38th Bombardment Group: Wikis


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38th Bombardment Group
Emblem of the 38th Bombardment Wing
Active 1941-1949; 1953-1957
Country United States
Branch United States Army Air Forces
United States Air Force
Type medium bombardment
Nickname The Sun Setters
Battle of Midway
Battle of the Bismarck Sea
Bombing of Wewak
Bombing of Rabaul (November 1943)
Battle of Ormoc Bay
Decorations World War II Victory Medal ribbon.svg Asiatic-Pacific Campaign ribbon.svg
Presidential Unit Citation ribbon.svg

The 38th Bombardment Group is an inactive unit of the United States Air Force. It was most recently assigned as the operational (flying) component of the 38th Bombardment Wing, stationed at Laon-Couvron Air Base, France, where it was inactivated on 8 December 1957.

During World War II the 38th Bomb Group was a medium bombardment group and one of the first combat organizations of the United States Army Air Forces to be deployed to the Pacific Theater. Elements took part in the June 1942 Battle of Midway using the Martin B-26 Marauder medium bomber. The remainder of the group operated in the Southwest Pacific Area (SWPA) as a B-25 Mitchell unit assigned to Fifth Air Force and was re-organized in 1943 into a standardized unit. The group was awarded four Distinguished Unit Citations for its combat service in Papua (Buna and Gona, 23 Jul 42 to 23 Jan 43); New Britain (Cape Gloucester, 24-26 Dec 43); New Guinea (Jefman-Samate-Sorong, 16-17 Jun 44); and Leyte (Ormoc Bay, 10 Nov 44). It also received recognition from the government of the Philippines with an award of the Philippine Presidential Unit Citation.

During the early years of the Cold War, the unit operated in France as a NATO tactical bombardment group flying Martin B-57B Canberras. The group formed the "Black Knights" aerial demonstration team that performed at several air shows in Western Europe, including the 1957 Paris Air Show. The Black Knights were the only tactical bomber show team in the world.



For additional history and lineage, see 38th Combat Support Wing


  • Constituted as 38th Bombardment Group (Medium) on 20 Nov 1940
Activated on 15 Jan 1941
Inactivated in the Far East on 1 Apr 1949.
  • Activated in France on 1 Jan 1953
Redesignated 38th Bombardment Group (Tactical) on 1 Oct 1955
Inactivated on 8 Dec 1957


Air Echelon remained attached to III Bomber Command, 18 Jan-1 May 1942
Ground Echelon assigned to United States Army Forces in Australia, 18 Jan-25 Feb 1942
Ground Echelon assigned to Allied Air Forces, Southwest Pacific Area, 1 Apr 1942
Air Echelon attached to VII Fighter Command, 1 May-1 Aug 1942



two squadrons operated from Hickam Field, Hawaii (Territory) until mid June 1942, then from New Caledonia

*Group ground echelons only, no aircraft or crews



World War II

Creation, training, and overseas movement


The 38th Bombardment Group (Medium) was constituted on 20 November 1940 by War Department General Order AG 320.2, and activated on 15 January 1941 at Langley Army Air Base, Virginia, by the 2nd Wing, GHQ Air Force. Its original cadre consisted of seven officers and 112 enlisted men transferred from the 22d Bombardment Group to administratively organize the group. Its original assigned flying squadrons were the 69th, 70th and 71st Bomb Squadrons, with the 15th Reconnaissance Squadron activated at the same time and attached.[1]

In the first week of June 1941 the group transferred to Jackson Army Air Base, Mississippi to receive an influx of personnel just graduated from technical schools and to train a large levy of drafted enlisted men, mostly from Pennsylvania, fresh out of basic training. The first combat crews joined the group on September 2, consisting of 30 newly-commissioned pilots of Randolph Field Pilot Training Class 41-F, who began group training in seven B-18s and two PT-13 Kaydets. The next month the group began receiving new B-26 Marauders, and by 1 December 1941 each bomb squadron had 13 assigned.[1] The first loss of an aircraft was 69th BS B-26 40-1472 in a landing accident at Jackson AAB, with all six crewmen killed, on 21 December 1941.

