The Martin B-26 Marauder is an American twin-engined medium bomber built by the Glenn L. Martin Company in Middle River, Maryland (just east of Baltimore) from 1941 to 1945. First used in the Pacific Theater of World War II in early 1942, it was also used in the Mediterranean Theater and in Western Europe.
After entering service with the United States Army aviation units, the aircraft quickly received the reputation of a "widowmaker" due to the early models' high accident rate during takeoffs and landings. This was due to the fact that the Marauder had to be flown at exact airspeeds, particularly on final runway approach or when one engine was out. The unusually high 150 mph (241 km/h) speed on short final runway approach was intimidating to many pilots who were used to much slower approach speeds, and whenever they slowed down to speeds below what the manual stipulated, the aircraft would often stall and crash.
The B-26 became a safer aircraft once crews were re-trained, and after aerodynamics modifications (an increase of wingspan and wing angle-of-incidence to give better takeoff performance, and a larger vertical stabilizer and rudder). The Marauder ended World War II with the lowest loss rate of any USAAF bomber.
A total of 5,288 were produced between February 1941 and March 1945; 522 of these were flown by the Royal Air Force and the South African Air Force. By the time the United States Air Force was created as an independent military service separate from the United States Army in 1947, all Martin B-26s had been retired from U.S. service. After the Marauder was retired the unrelated Douglas A-26 Invader then assumed the "B-26" designation which led to confusion between the two aircraft.
|A US Army Air Forces Martin B-26B Marauder "Dee-Feater" (X2-A) of the 596th BS 397th BG 9th AF with D-Day invasion stripes|
|National origin||United States|
|Manufacturer||Glenn L. Martin Company|
|First flight||25 November 1940|
|Primary users||United States Army Air Forces|
Free French Air Force
Royal Air Force
South African Air Force
|Number built||5,288 [Note 1]|
|Developed into||XB-33 Super Marauder (Unbuilt)|
In March 1939, the United States Army Air Corps issued Circular Proposal 39-640, a specification for a twin-engined medium bomber with a maximum speed of 350 mph (560 km/h), a range of 3,000 mi (4,800 km) and a bomb load of 2,000 lb (910 kg). On 5 July 1939, the Glenn L. Martin Company submitted its design, produced by a team led by Peyton M. Magruder, to meet the requirement, the Martin Model 179. Martin's design was evaluated as superior to the other proposals and was awarded a contract for 201 aircraft, to be designated B-26. The B-26 went from paper concept to an operational bomber in approximately two years. Additional orders for a further 930 B-26s followed in September 1940, still prior to the first flight of the type.
The B-26 was a shoulder-winged monoplane of all-metal construction, fitted with a tricycle landing gear. It had a streamlined, circular section fuselage housing the crew, consisting of a bombardier in the nose, armed with a .30 in (7.62 mm) machine gun, a pilot and co-pilot sitting side by side, with positions for the radio operator and navigator behind the pilots. A gunner manned a dorsal turret armed with two .50 in (12.7 mm) machine guns (the first powered dorsal turret to be fitted to a U.S. bomber), and an additional .30 in (7.62 mm) machine gun was fitted in the tail.[Note 2]
Two bomb bays were fitted mid-fuselage, capable of carrying 5,800 lb (2,600 kg) of bombs, although in practice such a bomb load reduced range too much, and the aft bomb bay was usually fitted with additional fuel tanks instead of bombs. The aircraft was powered by two Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp radial engines in nacelles slung under the wing, driving four-bladed propellers. The engines were manufactured at the Ford Dearborn Engine plant in Dearborn, Michigan, USA. The wings were of low aspect ratio and relatively small in area for an aircraft of its weight, giving the required high performance, but also resulting in a wing loading of 53 lb/sq ft (260 kg/m2) for the initial versions, which at the time was the highest of any aircraft accepted for service by the Army Air Corps, until the introduction of the Boeing B-29 Superfortress, with the then-astonishing wing loading of 69.12 lb/sq ft (337.5 kg/m2) (although both would be considered lightly loaded by the standard of combat aircraft of the next decade).
The first B-26, with Martin test pilot William K. "Ken" Ebel at the controls, flew on 25 November 1940 and was effectively the prototype. Deliveries to the U.S. Army Air Corps began in February 1941 with the second aircraft, 40-1362. In March 1941, the Army Air Corps started Accelerated Service Testing of the B-26 at Patterson Field, near Dayton, Ohio.
