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19th Bombardment Group

Authorized as 19th Observation Group on 18 Oct 1927. Redesignated 19th Bombardment Group in 1929. Activated on 24 Jun 1932. Redesignated 19th Bombardment Group (Heavy) in 1939. Equipped first with B-10's, later with B-18's, and still later (in 1941) with B-17's. Moved to the Philippine Islands, Sep-Nov 1941.

On 7 Dec 1941 (8 Dec in the Philippines), when the Japanese first attacked Clark Field, the group suffered numerous casualties and lost many planes. The 93rd squadron, however, was on maneuvers at Del Monte and therefore missed the attack. Supplies and headquarters were hastily moved from Clark Field to comparatively safe points nearby, and planes that had not been too heavily damaged were given emergency repairs and dispatched to Del Monte. There the 19th began reconnaissance and bombardment operations against Japanese shipping and landing parties. Sustaining heavy losses, the group ceased these actions after about two weeks, and the ground personnel joined infantry units in fighting the invaders. Some of the men were evacuated, some escaped, but most were either killed or captured. Meanwhile, late in Dec 1941 the air echelon moved to Australia to transport medical and other supplies to the Philippine Islands and evacuate personnel from that area. The men in Australia moved to Java at the end of 1941 and, flying B-17, LB-30, and B-24 aircraft, earned a DUC for the group by attacking enemy aircraft, ground installations, warships, and transports during the Japanese drive through the Philippines and Netherlands Indies early in 1942. The men returned to Australia from Java early in Mar 1942, and later that month the group evacuated Gen Douglas MacArthur, his family, and key members of his staff from the Philippines to Australia. After a brief rest the group resumed combat operations, participating in the Battle of the Coral Sea and raiding Japanese transportation, communications, and ground forces during the enemy's invasion of Papua. From 7 to 12 Aug 1942 the 19th bombed airdromes, ground installations, and shipping near Rabaul, New Britain, being awarded another DUC for these missions. Capt Harl Pease Jr was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during 6-7 Aug 1942: when one engine of his bomber failed during a mission over New Britain, Capt Pease returned to Australia to obtain another plane; unable to find one fit for combat, he selected the most serviceable plane at the base and rejoined his squadron for an attack on a Japanese airdrome near Rabaul; by skillful flying lie maintained his position in the formation and withstood enemy attacks until his bombs had been released on the objective; in the air battle that continued after the bombers left the target, Capt Pease's aircraft fell behind the formation and was lost. The group returned to the US late in 1942 and served as a replacement training unit. Inactivated on 1 Apr 1944.

Redesignated 19th Bombardment Group (Very Heavy). Activated on 1 Apr 1944. Trained for combat with B-29's. Moved to Guam, Dec 1944-Feb 1945, for duty with Twentieth AF. Entered combat on 12 Feb 1945 with an attack against a Japanese airfield on Rota. Flew its first mission against the Japanese home islands by striking Tokyo on 25 Feb 1945. Conducted daylight raids against strategic objectives, bombing aircraft factories, chemical plants, oil refineries, and other targets in Japan. Participated in incendiary operations, receiving one DUC for its low-altitude attacks on the urban industrial areas of Tokyo, Nagoya, Kobe, and Osaka, in Mar 1945, and another DUC for striking the industrial section of Kobe on 5 Jun. Struck airfields from which the enemy was launching kamikaze planes against the invasion force at Okinawa, Apr-May 1945. Dropped supplies to Allied prisoners and took part in show-of-force missions over Japan after the war. Remained overseas as part of Far East Air Forces. Trained, participated in sea-search operations, and flew photographic-mapping missions. Redesignated 19th Bombardment Group (Medium) in Aug 1948.

On 28 Jun 1950 the group flew its first mission against the North Korean forces that had invaded the Republic of Korea. It moved to Okinawa early in Jul 1950 and continued operations against the enemy until 1953. Targets included troops, supply dumps, airfields, steel mills, hydroelectric plants, and light metal industries. Inactivated on Okinawa on 1 Jun 1953.

Squadrons. 14th: 1941-1942. 23d: 1935-1938. 28th: 1941-1944; 1944-1953. 30th: 1932-1944; 1944-1953. 32d: 1932-1941. 76th: 1932-1936. 93d: 1939-1944; 1944-1953. 435th: (formerly 40th): 1941-1944.

