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20th Air Force

The 20th AF comprised very heavy bombardment units and operated from India, Marianas and Guam. The 20th AF dropped the two atomic bombs on Japan.

Visit our 20th Air Force Honor Project with rosters of servicemen who served in the groups of the 20th.

 20th Air Force

Constituted as Twentieth AF on 4 Apr 1944 and activated the same day. Some combat elements moved in the summer of 1944 from the US to India where they carried out very heavy bombardment operations against targets in Japan, Formosa, Thailand, and Burma. Other combat elements began moving late in 1944 from the US to the Marianas, being joined there early in 1945 by the elements that had been in India. Headquarters, which had remained in the US, was transferred to Guam in Jul 1945. From the Marianas the Twentieth conducted a strategic air offensive that was climaxed by the dropping of two atomic bombs on Japan. After the war the Twentieth remained in the theater and eventually became part of Far East Air Forces. Served in combat for a short time at the beginning of the Korean War but later was concerned primarily with logistic support for the operations of other organizations and with air defense for the Ryukyus. Inactivated on Okinawa on 1 Mar 1955.

Commands. VII Fighter: 1945. XX Bomber: 1944-1945. XXI Bomber: 1944-1945.

Stations. Washington, DC, 4 Apr 1944; Harmon Field, Guam, 16 Jul 1945; Kadena, Okinawa, 16 May 1949-1 Mar 1955.

Commanders. General of the Army Henry H Arnold, 6 Apr 1944; Maj Gen Curtis E LeMay, 16 Jul 1945; Lt Gen Nathan F Twining, 2 Aug 1945; Maj Gen James E Parker, 15 Oct 1945; Brig Gen Frederick M Hopkins Jr, 19 Mar 1946; Maj Gen Francis H Griswold, 10 Sep 1946; Maj Gen Alvan C Kincaid, 8 Sep 1948; Maj Gen Ralph F Stearley, 31 Ju 1950; Maj Gen Fay R Upthegrove, 8 Feb 1953-1 Mar 1955.

Campaigns. World War II: American Theater; India-Burma; Air Offensive, Japan; China Defensive; Eastern Mandates; Western Pacific; Central Burma. Korean War: UN Defensive.

Decorations. None.

Insigne. A disc of ultramarine blue marked with white parallels of latitude and meridians of longitude surmounted in base by a white star charged at center with a red disc and circumscribed by an annulet golden orange lined blue, tips enclosing the Arabic numeral "20". (Approved 26 May 1944.)

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


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