The B-26's relatively small wing area and resulting high wing loading required a high landing speed of 120 to 135 mph (193 to 217 km/h) indicated airspeed depending on load. At least two of the earliest B-26s suffered hard landings and damage to the main landing gear, engine mounts, propellers and fuselage. The type was grounded briefly in April 1941 to investigate the landing difficulties. Two causes were found: insufficient landing speed (producing a stall) and improper weight distribution. The latter was due to the lack of a dorsal turret; the Martin power turret was not yet ready.
Some of the very earliest B-26s suffered collapses of the nose landing gear. It is said that they were caused by improper weight distribution, but that is not likely to have been the only reason. The incidents occurred during low-speed taxiing, takeoffs and landings, and occasionally the strut unlocked. Later the Martin electric dorsal turret was retrofitted to some of the first B-26s. Martin also began testing a taller vertical stabilizer and revised tail gunner's position in 1941.
The Pratt & Whitney R-2800-5 engines were reliable, but the Curtiss electric pitch change mechanism in the propellers required impeccable maintenance, not always attainable in the field. Human error and some failures of the mechanism occasionally placed the propeller blades in flat pitch resulting in an overspeeding propeller, sometimes known as a "runaway prop". Due to its sound and the possibility that the propeller blades could disintegrate, this situation was particularly frightening for aircrews. More challenging was a loss of power in one engine during takeoff. These and other malfunctions, as well as human error, claimed a number of aircraft and the commanding officer of the 22nd Bombardment Group, Colonel Mark Lewis.
The Martin B-26 suffered only two fatal accidents during its first year of flight, from November 1940 to November 1941: a crash shortly after takeoff near Martin's Middle River plant in Maryland (cause unknown, but engine malfunction strongly suggested) and the loss of a 38th Bombardment Group B-26 when its vertical stabilizer and rudder separated from the aircraft at altitude (cause unknown, but the accident report discussed the possibility that a canopy hatch broke off and struck the vertical stabilizer).
As pilots were trained quickly for the war, relatively inexperienced pilots entered the cockpit and the accident rate increased. This occurred at the same time as more experienced B-26 pilots of the 22nd, 38th and 42nd Bombardment Groups were proving the merits of the bomber.
For a time in 1942, pilots in training believed that the B-26 could not be flown on one engine. This was disproved by several experienced pilots, including Colonel Jimmy Doolittle, who flew demonstration flights at MacDill Army Air Field, which featured take offs and landings with only one engine. Also, seventeen Women Airforce Service Pilots were trained to demonstrate the B-26, in an attempt to "shame" male pilots into the air.
In 1942, aviation pioneer and company founder Glenn L. Martin was called before the Senate Special Committee to Investigate the National Defense Program, (or also known as the "Truman Committee"), which was investigating defense contracting abuses. Senator Harry S Truman of Missouri, the committee chairman (and future Vice President and 33rd President of the United States in 1945-1952), asked Martin why the B-26 had problems. Martin responded that the wings were too short. Senator Truman curtly asked why the wings had not been changed. When Martin replied that the plans were too close to completion, and his company already had the contract, Truman's testy response was quick and to the point: In that case, the contract would be canceled. Martin corrected the wings. (By February 1943, the newest model aircraft, the B-26B-10, had an additional 6 feet (1.8 m) of wingspan, plus uprated engines, more armor and larger guns.)
Indeed, the regularity of crashes by pilots training at MacDill Field — up to 15 in one 30-day period — led to the exaggerated catchphrase, "One a day in Tampa Bay." Apart from accidents occurring over land, 13 Marauders ditched in Tampa Bay in the 14 months between 5 August 1942 and 8 October 1943.
B-26 crews gave the aircraft the nickname "Widowmaker". Other colorful nicknames included "Martin Murderer", "Flying Coffin", "B-Dash-Crash", "Flying Prostitute" (so-named because it was so fast and had "no visible means of support," referring to its small wings) and "Baltimore Whore" (a reference to the city where Martin was based).
According to an article in the April 2009 edition of AOPA Pilot on Kermit Weeks' "Fantasy of Flight", the Marauder had a tendency to "hunt" in yaw. This instability is similar to "Dutch roll". This would make for a very uncomfortable ride, especially for the tail gunner.
