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5th Reconnaissance Group

Constituted as 5th Photographic Group on 14 Jul 1942 and activated on 23 Jul. Redesignated 5th Photographic Reconnaissance and Mapping Group in May 1943, and 5th Photographic Reconnaissance Group in Aug 1943. Trained and participated in maneuvers. Moved to the Mediterranean theater, Jul-Sep 1943. Assigned first to Twelfth AF and later (Oct 1944) to Fifteenth. Flew missions to Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, and the Balkans, using F-5 aircraft. Also flew some photographic missions at night with B-17's and B-25's. Photographed areas near Anzio prior to the Allied landings. Provided reconnaissance of road and rail targets to support US Fifth and British Eighth Army in southern Italy. Made bomb-damage assessments at Cassino. Operated over northwest France, photographing rail targets to be bombed in connection with the invasion of Normandy. Mapped coastal areas in preparation for the invasion of Southern France. Received a DUC for action on 6 Sep 1944 when the group secured photographic intelligence of German Air Force installations in the Balkans and thus enabled fighter organizations to destroy large numbers of enemy transport and fighter planes. Provided reconnaissance services for Fifteenth AF's campaign against the enemy's oil industry, aircraft production, and communications. Also assisted the advance of ground forces in northern Italy by supplying intelligence on enemy installations in the area. Redesignated 5th Reconnaissance Group in May 1945. Returned to the US in Oct. Inactivated on 28 Oct 1945. Disbanded on 6 Mar 1947.

Squadrons. 15th: 1944-1945. 21st: 1942-1943. 22d: 1942-1943. 23d: 1942-1944. 24th: 1942-1943. 32d: 1944-1945. 37th: 1944-1945.

Stations. Colorado Springs, Colo, 23 Jul 1942-8 Aug 1943; La Marsa, Tunisia, 8 Sep 1943; San Severo, Italy, 8 Dec 1943; Bari, Italy, 11 Oct 1944-Oct 1945; Camp Kilmer, NJ, 26-28 Oct 1945.

Commanders. 2nd Lt Frederick A Williams, 23 Jul 1942; Maj D Russell, 1942; Maj James F Setchell, 12 Jan 1943; Lt Col Waymond A Davis, 27 Feb 1943; Maj Leon W Gray, 23 Oct 1943; Maj Lloyd R Nuttall, 4 Feb 1944; Col Wilbur H Stratton, 21 Sep 1944; Lt Col Bernard S Hendler, 9 Aug 1945-unkn.

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

Decorations. Distinguished Unit Citation: MTO, 6 Sep 1944.

Insigne. Shield: Azure, on a chevron inverted or two wings conjoined in lure and elevated of the field, in chief a camera lens proper ringed of the second. Motto: Beware, We Snap! (Approved 25 Jan 1943.)

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


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