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489th Bombardment Group: Wikis


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489th Bombardment Group
489th Bombardment Group Insignia
Active 1943–1945
Country United States
Branch United States Army Air Forces
Role Bombardment
Part of Eighth Air Force

The 489th Bombardment Group is an inactive United States Army Air Force unit. Its last assignment was to the IV Bomber Command, stationed at Drew Field, Florida. It was inactivated on 7 November 1945.

During World War II, the group was an Eighth Air Force B-24 Liberator unit in England. Assigned to RAF Halesworth in early 1944.

Lieutenant Colonel Leon R. Vance was awarded the Medal of Honor for his bravery and actions on the day before D-Day, 5 June 1944 over Wimereux, France. It was the only Medal of Honor awarded to a B-24 crewman for an action flown from England.

Enid Air Force Base, Enid, Oklahoma was re-named Vance Air Force Base in memory of Col. Vance on 9 July 1949.





  • Constituted as: 489th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 14 Sep 1943
Activated on 1 Oct 1943
Redesignated as: 489th Bombardment Group (Very Heavy) in Mar 1945
Inactivated on 17 Oct 1945



  • 844th Bombardment Squadron (4R), 1 Oct 1943-17 Oct 1945
  • 845th Bombardment Squadron (T4), 1 Oct 1943-17 Oct 1945
  • 846th Bombardment Squadron (8R), 1 Oct 1943-17 Oct 1945
  • 847th Bombardment Squadron (S4) 13 Oct 1943-28 Mar 1945




Ford B-24H-20-FO Liberator Serial 42-94860 of the 846th Bomb Squadron.

Constituted as 489th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 14 September 1943. Activated on 1 October 1943. Trained with B-24's. Completed unit formation and training of the Group took place at this base. Left Wendover on 3 April 1944. The aircraft flew to the UK via the southern ferry route. The ground unit sailed from Boston on USS Wakefield on 13 April 1944. Moved to RAF Halesworth, England, April–May 1944, and assigned to Eighth Air Force. The group was assigned to the 20th Combat Bombardment Wing and the group tail code was a "Circle-W".

The group entered combat on 30 May 1944, and during the next few days concentrated on targets in France in preparation for the Normandy invasion.

In an attack against coastal defenses near Wimereaux on 5 June 1944, the group's lead plane was seriously crippled by enemy fire, its pilot was killed, and the deputy group commander, Lt. Col. Leon R. Vance Jr., who was commanding the formation, was severely wounded; although his right foot was practically severed, Vance took control of the plane, led the group to a successful bombing of the target, and managed to fly the damaged aircraft to the coast of England, where he ordered the crew to bail out; believing a wounded man had been unable to jump, he ditched the plane in the English Channel and was rescued. For his action during this mission, Vance was awarded the Medal of Honor.

The group supported the landings in Normandy on 6 June 1944, and afterward bombed coastal defenses, airfields, bridges, railroads, and V-weapon sites in the campaign for France. Began flying missions into Germany in July, and engaged primarily in bombing strategic targets such as factories, oil refineries and storage plants, marshalling yards, and airfields in Ludwigshafen, Magdeburg, Brunswick, Saarbrücken, and other cities until November 1944.

Other operations included participating in the saturation bombing of German lines just before the breakthrough at Saint-Lô in July, dropping food to the liberated French and to Allied forces in France during August and September, and carrying food and ammunition to Holland later in September.

Selected for redeployment to the Pacific theatre and became non operational on 14 November 1944. Relieved of assignment on 29 November 1944, and returned to the US The aircraft were reassigned to depots or other units in the UK.

The 489th Bomb Group returned to Bradley AAF Connecticut in November 1944, and was shortly thereafter transferred to Lincoln AAF, Neb. to train as a B-29 Superfortress unit. Equipped with this aircraft at Great Bend AAFd, Kan in March 1945 and redesignated 489th Bombardment Group (Very Heavy)

The group was alerted for movement overseas in the summer of 1945, but with termination of hostilities with Japan ended before the group left the US. Inactivated on 17 October 1945.


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

  • Freeman, Roger A. (1978) Airfields of the Eighth: Then and Now. After the Battle ISBN 0900913096
  • Freeman, Roger A. (2001) The Mighty Eighth: The Colour Record. Cassell ISBN 0304357081
  • Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0892010924.

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