The B-26 is stated by the 9th Air Force to have had the lowest combat loss rate of any US aircraft used during the war. Nevertheless, it remained a challenging aircraft to fly and continued to be unpopular with some pilots throughout its military career. In 1944, in answer to many pilots complaining to the press and their relatives back home, the USAAF and Martin took the unusual step during war, of commissioning large articles to be placed in various popular publications, "educating" and defending the so-called flying/accident record of the B-26 against "slanders". One of the largest of these articles was in the May 1944 issue of Popular Mechanics.
The B-26 Marauder was used mostly in Europe, but also saw action in the Mediterranean and the Pacific. In early combat, the aircraft took heavy losses, but was still one of the most successful medium-range bombers used by the US Army Air Forces. The B-26 was initially deployed on combat missions in the South West Pacific in early 1942, but most of the B-26s subsequently assigned to operational theaters were sent to England and the Mediterranean area.
By the end of World War II, it had flown more than 110,000 sorties, dropped 150,000 tons (136,078 tonnes) of bombs and had been used in combat by British, Free French and South African forces in addition to US units. In 1945, when B-26 production was halted, 5,266 had been built.
The B-26 began to equip the 22nd Bombardment Group at Langley Field, Virginia, in February 1941, replacing the Douglas B-18 Bolo, with a further two groups, the 38th and 28th, beginning to equip with the B-26 by December 1941. Immediately following the Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbor, the 22nd BG was deployed to the South West Pacific, first by ship to Hawaii, then its air echelon flew the planes to Australia. The 22nd BG flew its first combat mission, an attack on Rabaul which required an intermediate stop at Port Moresby, New Guinea, on 5 April 1942.
A second group, the 38th, began receiving B-26s in November 1941 and began transitioning into them at Patterson Field, Ohio. There, the 38th continued the testing of the B-26, including its range and fuel efficiency. Immediately after the entry of the United States into World War II, plans were tentatively developed to send the 38th BG to the South West Pacific and to equip it with B-26Bs fitted with more auxiliary fuel tanks and provisions for carrying aerial torpedoes. Three 38th BG B-26Bs were detached to Midway Island in the buildup to that battle, and two of them, along with two B-26s detached from the 22nd BG, carried out torpedo attacks against the Japanese Fleet on 4 June 1942. Two were shot down and the other two were so badly damaged that they were written off after the mission. Their torpedoes failed to hit any Japanese ships, although they did shoot down one Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighter and killed two seamen aboard the aircraft carrier Akagi with machine-gun fire. Notably, one of them, Susie Q, after dropping its single torpedo and searching for a safer escape route, flew directly down the length of the Akagi while being chased by interceptors and anti-aircraft fire, which had to hold their fire to avoid hitting their own flagship.
From approximately June 1942, B-26 squadrons of the 38th BG were based in New Caledonia and Fiji. From New Caledonia, missions were flown against Japanese bases in the Solomon Islands. On one occasion, a B-26 was credited with shooting down a Kawanishi H6K flying boat. In 1943, it was decided that the B-26 would be phased out of operations in the South West Pacific Theatre in favor of the North American B-25 Mitchell. Nevertheless, the 19th Bombardment Squadron of the 22nd BG continued to fly missions in the B-26. The B-26 flew its last combat mission in the theatre on 9 January 1944.
Two more squadrons of torpedo armed B-26s equipped the 28th Composite Group and were used for anti-shipping operations in the Aleutian Islands Campaign, but there are no records of any successful torpedo attack by a USAAF B-26.
Comedian George Gobel famously joked about being a trainer for this aircraft at Frederick Army Airfield (now Frederick Regional Airport) during the Pacific battles, boasting that "not one Japanese aircraft got past Tulsa".
Three Bombardment Groups were allocated to support the Allied invasion of French North Africa in November 1942. They were initially used to carry out low-level attacks against heavily defended targets, incurring heavy losses with poor results, before switching to medium level attacks. By the end of the North African Campaign, the three B-26 groups had flown 1,587 sorties, losing 80 aircraft. This was double the loss rate of the B-25, which also flew 70% more sorties with fewer aircraft. Despite this, the B-26 continued in service with the Twelfth Air Force, supporting the Allied advance through Sicily, Italy and southern France. Air Marshal Sir John Slessor, Deputy Commander-in-Chief Mediterranean Allied Air Forces, wrote of "the astonishing accuracy of the experienced medium bomber groups – particularly the Marauders; I think that the 42nd Bombardment Group in Sardinia is probably the best day-bomber unit in the world." Slessor in fact meant the 42nd Bomb Wing—17th, 319th and 320th Bomb Groups—but a US 'wing' equated roughly to a British 'group', and vice versa.
