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306th Flying Training Group
306th Flying Training Group.png
306th Flying Training Group Emblem
Active March 1, 1942 – present
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Type Aircraft Flight Training
Part of United States Air Force Academy
:With cadets parachuting out of airplanes and flying gliders, the 306th FTG is nearly always buzzing with activity

The 306th Flying Training Group is a unit of the United States Air Force, assigned to the Air Education and Training Command's Nineteenth Air Force
(19 AF). It is stationed at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

During World War II, the group's predecessor unit, the 306th Bombardment Group was the first operational bombardment group in the VIII Bomber Command. It was stationed at RAF Thurleigh, England from 6 September 1942 until 25 December 1945, the longest tenure at one station for any one Eighth Air Force group.

Staff Sergeant Maynard H. Smith of the 423d Bomb Squadron was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions that helped save the lives of six of his wounded comrades on 1 May 1943.

The 306th was the first Eighth Air Force(8 AF) heavy bombardment group to complete 300 missions over Occupied Europe and Nazi Germany and also was the first USAAF heavy bomb group to attack a strategic target located in Nazi Germany when the group attacked Wilhelmshaven led by Colonel Frank A. Armstrong on 27 January 1943. Colonel Armstrong's experiences with the 97th and 306th groups became the basis of Sy Bartlett and Beirne Lay, Jr.'s novel and film Twelve O'Clock High.

The 306th later served as a Strategic Air Command (SAC) bombardment wing with B-47 Stratojets at MacDill AFB, Florida; with B-52 Stratofortresses and
KC-135 Stratotankers at McCoy AFB, Florida[1]; and as a strategic wing with KC-135 Stratotanker and RC-135 aircraft at RAF Mildenhall in the United Kingdom.

The designation "306th" was deliberately selected by the historian of the Air Education and Training Command (AETC) to connect the training mission of the current Group with its relationship to the book and movie "Twelve O'Clock High" [2].



The 306th serves as the airmanship training unit of the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA), having replaced the 34th Operations Group in 2004. Its mission is to establish the Airmanship foundation of tomorrows leaders. Our vision is to provide the world's premier flying and parachuting experience to develop tomorrow's Airmen.


The group consists of the following squadrons:

Conducts parachuting and glider training
Parachuting unit
  • 306th Operations Support Squadron
Airfield and Airspace Management of the USAF Academy Airfield
Conducts flying training


For additional history and lineage, see 306th Strategic Wing


  • Established as 306th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 28 Jan 1942
Activated on 1 Mar 1942
Redesignated 306th Bombardment Group, Heavy, on 20 Aug 1943
Inactivated on 25 Dec 1946
  • Redesignated 306th Bombardment Group, Very Heavy, on 11 Jun 1947
Activated on 1 Jul 1947
Redesignated 306th Bombardment Group, Medium, on 11 Aug 1948
Inactivated on 16 Jun 1952
  • Redesignated 306th Bombardment Wing on 17 Jun 1952
Redesignated as 306th Bombardment Wing, Heavy on 1 Apr 1963
Inactivated on 1 Jul 1974
Redesignated as 306th Strategic Wing on 14 Aug 1976
Inactivated on 1 Feb 1992
  • Redesignated 306th Flying Training Group on 30 Sep 2004
Activated on 4 Oct 2004.



  • 34 Reconnaissance (later, 423 Bombardment) Squadron (RD): 1 Mar 1942-25 Dec 1946
  • 94th Flying Training Squadron: 4 Oct 2004-Present
  • 98th Flying Training Squadron: 4 Oct 2004-Present
  • 306 Air Refueling Squadron: 1 Sep 1950-16 Jun 1952
  • 367 Bombardment Squadron (GY): 1 Mar 1942-25 Dec 1946; 1 Jul 1947-16 Jun 1952
  • 368 Bombardment Squadron (BO): 1 Mar 1942-25 Dec 1946; 1 Jul 1947-16 Jun 1952
  • 369 Bombardment Squadron (WW): 1 Mar 1942-29 Jun 1946; 1 Jul 1947-16 Jun 1952
  • 557th Flying Training Squadron: 4 Oct 2004-Present




World War II

306th Bombardment Group Emblem
Lockheed/Vega B-17F-10-VE Flying Fortress Serial 42-25744 "Dollie Madison" of the 369th Bomb Squadron. This aircraft returned to the United States on 2 November 1943
Douglas/Long Beach B-17G-55-DL Fortress 44-46604 and Boeing B-17G-95-BO Flying Fortress 44-48676 of the 306th Bomb Group

Activated 1 March 1942 at Salt Lake City AB, Utah. Personnel moved to Wendover AB Utah on the 6th of April 1942 and began flying training. Unit left Wendover 1 August 1942 to began movement to the United Kingdom. The Ground unit first moved to Richmond AAB, Va. remained a week and leaving for Ft. Dix, NJ. On the 13th of August 1942. Group sailed on the Queen Elizabeth on the 30th of August 1942 and arrived on the 5th of September 1942 at Greenock, Scotland. The aircraft flew from Wendover to Westover field Mass. on 2 August 1942. The Group departed for the United Kingdom on 1 September 1942 via Gander-Prestwick ferry route.

