17th Bombardment Group

The 17th Bombardment Group is an inactive United States Air Force unit. The group was last stationed at Hurlburt Field, Florida.

The Group is a direct successor to the 17th Pursuit Group, one of the 15 original combat air groups formed by the Army before World War II. The 17th's heritage traces back to World War I, when the 95th Aero Squadron played a key role in the St. Mihiel, Meuse-Argonne, and other Allied campaigns. These battles are symbolized by the seven pattee crosses on the 17th's shield, and it was from the 95th, together with the 34th and 73d Pursuit Squadrons, that the 17th first was formed.

The Group's aircraft and many of its aircrews took part in the 1942 Doolittle Raid on Imperial Japan came from the 17th Bombardment Group. During World War II the 17th Bomb Group was the only combat organization to fight all three of the Axis powers (Japan,Italy, and Germany) on three continents (Asia, Africa, and Europe).

17thbombgroup-emblem

History

See 17th Training Wing for associated history.

Origins

17pg-boeingp12s
Boeing P-12Bs of the 34th Pursuit Squadron.
17pg-p26peashooters
Boeing P-26A Peashooters of the 17th Pursuit Group, March Field, California.
USS Hornet flight deck April 1942
B-25Bs on USS Hornet en route to Japan.
17bg-b26marauders
Martin B-26C Marauders of the 34th Bomb Squadron returning from a mission, 1944 41-35177 in foreground.

Authorized originally as the 17th Observation Group on 18 October 1927, the unit was redesignated the 17th Pursuit Group and finally activated at March Field, California, on 15 July 1931. At March, it operated Boeing P-12 and P-26 fighter aircraft until, in 1935, it was redesignated the 17th Attack Group and acquired the Northrop A-17 attack bomber. In 1939 the unit was redesignated again, becoming the 17th Bombardment Group (Medium) and converting to the Douglas B-18 Bolo bomber.

In August and September 1941 the group was the first to be equipped with the new North American B-25 Mitchell bomber. From its training base in Pendleton, Oregon, it deployed to Jackson, Mississippi; Augusta, Georgia and March Field in the fall of 1941 to participate in large scale maneuvers with the Army Ground Forces, returning to Pendleton immediately following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

World War II

Media related to United States Army Air Forces 17th Bombardment Group at Wikimedia Commons

From Pendleton, the 17th Bombardment Group flew anti-submarine patrols off the west coast of the United States. As the first unit to operate the B-25, the 17th achieved another "first" on 24 December 1941 when one of its Mitchells, flown by 1st Lt. Everett W. Holstrom, dropped four 300-pound bombs on a Japanese submarine near the mouth of the Columbia River.

Doolittle Raid

In February 1942 the group transferred to Columbia Army Air Field in South Carolina, where it practiced short take-offs and landings for yet another "first." On the morning of 18 April 1942, some 600 miles east of Japan, the aircraft carrier Hornet launched 16 Mitchells on the highly successful Doolittle raid on Tokyo and other Japanese cities. A boost to American morale, the raid marked the first combat launch of bombers from an aircraft carrier and the first American aerial attack on the Japanese mainland. Piloting the 16th Mitchell was 1st Lt. William G. Farrow, captured and subsequently executed by the Japanese after completing his mission. Following the Doolittle raid, the group transferred to Barksdale Field, Louisiana, and began training on the Martin B-26 Marauder medium bomber.

Twelfth Air Force

In December the group transferred once more, this time to Telergma Airport, Algeria, where it participated in the North African campaign as part of Twelfth Air Force. The aircraft of the 17th Group left for Africa equipped with the Norden Bombsight, however only the leader of each flight carried the Norden, with the remainder dropping their bombs when the leader dropped. As German fighter opposition declined, the Marauder crews in the Mediterranean began removing the four package guns.

Upon the expulsion of Axis forces from North Africa in May 1943, the 17th transferred to Sedrata Airfield, Algeria, to begin air operations against Pantelleria. Five by eight miles in dimension, the Mediterranean island sheltered an important Axis airfield with hangars carved into solid rock. Its sheer cliffs would have proved a daunting obstacle to amphibious invasion but precision bombardment by the 17th secured the surrender of the island's defenders in less than a month.

