Hethel, England
BG Milton J. Arnold, USAAF
(Consolidated B-24s)
(White Stripe On Black Tail)
WINSTON

389th Bombardment Group (389BG)
RAF Hethel, England
(Vertical Stripe)/(C)

564th Bombardment Squadron (564BS)
(YO-)
COMPLEX

565th Bombardment Squadron (565BS)
(EE-)
PROTRAP

566th Bombardment Squadron (566BS)
(RR-)
BOORISH

567th Bombardment Squadron (567BS)
(HP-)
LOUNGER

445th Bombardment Group (445BG)
RAF Tibenham, England
(Horizontal Stripe)/(F)

700th Bombardment Squadron (700BS)
(IS-)
DISPLEASE

701st Bombardment Squadron (701BS)
(MK-)
WALLET

702nd Bombardment Squadron (702BS)
(WV-)
MARKUM

703rd Bombardment Squadron (703BS)
(RN-)
BAFFLE

453rd Bombardment Group (453BG)
RAF Old Buckenham, England
(Slanted Stripe)/(J)

732nd Bombardment Squadron (732BS)
(E3-)
LIGHTMAN

733rd Bombardment Squadron (733BS)
(E8-)
TRIPUP

734th Bombardment Squadron (734BS)
(F8-)
DIZZY

735th Bombardment Squadron (735BS)
(H6-)
BOWFINCH

14th Bombardment Wing
RAF Shipdham, England
BG Leon W. Johnson, USAAF
(Consolidated B-24s)
(Black Stripe On White Tail)
HAMBONE

44th Bombardment Group (44BG)
RAF Shipdham, England
(Vertical Stripe)/(A)

66th Bombardment Squadron (66BS)
(QK-)

67th Bombardment Squadron (67BS)
(NB-)

68th Bombardment Squadron (68BS)
(WQ-)
SMOKEYBLUE

506th Bombardment Squadron (506BS)
(GJ-)

392nd Bombardment Group (392BG)
RAF Wendling, England
(Horizontal Stripe)/(D)

576th Bombardment Squadron (576BS)
(CI-)
VITOS

577th Bombardment Squadron (577BS)
(DC-)
CAULDRON

578th Bombardment Squadron (578BS)
(EC-)
HAZARD

579th Bombardment Squadron (579BS)
(GC-)
FACEUP

492nd Bombardment Group (492BG)
RAF Harrington, England
(Slanted Stripe)/(U)

856th Bombardment Squadron (856BS)
(5Z-)
REACHFORTH

857th Bombardment Squadron (857BS)
(9H-)
NEXTMORN

858th Bombardment Squadron (858BS)
(9A-)
GARBAGE

859th Bombardment Squadron (859BS)
(X4-)
PUNCHHARD

20th Bombardment Wing (20BW)
RAF Hardwick, England
BG Edward J. Timberlake, Jr., USAAF
(Consolidated B-24s)
(Black Stripe On Yellow Tail)
PINESTREET

93rd Bombardment Group (93BG)
RAF Hardwick, England
(Vertical Stripe)/(B)

328th Bombardment Squadron (328BS)
(GO-)
OXPUG

329th Bombardment Squadron (329BS)
(RE-)
FURCOAT

330th Bombardment Squadron (330BS)
(AG-)
MAYWIND

409th Bombardment Squadron (409BS)
(YM-)
THRUFARE

446th Bombardment Group (446BG)
RAF Bungay, England
(Horizontal Stripe)/(H)

704th Bombardment Squadron (704BS)
(FL-)
HEADLOCK

705th Bombardment Squadron (705BS)
(HN-)
ACCEPT

706th Bombardment Squadron (706BS)
(RT-)
MANAGE

707th Bombardment Squadron (707BS)
(JU-)
LOOSEEND

448th Bombardment Group (448BG)
RAF Seething, England
(Slanted Stripe)/(I)

712th Bombardment Squadron (712BS)
(CT-)

713th Bombardment Squadron (713BS)
(IG-)

714th Bombardment Squadron (714BS)
(EI-)

715th Bombardment Squadron (715BS)
(IO-)

95th Bombardment Wing (95BW)
RAF North Pickenham, England
BG Frederick R. Dent, USAAF
(Consolidated B-24s)
(White Stripe On Green Tail)
SHAMROCK

