97th Bombardment Group

HISTORY:

Constituted as 97th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 28 Jan 1942. Activated on 3 Feb 1942. Trained with B-17's; also flew some antisubmarine patrols. Moved to England, May-Jul 1942, for duty with Eighth AF. Entered combat on 17 Aug 1942 by bombing a marshalling yard at Rouen, the first mission flown by AAF's heavy bombers based in England. After that, attacked airfields, marshalling yards, industries, naval installations, and other targets in France and the Low Countries. Moved to the Mediterranean theater in Nov 1942, being assigned first to Twelfth and later (Nov 1943) to Fifteenth AF. Struck shipping in the Mediterranean and airfields, clocks, harbors, and marshalling yards in North Africa, southern France, Sardinia, Sicily, and southern Italy, Nov 1942-May 1943, in the campaign to cut supply lines to German forces in North Africa. Helped to force the capitulation of Pantelleria in Jun 1943. Bombed in preparation for and in support of the invasions of Sicily and southern Italy in the summer and fall of 1943. From Nov 1943 to Apr 1945, engaged chiefly in long-range missions to targets in Italy, France, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Hungary, Rumania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, and Greece, attacking oil refineries, aircraft factories, marshalling yards, and other strategic objectives. Received a DUC for leading a strike against an aircraft factory at Steyr on 24 Feb 1944 during Big Week, the intensive air campaign against the German aircraft industry. 2nd Lt David R Kingsley, bombardier, was awarded the Medal of Honor for saving the life of a wounded gunner on 23 Jun 1944: during a mission to Ploesti, Kingsley's B-17 was seriously crippled and the tail gunner was injured; when the crew was ordered to bail out, Kingsley gave his parachute to the gunner, whose own had been damaged, and assisted him in bailing out; Kingsley died a few moments later when his bomber crashed and burned. The group received its second DUC for a devastating raid against one of the Ploesti refineries on 18 Aug 1944. Other operations of the 97th included pounding enemy communications, transportation, and airfields in support of Allied forces at Anzio and Cassino; bombing coastal defenses in preparation for the invasion of Southern France; and assisting US Fifth and British Eighth Army in their advance through the Po Valley. Inactivated in Italy on 29 Oct 1945.

Redesignated 97th Bombardment Group (Very Heavy). Activated in the US on 4 Aug 1946. Assigned to Strategic Air Command. Equipped with B-29's. Redesignated 97th Bombardment Group (Medium) in May 1948. Converted to B-50's in 1950. Inactivated on 16 Jun 1952.

Redesignated 94th Tactical Reconnaissance Group. Allotted to the reserve. Activated on 14 Jun 1952. Redesignated 94th Bombardment Group (Tactical) in May 1955.

Squadrons:

340th: 1942-1945; 1946-1952
341st: 1942-1945; 1946-1952
342d: 1942-1945; 1946-1952
414th: 1942-1945.

Stations:

MacDill Field, Fla, 3 Feb 1942
Sarasota, Fla, 29 Mar-c. 16 May 1942
Polebrook, England, c. 13 June-9 Nov 1942
Maison Blanche, Algeria, c. 13 Nov 1942
Tafaraoui, Algeria, c. 22 Nov 1942
Biskra, Algeria, c. 25 Dec 1942
Chateaudun-du-Rhumel, Algeria, c. 8 Feb 1943
Pont-du-Fahs, Tunisia, c. 1 Aug 1943
Depienne, Tunisia, c. 15 Aug 1943
Cerignola, Italy, c. 20 Dec 1943
Amendola, Italy, 16 Jan 1944
Marcianise, Italy, c. 1-29 Oct 1945
Smoky Hill AAFld, Kan, Aug 1946
Biggs AFB, Tex, 17 May 1948-16 Jun 1952.

Commanders:

Col Cornelius W Cousland, Feb 1942
Col James H Walsh, c. Jul 1942
Col Frank A Armstrong Jr, c. 2 Aug 1942
Brig Gen Joseph H Atkinson, c. 27 Sep 1942
Col Stanley Donovan, 5 Jan 1943
Col Leroy A Rainey, 29 Jun 1943
Col Frank Allen, Nov 1943
Col Jacob E Smart, 7 Apr 1944
Col Frank Allen, 11 May 1944
Col Elmer Rogers Jr, Jun 1944
Col Nils O Ohman, 22 Aug 1944
Col William K Kincaid, May 1945-unkn.
Col Walter S Lee, c. 4 Aug 1946
Lt Col William D Bacon, c. 27 Aug 1946
Col William E McDonald, 9 Oct 1946
Col George L Robinson, 10 Sep 1946-unkn
Col George L Robinson, 30 Sep 1948
Col Dalene E Bailey, 20 Apr 1949
Col Harvey C Dorney, Feb 1951
Col John D Ryan, 16 Jul 1951-16 Jun 1952.

Campaigns:

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

Decorations:

Distinguished Unit Citations: Steyr, Austria, 24 Feb 1944; Ploesti, Rumania, 18 Aug 1944.

Insigne:

Shield: Azure, a spear in pale or, point to base flammant and embrued proper. Motto: Venit Hora - The Hour Has Come. (Approved 5 Mar 1943.)