The B-26 entered service with the Eighth Air Force in England in early 1943, with the 322nd Bombardment Group flying its first missions in May 1943. Operations were similar to those flown in North Africa with B-26s flying at low level and were unsuccessful. The second mission, an unescorted attack on a power station at IJmuiden, Netherlands, resulted in the loss of the entire attacking force of 11 B-26s to anti-aircraft fire and Luftwaffe Focke-Wulf Fw 190 fighters. Following this disaster, the UK-based B-26 force was switched to medium altitude operations, and transferred to the Ninth Air Force, set up to support the planned invasion of France.
Bombing from medium altitudes of 10,000 to 15,000 feet (3,000 to 4,600 m) and with appropriate fighter escort, the Marauder proved far more successful, striking against a variety of targets, including bridges and V-1 launching sites in the buildup to D-Day, and moving to bases in France as they became available. The Marauder, operating from medium altitude, proved to be a highly accurate aircraft, with the 9th Air Force rating it the most accurate bomber available in the final month of the war in Europe. Loss rates were far lower than in the early, low-level days, with the B-26 stated by the 9th Air Force as having the lowest loss rate in the European Theatre of Operations at less than 0.5%.
In 1942, a batch of 52 B-26A Marauders (designated Marauder I by the RAF) were offered to the United Kingdom under Lend-Lease. Like the earlier Martin Maryland and Baltimore, these aircraft were sent to the Mediterranean, replacing the Bristol Blenheims of No. 14 Squadron in Egypt. The Squadron flew its first operational mission on 6 November 1942, being used for long range reconnaissance, mine-laying and anti-shipping strikes. Unlike the USAAF, 14 Squadron made productive use of the equipment for carrying torpedoes, sinking several merchant ships with this weapon. The Marauder also proved useful in disrupting enemy air transport, shooting down considerable numbers of German and Italian transport aircraft flying between Italy and North Africa.
In 1943, deliveries of 100 long-wingspan B-26C-30s (Marauder II) allowed two squadrons of the South African Air Force, 12 and 24 Squadron to be equipped, these being used for bombing missions over the Aegean Sea, Crete and Italy. A further 350 B-26Fs and Gs were supplied in 1944, with two more South African squadrons (21 and 30) joining No 12 and 24 in Italy to form an all-Marauder equipped wing, while one further SAAF squadron (25) and a new RAF squadron (39 Squadron), re-equipped with Marauders as part of the Balkan Air Force supporting Tito's Partisans in Yugoslavia. A Marauder of 25 Squadron SAAF, shot down on the unit's last mission of World War II on 4 May 1945, was the last Marauder lost in combat by any user. The British and South African aircraft were quickly scrapped following the end of the war, the United States not wanting the return of the Lend-Lease aircraft.
Following Operation Torch, (the Allied invasion of North Africa), the Free French Air Force re-equipped three squadrons with Marauders for medium-bombing operations in Italy and the Allied invasion of southern France. These B-26s replaced Lioré et Olivier LeO 451s and Douglas DB-7s. Toward the end of the war, seven of the nine French Groupes de Bombardement used the Marauder, taking part in 270 missions with 4,884 aircraft sorties in combat. Free French B-26 groups were disbanded in June 1945. Replaced in squadron service by 1947, two lingered on as testbeds for the Snecma Atar jet engine, one of these remaining in use until 1958.
In the immediate post-war years, a small number of Marauders were converted as high-speed executive transports, accommodating up to fifteen passengers. The specifications of the individual conversions differed considerably. The example shown in the image was completed in 1948 and had streamlined nose and tail fairings and windows inserted in the rear fuselage. It served United Airlines before being sold to Mexico. It was purchased by the Confederate Air Force and restored to wartime markings for air display purposes before being lost in a fatal crash in 1995.