489th Bombardment Group (489BG)
RAF Halesworth, England
(Vertical Stripe)/(W)

844th Bombardment Squadron (844BS)
(4R-)
STEERAGE

845th Bombardment Squadron (845BS)
(S4-)
HOURGLASS

846th Bombardment Squadron (846BS)
(8R-)
EMBER

847th Bombardment Squadron (847BS)
(T4-)
GALLOP

491st Bombardment Group (491BG)
RAF North Pickenham, England
(Horizontal Stripe)/(Z)

852nd Bombardment Squadron (852BS)
(3Q-)
BALLOT

853rd Bombardment Squadron (853BS)
(T8-)
FARKUM

854th Bombardment Squadron (854BS)
(6X-)
SEMEN

855th Bombardment Squadron (855BS)
(V2-)
QUADRANT

96th Bombardment Wing (96BW)
RAF Horsham St. Faith, England
BG Walter R. Peck, Jr., USAAF
(Consolidated B-24s)
(White Stripe On Red Tail)
REDSTAR

458th Bombardment Group (458BG)
RAF Horsham St. Faith, England
(Vertical Stripe)/(K)

752nd Bombardment Squadron (752BS)
(7V-)
HUSSAR

753rd Bombardment Squadron (753BS)
(J4-)
FICTION

754th Bombardment Squadron (754BS)
(Z5-)
COTSTRING

755th Bombardment Squadron (755BS)
(J3-)
AFFAB

466th Bombardment Group (466BG)
RAF Attlebridge, England
(Horizontal Stripe)/(L)

784th Bombardment Squadron (784BS)
(T9-)
OWLISH

785th Bombardment Squadron (785BS)
(2U-)
EGLIN

786th Bombardment Squadron (786BS)
(U8-)
AGRAM

787th Bombardment Squadron (787BS)
(6L-)
BEHEAD

467th Bombardment Group (467BG)
RAF Rackheath, England
(Slanted Stripe)/(P)

788th Bombardment Squadron (788BS)
(X7-)
SHIRTMAKER

789th Bombardment Squadron (789BS)
(6A-)
ACFORD

790th Bombardment Squadron (790BS)
(Q2-)
HAMOS

791st Bombardment Squadron (719BS)
(4Z-)
BARON

65th Fighter Wing (65FW)
Saffron Walden, England
BG Jesse D. Auton, USAAF
(North American P-51s)
COLGATE

4th Fighter Group (4FG)
RAF Debden, England
(Red Nose)
UPPER, HORSEBACK (A), AMBER (B), MASCOT (C)

334th Fighter Squadron (334FS)
(Red Rudder)/(QP-)
PECTIN, COBWEB (A), TIFFIN (B)

335th Fighter Squadron (335FS)
(White Rudder)/(WD-)
GREENBELT, CABOOSE (A), SUPREME (B)

336th Fighter Squadron (336FS)
(Blue Rudder)/(VF-)
SHIRTBLUE, BECKY (A), RONNIE (B)

56th Fighter Group (56FG)
RAF Boxted, England
(Republic P-47s)
(Red Nose)
YARDSTICK – FAIRBANK (A), ASHLAND-SUBWAY (B), PANTILE (C)

61st Fighter Squadron (61FS)
(Red Rudder)/(HV-)
SHAKER, KEYWORTH – WHIPPET (A), HALSTEAD – HOUSEHOLD (B)

62nd Fighter Squadron (62FS)
(Yellow Rudder)/(LM-)
HARBOR, WOODFIRE – PLATFORM (A), GROUNDHOG – ICEJUG (B)

63rd Fighter Squadron (63FS)
(Blue Rudder)/(UN-)
MOISTURE, POSTGATE – DAILY (A), NORTHGROVE – YORKER (B)

355th Fighter Group (355FG)
RAF Steeple Morden, England
(White Nose)
SUNSHADE, UNCLE (A), HORNPIPE (B), BORAX (C)

354th Fighter Squadron (354FS)
(WR-)
HAYWOOD, FALCON (A), CHIEFTAN (B)

357th Fighter Squadron (357FS)
(OS-)
BLOWBALL, CUSTARD (A), MOSES (B)

