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471st Bombardment Group
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The 471st Bombardment Group was a home based training unit that was active from May 1943 to April 1944. The group was activated on 1 May 1943 and was equipped with the B-24. It was a replacement training unit in the Second Air Force from May 1943 to January 1944 and then in the First Air Force from January 1944 until it was disbanded on 10 April 1944.
1943-44: Consolidated B-24 Liberator
|22 April 1943||Constituted as 471st Bombardment Group (Heavy)|
|1 May 1943||Activated and assigned to Second Air Force|
|January 1944||To First Air Force|
|10 April 1944||Disbanded|
Commanders (with date of appointment)
Lt Col Raymond LCobb: 1 Jun 1943
Lt Col Wilson H Banks:16 Oct 1943-unkn.
Alexandria, La: 1 May 1943
Pueblo AAB, Colo: 7 May 1943
WestoverField, Mass: 28 Jan-10 Apr 1944
804th Bombardment Squadron: 1943-1944.
805th Bombardment Squadron:1943-1944.
806th Bombardment Squadron: 1943-1944.
807th Bombardment Squadron:1943-1944.
May 1943-January 1944: Second Air Force
January-April 1944: First Air Force
71st Air Refueling Squadron
The 71st Air Refueling Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. It was last assigned to the 458th Operations Group at Barksdale AFB, Louisiana where it was inactivated on 1 April 1994.
The squadron was first activated as the 471st Bombardment Squadron in the summer of 1942 and assigned to the 334th Bombardment Group at Greenville AAB, South Carolina. It operated as a North American B-25 Mitchell aircrew replacement training unit until it was disbanded in the spring of 1944.
The 71st Air Refueling Squadron was activated in 1955 at Dow Air Force Base, Maine and equipped with Boeing KC-97 Stratotankers. In March 1964 the squadron reequipped with Boeing KC-135 Stratotankers and when Dow closed in 1968, moved to Barksdale AFB, Louisiana, remaining there until it was inactivated as part of reorganization of air refueling squadrons by Air Mobility Command in 1994. While at Barksdale, the two squadrons were consolidated.
World War II [ edit ]
The 471st Bombardment Group was activated at Alexandria Army Air Base, Louisiana in the spring of 1943 with the 805th, 806th, 807th, and 808th Bombardment Squadrons assigned. ΐ] The group operated as a Consolidated B-24 Liberator replacement training unit. Replacement training units were oversized units which trained aircrews prior to their deployment to combat theaters. Α] In January 1944, Second Air Force began to concentrate on Boeing B-29 Superfortress training. The 471st was reassigned to First Air Force and moved to Westover Field, Massachusetts. ΐ] Training at Westover included long range overwater formation flights. Β]
However, the Army Air Forces found that standard military units, based on relatively inflexible tables of organization were proving less well adapted to the training mission. Accordingly, a more functional system was adopted in which each base was organized into a separate numbered unit. Γ] This resulted in the 471st, along with other units at Westover, being disbanded in the spring of 1944 ΐ] and being replaced by the 112th AAF Base Unit (Bombardment (Heavy)), which assumed the group's mission, personnel, and equipment.
Cold War [ edit ]
In 1951, the USAF created the 581st Air Resupply and Communications Wing at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. Δ] The wing consisted of an operational group assigned four units. The 581st Air Resupply & Communications Squadron (ARCS), the 581st Airborne Materials Assembly Squadron, the 581st Holding and Briefing Squadron, and the 581st Reproduction Squadron. The mission of the 581st ARS was the infiltration, resupply, and exfiltration of guerrilla-type personnel, and the aerial delivery of psychological warfare (PSYWAR) material (leaflets and other similar materials). The wing was also assigned two support groups a communications squadron and a maintenance squadron. Δ]
In early 1952, the 581st received orders to forward deploy to Clark AB, Philippines, and to be assigned to Thirteenth Air Force. The first air resupply and communications wing to deploy overseas, the composite wing arrived at Clark AB, stripped of its support groups and communications squadron, in July 1952. It retained four squadrons specifically tailored to perform the special operations mission and a maintenance squadron. Shortly before deploying, the 581st Air Resupply and Communications Group was reduced to a paper organization and its squadrons were attached to the wing. Of the five squadrons assigned or attached to the wing, the 581st ARCS was the lone squadron devoted to flying operations.
