USAF Light Bombardment Organizations in Korea

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3rd Bombardment Wing, Light
On the first day of the war, the 3rd BW's tactical units flew B-26s from Iwakuni AB, Japan on combat missions in Korea. On July 20, 1950, the group was detached and the wing assumed a supporting role at Yokota AB, Japan until December 1. It then regained control of its combat units at Iwakuni AB and began night intruder missions to Korea. The 3rd BW moved to South Korea in August 1951 and attacked main supply routes in western North Korea until the war's end. In the summer and autumn of 1952, the wing devised a "hunter/killer" B-26 tactic for nighttime interdiction of transportation targets.

Combat Components

3rd Bombardment Group: duration, except detached July 20-November 30, 1950.

Stations

Johnson AB, Japan, -August 14, 1950; Yokota AB, Japan, August 14, 1950; Iwakuni, AB, Japan December 1, 1950; Kunsan AB, South Korea, August 22, 1951-.

Commanders

Col. Thomas B. Hall, c. June-c. July 1950; Col. Strother B. Hardwick, Jr., c. July 1950; Col. Virgil L. Zoller, August 14, 1950; Col. Donald L. Clark, August 23, 1950; Col. Virgil L. Zoller, December 1, 1950; Col. Nils O. Ohman, July 24, 1951; Col. Marshall R. Gray, March 4, 1952; Col. Eugene B. LeBailly, August 14, 1952-.

Campaign Streamers

UN Defensive; CCF Intervention; First UN Counteroffensive; CCF Spring Offensive; UN Summer-Fall Offensive; Second Korean Winter; Korea, Summer-Fall 1952; Third Korean Winter; Korea, Summer 1953.

Decorations

Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation for period June 27-July 31, 1950.

3rd Bombardment Group, Light
The 3rd BG conducted its first combat missions in Korea on June 27, 1950. Its B-26 pilots flew reconnaissance sorties and protected allied shipping in Korean waters. The next day, the group attacked rail and road targets at Munsan. A day later, the B-26s attacked Pyongyang Airfield. On July 1, the group and its squadrons moved with a forward echelon of the wing to Iwakuni AB, Japan to be closer to Korea. Fifth Air Force exercised direct operational control of the group from July 20, 1950, later attaching it to the 6133rd Bomb (later, Tactical Support) Wing. After September, the 3rd BG flew mostly at night against airfields, vehicles, and railways. Hindered by a lack of light over the target areas, the night Intruders experimented with parachute-dropped flares, wing-mounted naval searchlights, and C-47 "Lightning Bugs." The "bugs," flown by the attached 731st BS, dropped flares from low altitudes, illuminating target areas. But B-26s soon replaced the C-47s, which flew too slowly to accompany the Intruders to the target area. The 3rd BG moved to Korea in August 1951 to continue combat missions, receiving three Distinguished Unit Citations before the armistice in July 1953.

Combat Components

8th Bombardment Squadron: duration.
13th Bombardment Squadron: duration.
90th Bombardment Squadron: June 25, 1951-.
731st Bombardment Squadron: attached November 1950-June 25, 1951.

Stations

Johnson AB, Japan, -July 1, 1950; Iwakuni AB, Japan, July 1, 1950; Kunsan AB, South Korea, August 22, 1951-.

Commanders

Col. Donald L. Clark, -August 5, 1950; Lt. Col. Leland A. Walker, Jr., August 5, 1950; Col. Henry G. Brady, Jr., October 17, 1950; Col. Chester H. Morgan, January 4, 1952; Col. William G. Moore, Jr., January 17, 1952; Col. Sherman R. Beaty, by December 1952; Col. John G. Napier, April 1, 1953; Col. Straughan D. Kelsey, July 22, 1953-.

Medal of Honor Recipient

Capt. John S. Walmsley, Jr. (8th BS) for actions on September 14, 1951.

Campaign Streamers

UN Defensive; UN Offensive; CCF Intervention; First UN Counteroffensive; CCF Spring Offensive; UN Summer-Fall Offensive 1952; Second Korean Winter; Korea, Summer-Fall 1952; Third Korean Winter; Korea, Summer 1953.

Decorations

Three Presidential Unit Citations for actions June 27-July 31, 1950; April 22-July 8, 1951; and May 1-July 27, 1953.
Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation for period June 27-July 31, 1950.

17th Bombardment Wing, Light
The 17th BW activated in South Korea on May 10, 1952, replacing the Reserve 452nd BW. Assigned to Fifth Air Force, it immediately began combat operations, conducting night intruder and light bombardment missions against enemy supply centers, communications and transportation; interdicting North Korean railroads; flying armed reconnaissance; and providing close air support for ground forces until July 27, 1953. Late in the war by May 1953, the 17th began flying SHORAN directed missions.

Combat Components

17th Bombardment Group: May 10, 1952-.

Stations

Pusan-East AB, South Korea, May 10, 1952-.

Commanders

Col. Albert W. Fletcher, May 10, 1952; Col. Glen C. Nye, June 3, 1952; Col. William C. Lindley, Jr., October 7, 1952; Col. Clinton C. Wasem, October 10, 1952-.