358th Fighter Squadron (358FS)
(YF-)
TROOPTRAIN, BENTLEY (A), BEEHIVE (B)

2nd Scouting Force (2SF)
BOOTLEG

361st Fighter Group (361FG)
RAF Bottisham, England
(Yellow Nose)
WILDCAT, CHEERFUL – GLOWBRIGHT (A), MARBLE – FILLY (B), MALTESE – MAGPIE (C)

374th Fighter Squadron (374FS)
(Red Rudder)/(B7-)
HUBBARD, NOGGIN – AMBROSE (A), KINGDOM – RIPPER (B)

375th Fighter Squadron (375FS)
(Blue Rudder)/(E2-)
WABASH, CADET – DECOY (A), DAYDREAM – DISHCLOTH (B)

376th Fighter Squadron (376FS)
(Yellow Rudder)/(E9-)
GAYLORD, TITUS – YORKSHIRE (A), STYLE – SKYBLUE (B)

479th Fighter Group (479FG)
RAF Wattisham, England
(Blank Nose)
HIGHWAY (A), SNOWWHITE (B), FLAREUP (C)

434th Fighter Squadron (434FS)
(L2-)
CIRCLE, NEWCROSS (A), REFLEX (B)

435th Fighter Squadron (435FS)
(J2-)
TRIANGLE, LAKESIDE (A), HADDOCK (B)

436th Fighter Squadron (436FS)
(9B-)
SQUARE, BISON (A), SPRINGBOX (B)

3rd Air Division (3AD)
Elveden Hall, Suffolk, England
MG Earle E. Partridge, USAAF
(Square)

4th Bombardment Wing (4BW)
RAF Bury St. Edmonds, England
BG Frederick W. Castle, USAAF
(Boeing B-17s)
(Yellow Tail)
FRANKLIN

94th Bombardment Group (94BG)
RAF Bury St. Edmonds, England
(Red Fuselage Stripe)
(A)

331st Bombardment Squadron (331BS)
(Blue Cowlings)/(QE-)
AGMER

332nd Bombardment Squadron (332BS)
(Red Cowlings)/(XM-)
ROTATE

333rd Bombardment Squadron (333BS)
(Green Cowlings)/(TS-)
CEDAR

410th Bombardment Squadron (410BS)
(Yellow Cowlings)/(GL-)
TOTAL

447th Bombardment Group (447BG)
RAF Rattlesden, England
(Two Green Fuselage Stripes)
(K)

708th Bombardment Squadron (708BS)
(Yellow Cowlings)/(CQ-)
MONROE

709th Bombardment Squadron (709BS)
(White Cowlings)/(IE-)
KIRKLAND

710th Bombardment Squadron (710BS)
(Red Cowlings)/(IJ-)
INLAY

711th Bombardment Squadron (711BS)
(Blue Cowlings)/(IR-)
CURLHAIR

486th Bombardment Group (486BG)
RAF Sudbury, England
(Three Yellow Fuselage Stripes)
(W)

832nd Bombardment Squadron (832BS)
(Yellow Nose)/(3R-)
TRAPPIST

833rd Bombardment Squadron (833BS)
(Blue Nose)/(4N-)
PEBBLY

834th Bombardment Squadron (834BS)
(Red Nose)/(2S-)
DEEPSEAT

835th Bombardment Squadron (835BS)
(Green Nose)/(H8-)
NIGHTDRESS

487th Bombardment Group (487BG)
RAF Lavenham, England
(No Fuselage Stripe)
(P)

836th Bombardment Squadron (836BS)
(2G-)
WINNER

837th Bombardment Squadron (837BS)
(4F-)
RATHMORE

838th Bombardment Squadron (838BS)
(2C-)
ENTRAP

839th Bombardment Squadron (839BS)
(R5-)
BLUNTISH

13th Bombardment Wing (13BW)
RAF Horham, England
BG Edgar M. Wittan, USAAF
(Boeing B-17s)
ZOOTSUIT

95th Bombardment Group (95BG)
RAF Horham, England
(Red Rudder)
(B)