With the exception of the B-26C, all models and variants of the B-26 were produced at Martin's Middle River, Maryland manufacturing plant. The B-26C was built at the Martin plant in Omaha, Nebraska
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
The 22d Air Refueling Wing (22 ARW) is a United States Air Force unit assigned to the Air Mobility Command's Eighteenth Air Force. It is stationed at McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas and also functions as the host wing for McConnell.
Its primary mission is to provide global reach by conducting air refueling and airlift where and when needed. It is one of only three "supertanker" wings in the Air Force, with four Regular Air Force air refueling squadrons, and 63 KC-135R Stratotanker aircraft.
Its origins date to 1940 as the 22d Bombardment Group. The group was one of the first United States Army Air Forces units to be deployed into the Pacific Theater after the Pearl Harbor Attack with the Martin B-26 Marauder medium bomber. The 22d Operations Group carries the lineage and history of its highly decorated World War II predecessor unit. Active for over 60 years, the 22 ARW and its earlier designation as the 22d Bombardment Wing, was a component wing of Strategic Air Command's deterrent force during the Cold War.
The 22d Air Refueling Wing is commanded by Colonel Richard Tanner. Its Vice Commander is Colonel Mark Baran. The wing's Command Chief Master Sergeant is Chief Master Sergeant Melissa Royster.22nd Operations Group
The 22d Operations Group is the operational flying component of the United States Air Force 22d Air Refueling Wing. It is stationed at McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas, and is part of Air Mobility Command (AMC)'s Eighteenth Air Force.
The group's primary mission is to provide global reach by conducting air refueling and airlift where and when needed. The group directs the 22d Wing's Boeing KC-135R Stratotanker refueling and airlift operations in support of worldwide AMC, United States Transportation Command, Air Force, Department of Defense, and allied operations anywhere in the world.
During World War II, as the 22d Bombardment Group, the unit was one of the first Army Air Forces units to be deployed into the Pacific Theater after Pearl Harbor with the Martin B-26 Marauder medium bomber. It operated primarily in the Southwest Pacific Theater as a North American B-25 Mitchell unit assigned to Fifth Air Force. It was awarded two Distinguished Unit Citations and the Philippine Presidential Unit Citation for its combat service in China, the Netherlands East Indies, New Guinea, the Bismarck Archipelago; the Western Pacific; Leyte and Luzon.
The group was reactivated as part of Strategic Air Command (SAC). During the early years of the Cold War, the group moved temporarily to Okinawa in July 1950 and was attached to Far East Air Forces for duty in the Korean War. It began combat immediately, and until October 1950 attacked marshalling yards, bridges, highways, airfields, and industries and supported United Nations ground forces in Korea. It was inactivated in a SAC program to eliminate groups and assign operational squadrons directly to wings.319th Operations Group
The 319th Operations Group is an inactive United States Air Force unit. It was activated as the flying component of the 319th Air Refueling Wing in 1991 when the wing reorganized under the Objective Wing plan at Grand Forks Air Force Base, North Dakota. In addition to managing air refueling unis at Grand Forks, the group frequently deployed elements to Southwest Asia, occasionally being the major force provider for the 319th Air Expeditionary Group. The group was inactivated with the end of manned flying operations at Grand Forks in December 2010.
The group was first activated during World War II as the 319th Bombardment Group, the first Martin B-26 Marauder group in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations (MTO) during the war. The group received two Distinguished Unit Citations during the war. In 1945, the group was re-equipped with the North American B-25 Mitchell in combat in the MTO before returning to the US to transition to the Douglas A-26 Invader. After retraining the group deployed to Okinawa, where it flew combat missions over China as part of Seventh Air Force against Imperial Japanese forces until the war's end. One of the original Mercury Seven astronauts, Deke Slayton, flew A-26s from Okinawa as a part of the group's 438th Bombardment Squadron in 1945.
The group was reactivated in the reserve in December 1946. It does not appear to have been fully manned or equipped, and when mobilized in 1951 for the Korean War, its personnel were used to man other units and the group was inactivated. It again became part of the reserve force in 1955 as the 319th Fighter-Bomber Group, but was inactivated in 1957, when the reserves converted to the troop carrier mission. It remained inactive until 1991.320th Air Expeditionary Wing
The 320th Air Expeditionary Wing (320 AEW) is a provisional United States Air Force unit assigned to the Air Force District of Washington. It is stationed at Bolling AFB, District of Columbia. The 320 AEW may be activated or inactivated at any time.