Moved on April 6, 1942, to Wendover Army Air Field, Utah, where it trained for bombardment operations using 40 B-17E aircraft ferried from Westover Army Air Field, Massachusetts. Moved to England, August–September 1942 and entered combat in October 1942.

Based in Thurleigh, Bedfordshire, in south-central England, as part of the Eighth Air Force, the 306th was the longest continuously-serving bomb group of the Eighth Air Force during World War II, and led the first mission against a target in Germany. The novel and film Twelve O'Clock High were based in large part on incidents occurring in the group in 1942 and 1943.

Between October 1942 and April 1945, the group bombed a variety of enemy targets in Europe, including railroad facilities and submarine pens in France and ball-bearing works, oil plants, marshaling yards, chemical plants, aircraft factories, and foundries in Germany. Took part in the first penetration into Germany by heavy bombers of the Eighth Air Force on January 27, 1943 by attacking U-boat yards at Wilhelmshaven. Sergent Maynard Harrison Smith received the Medal of Honor for his actions on May 1, 1943. When the aircraft on which he was a gunner was hit by the enemy and set on fire, the sergeant threw explosive ammunition overboard, manned a gun until the German fighters were driven off, administered first aid to the wounded tail gunner, and extinguished the fire. Without fighter escort and in the face of powerful opposition, the group completed an assault against aircraft factories in central Germany on January 11, 1944, earning a Distinguished Unit Citation (DUC) for the mission. The group participated in the Big Week intensive campaign against the German aircraft industry, February 20–25, 1944. The group earned another DUC for effectively bombing an aircraft assembly plant at Bernberg, Gummersbach, Germany on February 22, even though escort fighters had abandoned the mission because of weather. Often supported ground forces and attacked interdictory targets in addition to its strategic operations. Hit airfields and marshaling yards in France, Belgium, and Germany in preparation for Normandy. On D-Day, June 6, 1944, the unit raided railroad bridges and coastal guns in support of the assault. Assisted ground forces during the Saint-Lô breakthrough in July, then participated in the airborne portion of Operation Market Garden, the invasion of Holland in September. During the Battle of the Bulge, December 1944 – January 1945, the 306th attacked airfields and marshaling yards to help stop the German advance. Bombed enemy positions in support of the airborne assault across the Rhine River in March 1945, the Operation Varsity portion of the Western Allied invasion of Germany.

Selected for duty with occupational air forces in Germany. The unit engaged in "Casey Jones" mapping photography project. Group then moved to Giebelstadt, Germany on 1 December 1945, and on the 28th of February 1946 to Istres, France, where it absorbed the remnants of the 92nd and 384th Bomb Groups. In August 1946 the unit re-established in Germany at Furstenfeldbruck and in September 1946 located at Lechfeld. The unit inactivated on the 25th of December 1946, although the group had virtually ceased to exist as flying unit in the late summer of that year. Inactivated December 1946, the group received the Distinguished Unit Citation with one Oak Leaf Cluster and six campaign stars.

Cold War

Reactivated as a Strategic Air Command (SAC) B-29 Superfortress Bombardment Group, Very Heavy, then in 1948 as a Medium Bombardment Group, the group trained in the United States for strategic bombardment operations. It was inactivated on 16 Jun 1952 when its operational squadrons were reassigned to the 306th Bombardment Wing as part of the tri-deputate reorganization, and the group was inactivated.

On 1 September 1950, the 306th Bombardment Wing (306 BMW) was activated at MacDill AFB, Florida and became SAC's first operational B-47 jet bomber wing. Upon activation, operational units of the wing were the 367th, 368th and 369th Bombardment Squadrons under the 306th Bombardment Group which was transferred from the 307 BMW.