334th Bombardment Squadron (334BS)
(Yellow Nose)/(BG-)
NEGLECT

335th Bombardment Squadron (335BS)
(Blue Nose)/(OE-)
INLAND

336th Bombardment Squadron (336BS)
(Green Nose)/(ET-)
LINDBERGH

412th Bombardment Squadron (412BS)
(Red Nose)/(QW-)
ABUSH

100th Bombardment Group (100BG)
RAF Thorpe Abbotts, England
(Black Rudder)
(D)

349th Bombardment Squadron (349BS)
(Blue Nose)/(XR-)
KIDMEAT

350th Bombardment Squadron (350BS)
(Yellow Nose)/(LN-)
POOHBAH

351st Bombardment Squadron (351BS)
(Green Nose)/(EP-)
MAFKING

418th Bombardment Squadron (418BS)
(Red Nose)/(LD-)
RUBBER

390th Bombardment Group (390BG)
RAF Framlingham, England
(Yellow Rudder)
(J)

568th Bombardment Squadron (568BS)
(Green Nose)/(BI-)
CAVORT

569th Bombardment Squadron (569BS)
(Blue Nose)/(CC-)
BOASTER

570th Bombardment Squadron (570BS)
(Yellow Nose)(DI-)
ANTEAT

571st Bombardment Squadron (571BS)
(Red Nose)/(FC-)
LONGSHORE

45th Bombardment Wing (45BW)
RAF Snetterton Heath, England
BG Archie J. Old, Jr., USAAF
(Boeing B-17s)
(Two Striped Tail)
WOLFGANG

96th Bombardment Group (96BG)
RAF Snetterton Heath, England
(Two Red Stripes)
(C)

337th Bombardment Squadron (337BS)
(AW-)
PAINTBRUSH

338th Bombardment Squadron (338BS)
(BX-)
GRATING

339th Bombardment Squadron (339BS)
(QJ-)
BOOKIE

413th Bombardment Squadron (413BS)
(MZ-)
CABBAGE

388th Bombardment Group (388BG)
RAF Knettishall, England
(Two Black Stripes)
(H)

560th Bombardment Squadron (560BS)
(none)
SOAPDISH

561st Bombardment Squadron (561BS)
(none)
CAPRICE

562nd Bombardment Squadron (562BS)
(none)
DARLOCK

563rd Bombardment Squadron (563BS)
(none)
FAIRMAN

452nd Bombardment Group (452BG)
RAF Deopham Green, England
(Two Yellow Stripes)
(L)

728th Bombardment Squadron (728BS)
(9Z-)
PINETREE

729th Bombardment Squadron (729BS)
(M3-)
INSTINCT

730th Bombardment Squadron (730BS)
(6K-)
SPENCER

731st Bombardment Squadron (731BS)
(7D-)
ACQUIT

93rd Bombardment Wing (93BW)
RAF Mendlesham, England
BG John K. Gerhart, USAAF
(Boeing B-17s)
CLAMBLAKE

34th Bombardment Group (34BG)
RAF Mendlesham, England
(Red Forward Tail)
(S)

4th Bombardment Squadron (4BS)
(White Nose)/(Q6-)
DAISY

7th Bombardment Squadron (7BS)
(Yellow Nose)/(R2-)
EXTOL

18th Bombardment Squadron (18BS)
(Red Nose)/(8I-)
BAWDRY

391st Bombardment Squadron (391BS)
(Green Nose)/(3L-)
LAUREL

385th Bombardment Group (385BG)
RAF Great Ashfield, England
(Red Checkered Tail)
(G)

548th Bombardment Squadron (548BS)
(GX-)
SUMMER

549th Bombardment Squadron (549BS)
(XA-)
FANCYFROCK

550th Bombardment Squadron (550BS)
(SG-)
ALFRED

551st Bombardment Squadron (551BS)
(HR-)
BOSTON

490th Bombardment Group (490BG)
RAF Eye, England
(Red Upper Tail)
(T)

848th Bombardment Squadron (848BS)
(7W-)
RATCHET

849th Bombardment Squadron (849BS)
(W8-)
ABRADE

850th Bombardment Squadron (850BS)
(7Q-)
BADDOG

851st Bombardment Squadron (851BS)
(S3-)
GOTHAM

493rd Bombardment Group (493BG)
RAF Little Walden, England
(Red Lower Tail)
(X)

