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454th Bombardment wing
454th Bombardment Wing.PNG
454th Bombardment Wng Insignia
Active 1943–1945, 1962–1969
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Role Bomber
Part of Strategic Air Command
Garrison/HQ Columbus AFB, Mississippi

The 454th Bombardment Wing is an inactive United States Air Force unit. It was last assigned to the Strategic Air Command 42d Air Division, stationed at Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi. It was inactivated on 25 July 1968.

Originally activated in 1943 as the 454th Bombardment Group as a World War II United States Army Air Forces combat organization. It served primarily in the Mediterranean, African, and The Middle East Theatres of World War II.

As part of the reserves after World War II, it was activated during the Korean War, with its personnel and equipment being sent to Japan for combat operations as a Tactical Air Command troop carrier organization. In 1962, the unit was redesignated as the 454th Bombardment Wing, Heavy, and became part of Strategic Air Command. Flying B-52 Stratofortress bombers, the 454th BW were integrated into SAC's combat forces in the Pacific and Southeast Asia. The 454th Bombardment Wing completed more than 100 missions to South Vietnam without losing a single bomber to enemy aircraft fire. The wing was inactivated in 1969 with the end of SAC operations from Columbus AFB, Mississippi.

Contents

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Lineage

  • Constituted as 454th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on May 14, 1943
Activated on June 1, 1943
Redesignated 454th Bombardment Group (Very Heavy) in August 1945
Inactivated on October 17, 1945.
  • Allotted to the reserve. Activated on April 27, 1947
Redesignated 454th Bombardment Group (Medium) in June 1949
Inactivated on June 16, 1951
  • Established as 454th Troop Carrier Wing, Medium, on May 26, 1952
Activated on June 13, 1952
Inactivated on January 1, 1953
  • Redesignated 454th Bombardment Wing, Heavy, and activated, on November 15, 1962
Organized on February 1, 1963
Inactivated on July 2, 1969.

Assignments

304th Bombardment Wing, January 25, 1944 – c. July 19, 1945
(ADC made a subordinate organization of Continental Air Command, December 1, 1948.
Reestablished as a major command on January 1, 1951)
Fourth Air Force
25 Air Defense (later, 25 Air) Division
April 27, 1947 – May 1, 1951
June 13, 1952 – January 1, 1953
May 1 – June 16, 1951
November 15, 1962 – February 1, 1963
4th Air Division, 1February 1963
42d Air Division, July 1, 1963 – July 2, 1969.

Stations

  • Columbus AFB, Mississippi, February 1, 1963 – July 2, 1969

Components

  • 81st Bombardment Squadron, 1947–1951
  • 736th Bombardment Squadron 1943–1945, 1947–1951, 1952–1953, 1963–1969
  • 454th Troop Carrier Squadron 1952–1953
  • 737th Bombardment Squadron 1943–1945, 1947–1951, 1952–1953, 1963–1969
  • 738th Bombardment Squadron 1943–1945, 1947–1951, 1952–1953, 1963–1969
  • 739th Bombardment Squadron 1943–1945, 1947–1951
  • 901st Air Refueling Squadron 1963–1969

Aircraft Flown

Operational History

World War II

454-bg.jpg
Consolidated B-24J-85-CF Liberator 44-414059, 736th Bomb Squadron. Aircraft survived the war, scrapped on November 22, 1946
North American B-24J-1-NT Liberator 42-78489 over a target. This aircraft was later lost on March 20, 1945

Constituted as 454th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on May 14, 1943. Activated on June 1, 1943 at Davis-Monthan Field, near Tucson, Arizona. Training began immediately on B-24 Liberators and the Ground Cadre was sent on July 3 to Army Air Force School of Applied Tactics, Orlando AAB, Florida. On July 15, planes were sent from Davis-Monthan to join them at Pinecastle AAF, Florida for Practical Field Training.