Martin B-26 Marauder

The German U-boat threat to Allied shipping earmarked the group for assignment to anti-submarine warfare patrols from a base in South America. Orders were cut to transfer the group to Savannah AAB, Georgia, as the first step in the process, but were rescinded when the United States was drawn into the war on December 7, 1941. Instead the group remained at Jackson until January 18 when its ground echelon entrained for movement to a port of embarkation at San Francisco, California, where it was quartered in the Cow Palace.[1]

On January 29 the ground echelon boarded the Army transport USAT Tasker H. Bliss, formerly the Dollar Liner SS President Cleveland. The Bliss left in convoy from San Francisco on the 31st and arrived at Brisbane, Australia on 25 February 1942. On that date the 15th Reconnaissance Squadron was assigned as the group's fourth squadron, and re-designated the 405th Bomb Squadron on 22 April 1942.[1]

The ground personnel of the group were employed as service and construction troops, working at various bases until assignment to Charters Towers on August 2. The advance party, however, found that the 3rd Bomb Group and its A-20 Havocs occupied all the desirable space and established a camp at Breddan on August 7. The 71st BS moved to Batchelor Field, Darwin, on May 1 to act as a service squadron for the 19th Bomb Group, which had been compelled to evacuate its B-17s from the Philippines by Japanese advances. On August 12 the ground echelon of the 71st BS rejoined the group at Breddan.[2]

The air echelon did not accompany the sea movement and was quartered at Fort McDowell, California, until April 6, when it moved by train to Patterson Field,Ohio, to continue B-26 training. On May 8-7, the 69th and 70th BS flew their B-26s to California for movement to Hawaii, while the 71st and 405th began receiving B-25 Mitchell bombers for training. The 71st moved to MacDill AAB where it traded its experienced B-26 crews with those of the 21st Bomb Group (a unit converting to B-26s), which were entirely pilots from Shafter Field Pilot Training Class 42-E, and had graduated on May 21. The 405th flew to Barksdale Field, Louisiana, to do the same with the 17th Bomb Group, which was converting to B-26s because a large portion of its B-25s had been lost on the Doolittle Raid. These novice pilots and crews became the core of the group's combat crews for the next 15 months.[2][3]

69th and 70th Bomb Squadrons

B-26 crew at Midway Island

On May l9th the first flight of three B-26 Marauders left Hamilton Field, for Hawaii. From May 22 to June 10 the 69th and 70th Bomb Squadrons ferried 26 Marauders to Hickam Field without a single mishap.

Two aircraft of the 69th Bomb Squadron in Hawaii took part in the Battle of Midway as part of Seventh Air Force. Along with two B-26s of the 18th Reconnaissance Squadron, they were modified to each carry a Mark 13 torpedo and took off on June 4, 1942 from Midway's airfield in an attempt to attack Japanese aircraft carriers. The torpedo runs began at 800 feet altitude, the B-26s then dropping down to only ten feet above the water under heavy attack from Japanese fighters. Two Marauders were lost in the attack, including one from the 69th BS, and the other two were heavily damaged. No hits were made on the carriers.[4]

On June 13 the 69th received orders to proceed to New Caledonia. The 69th Bombardment Squadron at New Caledonia was the first medium bombardment squadron in the South Pacific, and along with the 70th Bombardment Squadron, which arrived at Fiji one week later, was the sole air striking force available for use against the Japanese fleet in the South Pacific. Flying combat missions detached from the 38th Bomb Group throughout 1942, on March 22, 1943, the 69th and 70th squadrons were reassigned with their B-26 Marauders to the 42nd Bombardment Group.

While overseas, neither the 69th nor 70th Squadrons were based with the remainder of the 38th BG until June 1945 when the 38th BG was attached to the 42nd BG on Palawan.

71st and 405th Bomb Squadrons

Tokyo Sleeper, an original 405th BS B-25C, at Durand Airfield
B-25 engaged in "mast head" bombing in New Guinea.

The two B-25 squadrons picked up 37 new B-25C and B-25D aircraft[5] at McClellan Field, California, on 28 July 1942, flew them to Hamilton Field, and began movement to Hawaii in early August.[6] They continued on from Hickam Field to Breddan via Christmas Island, Canton Island, Fiji, and New Caledonia. During the ferry operation, five bombers of the 405th BS became lost over New South Wales on August 14 when they ran out of fuel after a navigation error trying to find Amberley, Queensland. One was abandoned near Lismore, one crash-landed at Casino, and two others crash-landed at Grafton. The fifth managed to land safely at Evans Head. One crewman was killed when he left his aircraft without a parachute as it was landing. All of the crash-landed aircraft were eventually written off.[6]

All aircraft of 71st BS arrived by August 14 and those of the 405th by August 21. The remaining 33 bombers of the group were in place at Breddan by August 25, and the two squadrons began flying training missions from Charters Towers on August 29.[2][7] The group was assigned to the newly activated V Bomber Command, Fifth Air Force and operated in that command to October 1944, attacking Japanese airfields, shipping, and ground forces in New Guinea and the Bismarck Archipelago.[8]