As part of the Fifteenth Air Force, the group followed the Allied forces from North Africa from bases in Tunisia, Sardinia, Corsica, and France, the 17th conducted bombing missions against critical targets throughout the Mediterranean, Italy, southern France and Germany. It later returned to Twelfth Air Force in January 1944. It received a Distinguished Unit Citation for its support of the Anzio invasion and another for its outstanding performance over Schweinfurt. For operations in support of the invasion of southern France, it received the French Croix de Guerre with Palm. All told, the group conducted 624 missions and participated in 11 campaigns during the war, finally returning to the United States and inactivating in November 1945.

Korean War

With war in Korea the group was activated to replace the Air Force Reserve 452d Bombardment Group when its term of service was up in May 1952. Assigned to Far East Air Forces, being stationed at Pusan East (K-9) Air Base, South Korea, in May 1952. There, the group flew Douglas B-26 Invader light bombers on night intruder strikes along enemy supply routes. In August, the group switched to daylight formation raids, earning the Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation by the end of the war in July 1953. It flew one of the last if not the last mission of the Korean War.

Cold War

On 10 October 1954 the unit received orders to move to Miho AFB, Japan. This move was accomplished and training operations commenced from Japan. The group was to be re outfitted with Martin B-57 Canberra's, the new jet light bomber. On 26 January 1955, due to problems in the B-57 program, this decision was reversed and the unit was directed to transfer with 39 aircraft to Hurlburt Auxiliary Field, Florida. Training flights continued through January. In February, all flying except that concerned with cruise control missions was terminated. The aircraft were stripped of all armament (guns, turrets, sighting equipment and rocket racks) and fitted with 625 gallon auxiliary tanks. On 16 April the first section of 4 aircraft departed. The last section departed on 19 April. Either a B-29 or a C-124, as a lead ship, escorted each flight of four aircraft. The last aircraft landed in Hulburt on 29 April.

At Hurlburt, was redesignated the 17th Bombardment Group, Tactical and the unit transitioned to the Martin B-57 Canberra and Douglas B-66 Destroyer medium bombers before inactivating again in 1958 due to budgetary cuts. Group was eliminated from Wing's table of organization as part of the Air Force tri-deputate reorganization.

Lineage

  • Authorized as the 17th Observation Group on 18 October 1927
Redesignated 17th Pursuit Group in 1929
Activated on 15 July 1931
Redesignated 17th Attack Group c. 1 March 1935
Redesignated 17th Bombardment Group (Medium) c. 17 October 1939
Inactivated on 26 November 1945
  • Redesignated 17th Bombardment Group, Light and activated on 19 May 1947
Inactivated on 10 September 1948
  • Activated on 10 May 1952
Redesignated 17th Bombardment Group, Tactical on 1 October 1955[2]
Inactivated on 25 June 1958

Assignments

Remained under jurisdiction of 1st Wing

Components

Stations

Aircraft assigned

See also

References

Notes

  1. ^ Aircraft is Douglas B-66B Destroyer serial 53-482
  2. ^ a b c d Maurer, Combat Units, pp. 61-63

Bibliography

 This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website http://www.afhra.af.mil/.

  • Maurer, Maurer, ed. (1983) [1961]. Air Force Combat Units of World War II (PDF) (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-912799-02-1. LCCN 61060979.
  • Ravenstein, Charles A. (1984). Air Force Combat Wings, Lineage & Honors Histories 1947-1977 (PDF). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-912799-12-9.

External links

17th Training Wing

The 17th Training Wing (17 TRW) is a United States Air Force unit assigned to the Air Education and Training Command Second Air Force. It is stationed at Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas. The wing is also the host unit at Goodfellow.

The wing is responsible for the training of intelligence personnel in all the branches of the armed forces, as well as firefighters and a few other specialties.

Its 17th Training Group is a successor of the 17th Pursuit Group, one of the 15 original combat air groups formed by the Army before World War II, which later became the 17th Bombardment Group (Medium) and provided the crews and aircraft for the Doolittle Raid.