Campaign Streamers

Korea, Summer-Fall 1952; Third Korean Winter; Korea, Summer 1953.

Decorations

Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation for the period May 24, 1952-March 31, 1953.

17th Bombardment Group, Light
The 17th BG's B-26 light bombers saw initial night action against enemy communication centers, railroads, vehicles, bridges, gun emplacements, and troop concentrations. In 1953, the group engaged in interdiction operations designed to achieve the greatest destruction of enemy rail rolling stock, facilities and supplies. In early February, equipped with glass-nose B-26s, it adopted new tactics for armed reconnaissance missions against railroads, locomotives, and boxcars. The 17th BG participated in Operation SPRING THAW in March 1953 against roads, and in April it repeatedly attacked the southbound route originating at Yangdok along the eastern coast of North Korea. By then, it was flying about a third of its sorties in close air support of ground troops. The 17th BG claimed the last enemy vehicle destroyed in the war.

Combat Components

34th Bombardment Squadron: May 10, 1952-.
37th Bombardment Squadron: May 10, 1952-.
95th Bombardment Squadron: May 10, 1952-.

Stations

Pusan-East, South Korea, May 10, 1952; Pusan-West, South Korea, October 1, 1952; Pusan-East, South Korea, December 20, 1952-.

Commanders

Col. James D. Kemp, May 10, 1952; Col. William C. Lindley, Jr., July 11, 1952; Col. Robert E. Keating, February 14, 1953; Col. Gordon D. Timmons, April 8, 1953-.

Campaign Streamers

Korea, Summer-Fall 1952; Third Korean Winter; Korea, Summer 1953.

Decorations

Distinguished Unit Citation for actions December 1, 1952-April 30, 1953.
Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation for the period May 24, 1952-March 31, 1953.

452nd Bombardment Wing, Light
The 452nd BW, a Reserve wing ordered to active service in August 1950, moved from California to Japan during October-November. Arriving at Itazuke AB on October 25, the wing's air echelon began B-26 combat operations over Korea two days later. Its ground echelon arrived by ship in mid-November. The wing, under Fifth Air Force control, was briefly attached to the 8th FBW at Itazuke AB and to 314th Air Division while at Miho AB, Japan. The 452nd BW inactivated on May 10, 1952 and returned to Reserve status.

Combat Components

452nd Bombardment Group: -May 10, 1952.

Stations

Itazuke AB, Japan, October 25, 1950; Miho AB, Japan, December 12, 1950; Pusan East AB, South Korea, May 23, 1951-May 10, 1952.

Commanders

Brig. Gen. Luther W. Sweetser, Jr. -May 12, 1951; Col. Brooks A. Lawhon, May 12, 1951; Col. Reginald J. Clizbe, by August 20, 1951; Col. Albert W. Fletcher, February 10-May 10, 1952.

Campaign Streamers

UN Offensive; CCF Intervention; First UN Counteroffensive; CCF Spring Offensive; UN Summer-Fall Offensive; Second Korean Winter; Korea, Summer-Fall 1952.

Decorations

Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation for period October 27, 1950-October 27, 1951.

452nd Bombardment Group, Light
On October 27, 1950, the 452nd BG entered combat against communist forces with its B-26s, flying medium-level armed reconnaissance, interdiction bombing, and close air support sorties. The group bombed and strafed buildings, tunnels, rail lines, switching centers, bridges, vehicles, supply dumps, and airfields. In one of its most important missions, the 452nd BG supported the 187th Airborne Infantry Regiment's mass parachute drop over North Korean lines at Munsan-ni on March 23, 1951. Leading the troop carrier aircraft over the target area, the group dropped 500-pound bombs, fired rockets, and strafed the CCF front line. After the enemy launched its spring 1951 offensive, it added night missions then in early June converted solely to such operations until its inactivation on May 10, 1952.

Combat Components

728th Bombardment Squadron: -May 10, 1952.
729th Bombardment Squadron: -May 10, 1952.
730th Bombardment Squadron: -May 10, 1952.
731st Bombardment Squadron: -November 1950.

Stations

Itazuke AB, Japan, October 27, 1950; Miho AB, Japan, c. December 10, 1950; Pusan-East AB, South Korea, May 17, 1951-May 10, 1952.

Commanders

Col. Charles W. Howe, -May 17, 1951; Col. Frank L. Wood, Jr., May 17, 1951; Lt. Col. John A. Herrington, June 1951; Lt. Col. Harry C. Mailey, c. December 1951; Col. James D. Kemp, March 28-May 10, 1952.

Campaign Streamers

UN Offensive; CCF Intervention; First UN Counteroffensive; CCF Spring Offensive; UN Summer-Fall Offensive; Second Korean Winter; Korea, Summer-Fall 1952.

Decorations

Two Distinguished Unit Citations for actions July 9-November 27, 1951 and November 28, 1951-April 30, 1952.
Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation for period October 27, 1950-October 27, 1952
  
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