On September 9-10, in preparation for starting operations, a forward echelon moved to Horn Island Aerodrome. 12 Mitchells flew the first combat mission on 15 September 1942, staging through Port Moresby, to bomb and strafe Japanese Army positions and an airfield near Buna, New Guinea. On September 28 the forward echelon displaced to Laloki airfield, New Guinea, where it continued reconnaissance and occasional bombing missions, while the remainder of the group moved up to Townsville. The 38th BG experienced its first combat loss when fighters shot down a B-25 attacking a convoy off Buna on October 5.[2]

The group had been without a commanding officer for nearly six months,[9] and on November 6 Lt. Col. Brian O'Neill, commander of the 22nd BG's 408th Bomb Squadron at Reid River Airfield in Australia, transferred to the 38th BG and took command of the group. O'Neill remained in command for the next year, until a freak ground accident caused him to be transferred for medical treatment in October 1943.[10][11]

During the month of November, the group operated from Rorona airstrip, flying a limited number of missions, while the ground echelon completed its move to New Guinea by sea. On November 26 it moved into another of Moresby's airfield complex, Durand Airfield ("17 Mile Drome"), from which it would operate for fifteen months. The group participated in the Battle of the Bismarck Sea on 3 March 1943, with the 405th BS engaging in an early example of "mast head" (skip) bombing.[12][13]

The successful use of several field-modified strafers at the Bismarck Sea led to the modification at the 4th Air Depot in Townsville of all B-25C and D models, including replacements, to the B-25C-1 (405th BS) and B-25D-1 (71st BS) strafer configuration in which the nose compartment was enclosed with sheet metal and eight forward-firing machine guns were mounted in the nose and on the fuselage side below the cockpit in blister packs. The lower turret was also removed and replaced by a 150-gallon fuel tank mounted on bomb racks that allowed it to be jettisoned once fuel was transferred. The 405th made low level strafing attacks its standard operating procedure in March 1943, while the 71st BS commenced such missions in May. The modification process and training needs released the group from most combat operations between April and July.[14]

B-25s attacking Dagua Airdrome, New Guinea, in 1943.

Major Ralph Cheli (pronounced "Kelly")[15] was awarded the Medal of Honor leading a mission on the second day of the bombing of Wewak on 18 August 1943. Assigned to lead both the group and the 405th BS in an attack on heavily defended Dagua Airdrome, his C-1 strafer was severely hit by enemy fire while at 150 feet. Cheli remained in formation and led the attack before crash-landing his bomber into the sea. Initially he was believed killed in the crash, but post war evidence indicates that he survived the crash but was executed in March 1944 by the Japanese while a POW on Rabaul. For his actions, he was awarded the Medal of Honor. What are believed to be Major Cheli's and other similarly executed POWs remains are now interred at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in St. Louis, Missouri.[14][16]

Two weeks later, on September 2, sixteen strafers attacked shipping reported in Wewak harbor. Attacking in eight two-plane elements with two 1000-pound bombs each, the Mitchells came in just over the crests of low ridges to the south, into a barrage of intense antiaircraft fire at their altitude. 10 to 15 Japanese fighters eluded the P-38 top cover by circling under a 5000-foot ceiling, then attacked the bomber formation vertically and from the rear for 25 minutes. One bomber of the 405th BS was shot up as it released its bombs, then ditched in the bay. A second was pursued after bombing and cartwheeled into the Bismarck Sea when hit by fighter attacks. A third was shot down during the attacks of the 71st BS when it "snap rolled" at wavetop height and crashed inverted into the bay. The crews of all three aircraft were killed. Despite the losses, small barrage balloons anchored to each ship, and a number of overshoots of the bombs, the attack succeeded in hitting several of the vessels.[17]

822nd and 823rd Bomb Squadrons

The 822nd and 823rd Bomb Squadrons were constituted and assigned to the 38th BG on 20 April 1943 to bring the group to a full strength of four squadrons. Both squadrons were raised in New Guinea using a cadre from the 38th BG to provide group training to a pool of incoming ground personnel, and later to new pilots. The ground personnel landed at Port Moresby on 23 June 1943 after a month at sea, while the air crews trained at Charters Towers until October 1943. 38 new B-25G aircraft began field modifications at Townsville on September 24 and were flown by their crews to Durand on October 9 and 10. The new squadrons flew their first combat mission on 15 October 1943.[10]

B-25G. The 75mm cannon is mounted on the underside of the nose area on the pilot's side.