Korean War [ edit ]
The 581st Wing proved to be flexible, and its initial theater deployment plan, outlined in Far East Command Operations Plan (OPLAN) 3–52, capitalized on this flexibility. The OPLAN established a concept of covert operations for theater forward deployment of assigned 581st ARCW assets. A key function of the wing was to maintain the capability to introduce special agents and guerrilla units into Communist countries and Communist-held areas, to supply them by and guerrilla units operating there, and to keep in contact with them by radio for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The mission to introduce and extract special agents into Communist countries operated under the cover of psychological warfare, providing cover against inquiries into their clandestine purpose. Four of the wing's twelve Boeing B-29 Superfortresses, and associated support personnel were placed on a 60-day rotation schedule to Yokota Air Base, Japan, where they were co-located with the 91st Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron, which also flew the B-29. The wing's B-29s were retrofitted to allow cargo or human "drops" and were stripped of armament, with the exception of the tail gun, and countermeasures in order to lighten their load and increase altitude and range. One crew member was trained as a CIA contact, known as the jumpmaster. The identities of these jumpmasters were kept secret, even from the wing commander who did not know of their CIA connection. However, the wing had a senior officer serving as a liaison with the CIA. This was Lt. Colonel George Pittman, whose identity was also kept secret from those who did not have a need to know.
The four Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcar and support personnel were placed on a 90-day rotation schedule. The commander, 315th Air Division determined where the aircraft would be deployed. Two Grumman SA-16 Albatrosses were sent to K-16 (Seoul Airport) in South Korea to augment B Flight of the 6167th Air Base Group. The four Sikorsky H-19 ChickasawA helicopters were also deployed to K-16 to support the 2157th Air Rescue Squadron (in fact, they were co-located with the 2157th but actually supported B Flight, as did the two SA-16s). "34 CCRAK," [ specify ] (probably an entity associated with Combined Command Reconnaissance Activities, Korea) maintained Operational Control (OPCON) of these forces and employed them on incursions into North Korea, along with B Flight and Special Air Missions detachment aircraft. [note 1]
The wing's planes were painted solid black after their arrival at Clark AFB, and they flew long-range leaflet drop missions over North Korea. PSYWAR "leaflet bombs" were loaded with various forms of PSYWAR materiel and then airdropped from high altitude. An altitude-sensitive fuse opened the container at a predetermined set altitude, dependent on pre-mission forecast winds and desired dispersal patterns.
One of the most sensational missions of the 581st in Korea occurred on 12 January 1953, when a 581st B-29 (tail number 44-62217, call sign "Stardust Four Zero") on its first leaflet drop mission with the Wing Commander, Col. John Arnold (as well as the commander of the 91st Strategic Reconnaissance Wing, Major William (Bill) Baumer) on board, was shot down on their last leaflet target just south of the Yalu River in far northern Korea near the Chinese town of Antung. At the time, Russian fighter squadrons, some equipped for night flying, were providing the Chinese with airpower. Twelve Russian MiG-15s from the 351st (and perhaps the 535th) Fighter Air Regiments intercepted the lone Superfortress south of the Yalu River, about 15 miles from the Chinese border. The MiGs were scrambled and vectored to the bomber's location by Russian radar-controlled searchlight units stationed near Antung, China. The searchlights illuminated the unarmed Superfortress and several MiGs engaged the bomber. Russian MiG pilot Senior Lt. Khabiev of the 351st regiment was credited with the intercept and downing of the B-29. Although US sources believe the B-29 was flying in North Korean airspace at the time of its mayday call, a belief that is strongly disputed by the Chinese and Russian authorities, crew members who bailed out believe they landed in North Korean territory. Upon capture, the crew was rounded up, blindfolded and put aboard trucks, subsequently transported into China and later charged as CIA spies (the Chinese subsequently learned of the CIA connection with the air resupply units). During the highly publicized Chinese trial in Baijing in October 1954, the surviving crew members, along with captured CIA agents Fecteau and Downey, who were imprisoned two years earlier after they had been shot down while attempting to pick up their Chinese double agent, were given prison sentences ranging from 5 years to life. Not until 4 August 1955, two years after the Korean War Armistice, were the surviving Stardust Four Zero crew members released from Chinese prison. These crew members were the longest held POW USAF captives of the war.
