453rd Operations Group

The 453rd Operations Group is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its last assignment was to the 43d Air Refueling Wing, stationed at Souda Bay, Greece. It was activated as a temporary MAJCOM air refueling organization flying KC-135 Stratotankers as part of Operation Restore Hope.

During World War II, its predecessor unit, the 453rd Bombardment Group was an Eighth Air Force B-24 Liberator heavy bombardment group stationed in England. Its 733d Bombardment Squadron completed 82 consecutive missions without a loss, a record. James Stewart, of film fame, was Group Operations Officer from March 31 to July 1, 1944.

453rd Operations Group
453rd Bombardment Group Insignia
Active1943–1945; 1992–1993
CountryUnited States
Emblem of Operation Restore Hope
453-bg 1
Consolidated B-24 Liberators of the 453rd Bomb Group on a mission over enemy-occupied territory.


Constituted as the 453rd Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 14 May 1943, it was activated on 1 June 1943. Trained with B-24's. Moved to RAF Old Buckenham in East Anglia, December 1943 – January 1944, and assigned to Eighth Air Force. The group was assigned to the 2nd Combat Bombardment Wing, and the group tail code was a "Circle-J".

The 453rd BG entered combat on 5 February 1944 with an attack against an airfield at Tours. Throughout combat, the unit served chiefly as a strategic bombardment organization. Targets included a fuel depot at Dülmen, marshalling yards at Paderborn, aircraft assembly plants at Gotha, railway centres at Hamm, an ordnance depot at Glinde, oil refineries at Gelsenkirchen, chemical works at Leverkusen, an airfield at Neumünster, a canal at Minden, and a railway viaduct at Altenbeken.

The group took part in the concentrated attack against the German aircraft industry during Big Week, 20–25 February 1944. Besides strategic operations, the group engaged in support and interdictory missions. Bombed V-weapon sites, airfields, and gun batteries in France prior to the invasion of Normandy in June 1944; on 6 June hit shore installations between Le Havre and Cherbourg and other enemy positions farther inland. Attacked enemy troops in support of the Allied breakthrough at Saint-Lô in July. Bombed German communications during the Battle of the Bulge, December 1944 – January 1945. Ferried cargo on two occasions: hauled gasoline, blankets, and rations to France in September 1944; dropped ammunition, focal, and medical supplies near Wesel during the airborne assault across the Rhine in March 1945.

Maj. Jimmy Stewart
Major James "Jimmy" Stewart, right, 1943

James "Jimmy" Stewart, the Hollywood movie star, was Group Operations Officer at Old Buckenham during the spring of 1944. The actor Walter Matthau also served in the group as a radioman-gunner, rising to the rank of Staff Sergeant.

The 453rd Bomb Group flew its last combat mission in April. Initially it was prepared for possible redeployment to the Pacific theatre using B-29 Superfortresses. However hostilities in Europe had ceased before the group had time to start its movement. It returned to New Castle AAFld, Delaware on 9 May 1945 and was inactivated on 12 September 1945.

453rd Bomb Group Museum

In February 2015, it was announced that Old Buckenham Airport the modern civilian name for RAF Old Buckenham has applied for permission to build a museum dedicated to the 453rd at their former base in England. The plans are for the erection of two Nissen Huts, one of which will house an items described as having the potential to be the largest collection of 453rd Bomb Group memorabilia in existence.[1]


  • Constituted as 453rd Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 14 May 1943
Activated on 1 June 1943
Inactivated on 12 September 1945
  • Redesignated 453rd Operations Group on 1 June 1992 and activated
Inactivated 1 July 1994






  1. ^ Cope, Lauren (4 February 2015). "Old Buckenham Airfield submits plans to house collection of 453rd bomb group memorabilia". Eastern Daily Press. Retrieved 6 January 2017.
43rd Airlift Wing

The 43rd Airlift Wing is an inactive United States Air Force unit last stationed at Pope Field, part of Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where it was inactivated in March 2011. The wing performed en route operations support at Pope Field to include mission command & control, aircrew management, aircraft maintenance, aircraft loading, aircraft fueling and supply. Since the wing's inactivation, the 43rd Airlift Group has carried out airlift, maintenance, and base support at Pope Field.

The wing provided strategic, en-route airlift support and Lockheed C-130 Hercules tactical airlift support to the Army's XVIII Airborne Corps and 82nd Airborne Division. The wing traces its roots back to the 43rd Bombardment Group (Heavy), which was constituted 20 November 1940, and activated 15 January 1941, at Langley Field, VA. It operated primarily in the Southwest Pacific Theater as a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, and later a Consolidated B-24 Liberator heavy-bomber unit assigned to Fifth Air Force. The 43rd Operations Group carries the lineage and history of its highly decorated World War II predecessor unit.

Active for over 60 years, the wing was a component wing of Strategic Air Command's deterrent force throughout the Cold War.

92nd Air Refueling Squadron

The 92nd Air Refueling Squadron, sometimes written as 92d Air Refueling Squadron, is a squadron of the 92nd Air Refueling Wing's 92nd Operations Group, stationed at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington. It was first activated shortly before the entry of the United States into World War II as the 2nd Reconnaissance Squadron. After training in the Douglas B-18 Bolo in the southeastern United States, the squadron moved to the Pacific Coast after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and participated in antisubmarine patrols with the Consolidated B-24 Liberator. In April 1942, it was redesignated the 392nd Bombardment Squadron. Starting in mid-1942, it also began training crews on the Liberator. It ended these operations in July 1943 and began to prepare for overseas movement. After three months of training, the squadron moved to the Central Pacific, where it flew its first combat mission in November. The 392nd continued combat operations until March 1945, when it was withdrawn and moved to Hawaii, where it conducted routine training and patrol operations until it was inactivated in November 1945.

In July 1957, the 92nd Air Refueling Squadron was established at Bergstrom Air Force Base, Texas by assuming the resources of the inactivating 506th Air Refueling Squadron when Strategic Air Command transferred its fighter units to Tactical Air Command. Three months later, the squadron moved to Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, where it equipped with Boeing KC-135 Stratotankers, which it has flown for over fifty years. During the Cold War, the squadron maintained half its aircraft on alert. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, all the squadron's tankers were either on alert, deployed, or supporting Boeing B-52 Stratofortresses on airborne alert. The squadron also deployed aircraft to the Pacific to refuel strike aircraft during the Vietnam War.

In 1985, the 392nd Bombardment Squadron was consolidated with the 92nd Air Refueling Squadron. In 1992, the squadron ended its long association with Strategic Air Command and became part of Air Mobility Command. Since consolidation, the squadron has deployed personnel and aircraft to support most major United States operations, including combat and humanitarian support operations. Although it has not participated as a unit, squadron personnel and aircraft have deployed worldwide to support these operations. The squadron operates the Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft conducting worldwide air refueling missions.


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