The 822nd and 823rd BS field-tested the cannon-mounted B-25G bombers, and from November 19 to December 25 they were employed over the northwest coastal areas of New Britain against barge traffic between New Guinea and New Britain. The B-25G underwent a thorough combat testing during the period, firing 1,253 rounds of 75 mm ammunition.[18] Five were lost in the first month of combat and a dozen by May 1944. The losses were initially replaced by five B-25Hs, but Fifth Air Force did not prefer this model, and soon after losses were replaced by strafer configured B-25Ds. In early February 1944 the G models began depot conversion to the "B-25G-1" configuration, replacing the cannon with two .50 caliber machine guns.[19] The surviving G-1 models were transferred in September 1944 to the 41st Bomb Group after new B-25Js were received.

The two veteran squadrons engaged in a series of large strikes mounted by Fifth Air Force against Rabaul in the latter half of October, attempting to neutralize the Japanese base before Allied landings on Bougainville, scheduled for November 1. On November 2, the 71st and 405th BS were part of a force of nine understrength squadrons of B-25s and six of P-38 Lightning fighters that attacked Simpson Harbor to cover the landings. In its strafing attack on shipping, the 38th lost three B-25s to antiaircraft fire from numerous Japanese naval vessels in the harbor.[10][20]

After the neutralization of Rabaul, the group attacked airfields on New Britain in preparation for the landing of the U.S. Marines on Cape Gloucester, then shifted on December 19 to bombing of defense positions. On D-Day, December 26, all four squadrons of the group laid smoke screens and strafed the beaches at low altitude, for which the group was awarded its second Distinguished Unit Citation. In January 1944 the group began staging its missions through Dobodura. On 15 February 1944 the group attacked Japanese shipping in Kavieng harbor, where a 71st B-25 was forced to ditch after being set aflame by antiaircraft fire during its bomb run. The three survivors of the crew were among fifteen rescued by U.S. Navy PBY Catalina pilot Lt. J.G. Nathan G. Gordon, who received the Medal of Honor for the exploit. On March 4 the 38th BG moved to a new permanent station at Nadzab Field.[12]

To the Philippines and Okinawa

The group experienced significant non-combat losses of aircraft to New Guinea's volatile climate and rugged terrain.[21] On 16 April 1944, 24 bombers took off to bomb Hollandia, with two returning to base with engine problems. The remaining 22 bombed their targets without opposition by the Japanese, but on the return flight encountered a massive storm front. Unable to penetrate the front, the squadron formations dispersed at the coast, with eight planes landing safely at Cape Gloucester and three others at Finschhafen. The other 11 attempted to land at Saidor, but two were severely damaged and four wrecked in crashes or runway collisions with other aircraft. Four airmen were killed. In all the weather front on "Black Sunday" claimed 37 USAAF aircraft lost or destroyed, the biggest weather loss in the history of the United States Air Force.[22]

71st Bomb Squadron B-25Js in the South Pacific, 1944.

While based at Nadzab, the group increasingly used forward strips from which to stage missions, including Hollandia, Wakde, and Borokoe Airfield on Biak. On June 16 it led an attack by two groups on Samate and Jefman Dromes at the extreme western tip of New Guinea. The 670-mile mission, the longest to date by medium bombers in the SWPA, required staging through Hollandia and Wakde airfields and the use of 215-gallon fuel tanks mounted in the bomb bays to extend the range. Strafing and parachute bombing more then forty Japanese aircraft on the fields, in two waves of 11 aircraft abreast, the lead bombers of the 38th claimed five Japanese aircraft shot down attempting to take off and intercept, and four others that evaded the P-38 escort and attempted to bomb the group using white phosphorus aerial-bursting bombs. One mission report stated: "Col. (Donald P.) Hall led the formation so low over the drome that plane number 233, piloted by Lieutenant Breneman, was forced to pull up to strafe the operations tower." The next day the group returned to attack shipping it had observed in Sorong harbor during the mission against the airdromes. The missions earned the group its third DUC.[23]

During August 1944 the group was taken off operations while it trained fresh crews in formation flying, practiced bombing, and exchanged its B-25G and C-1/D-1 models for B-25J aircraft. Veteran crews continued to fly some missions with their sister group in the wing, the 345th Bomb Group. The 823rd BS was the first to become operational with the J, followed soon after by the 405th. The two squadrons flew the group's first combat mission using the B-25J on 5 September 1944.[24][25] The 38th BG supported the Allied landings on Morotai on the mornings of 15 and 16 September 1944 by conducting low level missions to spray the vegetation-overgrown Pitoe Airfield, located just behind Red Beach, with DDT. 19 of 21 planned sorties were completed, spraying 3,000 gallons of the pesticide-oil mixture as an anti-malarial measure, followed by 2,400 more gallons on September 29.[26] On October 15 the group moved into Pitoe's new dual-strip airfield to support the Allied invasion of Leyte by bombing airfields, ground installations, harbors, and shipping in the southern Philippines.