The 17th Training Wing is commanded by Colonel Ricky L. Mills. Its Command Chief Master Sergeant Lavor Kirkpatrick.

34th Bomb Squadron

The 34th Bomb Squadron is part of the 28th Bomb Wing at Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota. It operates Rockwell B-1 Lancer aircraft providing strategic bombing capability.

37th Bomb Squadron

The 37th Bomb Squadron is part of the 28th Bomb Wing at Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota. It operates Rockwell B-1 Lancer aircraft providing strategic bombing capability.

The squadron is one of the oldest in the United States Air Force, its origins dating to 13 June 1917, when the 37th Aero Squadron was organized at Kelly Field, Texas. The squadron deployed to France as part of the American Expeditionary Force during World War I and served as a training unit until returning to the US for demobilization. It was active in the interwar years at Langley Field, Virginia as a pursuit and attack squadron.

The squadron saw combat as the 37th Bombardment Squadron, a Martin B-26 Marauder unit in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations during World War II, earning two Distinguished Unit Citations (DUC) for its performance. It was inactivated after the war's end, although it was briefly active as a paper unit in 1947-1948.

The squadron was again activated during the Korean War, when it replaced a reserve unit that was being returned to reserve duty. Flying night intruder missions with Douglas B-26 Invaders, the squadron earned another DUC before the truce in July 1953. In 1955 it returned to the United States and became one of the first jet tactical bomber units, flying Martin B-57 Canberras and Douglas B-66 Destroyers. After a brief deployment to England, the squadron once again inactivated.

In 1977, the 37th became part of the Strategic Air Command, flying Boeing B-52 Stratofortresses until 1982. It assumed its present role in 1987.

The squadron is an honorary member of the NATO Tiger Association

42nd Air Division

The 42nd Air Division was a unit of the United States Air Force. It was established as the 42 Bombardment Wing (Dive) on 8 February 1943. The wing first saw combat in September 1943. It was inactivated in 1991.

73rd Special Operations Squadron

The 73d Special Operations Squadron is a unit of the United States Air Force, assigned to the 1st Special Operations Wing at Hurlburt Field, Florida. The squadron operates the AC-130J Ghostrider ground-attack aircraft in support of Air Force Special Operations Command.

The 73d is one of the oldest in the Air Force, its origins dating to the formation of the 73d Aero Squadron in February 1918. It served on the Western Front in France during World War I, and took part in the Aleutian Campaign during World War II. It was part of Strategic Air Command during the Cold War. The 73d was inactivated and its personnel and equipment transferred to the 16th Special Operations Squadron in 2015. The squadron was reactivated on 23rd of February 2018 to fly the new AC-130J "Ghostrider" gunship assigned to the 1st Special Operations Group at Hulburt Field, Florida.

89th Attack Squadron

The 89th Attack Squadron is a United States Air Force unit assigned to the 432d Wing as a tenant unit at Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota. It has been active as a remotely piloted aircraft (drone) squadron there since 2011.

The squadron was first activated as the 89th Aero Squadron at Kelly Field, Texas during World War II. It deployed to France in 1917, where it constructed fields and trained observers, In 1918 it briefly trained as an observation unit, but the unit did not move to the front before the Armistice.

It was consolidated in the mid 1930s with the 89th Observation Squadron as the 89th Reconnaissance Squadron but remained inactive until 1940, when it was attached to the 17th Bombardment Group at March Field, California and equipped with medium bombers. In 1942 members of the squadron participated in the Doolittle Raid against Tokyo. The squadron, now named the 432d Bombardment Squadron, moved to the Mediterranean Theater of Operations and participated in combat until 1945, earning two Distinguished Unit Citations and the French Croix de Guerre with Palm before returning to the United States in late 1945 and being inactivated.

The 432d was reactivated as the 432d Attack Squadron in October 2011 at Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota as a MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft squadron.

