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401st Bombardment Group

Constituted as 401st Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 20 Mar 1943. Activated on 1 Apr 1943. Prepared for combat with B-17's. Moved to England, Oct-Nov 1943, and served in combat with Eighth AF, Nov 1943-Apr 1945. Operated chiefly against strategic targets, bombing industries, submarine facilities, shipyards, missile sites, marshalling yards, and airfields; beginning in Oct 1944, concentrated on oil reserves. Received a DUC for striking telling blows against German aircraft production on 11 Jan and 20 Feb 1944. In addition to strategic missions, operations included attacks on transportation, airfields, and fortifications prior to the Normandy invasion and on D-Day, Jun 1944; support for ground operations during the breakthrough at St Lo in Jul, the siege of Brest in Aug, and the airborne attack on Holland in Sep 1944; participation in the Battle of the Bulge, Dec 1944-Jan 1945, by assaulting transportation targets and communications centers in the battle area; and support for the airborne attack across the Rhine in Mar 1945. Returned to the US after V-E Day. Inactivated on 28 Aug 1945.

Redesignated 401st Bombardment Group (Very Heavy). Allotted to the reserve. Activated on 26 Jun 1947. Redesignated 401st Bombardment Group (Medium) in Jun 1949. Called to active service on 1 May 1951. Assigned to Strategic Air Command. Inactivated on 25 Jun 1951.

Redesignated 401st Fighter-Bomber Group. Activated on 8 Feb 1954. Assigned to Tactical Air Command and equipped with F-86's.

Squadrons. 612th: 1943-1945; 1947-1951; 1954-. 613th: 1943-1945; 1947-1949; 1954-. 614th: 1943-1945; 1947-1949; 1954-. 615th: 1943-1945; 1947-1949.

Stations. Ephrata AAB, Wash, 1 Apr 1943; Geiger Field, Wash, Jun 1943; Great Falls AAB, Mont, Jul-Oct 1943; Deenethorpe, England, c. 1 Nov 1943-May 194 Sioux Falls AAFld, SD, c. 1-28 Aug 1945. Brooks Field, Tex, 26 Jun 1947; Biggs AFB, Tex, 27 Jun 1949-25 Jun 1951. Alexandria AFB, La, 8 Feb 1954-.

Commanders. Col Neil B Harding, c. 1 Apr 1943; Col Harold W Bowman, Jun 1943; Col William T Seawell, Dec 1944-1945. Unkn, 1 May-25 Jun 1951. Col Walter G Benz Jr, 8 Feb 1954-.

Campaigns. Air Offensive, Europe; Normandy; Northern France; Rhineland; Ardennes-Alsace; Central Europe.

Decorations. Distinguished Unit Citations: Germany, 11 Jan 1944; Germany, 20 Feb 1944.

Insigne. Shield: Azure, within a diminutive border argent a sheaf of four lances bend sinisterwise of the last, surmounted by a fess chequy sable and of the second overall a bend wavy vert, gules, or and of the first each fimbriated silver. Motto: Caelum Arena Nostra - The Sky is Our Arena. (Approved 9 Sep 1958. This insigne replaced an insigne approved 22 Apr 1955.)

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


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