The 320 AEW was activated at Bolling in December 2006 for former President Gerald Ford’s state funeral during the Christmas and New Year holidays, attaching 634 personnel to complete a 10-day mission in three joint-operation areas. In less than 12 hours from notification, the 320 AEW deployed 167 joint forces and equipment for JTF Ceremony Forward.
It was activated in December 2008 to support Air Force requirements during the 2009 Presidential Inauguration, working with the Armed Forces Inaugural Committee, or AFIC.
The wing was originally activated during World War II and served with Twelfth Air Force as the 320th Bombardment Group. The highly decorated unit was equipped with the Martin B-26 Marauder aircraft. The group was later merged with the 320th Bombardment Wing, a component organization of Strategic Air Command's deterrent force during the Cold War, as a strategic bombardment wing.322d Air Expeditionary Group
The 322d Air Expeditionary Group (322 AEG) is a provisional United States Air Force unit assigned to the United States Air Forces in Europe. As a provisional unit, it may be activated or inactivated at any time.
The group appears to have been activated periodically on-order to provide support to U.S./AU activities in Africa under USAFE's Seventeenth Air Force. In 2004, elements of the Group assisted the AU deployment to Sudan; Operation Odyssey Dawn for Libya 2011-12.
During World War II, the group's predecessor unit, the 322d Bombardment Group (Medium) was a B-26 Marauder bombardment group assigned to the Eighth and later Ninth Air Force.323d Expeditionary Operations Group
The 323d Expeditionary Operations Group is a provisional United States Air Force unit assigned to the United States Air Forces in Europe. As a provisional unit, it may be activated or inactivated at any time.
During World War II, the group's predecessor unit, the 323d Bombardment Group was a Martin B-26 Marauder bombardment group assigned to the Eighth and later Ninth Air Force. The group served in the European Theater of Operations, earning a Distinguished Unit Citation for its actions interdicting German reinforcements during the Battle of the Bulge. After VE Day, the group returned to the United States where it was inactivated. From 1947 to 1951 the group was active in the Air Force Reserves. It was called to active duty for the Korean War, but was inactivated after its personnel were used to bring other units up to full strength.
The group was again active during the 1950s as the 323d Fighter-Bomber Group, flying North American F-86 Sabres and North American F-100 Super Sabres at Bunker Hill Air Force Base, Indiana. It remained inactive until 1991, when it became the 323d Operations Group at Mather Air Force Base, California, where it trained navigators until it was inactivated in 1993.335th Bombardment Group
The 335th Bombardment Group is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its last assignment was with III Bomber Command, based at Barksdale Field, Louisiana. It was inactivated on 1 May 1944.
The group was a World War II replacement training unit, using Martin B-26 Marauder medium bombers to train personnel. After graduating, the airmen were assigned to overseas combat units.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 Association384th Air Refueling Squadron
The 384th Air Refueling Squadron is an active United States Air Force unit, stationed at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, where it is assigned to the 92d Operations Group and operates the Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft conducting air refueling missions.
The first predecessor of the squadron is the 584th Bombardment Squadron, a Martin B-26 Marauder unit that served in the European Theater of Operations, where it warned a Distinguished Unit Citation and a French Croix de Guerre with Palm. After V-E Day, it served with the occupation forces in Germany until inactivating in 1946.
The 384th was activated in 1955 at Westover Air Force Base, Massachusetts, where it served as a Strategic Air Command air refueling unit until inactivating in 1966. It was activated again in 1973 and, except for a brief period of inactivation, has performed global refueling missions since then. The two squadrons were consolidated into a single unit in 1985.557th Flying Training Squadron
The 557th Flying Training Squadron is part of the 306th Flying Training Group based at United States Air Force Academy, Colorado, where it has conducted flight training for Academy cadets since 1974.
The first predecessor of the squadron was the 557th Bombardment Squadron, a Martin B-26 Marauder unit, which flew combat in the European Theater of Operations, earning a Distinguished Unit Citation in December 1944. It was inactivated after the end of World War II.
The squadron's second predecessor is the 557th Tactical Fighter Squadron, which was organized in 1962, and flew in combat in the Vietnam War from 1965 to 1970, earning five Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards with Combat "V" Device. The two squadrons were consolidated into a single unit in September 1985.558th Flying Training Squadron
The 558th Flying Training Squadron is a United States Air Force unit assigned to the 12th Flying Training Wing at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas. The squadron trains Remotely Piloted Aircraft operators.