95th Reconnaissance Squadron

The 95th Reconnaissance Squadron is a squadron of the United States Air Force. It is assigned to the 55th Operations Group, Air Combat Command, stationed at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska. The squadron is equipped with several variants of the Boeing C-135 aircraft equipped for reconnaissance missions.The 95th is one of the oldest units in the United States Air Force, first being organized as the 95th Aero Squadron on 20 August 1917 at Kelly Field, Texas. The squadron deployed to France and fought on the Western Front during World War I as a pursuit squadron.During World War II the unit served in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations (MTO) as part of Twelfth Air Force as a B-26 Marauder light bomber squadron, participating in the North African and the Southern France Campaign. In the Cold War, the squadron fought in the Korean War with Douglas B-26 Invader medium bombers, then later as part of Strategic Air Command, flying TR-1A Dragonlady reconnaissance aircraft supporting NATO.

Ain Beida Airport

Ain Beida Airport (French: Aéroport de Ouargla / Ain Beida) (IATA: OGX, ICAO: DAUU), also known as Ouargla Airport, is an airport serving Ouargla, a city in the Ouargla Province of eastern Algeria. It is located 4.3 nautical miles (8 km) southeast of the city. The airport is in the Sahara Desert, about 540 km southeast of Algiers.

The Ourgla (OUR) VOR-DME and Ourgla (OU) Non-directional beacon navigational aids are north of and aligned with the runways.

B-25 Mitchell units of the United States Army Air Forces

See also List of United States Army Air Forces reconnaissance units for F-10 Mitchell reconnaissance groupsThis is a list of United States Army Air Forces B-25 Mitchell medium bomber units. It does not include non-combat units assigned to units assigned within the United States for Operational Training or Replacement Training.

The B-25 medium bomber was one of America's most famous airplanes of World War II. It was the type used by Gen. Jimmy Doolittle for its most famous mission, the Doolittle Raid over Japan on 18 April 1942.

The first B-25 test aircraft flew on 19 August 1940, and the first production Mitchell was delivered to the 17th Bombardment Group in February 1941. A total of 9,816 Mitchells were built, greater than any other American twin-engined bomber. The majority of B-25s in American service were used in the Pacific Theater of Operations (PTO) and the Aleutian Campaign. In the China-Burma-India Theater (CBI), the B-25 was often used to attack Japanese communication links, especially bridges in central Burma. It was also used to help supply the besieged troops at Imphal in 1944.

In 1942, the first B-25Bs arrived in Egypt just in time to take part in the Battle of El Alamein. From there the aircraft took part in the rest of the Western Desert Campaign, the invasion of Sicily and the advance up Italy. The five bombardment groups that used the B-25 in the North African desert and the Mediterranean Theater of Operations (MTO) were the only US units to use the B-25 in Europe. In addition to the bombardment groups, the F-10 photographic reconnaissance variant of the Mitchell was widely used by reconnaissance units.

After the war, the B-25 was taken out of front-line service and redesignated as the TB-25, reflecting that they were no longer considered as being combat aircraft. It used in training roles with the United States Air Force for many years, the last example, TB-25J 44-30210 not being retired until 31 January 1959.

Battle of Toulon (1944)

The Battle of Toulon (1944) refers to the combat and other actions in World War II from August 20–26, 1944 which led to the liberation of Toulon by French forces under the command of General Edgard de Larminat.

Bill Bower

William Marsh "Bill" Bower (February 13, 1917 – January 10, 2011) was an American aviator, U.S. Air Force Colonel and veteran of World War II. Bower was the last surviving pilot of the Doolittle Raid, the first air raid to target the Japanese home island of Honshu.A native of Ravenna, Ohio, Bower graduated from Ravenna High School in 1934. He attended Hiram College and Kent State University from 1934 until 1936. Bower then joined the Ohio National Guard 107th Cavalry, based in Ravenna, from 1936 to 1938.In 1940, Bower graduated from the U.S. Army Air Corps Flying School and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force on October 4, 1940, with a rating of Army Aviator. In October 1940, Bower joined the 37th Bomb Squadron, based at Lowry Field in Denver, Colorado. He then transferred to the 17th Bombardment Group, headquartered at McChord Field, Washington, in June 1941.In the months following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Bower volunteered for the first American aerial attack on Japan. The air raid, which came to be called the Doolittle Raid, after Lieutenant Colonel James "Jimmy" Doolittle, took place on April 18, 1942. Bower piloted one of the sixteen B-25B Mitchell medium bombers which took off from the USS Hornet to attack cities on Honshu.Bower and his five-member crew bombed the city of Yokohama during the raid. They parachuted out of their B-25 over China during the night, which was his first jump from an airplane. They were taken in by Chinese villagers until rescue by the Americans. His mother, Kathryn Bower, was informed by Lt. Colonel Jimmy Doolittle that Bower had survived the attack approximately one month later. Eleven members of the Doolite Raid were killed or captured. Bower and the other crew members were brought from China back to the United States.In June 1942, Bower and twenty-two other participants in the Doolittle Raid received the Distinguished Flying Cross during a reception held at the White House. The city of Ravenna declared July 3, 1942, as "Bill Bower Day." Bower married his wife, Lorraine (nee) Amman, in the lobby of the Lady Lafayette Hotel in Walterboro, South Carolina, on August 18, 1942. The couple had two sons and two daughters during their marriage.