On November 10 the 38th BG was alerted to attack a large Japanese convoy in Ormoc Bay attempting to land reinforcements. The convoy consisted of two large transports and several smaller merchant vessels, escorted by numerous destroyers and other armed surface craft. 32 bombers of the group took off from Morotai at 0800, with two returning for mechanical problems, and picked up its escort of 37 P-47 Thunderbolts of the 35th Fighter Group. At 1135 the the convoy was sighted, and the group circled to make its approach from the land side. It attacked at 150 feet in two-plane elements into intense and effective antiaircraft fire from the Japanese naval vessels. In just seven minutes of combat, five of the lead 822nd Squadron's eight bombers were shot down, including the group leader, as were two of the 823rd BS, last over the convoy. The group, which was awarded its fourth Distinguished Unit Citation for the mission, suffered its greatest loss: seven bombers, three complete crews, and 21 dead or missing. Whiles its claims were exaggerrated in both tonnage and numbers of vessels sunk, serious damage was inflicted on the convoy.[27]

The group moved forward to Lingayan Field on Luzon on 30 January 1945 and in the first week of February provided on-call close air support to US ground forces, directed by P-40 Warhawks of the 71st Reconnaissance Group acting as forward air controllers. On February 2, it coordinated with SBD dive bombers of Marine Aircraft Group 24 in bombing Japanese positions defending Umingan against attacks by the U.S. 25th Division, then supported the 1st Cavalry Division as it moved into Manila. The mediums then began a campaign against industries and airfields on Formosa, and attacked shipping along the southeast China coast. Tactics evolved in which 36-aircraft formations bombed from medium altitudes, and massive strafing attacks, such as the attack on the Imperial Japanese Navy airfield at Taichū (台中), Formosa, on 2 March 1945, involved four waves of B-25Js nine abreast.[28] The March 2 raid illustrates the scope of medium bomber operations in the Western Pacific in 1945: two targets each bombed by a group,[29] a total of 72 B-25s, an escort force of 24 P-51 Mustang fighters, and 2 PBY Catalinas on station for rescue operations.[30] On March 20, the group attacked a small convoy of warships escorting a large freighter near Amoy, China. Flying abreast in four attack waves totalling 22 Mitchells, each squadron lost a bomber in the brief but vicious combat, with two going down in the target area and two others crash-landing in emergency landings at Fourteenth Air Force fields on the Chinese mainland.

On May 13, after evaluating two months of strikes against Formosan targets, group commander Lt. Col. Edwin H. Hawes conceived a sustained campaign to eradicate all Japanese sugar mill/ethanol refineries on Formosa. He formed specially-designated two-crew teams from each squadron, each team selecting and bombing a target every fourth day, to provide daily pressure on the industry. The group became known as the "Alcohol Busters".[31]

On 21 June 1945 half of the air echelon of 38th BG (30 B-25s) was sent on short notice to Puerta Princesa Airfield, Palawan, where it was attached to the 42nd Bomb Group of the Thirteenth Air Force to form a nine-squadron wing. For the remainder of June it conducted preinvasion low altitude bombing of Japanese installations at Balikpapan, Borneo. Its first mission on June 22 consisted of 54 Mitchells flying 18 abreast in three waves, strafing and dropping air-fused napalm bombs. On the mission of June 29, the group was forced to attack through the exploding bursts of bombs dropped by B-24s flying at a higher altitude, losing one B-25.[32]

After its return to Lingayen, it conducted training missions until an advanced party flew to Okinawa on July 14 to prepare for the transfer of the group to Yontan Airfield. The ground echelon boarded LSTs on July 26 and moved to Subic Bay, where it remained until the end of the month. It reached Yontan by sea on August 8. The air echelon flew to Yontan on July 25 and began attacks on industries, railways, and shipping in southern Japan and both coasts of Korea. Japanese home defenses proved effective and seven B-25s were lost in combat between July 26 and August 10, with only one crewman surviving.[33]

38th BG B-25 losses
95 B-25's lost in combat
41 B-25's lost in non-combat accidents
1 B-25 destroyed on ground
442 Air crew killed or missing in action
All figures from Official History

On the morning of 9 August 1945, ten B-25Js led by Col. Hawes attacked the Japanese aircraft carrier Kaiyo (海鷹), beached in Beppu Bay on Kyushu. Flying three abreast at low level through a thick haze, six of the ten aircraft struck the carrier with five 1000-pound delayed-action demolition bombs. Hawes and his crew were killed when a wingtip of their bomber struck first a tree, then the ship itself, while he manuevered to line up with the vessel, although the bomber released its bombs before crashing beside the ship. Hawes' Mitchell was the last lost by the group during World War II. [33][34]

The 38th Bomb Group flew its final combat mission on 13 August 1945, searching for shipping off the east coast of Korea, and the next morning moved its 54 operational bombers back to Morotai to make room for aircraft supporting the incipient occupation. In November it moved to Japan as part of the Far East Air Forces occupation force. Redesignated the 38th Bombardment Group (Light) in May 1946, it was reassigned to the 315th Air Division and equipped with Douglas A-26 Invader aircraft.