Stations. Rockwell Field, Calif, 24 Jun 1932; March Field, Calif, 25 Oct 1935; Albuquerque, NM, 7 Jul-29 Sep 1941; Clark Field, Luzon, 23 Oct 1941; Batchelor, Australia, 24 Dec 1941; Singosari, Java, 30 Dec 1941; Melbourne, Australia, 2 Mar 1942; Garbutt Field, Australia, 18 Apr 1942; Longreach, Australia, 18 May 1942; Mareeba, Australia, 24 Jul-23 Oct 1942; Pocatello, Idaho, 9 Dec 1942; Pyote AAB, Tex, 1 Jan 1943-1 Apr 1944. Great Bend AAFld, Kan, 1 Apr-7 Dec 1944; North Field, Guam, 16 Jan 1945; Kadena, Okinawa, 5 Jul 1950-1 Jun 1953.

Commanders. Lt Col Harold M McClelland, c. 24 Jun 1932-1934; Col Harvey S Burwell, 1939; Col Eugene L Eubank, 2 Apr 1940; Maj David R Gibbs, 10 Dec 1941; Maj Emmett O'Donnell Jr, 12 Dec 1941; Lt Col Cecil E Combs, Jan 1942; Lt Col Kenneth B Hobson, 14 Mar 1942; Lt 67 Col James T Connally, 15 Apr 1942; Lt Col Richard N Carmichael, 10 Jul 1942; Lt Col Felix M Hardison, 1 Jan 1943; Lt Col Elbert Helton, 13 Feb 1943; Col Louie P Turner, 5 May 1943; Lt Col Frank P Sturdivant, 27 Jan 1944; Col Bernard T Castor, 11 Feb-1 Apr 1944. Maj Joseph H Selliken, 28 Apr 1944; Col John G Fowler, 20 May 1944; Lt Col John C Wilson, 29 May 1944; Lt Col Philip L Mathewson, 30 Jun 1944; Col John A Roberts Jr, 16 Jul 1944; Lt Col George T Chadwell, Sep 1945; Col Vincent M Miles Jr, 1 Mar 1946; Col Elbert D Reynolds, 13 Apr 1946; Col David Wade, 26 Apr 1947; Col Francis C Shoemaker, 8 Nov 1947; Col Robert V DeShazo, 2 Dec 1947; Lt Col Clarence G Poff, 1949; Col Theodore Q Graff, 17 Sep 1949; Col Payne Jennings, 26 Sep 1950; Col Donald O Tower, 29 Mar 1951; Col Adam K Breckenridge, 26 Jul 1951; Col Julian M Bleyer, 6 Feb 1952; Col Willard W Smith, 8 Jul 1952; Col Harvey C Dorney, 24 Dec 1952-1 Jun 1953.

Campaigns. World War II: American Theater; Philippine Islands; East Indies; Air Offensive, Japan; Papua; Guadalcanal; Western Pacific. Korean War: UN Defensive; UN Offensive; CCF Intervention; 1st UN Counteroffensive; CCF Spring Offensive; UN Summer-Fall Offensive; Second Korean Winter; Korea Summer-Fall, 1952; Third Korean Winter; Korea Summer-Fall, 1953.

Decorations. Distinguished Unit Citations: Philippine Islands, 7 Dec 1941-10 May 1942; Philippine Islands, 8-22 Dec 1941; Philippine Islands and Netherlands Indies, 1 Jan-1 Mar 1942; Philippine Islands, 6 Jan-8 Mar 1942; Papua, 23 Jul-[Oct 1942]; New Britain, 7-12 Aug 1942; Japan, 9-19 Mar 1945; Kobe, Japan, 5 Jun 1945; Korea, 28 Jun-15 Sep 1950. Philippine Presidential Unit Citation. Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation: 7 Jul 1950-[1953].

Insigne. Shield: Azure, within the square of the constellation of Pegasus, a winged sword, point to base, all or. Crest: On a wreath of the colors (or and azure) an osprey guardant, rising, wings elevated and addorsed proper. Motto: In Alis Vincimus - On Wings We Conquer. (Approved 19 Oct 1936.)

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


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