First Indochina War [ edit ]
Beginning in 1953, however, the wing's C-119s began to be employed in Southeast Asia in support of French operations in Indochina. Supplies, including ammunition, vehicles, and barbed wire, were delivered to Haiphong Airport in ever increasing quantities. As this operation was underway, the wing was inactivated and its 581st Air Resupply Group, which received the wing's remaining assets, was transferred to control of Thirteenth Air Force.
World War II
Constituted as 486th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 14 September 1943 and activated on 20 September Moved to England in March 1944 and assigned to Eighth AF.
The 486th was assigned to the 4th Combat Bombardment Wing, and the group tail code initially was a "Square-O". When the group converted from B-24s to B-17s during the summer of 1944, the Group ID was changed to "Square-W", perhaps to avoid confusion with the Square-D on B-17s of the 100th Bomb Group. The 486th was the only group to change its ID.
The group flew both the B-24 Liberator and the B-17 Flying Fortress as part of the Eighth Air Force's strategic bombing campaign and operated chiefly against strategic objectives in Germany until May 1945. Targets included marshalling yards in Stuttgart, Cologne, and Mainz airfields in Kassel and Münster oil refineries and storage plants in Merseburg, Dollbergen, and Hamburg harbours in Bremen and Kiel and factories in Mannheim and Weimar.
Other missions included bombing airfields, gun positions, V-weapon sites (total of nine "No Ball" missions beginning 20 June), [ 1 ] and railway bridges in France in preparation for or in support of the invasion of Normandy in June 1944 striking road junctions and troop concentrations in support of ground forces pushing across France, July–August 1944 hitting gun emplacements near Arnheim to minimize transport and glider losses during the airborne invasion of Holland in September 1944 and bombing enemy installations in support of ground troops during the Battle of the Bulge (December 1944 – January 1945) and the assault across the Rhine (March–April 1945).
The 486th Bomb Group returned to the Drew AAF Florida during August 1945 and was inactivated on 7 November.
On 30 September 1954 the 69th Pilotless Bomber Squadron was assigned to Hahn AB, West Germany, assigned to the 50th Fighter Bomber Wing. The 69th was attached to the renamed 50th Fighter Day Wing on 14 March 1955. The 69th PBS was assigned to the 7382d Guided Missile Group, which became the 7382d Tactical Missile Group in January 1956.
The 69th PBS was renamed to 69th Tactical Missile Squadron 15 April 1956. The unit manned the TM-61A Matador, which was later replaced by the TM-61C Matador. On 3 August 1956, the 69th Tactical Missile Squadron became part of the 701st Tactical Missile Wing, headquartered at Hahn AB with the discontinuation of the 7382d Tactical Missile Group.
On 18 June 1958, the 69th TMS was inactivated and replaced at Hahn by the 405th Tactical Missile Squadron when the 701st Tactical Missile Wing was inactivated and replaced with the 38th Tactical Missile Wing. The TM-76 A Mace replaced the TM-61C.
The 586th Tactical Missile Group was activated at Hahn Air Base as part of the new 38th TMW and became the headquarters for the 405th TMS, the 586th MMS, and the 586th SS. The 405th TMS operated the TM-76A Mace missile. The group trained and remained prepared for tactical missile operations.
The 586th Tactical Missile Group was inactivated 25 September 1962, and a new launch squadron, the 89th Tactical Missile Squadron was created to share duties with the 405th TMS. All missile units of the former 586th TMG at Hahn then reported directly to the 38th Tactical Missile Wing at Sembach AB.
On 25 September 1966 all TM-76A, then renumbered to MGM-13A, Mace tactical missile operations at Sembach AB and Hahn AB were inactivated.
In the 1980s, the 486th Tactical Missile Wing was the final GLCM (Ground Launch Cruise Missile) wing to activate in Europe and the first to inactivate (27 August 1987) following the signing of the Intermediate Nuclear Force (INF) Treaty between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. 64 missiles supposed to be assigned, however wing did not receive any missiles before beginning to phase down on 20 September 1988.