United States Air Force

Douglas B-26C Invader of the 822nd Bomb Squadron
Martin B-57B of the 71st Bomb Squadron, 1957.

In September 1947 the 38th Bomb Group became part of the now independent United States Air Force. Under the reorganization of the Air Force wing plan, it was made the combat component of the newly-activated 38th Bombardment Wing (Light) on 18 August 1948. It assisted in the air defense of Japan and participated in tactical exercises from August 1948 – March 1949. The 38th Bombardment Group was inactivated in the Far East on 1 April 1949.

The group was reactivated on 1 January 1953 as the 38th Bombardment Group (Tactical), again a subordinate component of the 38th Bomb Wing, now part of United States Air Forces in Europe, and based at Laon-Couvron Air Base, France. The group absorbed the assets and personnel of the 126th Bomb Group, an Illinois Air National Guard unit that was inactivated and returned to state control. The 38th's squadrons were designated the 71st, 405th, and 822nd Bomb Squadrons.

The group flew the Douglas B-26 Invader until April 1955, when it converted to the B-57 Canberra. A total of forty-nine B-57B and eight 2-seat B-57C models were deployed to Laon. The mission of the B-57 was all-weather interdiction, but it was also nuclear weapons-capable and provided a nuclear deterrence. The aircraft at Laon were painted a gloss black. Using five B-57's, the 38th BG formed its own aerial demonstration team called the Black Knights. They performed at air shows around Western Europe, including the 1957 Paris Air Show. The Black Knights were the only tactical bomber show team in the world.

In 1958, French President Charles de Gaulle announced that all NATO nuclear weapons and delivery aircraft had to be removed from French soil by July 1958. Since the parent wing was nuclear capable by NATO policy, it was ordered to depart France. The 38th BG was inactivated at Laon on 8 Dec 1957 and its three squadrons assigned directly to the wing while aircraft and personnel were transferred to other units. The wing then moved on 18 June 1958 to Hahn Air Base, Germany, where it was redesignated a tactical missile wing using the TM-61 Matador.

Honors and campaigns


Streamer PUC Army.PNG

Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Distinguished Unit Citation, World War II
Papua, September 1942—23 January 1943
New Britain, 24-26 December 1943
New Guinea, 16-17 June 1944
Leyte, 10 November 1944

Streamer PPUC.PNG

Philippine Presidential Unit Citation
Liberation of the Philippine Islands


Streamer for Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal

Silver star
Silver star
Air Combat, Asiatic-Pacific Theater
Air Offensive, Japan
China Defensive
New Guinea
Bismarck Archipelago
Western Pacific
Southern Philippines
China Offensive