860th Bombardment Squadron (860BS)
(NG-)
SHUNTER

861st Bombardment Squadron (861BS)
(Q4-)
BAGMAN

862nd Bombardment Squadron (862BS)
(8M-)
COMPAR

863rd Bombardment Squadron (863BS)
(G6-)
PILLAR

66th Fighter Wing (66FW)
Sawston Hall, Sawston, England
BG Murray C. Woodbury, USAAF
(North American P-51s)
OILSKIN

55th Fighter Group (55FG)
RAF Wormingford, England
(Red & Green Checkered Nose)
SMALLBOY, WINDSOR (A), GRAPHIC (B), KODAK (C)

38th Fighter Squadron (38FS)
(Red Rudder)/(CG-)
SWINDLE, HELLCAT (A), PROGRAM (B)

338th Fighter Squadron (338FS)
(Green Rudder)/(CL-)
WARCRAFT, ACORN (A), RICHARD (B)

343rd Fighter Squadron (343FS)
(Yellow Rudder)/(CY-)
CAREFUL, TUDOR (A), SAUCY (B)

3rd Scouting Force (3SF)
KODAK

78th Fighter Group (78FG)
RAF Duxford, England
(Black & White Checkered Nose)
GRAYWALL – PHOENIX (A), BAKEHOUSE – SLAPSTICK (B), BOYCOTT (C)

82nd Fighter Squadron (82FS)
(Red Rudder)/(MX-)
STEDMAN – SURTAX (A), CHURCHTIME – RAINBOW (B),

83rd Fighter Squadron (83FS)
(White Rudder)/(HL-)
LOCKYEAR – CARGO (A), CLEVELAND – TURQUOISE (B)

84th Fighter Squadron (84FS)
(Black Rudder)/(WZ-)
BAYLAND – SHAMPOO (A), CLINTON – SPOTLIGHT (B)

339th Fighter Group (339FG)
RAF Fowlmere, England
(Red & White Checkered Nose)
ARMSTRONG (A), STUDENT (B), PRETEND (C)

503rd Fighter Squadron (503FS)
(Red Rudder)/(D7-)
BEEFSTEAK (A), UNIQUE (B)

504th Fighter Squadron (504FS)
(Green Rudder)/(5Q-)
COCKSHY (A), GLUEPOT (B)

505th Fighter Squadron (505FS)
(White Rudder)/(6N-)
UPPER (A), SLAPJACK (B)

353rd Fighter Group (353FG)
RAF Raydon, England
(Black & Yellow Checkered Nose)
SLYBIRD, JONAH (A), KEYLOCK (B), MUFFIN (C)

350th Fighter Squadron (350FS)
(Yellow Rudder)/(LH-)
PIPEFUL, SELDOM (A), PERSIAN (B)

351st Fighter Squadron (351FS)
(Bare Rudder)/(YJ-)
ROUGHMAN, LAWYER (A), SQUIRREL (B)

352nd Fighter Squadron (352FS)
(Black Rudder)/(SX-)
WAKEFORD, JOCKEY (A), BULLRING (B)

357th Fighter Group (357FG)
RAF Leiston, England
(Red & Yellow Checkered Nose)
RIGHTFIELD, DRYDEN (A), SILAS (B), EYESIGHT (C)

362nd Fighter Squadron (362FS)
(Bare Rudder)/(G4-)
JUDSON, DOLLAR (A), ROWNTREE (B)

363rd Fighter Squadron (363FS)
(Red Rudder)/(B6-)
CHAMBER, CEMENT (A), DIVER (B)

364th Fighter Squadron (364FS)
(Yellow Rudder)/(C5-)
COWDY, GREENHOUSE (A), HAWKEYE (B)

482nd Bombardment Group (Pathfinders) (482BG)
RAF Alconbury, England

812th Bombardment Squadron (812BS)
(MI-)
LASTHOUSE

813th Bombardment Squadron (813BS)
(PC-)
HERMANSION

814th Bombardment Squadron (814BS)
(SI-)
JETTY

36th Bombardment Squadron (36BS)
RAF Cheddington, England
CARPETBAGGER


Contents

The first public announcement of intentions to build an airfield at Great Bend, Kansas on the Arkansas River in Barton county, came in the form of a telegram from Sen. Arthur Capper of Kansas to the secretary of the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce on 30 September 1942. But, of course, by then all the preliminary work had been done. In July of that year the site at Great Bend had been chosen. Nor was all the initiative left to the Army. A committee of leading citizens from Great Bend and Hoisington had made the original proposal. Originally, plans called for the Civil Aeronautics Administration to supply the funds, and, with war's end, Barton county and Great Bend would acquire ownership. However, this tentative arrangement was subsequently changed so that the field was built under the auspices of the Air Force. Ώ]

