29th Flying Training Wing
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|29th Bombardment Group|
29th Flying Training Wing emblem (1972–1977)
29th Bombardment Group Insignia (1939–1946)
|Branch||United States Army Air Forces|
The 29th Flying Training Wing is an inactive United States Air Force unit last based at Craig AFB, Alabama. It was inactivated when Craig AFB was closed as a budget reduction action after the Vietnam War.
The unit's origins begin with its United States Army Air Forces World War II predecessor, the 29th Bombardment Group (29th BG). It originally conducted anti-submarine warfare over the Caribbean during the early years of the war as part of Third Air Force. Later, the 29th BG was a Replacement Training Unit (RTU) of the Army Air Forces Training Command. In 1944, the group was reequipped with B-29 Superfortresses and was engaged in combat as part of Twentieth Air Force. The 29th Bomb Group's aircraft engaged in very heavy bombardment B-29 Superfortress operations against Japan.
The group's World War II tail code was a "Square O".
World War II
Constituted as the 29th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 22 December 1939. Activated on 1 February 1940 at Langley AAF, Virginia. Equipped with B-17C Flying Fortresses and B-18 Bolos, the group trained and took part in aerial reviews as part of the GHQ Air Force.
After the antisubmarine mission was turned over to the Navy and Coast Guard, the 29th was reequipped with B-24 Liberator bombers and was reassigned to Gowen AAF, Idaho, where it functioned as an operational training (OTU) and later as a replacement training unit (RTU). The group was inactivated on 1 April 1944 along with a general phasedown of B-24 training.
The group was immediately redesignated as the 29th Bombardment Group (Very Heavy) and was reactivated the same day. Equipped with B-29 Superfortresses, the unit was remanned and reassigned to Pratt Army Airfield, Kansas. At Pratt, the unit prepared for overseas duty and was deployed to the Southwest Pacific, being assigned to North Field, Guam during December 1944/January 1945. On Guam, the 29th was assigned to the Twentieth Air Force, 314th Bombardment Wing. Its B-29 tail code was "Square O".
The 29th flew its first mission against Japan with an attack on Tokyo on 25 February 1945. It conducted a number of missions against strategic targets in Japan, operating in daylight and at high altitude to bomb factories, refineries, and other objectives. Beginning in March 1945, the group carried out incendiary raids on area targets, flying at night and at low altitude to complete the assignments.
S/Sgt Henry E Erwin was awarded the Medal of Honor for action that saved his B-29 during a mission over Koriyama, Japan, on 12 April 1945. When a phosphorus smoke bomb exploded in the launching chute and shot back into the plane, Sgt Erwin picked up the burning bomb, carried it to a window, and threw it out.
During the Allied assault on Okinawa, the 29th Bomb Group bombed airfields from which the enemy was sending out suicide planes against the invasion force. Received a Distinguished Unit Citation (DUC) for an attack on an airfield at Omura, Japan, on 31 March 1945. Received a second DUC for strikes on the industrial area of Shizuoka, the Mitsubishi aircraft plant at Tamashima, and the Chigusa arsenal at Nagoya,
in June 1945. After the war, dropped food and supplies to Allied prisoners and participated in several show-of-force missions over Japan. Inactivated on Guam on 20 May 1946.
The 29th Flying Training Wing replaced, and absorbed resources of, the 3615th Flying Training Wing on 1 July 1972. at Craig AFB, Alabama**. The 29th FTW conducted graduate pilot training and operated Craig AFB, Ala, facilities. In 1974, Craig AFB was selected as one of two UPT bases to be closed in a post-Vietnam economic move. In 1977, Air Training Command closed Craig Air Force Base along with Webb Air Force Base in Texas. Craig's 29th Flying Training Wing was inactivated on 30 September 1977 and the field was placed on caretaker status the next day.
.** An unrelated unit, the World War II 29th Flying Training Wing was the operational training unit (OTU) at nearby Napier Army Airfield, Alabama where it commanded the 2116th (Pilot School, Advanced, Single-Engine) Army Air Force Base Unit, providing advanced & specialized training in single engine aircraft, including AT-6 Texans and P-40 fighters. This World War II organization, although having a similar designation, was not related to the host unit at Craig AFB in the 1970s.
- Constituted as 29th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 22 December 1939
- Activated on 1 February 1940
- Inactivated on 1 April 1944.
- Redesignated 29th Bombardment Group (Very Heavy)
- Activated on 1 April 1944
- Inactivated on 20 May 1946
- Redesignated as 29th Flying Training Wing on 22 March 1972
- Activated by redesignation of 3615th Pilot Training Wing on 1 July 1972
- Inactivated on 30 September 1977.
- Northeast Air District, 1 February 1940
- Southeast Air District, 21 May 1940
- II Bomber Command, 25 June 1942 – 1 April 1944
- 314th Bombardment Wing, 1 April 1944 – 20 May 1946
- Attached to 17th Bombardment Operational Training Wing (Very Heavy), c. 1 April-7 December 1944
- Air Training Command, 1 July 1972 – 30 September 1977
- 6th Bombardment Squadron 1 Feb 1940–1 Apr 1944, 1 Apr 1944–20 May 1946
- 43d Bombardment Squadron (later 43d Flying Training Squadron) 1 Feb 1940-1 Apr 1944; 1 Apr 1944-20 May 1946, 1972–1977
- 52d Bombardment Squadron (later 52d Flying Training Squadron) 1 Feb 1940-1 Apr 1944; 1 Apr 1944-20 May 1946, 1972–1977
- 411th Bombardment Squadron 5 Sep 1941 (Attached); 1 Apr-10 May 1944
- Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.
- Ravenstein, Charles A. (1984). Air Force Combat Wings Lineage and Honors Histories 1947–1977. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-912799-12-9.