See also


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

  1. ^ a b c d "Official History of the 38th Bomb Group (M), Jan 1941-March 1944". 38th Bomb Group Association. 1945. http://www.sunsetters38bg.com/index.php/The-OFFICIAL-History-of-the-38th-Bomb-Group/View-category/Page-2.html?dir=ASC&limit=10&limitstart=0&order=name. Retrieved 13 Feb 2010.  Part 001 download.
  2. ^ a b c d "Official History of the 38th Bomb Group (M), Jan 1941-March 1944". 38th Bomb Group Association. 1945. http://www.sunsetters38bg.com/index.php/The-OFFICIAL-History-of-the-38th-Bomb-Group/View-category/Page-2.html?dir=ASC&limit=10&limitstart=0&order=name. Retrieved 13 Feb 2010.  Part 002 download.
  3. ^ At least one anecdotal narrative by a 38th combat veteran recalled that, in addition to the inter-group crew swaps described in the 38th's official history, the B-26 crews of the 69th/70th were "swapped" internally with the B-26 crews of the 71st/405th just prior to the May 7 detachment of those squadrons from the group. The designated commander of the 38th's air echelon, 405th BS commander Lt. Col. Millard Lewis, was detached at Barksdale to command the 335th Bombardment Group, a new B-26 training group.
  4. ^ Kernan, Alvin (2005). The Unknown Bombers of Midway: The Destruction of the American Torpedo Squadrons. Yale University press. ISBN 978-0-300-12264-0, p. 147.
  5. ^ The types were identical. The differing designations denoted their place of manufacture: Inglewood, California (C) and Kansas City, Kansas (D).
  6. ^ a b Bender, Capt. Earl W. (38 BG Statistical Control Officer); W. J. English (38 BG Assn) (2008). "Original 37 planes". 38th Bomb Group Association. http://www.sunsetters38bg.com/index.php/Articles/ORIGINAL-37-PLANES.html. Retrieved 19 Feb 2010. 
  7. ^ The standard medium bombardment group had four squadrons and 63 aircraft in 1942-43.
  8. ^ Of the original 37 bombers, five were transferred to other units. Seven were lost in combat, fourteen to non-combat accidents, and seven retired from combat by March 1, 1944, as administrative aircraft ("hacks"). Only four continued flying combat after that date, and all retired before June.
  9. ^ When the air echelon was broken up in May 1942, group commander Lt. Col. Fay Upthegrove (in Australia) returned to the United States and was assigned command of the 99th Bombardment Group. The 38th BG was under the acting command of its executive officer, Lt. Col. Theodore C. Castle, until Col. Brian O'Neill took command.
  10. ^ a b c "Official History of the 38th Bomb Group (M), Jan 1941-March 1944". 38th Bomb Group Association. 1945. http://www.sunsetters38bg.com/index.php/The-OFFICIAL-History-of-the-38th-Bomb-Group/View-category/Page-2.html?dir=ASC&limit=10&limitstart=0&order=name. Retrieved 13 Feb 2010.  Part 006 download.
  11. ^ Per the group history, O'Neill, known as "Shanty" O'Neill, had a late night fondness for powdered cheese, which he would scoop from a container kept in the headquarters squadron mess. New cooks, unaware of his habit and without changing the storage location, used the container to store lye, which O'Neill nearly ingested and which caused severe chemical burns to his mouth. When infection set it, he was sent to Australia for hospitalization. O'Neill returned to Fifth Air Force as a staff officer with the 308th Bomb Wing, the next higher administrative echelon for the 38th BG.
  12. ^ a b "Official History of the 38th Bomb Group (M), Jan 1941-March 1944". 38th Bomb Group Association. 1945. http://www.sunsetters38bg.com/index.php/The-OFFICIAL-History-of-the-38th-Bomb-Group/View-category/Page-2.html?dir=ASC&limit=10&limitstart=0&order=name. Retrieved 13 Feb 2010.  Part 003 download.
  13. ^ O'Neill flew the morning mission in the lead aircraft of the 405th with Ralph Cheli, and the afternoon mission in the lead aircraft of the 71st BS, earning the Distinguished Service Cross.
  14. ^ a b "Official History of the 38th Bomb Group (M), Jan 1941-March 1944". 38th Bomb Group Association. 1945. http://www.sunsetters38bg.com/index.php/The-OFFICIAL-History-of-the-38th-Bomb-Group/View-category/Page-2.html?dir=ASC&limit=10&limitstart=0&order=name. Retrieved 13 Feb 2010.  Part 004 download.
  15. ^ "Army & Navy—Heroes: Pronounced Kelly". TIME Magazine (Sept 6). 1943. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,802977,00.html. Retrieved 23 Feb 2010. 
  16. ^ Of the three crews shot down in August 1943, all but one of the twelve survivors captured are believed to have been executed by their captors.
  17. ^ "Official History of the 38th Bomb Group (M), Jan 1941-March 1944". 38th Bomb Group Association. 1945. http://www.sunsetters38bg.com/index.php/The-OFFICIAL-History-of-the-38th-Bomb-Group/View-category/Page-2.html?dir=ASC&limit=10&limitstart=0&order=name. Retrieved 13 Feb 2010.  Part 005 download.