Deliveries of the new Boeing B-47A Stratojet to the USAF began in December 1950, and the aircraft entered service in May 1951 with the 306th Bombardment Wing at MacDill. The 306th was intended to act as a training outfit to prepare future B-47 crews and the B-47As were primarily training aircraft and were not considered as being combat ready; none of the B-47As ever saw any operational duty. On 19 November 1951 the 306 BMW received its first operational Boeing B-47B and christened it "The Real McCoy" in honor of Colonel Michael N. W. McCoy, the wing commander who flew it from the Boeing Wichita plant to MacDill. During 1952, the 306th developed combat procedures and techniques for the new bomber and the wing soon emerged as a leader in jet bombardment tactics and strategies. The first Boeing KC-97E Stratotanker air refueling aircraft assigned to Strategic Air Command was delivered to the 306th Air Refueling Squadron at MacDill on 14 July 1951 and inflight refueling operations started in May 1952, with KC-97s refueling B-47s on operational training missions leading toward combat ready status.

In 1953, the 306th became the first operational B-47 Wing, becoming the backbone of the US Nuclear Deterrence Strategy by maintaining high levels of ground alert in the US and at overseas bases. The 306 BMW was subsequently awarded the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award for its role as a pioneer and leader in jet bombardment tactics. In 1954, the more advanced B-47Es, with ejection seats, improved electronics and a white reflective paint scheme on the lower fuselage, began replacing the 306 BMW B-47Bs. During 1954-55, MacDill AFB and the wing also served as a backdrop for part of the Paramount Pictures film Strategic Air Command starring Jimmy Stewart and June Allyson.

By the early 1960s, SAC's B-47s began to phased out of the inventory and inactivation planning of the 306 BMW began. Phase down and transfer of B-47s was started, and by 15 February 1963 the wing was no longer capable of fulfilling its part of the strategic war plan. On 1 April 1963, SAC inactivated the 306 BMW at MacDill and reactivated it the same day at McCoy AFB, Florida, the former Pinecastle AFB, which had been renamed for the late Colonel Michael N. W. McCoy, who had been killed in a B-47 mishap in 1957. The 306th stood up as a B-52D Stratofortress and KC-135A Stratotanker heavy bombardment wing, replacing the 4047th Strategic Wing at McCoy and receiving its B-52D bombers and KC-135A Stratotankers in the process. During the Cold War, the 306 BMW's primary mission at McCoy AFB was deterring nuclear attack on the United States by maintaining constant nuclear ground alert and flying frequent cycles of airborne alert.[3]

In 1966 the wing began preparing and training for deployment to the Western Pacific in support of Projects Arc Light & Young Tiger over Vietnam. In September 1966 the wing deployed to Andersen AFB, Guam and Kadena AB, Okinawa. Its mission while in the Western Pacific was to "...Conduct bombing raids in support of US and allied ground forces fighting in the Vietnamese War." Later the wing also operated from U-Tapao Royal Thai Navy Airfield, Thailand as U. S. forces built up in the Vietnam theater. The 306th continued frequent Arc Light and Young Tiger deployments to the Western Pacific operating bases in support of the many Vietnam campaigns, and in Line Backer I and II operations over North Vietnam. Between Southeast Asia deployments, the wing continued its nuclear deterrent mission at McCoy AFB. During the late 1960s and early 1970s, the wing was frequently selected as the "host wing" for SAC's annual bombing and navigation competition. Due to post-Vietnam force reductions which would lead to the eventual closure of McCoy AFB, inactivation of the 306th Bombardment Wing began in 1973 and was completed in July 1974.[4]

In August 1975, the 306th Strategic Wing was activated to replace the 98th Strategic Wing at Ramstein AB, Germany to function as the focal point for all SAC operations in Europe and as liaison between SAC and U.S. Air Forces in Europe (USAFE). Subsequently relocating to RAF Mildenhall, United Kingdom, the wing employed KC-135 and RC-135 aircraft and crews on temporary duty rotation from CONUS-based SAC wings for air refueling and reconnaissance operations. The 306 SW operated at RAF Mildenhall until its inactivation in February 1992 when the 100th Air Refueling Wing (USAFE) assumed the 306 SW's responsibilities and became Headquarters, European Tanker Task Force. [5][6]

Modern era

The 306th was redesignated the 306th Flying Training Group (306 FTG) and reactivated in October 2004 as part of the Air Education and Training Command's Nineteenth Air Force in order to serve as the airmanship training unit for the Cadet Wing of the United States Air Force Academy.



Commanding officers

(April 1, 1942 – June 1946)
Col Charles B Overacker Jr. March 16, 1942 – January 3, 1943
Col Frank A Armstrong Jr. January 3, 1943 – February 17, 1943
Col Claude E Putnam February 17, 1943 – June 20, 1943
Col George L Robinson June 20, 1943 – September 1944
Col James S Sutton September 1944 – April 16, 1945
Col Hudson H Upham April 16, 1945 – May 1946


  1. ^
  2. ^ AETC News Service release 100104308, October 1, 2004
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^

External links


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