Global War On Terrorism
The 486th Air Expeditionary Wing was activated as part of the GWOT. It was most recently located at Ahmed Al Jaber Air Base, Kuwait.
- Established as 486th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 14 September 1943
- Consolidated (10 October 1984) with the 586th Tactical Missile Group, which was established on 3 August 1956
- Consolidated establishment redesignated 486th Tactical Missile Wing on 10 October 1984
- 16th Bombardment Operational Training Wing, 20 September 1943
- 21st Bombardment Wing, 9 March 1944
- 92d Combat Bombardment Wing, 4 April 1944
- 4th Combat Bombardment Wing, 16 February 1945
- 14th Combat Bombardment (later, 14 Bombardment) Wing, 16 June 1945
- Third Air Force, c. 3 September-7 November 1945
- 701st Tactical Missile Wing, 15 September 1956
- 38th Tactical Missile Wing, 18 June 1958 – 25 September 1962
- Seventeenth Air Force, 27 August 1987 – 30 September 1988
- Air Combat Command to activate or inactivate at any time after 30 January 2003.
- 69th Tactical Missile Squadron: 15 September 1956 – 18 June 1958
- 405th Tactical Missile Squadron: 18 June 1958 – 25 September 1962
- 832d Bombardment Squadron: 20 September 1943 – 7 November 1945
- 833d Bombardment Squadron: 20 September 1943 – 7 November 1945
- 834th Bombardment Squadron: 20 September 1943 – 7 November 1945
- 835th Bombardment Squadron: 20 September 1943 – 7 November 1945
- Davis-Monthan Field, Arizona, 20 September 1943
- McCook Army Airfield, Nebraska, 26 October 1943
- Davis-Monthan Field, Arizona, 9 November 1943 – March 1944
- England (flight echelon), 19 March 1944
- RAF Sudbury (AAF-174), England, 5 April 1944 – 26 August 1945
- Drew Field, Florida, 3 September-7 November 1945
- Hahn AB, West Germany, 15 September 1956 – 25 September 1962
- Woensdrecht Air Base, Netherlands, 27 August 1987 – 30 September 1988
Matador/Mace dispersed missile locations
After 405th TMS left this site was transferred to US Army and converted into a Nike-Hercules Air Defense missile site operational 1970-1979. The area was transferred back to USAF in 1982 and was converted again this time into a Cruise missile Ground Alert Maintenance Area. The 38th Tactical Missile Wing became operational with its BGM-109 Gryphon cruise missiles at this location 1985 and was inactivated 1991 after the signing of the INF treaty.
Campaign and service streamers
|American Theater without inscription||7 September 1942 – 1 April 1944|||
|Asia Pacific Theater without inscription||7 August 1945 – 2 March 1946|||
- Constituted as the 383d Bombardment Group (Heavy)' on 28 October 1942
- Redesignated 383d Bombardment Group, Very Heavy
- II Bomber Command, 3 November 1942 – 1 April 1944 (attached to 17th Bombardment Operational Training Wing 12 November 1942 – c. 26 October 1943) 
- II Bomber Command, 28 August 1944 (attached to 17th Bombardment Operational Training Wing) 
- 313th Bombardment Wing, 12 September 1945 
- Unknown 19 December 1945 – 3 January 1946
- Salt Lake City Army Air Base, Utah, 3 November 1942
- Rapid City Army Air Base, South Dakota, 12 November 1942
- Geiger Field, Washington, 20 June 1943
- Peterson Field, Colorado 26 October 1943 – 1 April 1944
- Dalhart Army Air Field, Texas 28 August 1944
- Walker Army Air Field, Kansas 14 January August 1945
- Tinian, Mariana Islands, 12 September December 1945
- Camp Anza, California 2 January 1946 
- 540th Bombardment Squadron, 3 November 1942 – 1 April 1944 
- 541st Bombardment Squadron, 3 November 1942 – 1 April 1944 
- 542d Bombardment Squadron, 3 November 1942 – 1 April 1944 
- 543d Bombardment Squadron, 3 November 1942 – 1 April 1944 
- 876th Bombardment Squadron, 28 August 1944 – 29 December 1945 
- 880th Bombardment Squadron, 28 August 1944 – 3 January 1946 
- 884th Bombardment Squadron, 28 August 1944 – 29 December 1945 
- 38th Photographic Laboratory, 28 August 1944 – 3 January 1946
- Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress
- Consolidated B-24 Liberator
- Boeing B-29 Superfortress
World War II
The 764th Bombardment Squadron was activated at Wendover Field, Utah on 1 July 1943 as one of the four original squadrons of the 461st Bombardment Group. After training with Consolidated B-24 Liberators under Second and Fourth Air Forces in the United States, the squadron departed for the Mediterranean Theater of Operations on New Year's Day of 1944.   