From their bases in Florida, the Ground Echelon was transferred on July 28, 1943 to McCook Army Air Base near McCook, Nebraska and, on August 1, the Air Echelon joined them. This was the first operational unit to use the newly constructed McCook Air Base. On September 28 the Group was reassigned to Charleston AAB, Charleston, South Carolina

On December 2, 1943 the aircrews and some key ground personnel were sent to Mitchel Field, New York on December 2, 1943 in preparation for deployment overseas. These personnel were subsequently transferred to Morrison Field, near West Palm Beach, Florida and flew the southern route to North Africa. After additional training in Tunisia, the Air Echelon joined the Ground Echelon, who had previously departed from Camp Patrick Henry by Liberty Ship, at San Giovanni AAF, west of Cerignola, Italy, being assigned to Fifteenth Air Force.

Flying from Italy, the group flew 243 missions on over 150 primary targets in Italy, Yugoslavia, Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary, Rumania, France, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Greece, and Poland. During this time, 13,389.19 tons of bombs were dropped during 7,091 sorties on enemy marshalling yards, oil refineries, bridges, installations, airdromes and rail lines.

Participated in the drive to Rome, the invasion of Southern France, and the defeat of Axis forces in northern Italy. The 454th was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation for "outstanding performance of duty in armed conflict with the enemy" as a result of their mission against the Hermann Goering Steel Works in Linz, Austria on July 25, 1944. The Group received a second Unit Citation on May 24, 1945, for similar action on the high priority Messerschmidt Aircraft Factory at Bad Voslau, Austria on April 12, 1944.

On July 8, 1945, the 454th returned to the United States and was designated 454th Bombardment Group (Very Heavy), being programmed for reassignment to Twentieth Air Force and the invasion of Japan as a B-29 group. The end of the war in August led to the group's inactivation on October 17, 1945 and allocation to the reserve.

Korean War

The 454th was reactivated on April 27, 1947 at McChord Field, Washington and redesignated the 454th Bombardment Group (Medium), as part of the reserves and equipped with B-29s. The group was reassigned in July 1949 to Spokane AFB, Washington. The 454th was ordered into active service on May 1, 1951 and assigned to Strategic Air Command. It was inactivated on June 16, 1951 after personnel and equipment were reassigned to the 98th Bombardment Wing and deployed to Yokota AB, Japan as part of Far East Air Forces.

The 454th was redesignated as 454th Troop Carrier Group (Medium) at Portland Columbia Airport, Oregon and allocated to the reserve. Again activated on June 13, 1952, it was inactivated on January 1, 1953, being replaced by the 403d Troop Carrier Wing.

Cold War

Boeing B-52F 57-0153
Boeing B-52G 60-61026

The 454th was redesignated as the 454th bombardment Wing, Heavy and activated November 15, 1962 at Columbus AFB, Mississippi, where it replaced the Strategic Air Command (SAC) 4228th Strategic Wing and received the Boeing B-52Fs flown by the 4228th SW. Conducted air refuelling operations and trained in bombardment operations.

Converted to B-52D in 1965 for Vietnam operations. Once operationally ready with the B-52D, the 454th wing headquarters, staff, tactical aircraft and crews and maintenance personnel were integrated into SAC's combat forces in the Pacific and Southeast Asia. The 454th Bombardment Wing completed more than 100 missions to South Vietnam without losing a single bomber to enemy aircraft fire. In May 1967 General Edward O. Martin assumed command of the 454th Bombardment Wing at Columbus, and one month later he led the wing on its second deployment to the Western Pacific area in support of Southeast Asia operations and returned to Columbus in December 1967. In May 1968 the 454th Wing made its third deployment to the Western Pacific area, its second under the command of General Martin.

Some upgraded B-52Cs were also transferred from the 99th Bomb Wing during 1968 – 69 and were operated as crew trainers.

As the demand for pilots to support the war in Southeast Asia increased, the number of B-52s based stateside fell because they were needed overseas. At the same time, Minuteman and Polaris missiles were taking their places in strategic deterrence, replacing much of the bomber alert force. So, after 14 years under Strategic Air Command, Columbus Air Force Base rejoined Air Training Command July 1, 1969, and resumed the mission for which it was originally activated—training pilots. The wing began phasing down for inactivation in May 1969 and ceased flying operations two days before deactivation on July 1, 1969.

References

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

  • Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air
  • Ravenstein, Charles A. (1984). Air Force Combat Wings Lineage and Honors Histories 1947–1977. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0912799129.

External links


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