Bower remained in the U.S. Army Air Forces throughout World War II, achieving the rank of Colonel. He commanded the 428th Bombardment Squadron during the war and served in Africa, including the allied invasion of North Africa, and the European Theater, including Italy, until September 1945. He became an accident investigator following the end of World War II and transferred to the newly established U.S. Air Force in 1947. He also served as a commander of a U.S. Air Force transport organization in the Arctic and commanded Dobbins Air Force Base in Marietta, Georgia. He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal and two Air Medals during his career.He moved to Boulder, Colorado, in 1966 with his wife and their four children. He lived in south Boulder, in the upper Table Mesa neighborhood, until his death on January 10, 2011, at the age of 93, after suffering from complications from a fall in June 2009. He was survived by two sons, two daughters and six grandchildren. His wife, Lorraine, predeceased him in 2004. He and his wife Lorraine are buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

The Colonel William Marsh Bower Center opened in the Portage County Regional Airport in Shalersville Township, north of Ravenna, in June 2013.Bill Bower Park, a 1.7 acre green space with playground equipment and located in Bower's south Boulder neighborhood, was opened by the city in fall 2014.

Djedeida Airfield

Djedeida Airfield is an airfield in Tunisia, located approximately 10 km east-northeast of El Battan, and 30 km west of Tunis. The airfield was built prior to 1942 and used by the German Luftwaffe. It was raided by elements of the US 1st battalion of the 1st Armored Regiment on 25 November 1942, but the US forces were forced to withdraw due to lack of infantry support. It continued operations under the Germans until seized by the American II Corps on 8 May 1943. After being repaired by Army engineers, it was used by the United States Army Air Force Twelfth Air Force during the North African Campaign. Known units assigned were:

17th Bombardment Group, 23 June-1 November 1943, B-26 Marauder

319th Bombardment Group, 26 June-1 November 1943, B-26 Marauder

27th Fighter Squadron, (1st Fighter Group), 1–29 November 1943, P-38 Lightning

71st Fighter Squadron, (1st Fighter Group), 31 October-29 November 1943, P-38 Lightning

94th Fighter Squadron, (1st Fighter Group), 1–29 November 1943, P-38 LightningWhen the fighters moved out at the end of November, the airfield became a servicing depot of Air Technical Service Command until the end of January 1944 when the Americans left the area. Today in aerial imagery, the airfield looks almost like it did in 1943. The runway, although deteriorated, along with all of the taxiways and aircraft hardstands are very much in evidence. It is unclear what the current use of the facility is.

II Bomber Command

The II Bomber Command is an inactive United States Army Air Forces unit. It was last assigned to Second Air Force, based at Fort George Wright, Washington. It was inactivated on 6 October 1943.

During World War II, the unit trained large numbers of B-17 Flying Fortress and B-24 Liberator bombardment groups. It controlled operational training units (OTU) and replacement training units (RTU) primarily in the west and southwest of the United States until late 1943 when its operations were taken over by Headquarters, Second Air Force and the command was disbanded.

It also performed antisubmarine patrols along the pacific northwest coast (until May 1943)

McChord Field

McChord Field (IATA: TCM, ICAO: KTCM, FAA LID: TCM) is a United States Air Force base in the northwest United States, in Pierce County, Washington. South of Tacoma, McChord Field is the home of the 62d Airlift Wing, Air Mobility Command, the field's primary mission being worldwide strategic airlift.