The squadron arrived at its combat station, Torretto Airfield, Italy by the end of February 1944.  The air echelon ferried its Liberators to Italy via the Southern Ferry Route, pausing for additional training in North Africa before joining the ground echelon in Italy. The squadron flew its first combat mission in April 1944. 
The squadron was engaged primarily in the strategic bombing campaign against Germany, attacking communications, industrial facilities and other enemy strategic targets in Austria, Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Romania and Yugoslavia. It participated in the campaign against Axis petroleum production with attacks against facilities at Brux Czechoslovakia Blechhammer, Germany and Moosbierbaum and Vienna in Austria. It received a Distinguished Unit Citation (DUC) for an attack on petroleum facilities at Ploesti, Romania on 15 July 1944, when it heavily damaged its objective, despite clouds and smoke obscuring the target and opposition by flak and interceptors. 
it also conducted strategic attacks against enemy airfields and aircraft manufacturing centers. On one of its early missions, it attacked an aircraft component manufacturing facility at Budapest, Hungary, battling its way through enemy air defenses. This attack earned the squadron its first DUC. 
The squadron was occasionally diverted from its strategic mission, flying air support and air interdiction missions. During Operation Dragoon, the invasion of southern France in August 1944, it hit artillery positions. The following month it flew airlift missions, transporting supplies to forces in France. Some of its last missions were flown to support Operation Grapeshot, the spring 1945 offensive in northern Italy. 
Following V-E Day, the squadron flew supplies to prisoners of war in Austria. It began returning to the United States in early July. It reassembled at Sioux Falls Army Air Field, South Dakota at the end of the month and was inactivated there on 28 August 1945.  
Tactical bomber operations
Prompted by experience in the Korean War, the Air Force decided to increase its air support and air interdiction capabilities to support ground forces. As part of this increase, it organized the 461st Bombardment Wing, which included the squadron, at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, in December 1953.  The squadron was intended to be a Martin B-57 Canberra unit, but these aircraft were not available, so it was initially equipped with Douglas B-26 Invaders.  Officer cadre for the squadron was drawn from the 4th Tow Target Squadron at George Air Force Base, California. Facilities at Hill required development and combat readiness training did not begin until July 1954. 
The wing trained in light bomber operations and participated in exercises, including simulated deployments. In January 1955, the unit began to receive B-57s and was fully equipped by the end of the year. However, Hill's parking and hangar space was inadequate for the B-57s and even as they began to arrive, the unit anticipated a move to Blytheville Air Force Base, Arkansas, which was being developed by the Corps of Engineers for reopening in 1955.   In October 1955, the squadron moved from Hill to Blytheville. 
The conversion to the Canberra brought a number of changes. The new aircraft was subject to several periods of grounding, and the unit faced shortfalls in the number of aircrew available. The unit mission also underwent changes, with the delivery of tactical nuclear weapons taking priority over conventional weapons delivery, although conventional weapons remained as a secondary mission.  The squadron inactivated in January 1958 as Tactical Air Command, under budget pressures, prepared to transfer Blytheville to Strategic Air Command (SAC).   
