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345th Bombardment Wing: Wikis


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345th Bombardment Wing
Active 1942-1945, 1957-1959
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Type Bombardment
Role Bombing and strafing of airfields, installations, and shipping; ground forces support; and reconnaissance missions.
Part of Fifth Air Force (World War II)
Tactical Air Command (USAF)
Nickname Air Apaches

The 345th Bombardment Wing is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its last assignment was with the Tactical Air Command 836th Air Division, being stationed at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia. It was inactivated on 25 June 1959.

The unit's World War II predecessor unit, the 345th Bombardment Group, operated primarily in the Southwest Pacific Theater as a B-25 Mitchell medium bomber unit assigned to Fifth Air Force. It was awarded both the United States Distinguished Unit Citation and the Philippine Presidential Unit Citation for its combat service in New Guinea; the Bismark Archipelago, Lete; Luzon; the Southern Philippines and China.





  • Constituted as: 345th Bombardment Group (Medium) on 3 Sep 1942
Activated on: 8 Sep 1942
Inactivated on 29 Dec 1945.
  • Established as 345th Bombardment Wing, Tactical, on 23 Mar 1953
Activated on 8 Oct 1957
Lineage and history of 345th Bombardment Group bestowed on wing upon activation
Inactivated on 25 Jun 1959.


Attached to: 309th Bombardment Wing, 8 Feb-25 Sep 1945




Operational History

Activated on November 11, 1942, at Columbia Army Air Base, South Carolina, by Third Air Force order #275. Four squadrons designated 498, 499, 500, 501 were assigned to it. The 345th started with 40 officers and 350 enlisted men, commanded by then Col. Jarred V. Crabb. Full strength, the 345th would contain 250 officers and 1250 enlisted men. At Columbia and other training bases, the group trained for overseas duty with B-25 Mitchell medium bombers.

Moved to New Guinea, via Australia, Apr-Jun 1943, and assigned to Fifth Air Force. Entered combat on 30 Jun 1943. Operations until Jul 1944 included bombing and strafing Japanese airfields and installations in New Guinea and the Bismarck Archipelago; attacking shipping in the McCluer Gulf, Ceram Sea, and Bismarck Sea; supporting ground forces in the Admiralties; dropping supplies to ground troops; and flying courier and reconnaissance missions in the area. Received a Distinguished Unit Citation for a series of attacks against flak positions, shore installations, and barracks at Rabaul, New Britain, on 2 Nov 1943. Operated from Biak, Jul-Nov 1944, striking airfields and shipping in the southern Philippines and the Celebes. In Nov 1944 moved to the Philippines where targets included Japanese airfields and communications on Luzon, industries and communications on Formosa, and shipping along the China coast. After moving to Ie Shima in Jul 1945, flew some missions over Kyushu and the Sea of Japan. Returned to the US in Dec 1945. Inactivated on 29 Dec 1945.

Redesignated 345th Bombardment Group (Tactical). Activated on 19 Jul 1954. Assigned to Tactical Air Command. Equipped with Douglas B-26's and later with the Martin B-57B jet medium bombers with the a night intruder and close support mission. The 345th was the first USAF unit to become fully operational with the B-57. Trained to maintain combat proficiency in locating, attacking, and destroying targets from all altitudes and under all conditions of weather and light. The service of the B-57 in tactical bomb groups was brief as the decision was made to phase out the B-57 in favor of supersonic tactical fighter-bombers.

The 345th BG was about to deactivate at Langley AFB when one of its squadrons had to be hastily deployed in July 1958 to Incirlik Air Base in Turkey to make a show of force in response to a crisis in Lebanon. They stayed there three months. After the Lebanon crisis was defused, the B-57Bs were returned to Langley AFB.

The deactivation of the 345th BG was further delayed by a crisis in the Taiwan Straits. In August of 1958, Mainland Chinese forces began bombarding the Nationalist-held island of Quemoy. In late August, the 345th BG sent a detachment of B-57Bs to Okinawa to stay on alert just in case mainland forces tried to invade Taiwan. Fortunately, the crisis soon cooled and hostilities were averted, and the 345th BG returned to the USA to begin deactivation. This was completed in June 1959, and the unit was inactivated on 25 June.


  • New Guinea
  • Northern Solomons
  • Bismarck Archipelago
  • Southern Philippines
  • Luzon
  • Western Pacific
  • China
  • Ryukyus
  • Air Offensive against Japan

See also


PD-icon.svg This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.



  • Warpath: A Story of the 345th Bombardment Group (M) in World War II. Atglen, Pennsylvania: Schiffer Publishing, 2007. ISBN 0-76430-218-3.

External links


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