Originally intended to serve merely as a satellite base of Smoky Hill Army Air Field at Salina, Kansas, the physical plant at Great Bend was initially decidedly limited in its functional utility and in size. Most of the construction work was done by Patti-McDonald Construction Company of Kansas City, but the concrete work on runways and taxiways was undertaken by the W.L. Johnson Construction company. Essentials were completed first. Three 8'000-foot concrete runways were constructed to accommodate B-29s, each 150 feet wide. Most of the buildings were Theater of Operations construction while some were of the Mobilization type. The Mobilization type buildings included the station hospital, theater, chapel, and Link training buildings. There were three hangars with a parking apron a mile long and 450 feet wide were constructed. Where before there had been only open farm land, this new city now contained over 200 buildings, a water storage and distribution system, sewage system and treatment plant, electric transmission lines. These were followed in time by facilities for recreation and services. During the summer and fall of 1943 a service club, theater, and bowling alley were completed. Ώ]

B-29 Superfortress training [ edit | edit source ]

Capt. Theodore C. Reid, post engineer, was the first officer to report for duty on the base. He arrived on 18 January 1943. The first enlisted men to arrive, detachments of the 501st Base Headquarters and Air Base Squadron, the 1159th Guard Squadron, and the 902d Quartermaster Company, were necessarily housed in Great Bend for a time, there being no facilities on the base. On 13 February 1943 the 501st was transferred to Great Bend to become the headquarters squadron on the new field. Capping the inchoate organizational structure, Lt. Col. Glenn M. Pike assumed command of the field on 26 February. The first recorded Morning Report, dated 5 March 1943, lists 13 officers and 182 enlisted men. From these modest beginnings, which was, of course a skeleton force even for the limited role the field was originally designed to play, Great Bend was to grow impressively, both as a mission and physical plant. By 31 January 1945 a total of 6,409 personnel would be stationed there. Ώ] ΐ]

In keeping with its scheduled function of processing heavy bombardment groups, Great Bend Army Air Field was assigned to the 21st Bombardment Wing on 16 January 1943. It was the function of the 21st to operate processing bases, but, besides processing it did some training also. As early as March 1943 it was known that the Great Bend AAF was to be charged with the responsibility of training personnel for the new B-29 very heavy bomber. on 1 July 1943 Second Air Force transferred the 5th Heavy Bombardment Processing Unit to Great Bend to facilitate the training program. To bring its nomenclature more into harmony with its function, the 5th Heavy Bombardment Processing Unit was redesignated the 73d Bombardment Operational Training Wing on 17 August. But the new organization endured for scarcely four months before it was disbanded on 22 October, subsequent to the reassignment of the 58th Bombardment Operational Training Wing to Second Air Force. Both the personnel and the several bases of the 73d, among which figured Great Bend Army Air Field, were transferred to the 58th.

To accommodative the B-29, physical expansion of necessity became the order of the day. Original plans were altered, providing for considerable additions to the runway and taxiway systems. Additional troop housing was built, and new hangars we constructed especially designed to accommodate the B-29.

Great Bend received the 444th Bombardment Group (VH) and by April 1944, its training completed, the 444th departed for overseas service. During the remainder of its career, Great Bend was destined to train three more very heavy bombardment groups, the 498th, the 19th, and 333d, and in addition, it retrained the ground echelon of the 489th back from Europe for redeployment to the Pacific. The extreme development issues of B-29 aircraft, however, hampered the training efforts for some time. Consequently, for several months the group in training at Great Bend perforce used second-line B-17Es and B-17Fs and B-26C's for the most part, with a sprinkling of B-29's when they became available.