Strategic bomber operations
In 1962, in order to perpetuate the lineage of many currently inactive bombardment units with illustrious World War II records, SAC received authority from Headquarters USAF to discontinue its Major Command controlled strategic wings that were equipped with combat aircraft and to activate Air Force controlled units, which could carry a lineage and history. [note 2] As a result, the 461st Bombardment Wing replaced the 4128th Strategic Wing at Amarillo Air Force Base, Texas. As part of this organizational action, the squadron took over the mission, personnel and equipment of the 718th Bombardment Squadron, which was simultaneously inactivated.    SAC wings were organized under the dual deputy system, so the squadron was assigned directly to the 461st Wing, rather than to a group. 
One half of the squadron's Boeing B-52 Stratofortress aircraft were maintained on fifteen minute alert, fully fueled and ready for combat to reduce vulnerability to a Soviet missile strike.  The squadron continued the mission of strategic bombardment training. It participated in exercises and operational readiness inspections at the direction of SAC. 
In January 1967, the squadron deployed its aircraft and crews to Anderson Air Force Base, Guam, where it carried out missions in Southeast Asia as part of a provisional bombardment wing participating in Operation Arc Light. The squadron's planes and personnel returned to Amarillo in July, where they returned to nuclear alert.  However, "[i]n December 1965, a few months after the first B-52Bs started leaving the operational inventory, Robert S. McNamara, Secretary of Defense [announced] another phaseout program that would further reduce SAC’s bomber force. Basically, this program called for the mid-1971 retirement of all B-52Cs and of several subsequent B-52 models."  In addition, in January 1968, announcement was made that Amarillo would close at the end of the year.  The squadron's last operational B-52 was transferred to another unit on 21 January 1968, and the squadron inactivated on 25 March. 
Established as a B-24 Liberator heavy bombardment group in mid-1943 at Mountain Home Army Air Field, Idaho, and activated on 8 September. Transferred to Kearns Center, Utah for personnel assignment and organization then sent to Wendover Field, Utah for combat training on 1 November.
In January the group received deployment orders for the European Theater of Operations (ETO). On 12 February 1944 the ground unit went by train to Camp Shanks, New York. They sailed on the USAT Frederick Lykes on 28 February 1944 and arrived in Clyde on 10 March 1944. The aircraft left Wendover on 12 February 1944 and took the southern Atlantic ferry route. One B-24 was lost with all the crew over the Atlas mountains. Moved to RAF Rackheath, Norfolk in England, February–March 1944, and was assigned to the VIII Bomber Command. The group was assigned to the 96th Combat Bombardment Wing, and the group tail code was a "Circle-P".
The mission of the 467th was to engage in very long range strategic bombardment operations over Occupied Europe and Nazi Germany. The group began operations on 10 April 1944 with an attack by thirty aircraft on an airfield at Bourges in central France. In combat, the unit served chiefly as a strategic bombardment organization, attacking the harbor at Kiel, chemical plants at Bonn, textile factories at Stuttgart, power plants at Hamm, steel works at Osnabrück, the aircraft industry at Brunswick, and other objectives.
In addition to strategic operations, engaged occasionally in support and interdictory missions. Bombed shore installations and bridges near Cherbourg on D-Day, 6 June 1944. Struck enemy troop and supply concentrations near Montreuil on 25 July 1944 to assist the Allied drive across France.
In September, over two weeks the bombers flew gasoline from Rackheath to Clastres Airfield (A-71) France for use by the US mechanized forces. Attacked German communications and fortifications during the Battle of the Bulge, December 1944 – January 1945. Hit enemy transportation to assist the Allied assault across the Rhine in March 1945.
After the German Capitulation in May 1945, the group was ordered back to the United States for B-29 transition and redeployment to the Pacific Theater of Operations (PTO). Redeployed to the US June/July 1945. The air echelon departed Rackheath on 12 June 1945. The ground units sailed from Greenock on the Queen Mary on 6 July 1945. They arrived in New York on 11 July 1945. Upon arrival, most of the group was demobilized due to their combat service in Europe a cadre of officers and men was formed at Sioux Falls Army Air Field, South Dakota on 25 August.