  18. ^ Mortensen, Bernhardt L. (1953). "Chapter 10: Rabaul and Cape Gloucester". Hyper-War Foundation. http://www.ibiblio.net/hyperwar/AAF/IV/AAF-IV-10.html. Retrieved 19 Feb 2010.  The Army Air Forces in World War II: Vol. IV The Pacific: Guadalcanal to Saipan August 1942 to July 1944, p. 333.
  19. ^ "Official History of the 38th Bomb Group (M), Jan 1941-March 1944". 38th Bomb Group Association. 1945. http://www.sunsetters38bg.com/index.php/The-OFFICIAL-History-of-the-38th-Bomb-Group/View-category/Page-2.html?dir=ASC&limit=10&limitstart=40&order=name. Retrieved 13 Feb 2010.  Part 046 download.
  20. ^ The Fifth Air Force lost eight B-25s and nine P-38s at Rabaul on "Bloody Tuesday".
  21. ^ One of the first crews lost on a combat mission fell to this deadly combination and were not recovered until more than 60 years after the crash. The 405th BS crew of B-25C 41-12907, nicknamed The Happy Legend, crashed into a mountainside in heavy cloud during a mission on December 5, 1942. Although the wreckage was located within weeks, the site remained inaccessible until 2002, and because live bombs were still in the wreckage, the remains of two crewmen could not be recovered until 2006. On November 17, 2009, one of the crewmembers and the personal effects of the remainder were buried in separate coffins at Arlington National Cemetery. "World War II Bomber Crew Buried", AIR FORCE Magazine, February 2010, Vol. 93 No. 2, p. 18.
  22. ^ Claringbould, Michael John (1995). Black Sunday: When the U.S. Fifth Air Force Lost to New Guinea Weather. Kingston, Australia:Aerothentic Publishing, ISBN 0646232088, Appendix II.
  23. ^ "Official History of the 38th Bomb Group (M), Jan 1941-March 1944". 38th Bomb Group Association. 1945. http://www.sunsetters38bg.com/index.php/The-OFFICIAL-History-of-the-38th-Bomb-Group/View-category/Page-2.html?dir=ASC&limit=10&limitstart=60&order=name. Retrieved 9 Mar 2010.  Part 068 download.
  24. ^ "Official History of the 38th Bomb Group (M), Jan 1941-March 1944". 38th Bomb Group Association. 1945. http://www.sunsetters38bg.com/index.php/The-OFFICIAL-History-of-the-38th-Bomb-Group/View-category/Page-2.html?dir=ASC&limit=10&limitstart=70&order=name. Retrieved 8 Mar 2010.  Part 078 download.
  25. ^ Several B-25G-1s remained with the 71st and 823rd BS and saw combat on "maximum effort" missions as late as December 6, 1944.
  26. ^ "Official History of the 38th Bomb Group (M), Jan 1941-March 1944". 38th Bomb Group Association. 1945. http://www.sunsetters38bg.com/index.php/The-OFFICIAL-History-of-the-38th-Bomb-Group/View-category/Page-2.html?dir=ASC&limit=10&limitstart=80&order=name. Retrieved 8 Mar 2010.  Part 081 download.
  27. ^ "Official History of the 38th Bomb Group (M), Jan 1941-March 1944". 38th Bomb group Association. 1945. http://www.sunsetters38bg.com/index.php/The-OFFICIAL-History-of-the-38th-Bomb-Group/View-category/Page-2.html?dir=ASC&limit=10&limitstart=80&order=name. Retrieved 13 Feb 2010.  Part 089 download.
  28. ^ The 34 B-25Js that reached the target expended 104,985 rounds of .50 caliber ammunition.
  29. ^ The lead 345th Bomb Group bombed Toyohara Airdrome to the north to split the defenses.
  30. ^ "Official History of the 38th Bomb Group (M), Jan 1941-March 1944". 38th Bomb Group Association. 1945. http://www.sunsetters38bg.com/index.php/The-OFFICIAL-History-of-the-38th-Bomb-Group/View-category/Page-2.html?dir=ASC&limit=10&limitstart=110&order=name. Retrieved 13 Feb 2010.  Part 110 download.
  31. ^ Aircraft Movement Sheet for mission 158-C-8, 405th Bomb Squadron, of May 28 is the first specific use of the term in official documents. 38th Bomb Group Association Documents Download 133.
  32. ^ "Official History of the 38th Bomb Group (M)". 38th Bomb Group Association. http://www.sunsetters38bg.com/index.php/The-OFFICIAL-History-of-the-38th-Bomb-Group/View-category/Page-2.html?dir=ASC&limit=10&limitstart=150&order=name. Retrieved 12 Feb 2010. , Documents Download: Part 142. The 42nd BG and all five of its squadrons received a DUC for this campaign, but the attached squadrons of the 38th did not.
  33. ^ a b "Official History of the 38th Bomb Group (M)". 38th Bomb Group Association. http://www.sunsetters38bg.com/index.php/The-OFFICIAL-History-of-the-38th-Bomb-Group/View-category/Page-2.html?dir=ASC&limit=10&limitstart=150&order=name. Retrieved 12 Feb 2010. , Documents Download: Part 151.
  34. ^ This mission encountered severe haze conditions which the group history speculated might have been part of the atomic cloud of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki that morning. However the time over target for the lead squadron was more than an hour before the Nagasaki detonation.
  • Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0892010924.
  • McAuliffe, Jerome J. (2005). US Air Force in France 1950–1967. San Diego, California: Milspec Press,Chapter 13, Laon-Couvron Air Base. ISBN 0-9770371-1-8.
  • History of the 69th Bomb Squadron

External links


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