On 25 March 1944 the units permanently assigned to Great Bend AAF were reorganized in the 243d AAF Base Unit (OTU) (VH). Thereafter, Great Bend was organized under the standard plan for OTU (Operational Training Unit) bases. However, since the new directorate was not prepared immediately to take up its burden, the group in training at that time, the 498th, continued to train itself as the 444th had done before it. Consequently, it was only with the 19th Bombardment Group (VH), which began training in September 1944, that the 243d AAFBU took over the training responsibilities.

Beginning with the winter of 1945, part of the flying training was conducted at Borinquen Field, Puerto Rico. The primary purpose of this program, termed the "Gypsy Task Force," was to take advantage of the good flying weather in Puerto Rico during the winter months, enabling the crews to complete their training much quicker than would otherwise have been the case. With this phase of training over, the crews would return to Great Bend AAF to prepare for departure to a staging area. The program was discontinued in April 1945, after only one season.

With the arrival of the ground echelon of the 489th Bombardment Group in February 1945 from the European theater, Great Bend became one of the first redeployment installations in the country. At that time the 333d Bombardment Group (VH) was receiving its regular training, but the ground echelon of the 489th was trained on B-29 maintenance alongside the men of the 333d. After a relatively short transition course in the B-29 (they were already experienced maintenance men) the 489th left in March to join the air echelon of the group, which had received transition training at several different bases.

Closure [ edit | edit source ]

Victory over Japan had a direct effect on the mission and activity of the base. The 333d Bombardment Group (VH), having completed its training, left Great Bend during July and August 1945. No other groups were assigned for a full schedule of training, but the 44th Bombardment Group (VH) and the 405th Service Group used Great Bend as an assembly point. Indeed, in this period the primary mission of the base became that of discharging qualified men—or rather of transferring them to separation centers.

Great Bend became a temporary home for Boeing B-29 Superfortresses being produced by Boeing Wichita until the production line shut down in October. One of the aircraft stored at Great Bend was Kee Bird 45-2176, and other Superfotresses used by Strategic Air Command into the 1950s for various missions.

On 25 October 1945 the base was officially informed by Second Air Force that the installation would be put on a standby basis on 31 December 1945. Following this announcement, activities on the base (except that of shipping men to separation centers) slowed up considerably.

During December the 44th Bombardment Group (VH) and the 405th Air Service Group were transferred to Salina Army Air Field. Second Air Force had placed Great Bend AAF in the category of those fields whose retention was desirable for standby, with a possibility of being reopened on 30 days' notice. Consequently, one of the principal activities of December consisted of inactivating buildings.

As late as March 1946 Great Bend was still in the category of temporarily inactive or standby under the Second Air Force. However, the field was never subsequently activated. For a short time, during 1950 (and possibly 1949), the field was host to an Air Force reserve unit.

Sources are lacking by which to trace the subsequent steps leading to complete inactivation and transfer to the Army's District Engineer, Seventh Service Command at Omaha, Nebraska who assumed jurisdiction over the field, pending disposition by March 1951.

Excess buildings and demilitarized equipment were sold or transferred to other bases. Some were torn down and sales were held for scrap lumber of torn down buildings, fence posts, barbed wire and other items which no longer had a useful need.


History [ edit ]

World War II [ edit ]

Organization and training in the United States [ edit ]

The first predecessor of the group was activated on 1 May 1943 as the 451st Bombardment Group at Davis–Monthan Field, Arizona, with the 724th, 725th, 726th and 727th Bombardment Squadron]]s assigned as its original elements. Β] Γ] Although original plans were for the group to be an Operational Training Unit at Davis–Monthan, instead a cadre of the group moved to Dyersburg Army Air Base, Tennessee, where it was filled out by personnel drawn from the 346th Bombardment Group. Key group staff, plus the commanders and a model crew from each squadron received advanced tactical training with the Army Air Forces School of Applied Tactics at Orlando Army Air Base, Florida. This cadre joined the remainder of the group at Wendover Field, Utah for training with the Consolidated B-24 Liberator. Δ] The group continued its training at Fairmont Army Air Field, Nebraska, starting in September. On 18 November, the air echelon of the group departed Fairmont for staging at Lincoln Army Air Field, Nebraska to ferry their aircraft via the Southern Ferrying Route to the Mediterranean Theater of Operations. The ground echelon left on 26 November for the Port of Embarkation at Camp Patrick Henry, Virginia for transportation by ship. Ε]