At Sioux Falls, the unit was redesignated as the 467th Bombardment Group (Very Heavy) in August and was reformed with newly trained pilots, aircrews and ground personnel. The reformed group was sent to Harvard Army Airfield, Nebraska for initial Second Air Force training then on to Phase II training at Alamogordo Army Airfield, New Mexico where the group trained on worn II Bomber Command B-17s and some pre-production YB-29s used for aircrew training. The Japanese Capitulation in early August canceled the planned deployment to the Pacific, however the group continued to train
Due to the advanced training state of the unit, it was reassigned to Harvard Army Airfield, Nebraska, where the group received new B-29 Superfortresses and completed training. In December 1945 was assigned to a permanent base at Clovis AAF, New Mexico as part of Continental Air Forces.
Engaged in strategic bombardment training operations on a reduced scale upon arrival at Clovis, as many personnel were being demobilized. On 21 March 1946, was assigned as one of the initial units of the new Strategic Air Command. The unit, however was inactivated on 4 August due to personnel shortages and funding reductions in the immediate postwar Air Force. The equipment and remaining personnel were reassigned to other SAC units, primarily the 301st Bombardment Group at Smoky Hill Army Airfield, Kansas.
World War II [ edit ]
Constituted as 47th Bombardment Group (Light) on 20 November 1940, and activated on 15 January 1941. Operational squadrons of the group were:
Initially based at McChord Field, Washington, the group's mission was to perform anti-submarine patrols along the Pacific coast with the Douglas B-18 Bolo its primary aircraft. This was a short-lived mission, however, as after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, the group began training for duty overseas when it was assigned Douglas A-20Cs which were taken over by the USAAF from Lend-Lease contracts.
Training at several bases in the midwest and southeast, it was first believed that the 47th would be sent to the South Pacific. However shortly after Operation Torch, the Allied invasion of North Africa in November 1942, the 47th became the first USAAF A-20 group to participate in large-scale combat in the North African Campaign, being assigned to Twelfth Air Force.
Flying to a former Vichy French Air Force base at Mediouni, French Morocco. the aircrews used ferry tanks on their A-20s to cross the North Atlantic. The group began operations by flying low-level missions against the enemy in North Africa flying its first combat mission from Youks-les-Bains, Algeria on 13 December 1942.
47th Group A-20s provided valuable tactical support to US and British ground forces, especially during and after the allied defeat at the Battle of the Kasserine Pass. Though undermanned and undersupplied, the group flew eleven missions on 22 February to attack the advancing Nazi armored columns and thus to help stop the enemy's offensive-an action which helped save the day, and eventually the Germans were forced back into a small perimeter in Tunisia. For these actions, the group was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation.
The 47th remained active in combat during March and April 1943 while training for medium level bombardment. In 1943 the group was upgraded to the A-20G, which increased their forward firepower during low-level strafing missions. Moving to Malta, the group participated in the reduction of Pantelleria and Lampedusa (Operation Corkscrew) in June 1943 and the invasion of Sicily (Operation Husky) in July. The group also bombed German evacuation beaches near Messina in August.
The group supported the British Eighth Army during the invasion of Italy in September. Moving to Italy as part of the Italian Campaign, the group assisted the Allied advance toward Rome, September 1943 – June 1944 at the battles of the Bernhardt Line, Monte Cassino, and Operation Shingle. The 47th began flying numerous night intruder missions after June 1944, and supported the invasion of Southern France from bases in Corsica and also in France during August–September 1944.
Returning to Italy, the group attacked German communications in northern Italy, 1 September – 4 April 1945. Received a second DUC for performance from to 21–24 April 1945 when, in bad weather and over rugged terrain, the group maintained operations for 60 consecutive hours, destroying enemy transportation in the Po Valley to prevent the organized withdrawal of German forces.
After January 1945, the 47th received some new Douglas A-26Cs which flew alongside its A-20s during the last four months of the war for specialized night attacks. The group flew support and interdictory operations attacking such targets as tanks, convoys, bivouac areas, troop concentrations, supply dumps, roads, pontoon bridges, rail lines, and airfields. The A-26 was regarded as being the USAAF's best twin-engined bomber, and plans were being made for the conversion of the 47th to the type.
The 47th Bombardment Group returned to the United States in July 1945 and was reassigned to Seymour Johnson Field, North Carolina. Its mission was to prepare for redeployment to the Pacific Theater for night pathfinder operations against Japan. Its black-painted A-26Cs were equipped with radar however the surrender by Japan in August 1945, cancelled all redeployment plans.