The first predecessor of the squadron is the 558th Bombardment Squadron, a Martin B-26 Marauder unit that served in the European Theater of Operations, where it earned a Distinguished Unit Citation for action in combat.
The squadron's other predecessor is the 558th Tactical Fighter Squadron organized as part of the Air Force's first McDonnell F-4 Phantom II wing. The squadron served in combat in the Vietnam War until its inactivation in 1970. The two squadrons were consolidated in 1985 and activated as a flying training unit in 1992.Douglas B-23 Dragon
The Douglas B-23 Dragon is an American twin-engined bomber developed by the Douglas Aircraft Company as a successor to (and a refinement of) the B-18 Bolo.Elizabeth L. Gardner
Elizabeth L. Gardner (1921 – December 22, 2011) was an American pilot during World War II who served as a member of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP). She was one of the first American female military pilots and the subject of a well-known photograph, sitting in the pilot's seat of a Martin B-26 Marauder.In 2009, the 300 living WASP pilots were awarded a Congressional Gold Medal through a unit citation.Flak Bait
Flak-Bait is a Martin B-26 Marauder aircraft that holds the record within the United States Army Air Forces for the number of bombing missions survived during World War II. Manufactured in Baltimore, Maryland as a B-26B-25-MA, by Martin, it was completed in April 1943 and christened Flak-Bait by its first assigned pilot, James J. Farrell, who adapted the nickname of a family dog, "Flea Bait". Flak-Bait was assigned to the 449th Bombardment Squadron, 322d Bombardment Group stationed in eastern England.During the course of its 202 (207 if one includes its five decoy missions) bombing missions over Germany as well as the Netherlands, Belgium, and France, Flak-Bait lived up to its name by being shot with over 1,000 holes, returned twice on one engine (once with the disabled engine on fire), lost its electrical system once and its hydraulic system twice, and participated in bombing missions in support of the Normandy Landings and the Battle of the Bulge.On March 18, 1946, Major John Egan and Captain Norman Schloesser flew Flak-Bait one last time, to an air depot at Oberpfaffenhofen in Bavaria. There the famed bomber was disassembled, crated, and shipped, in December 1946, to a Douglas factory in Park Ridge, Illinois.The aircraft is currently undergoing preservation and conservation at the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum.A series of red-colored bombs are painted on the side of the aircraft, each representing an individual mission (202 bombs in total). White tails painted on the bombs represented every fifth mission. There is one black-colored bomb which represents a night mission. In addition to the bombs, there are also five red ducks painted on the aircraft representing decoy missions. There is also a detailed Nazi Swastika painted above a bomb to represent Flak Bait's only confirmed kill against a German aircraft.List of Martin B-26 Marauder operators
This is a list of Martin B-26 Marauder operators. The main user of the Martin B-26 Marauder was the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF). During this period the Martin Marauder was also operated by the US Navy, Free French Air Force, the South African Air Force and the Royal Air Force; serving with many units and in many different theaters of conflict on several continents.Martin XB-27
The Martin XB-27 (Martin Model 182) was an aircraft proposed by the Glenn L. Martin Company to fill a strong need in the United States Army Air Corps for a high-altitude medium bomber. Its design was based approximately on that of Martin's own B-26 Marauder. The XB-27 remained on paper, and no prototypes were built.RAF Andrews Field
Royal Air Force Andrews Field or more simply RAF Andrews Field (also known as RAF Andrewsfield and RAF Great Saling) is a former Royal Air Force station located 4 miles (6.4 km) east-northeast of Great Dunmow Essex, England.
Originally designated as Great Saling when designed and under construction, the base was renamed "Andrews Field" in honor of United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) General Frank M. Andrews, who was killed in an airplane crash in Iceland in May 1943. Andrews Field was primarily the home of the USAAF Ninth Air Force 322d Bombardment Group during the Second World War, which flew the Martin B-26 Marauder medium bomber. After being transferred to the Air Ministry in late 1944, it was used briefly by RAF Fighter Command for Gloster Meteor jet fighter testing before being finally closed in late 1945.Today the remains of the airfield are located on private property, being used as agricultural fields, with a small portion used by the Andrewsfield Flying Club.
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