Combat operations [ edit ]

The group arrived at Gioia del Colle Airfield, Italy at the beginning of January 1944, although the air echelon remained at Telergma Airfield, Algeria until 20 January to conduct additional training. Ζ] The group functioned primarily as a strategic bombing unit, attacking targets like oil refineries, marshalling yards, aircraft factories and airfields in Italy, Germany, France, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, Greece and Albania. It earned a Distinguished Unit Citation during Big Week for an attack on a Messerschmitt aircraft factory at Regensburg, Germany on 25 February 1944. It added oak leaf clusters to this award for an attack on oil refineries and marshalling yards at Ploesti, Romania on 5 April 1944 and on Markersdorf-Haindorf Airfield near Vienna, Austria on 23 August 1944. On each of these missions the 451st was opposed by large numbers of enemy interceptor aircraft and heavy flak, but fought its way through to inflict serious damage on the targets and destroy many enemy aircraft. Β]

When returning from the Regensburg attack, runway conditions at Gioia del Colle were so poor that the aircraft of the 451st Group were unable to land there, but spread out among a number of bases in Italy. These poor conditions continued and on 8 March group headquarters and the 724th and 726th Squadrons moved to San Pancrazio Airfield, Italy, while the 725th and 727th Squadrons moved to Manduria Airfield. Η]

On 6 April, the group assembled at Castelluccio Airfield. From its new base, the group also flew air support and interdiction missions. It helped prepare the way for Operation Dragoon, the invasion of southern France in August 1944. The following month its bombers transported supplies to forces operating in Italy, It also supported Operation Grapeshot, the final advance of Allied armies in northern Italy. Β] The group's last mission was flown on 26 April 1945 against marshalling yards at Sachsenburg, Austria. ⎖]

The group left Italy in June 1945, with the air echelon ferrying their planes, while most of the ground echelon sailed on the USS General M. C. Meigs to Newport News, Virginia. ⎗] The group assembled later in the month at Dow Field, Maine, where it was inactivated on 26 September 1945. Β] Personnel that were not discharged from the service on return to the United States were transferred to Air Transport Command units at Dow. ⎗]

Strategic Air Command [ edit ]

The second predecessor of the group was organized at Lowry Air Force Base, Colorado as the 451st Strategic Missile Wing (ICBM-Titan) on 1 July 1961. The wing assumed the missiles, personnel and equipment of the inactivating 703d Strategic Missile Wing. Ώ] The 703d Wing had never achieved full operational status, ⎘] so 451st became the first fully operational HGM-25A Titan I missile wing. Construction on all 18 silos at the six launch complexes was completed by 4 August 1961. On 18 April 1962, Headquarters SAC declared wing's the 724th Squadron operational, and two days later the first Titan Is went on alert status. A month later, the sister 725th Strategic Missile Squadron, which had replaced the 849th Strategic Missile Squadron, declared it had placed all nine of its Titan Is on alert status, which marked a first in Strategic Air Command. [ citation needed ]

On 19 November 1964, Defense Secretary Robert McNamara announced the phase-out of remaining first-generation SM-65 Atlas and Titan I missiles by the end of June 1965. This objective was met. All wing missiles went off alert status on 26 March 1965 and the wing phased down for inactivation. On 25 June 1965, the wing and the 724th and 725th Squadrons were inactivated. Ώ] SAC removed the last missile from Lowry on 14 April 1965. [ citation needed ]

Global War on Terrorism [ edit ]

The 451st Air Expeditionary Group was activated in 2002, conducting operations from Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan. The group was responsible for air control of the southern region of Afghanistan, launch and recovery operations for the MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper aircraft, the employment of combat search and rescue forces throughout the entire country and ground security and defense of the airfield. Included in the group are safety, logistics, communications, civil engineer.

Due to the growth in size and requirements of the USAF mission at Kandahar, the 451 AEG was enlarged to a wing-level organization, redesignated as the 451st Air Expeditionary Wing (451 AEW) and activated as such on 2 July 2009. ⎙]

The wing was downsized to a group in January 2014 as part of the Afghanistan drawdown. ⎚]


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