Postwar era [ edit ]
With the closing of Seymour Johnson in August 1945, the group was reassigned to Lake Charles Army Air Field, Louisiana and was equipped with the Douglas A-26 Invader. Ώ] The A-26 was selected as the standard light bomber and night reconnaissance aircraft of the postwar USAAF, primarily as the main offensive light bomber of the Tactical Air Command which was created in 1946 out of the remnants of the wartime 9th and 12th Air Forces. At Lake Charles, the unit trained in night tactical operations, conducted firepower demonstrations, and participated in tactical exercises.
The group was moved Biggs Field, Texas in October 1946 when Lake Charles became a Strategic Air Command (SAC) base. At Biggs, the Group was reduced from four to three tactical squadrons when the 97th Bombardment Squadron was inactivated. In August 1947, as the Air Force reorganized under the wing base organization, which placed tactical and support organizations on a base under a single wing commander, the group was reassigned to the 47th Bombardment Wing. ΐ]
On 1 February 1948, Biggs was also turned over to SAC, forcing a relocation of the group to Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana in November. In the fall of 1948 North American B-45 Tornado bombers began to be delivered to the group, which became the first in the Air Force to fly the aircraft. Α] The 47th was inactivated at Barksdale 2 October 1949 as a result of budgetary reductions. However the 84th and 85th Squadrons continued with the B-45's and moved to Langley AFB, Virginia where they were attached to the 363d Tactical Reconnaissance Wing.
Cold War [ edit ]
On 12 March 1951, the 47th Bombardment Group was reactivated at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, with tactical squadrons the 84th and 85th. The group was the only Jet-Medium Bomber Group in the Air Force. After becoming proficient in the handling and use of nuclear weapons, moved to RAF Sculthorpe, United Kingdom where it began operations there on 1 June 1952.
For nearly three years, the 47th Bombardment Group provided an in-place Atomic Air Strike Force to back up NATO Ground Forces in Europe. Operational missions of the group were training for tactical bombardment training operations, including participation in exercises and firepower demonstrations in support of NATO.
Owing to the small size of Sculthorpe, the group operated two B-45A jet bomber squadrons (84th and 85th) from Sculthorpe. In March 1954, a third B-45A jet bomber squadron (86th) was assigned to the wing, but operated from RAF Alconbury in order to accommodate the additional aircraft.
A few months after moving to England that year, the group ceased operations and remained a paper organization until inactivation again in 1955 as a result of the Air Force tri-deputate reorganization.
Modern era [ edit ]
The group was reactivated on 9 December 1991 as the 47th Operations Group and assigned to the 47th Flying Training Wing as part of the "Objective Wing" concept adapted by the Air Force. The 47th OG was bestowed the lineage, honors and history of the 47th Bombardment Group and its predecessor units.
The 47OG was assigned the flying components of the wing, and since its reactivation has USAF and Allied pilots using various types of trainer aircraft.
- , KS July 15, 1942 , TX February 22, 1943 – April 1, 1944July 7, 1944 – January 13, 1945 , KS January 13 – June 18, 1945 , Okinawa August 5, 1945 – May 28, 1946
- 1944–1946 (B-29)
- 436th Bombardment Squadron 1944–1946 (B-29)
- (Consolidated with the 966th Airborne Air Control Squadron (EC-121 / E-3) on 19 Sep 1985.
- (Consolidated with the 68th Air Refueling Squadron 1952–1965 (KC-97 / KC-135) on 19 Sep 1985.
Constituted as 333d Bombardment Group (Heavy) on July 9, 1942 and activated on July 15. Assigned to Second Air Force and equipped with B-17's. Served first as an operational training and later as a replacement training unit. Inactivated on April 1, 1944.
Redesignated 333d Bombardment Group (Very Heavy). Activated on July 7, 1944. Assigned to Second AF. Trained for combat with B-29 aircraft. Moved to the Pacific theater, June–August 1945, and assigned to Eighth Air Force. AAF operations against Japan terminated before the group could enter combat. For a time after the war the group ferried Allied prisoners of war from Japan to the Philippine Islands.