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450th Bombardment Group

Constituted as 450th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 6 Apr 1943. Activated on 1 May 1943. Trained with B-14's. Moved to Italy, arriving in Dec 1943. Began operations with Fifteenth AF in Jan 1944 and engaged chiefly in missions against strategic targets in Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and the Balkans until Apr 1945. Bombed aircraft factories, assembly plants, oil refineries, storage areas, marshalling yards, airdromes, and other objectives. Contributed to the intensive Allied campaign against the enemy aircraft industry during Big Week (20-25 Feb 1944) by attacking factories at Steyr and Regensburg, being awarded a DUC for braving the hazards of bad weather, enemy fighters, and flak to bombard a Messerschmitt factory at Regensburg on 25 Feb. Received second DUC for a mission on 5 Apr 1944 when the group fought its way through relentless attacks by enemy aircraft to bomb marshalling yards at Ploesti.

450th Bombardment Group DVD
DVD Video with Combat Film footage of 450th BG in WW2.

Also struck such objectives as enemy defenses, troop concentrations, bridges, and marshalling yards in support of the invasion of Southern France, the advance of Russian troops in the Balkans, and the Allied effort in Italy. Returned to the US in May 1945. Redesignated 45th Bombardment Group (Very Heavy). Trained with B-29's. Inactivated on 15 Oct 1945.

Redesignated 450th Fighter-Bomber Group. Activated on 1 Jul 1954. Assigned to Tactical Air Command. Used F-86 aircraft. Redesignated 450th Fighter-Day Group in Mar 1955. Converted to F-100's.

Squadrons. 720th: 1943-1945. 721st: 1943-1945; 1954-. 722d: 1943-1945; 1954-. 723d: 1943-1945; 1954-.

Stations. Gowen Field, Idaho, 1 May 1943; Clovis AAB, NM, c. 21 May 1943; Alamogordo AAFld, NM, c. 8 Jul-20 Nov 1943; Manduria, Italy, 20 Dec 1943-12 May 1945; Harvard AAFld, Neb, c. 26 Jul-15 Oct 1945. Foster AFB, Tex, Jul 1954-.

Commanders. Col John S Mills, 12 Jun 1943; Col Robert R Gideon, 7 Jul 1944; Col Ellsworth R Jacoby, 17 Nov 1944 1945. Col Wallace E Hopkins, Jul 1954; Lt Col James P Hagerstrom, c. 17 May 1955-.

Campaigns. Air Combat, EAME Theater; Air Offensive, Europe; Naples-Foggia; Anzio; Rome-Arno; Normandy; Northern France; Southern France; North Apennines; Rhineland; Po Valley.

Decorations. Distinguished Unit Citations: Regensburg, Germany, [25] Feb 1944; Ploesti, Rumania, 5 Apr 1944.

Insigne. Shield: Per bend sinister, argent and azure, a silhouetted eagle, displayed wings inverted gules, fimbriated argent on the azure, debruised by a ribbon bend sinisterwise charged with a diamond all or. (Approved 14 Sep 1955.)

Data from Air Force Combat Units of World War II By Maurer, Maurer, Published 1986

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