The McChord facility was consolidated with the U.S. Army's Fort Lewis on 1 February 2010 to become part of the Joint Base Lewis-McChord complex. This initiative was driven by the Base Realignment and Closure Round in 2005 and is designed to combine current infrastructure into one maximizing war fighting capability and efficiency, while saving taxpayer dollars.

Portland Air National Guard Base

Portland Air National Guard Base is a United States Air Force base, located at Portland International Airport, Oregon. It is located 5.5 miles (8.9 km) northeast of Portland, Oregon.

Presidential Unit Citation (United States)

The Presidential Unit Citation (PUC), originally called the Distinguished Unit Citation, is awarded to units of the Uniformed services of the United States, and those of allied countries, for extraordinary heroism in action against an armed enemy on or after 7 December 1941 (the date of the Attack on Pearl Harbor and the start of American involvement in World War II). The unit must display such gallantry, determination, and esprit de corps in accomplishing its mission under extremely difficult and hazardous conditions so as to set it apart from and above other units participating in the same campaign.

Since its inception by Executive Order on 26 February 1942, retroactive to 7 December 1941, to 2008, the Presidential Unit Citation has been awarded in conflicts such as World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Iraq War, and the War in Afghanistan.

The collective degree of valor (combat heroism) against an armed enemy by the unit nominated for the PUC is the same as that which would warrant award of the individual award of the Distinguished Service Cross, Air Force Cross or Navy Cross. In some cases, one or more individuals within the unit may have also been awarded individual awards for their contribution to the actions for which their entire unit was awarded a Presidential Unit Citation. The unit with the most Presidential Unit Citations is the USS Parche (SSN-683) with 9 citations.

RAF Kimbolton

RAF Kimbolton is a former Royal Air Force station located 8 miles (13 km) west of Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, England.

Sierra Bombardment Group

The Sierra Bombardment Group was a provisional United States Army Air Corps organization. It was established on 8 December 1941 at Minter Field, California. It consisted of air crews and ten B-17E Flying Fortresses formerly assigned to the 7th Bombardment Group 32d Bombardment Squadron and 427th Bombardment Squadron. In addition, thirty five B-25 Mitchell medium bombers of the 17th Bombardment Group, Second Air Force, Pendleton Army Airfield, Oregon, were also assigned.

The squadrons were located in the Western United States and were awaiting transfer to the Philippines in early December 1941. After the Pearl Harbor Attack, the provisional unit was formed. It performed coastal patrols for a short time stationed at Muroc Army Airfield, California, but as the conditions in the Philippines worsened, the B-17s departed via Hawaii on 17 December. However upon arrival at Hickam Field, the aircraft were pressed into service for defensive reconnaissance patrols. Three B-17s were released and were allowed to depart for Mindanao, but were diverted to Java, Netherlands East Indies, where they were assigned to evacuated 19th BG components that were operating from Singosari Airfield. The remainder stayed at Hickam until 10 January when they flew to Australia via Christmas Island; Kanton Island and Fiji where the aircraft were held for almost a week while Vichy French guerrilla activity was put down. Upon arrival at Townville, Queensland, unit was assigned to the 19th Bombardment Group as replacements.

The B-25 Mitchells remained in Oregon and continued to provide coastal antisubmarine patrols along the Northwest Pacific Coast. However, the available aircraft were not equipped with radar or other devices, and detection of enemy submarines depended solely on eyesight. The antisubmarine aircrews occasionally mistook whales and floating logs for Japanese submarines, They frequently reported and attacked enemy submarines, but rarely confirmed results. A B-25 crew claimed they bombed a submarine near the mouth of the Columbia River on December 24, 1941. They claimed it sank, but in fact no Japanese submarine was sunk off the West Coast during

World War II.

The unit was discontinued in early February 1942

Telergma Airport

Telerghma Airport is a joint-use civilian/military airport in Algeria (ICAO: DAAM), just south of the city of Telerghma, about 300 km east of Algiers

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