34th Training Wing
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|34th Training Wing|
|Active||20 November 1940 – present|
|Part of||United States Air Force Academy|
|Garrison/HQ||Air Force Academy|
|Decorations||Air Force Outstanding Unit Award|
|Brig. Gen. Richard M. Clark|
|Patrick K. Gamble
Susan Y. Desjardins
The 34th Training Wing (34 TRW) is a wing of the United States Air Force based at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The commander of the 34th Training Wing is dual-hatted as the Commandant of Cadets at the Academy.
During World War II, its predecessor unit, the 34th Bombardment Group (Heavy) was an Eighth Air Force heavy bombardment unit in England, stationed at RAF Mendlesham. Arriving in England in April 1944 and flew its first missions in May 1944. It was the oldest USAAF bomb group to serve with the Eighth Air Force.
Its mission is to educate and train potential United States Air Force officers as the administrative organization responsible for cadet leadership and military training programs, instruction in military and airmanship courses, and general supervision of cadet life activities.
World War II
Activated 15 January 1941 at Langley field, Virginia 391st Bomb Squadron originally designated 1RS Group equipped with B-17s and on completion of training moved to Westover Field in Massachusetts They took part in anti-submarine patrols on the eastern seaboard flying from Pendleton Field, Ore. from the end of January 1942 to mid May 1942. Group moved to Davis Monthan Field in Arizona and on 4 July 1942 to Geiger Field Washington, where it became a replacement training unit.
Prior to this many of the cadres were drawn from 34 Bomb Group to build new bomb groups destined for the 8th AF. On 15 December 1942 they moved to Blythe Army Air Base, California where it formed part of the 358th CCTS but reverted to an operational role 5 January 1944 to train B-24s for overseas duty. Air echelon began overseas movement on 31 May 1944, taking southern ferry route, from Florida Trinidad, Brazil, West Africa, Marrakesh to Valley. Ground echelon to port of embarkation on 1 April 1944.
The group flew both B-17 Flying Fortresses and B-24 Liberators as part of the Eighth Air Force's strategic bombing campaign. The 34th flew 170 operations from the station, the first sixty-two while flying B-24 Liberators and the remainder with B-17G Fortresses. The change-over was made during the summer of 1.944 when, in common with other groups assigned to the 93rd Combat Wing, the 3rd Division standardised on the Fortress. The group helped to prepare for the invasion of Normandy by bombing airfields in France and Germany, and supported the landing in June by attacking coastal defences and communications. Continued to take part in the campaign in France by supporting ground forces at Saint-Lô, 24–25 July, and by striking V-weapon sites, gun emplacements, and supply lines throughout the summer of 1944.
The group converted to B-17's in September 1944 and engaged primarily in bombardment of strategic objectives from October 1944 to February 1945. Targets included marshalling yards in Ludwigshafen, Hamm, Osnabrück, and Darmstadt; oil centres in Bielefeld, Merseburg, Hamburg, and Misburg; factories in Berlin, Dalteln, and Hanover; and airfields in Münster, Neumünster, and Frankfurt. During this period the group also supported ground forces during the Battle of the Bulge, December 1944 – January 1945. In March 1945, with few industrial targets remaining and with Allied armies advancing across Germany, the 34th turned almost solely to interdicting enemy communications and supporting Allied ground forces.
After V-E Day it carried food to flooded areas of the Netherlands and transported prisoners of war from German camps to Allied centres. Redeployed to the US June/July 1945. First of the air echelon departed 19 June 1945. Ground echelon sailed Queen Elizabeth from Southhampton on 6 August 1945. Personnel had 30 days R and R. Group established Sioux Falls AAFd, South Dakota, and inactivated there on 28 August 1945.
The 34th was reactivated in July 1963 as the 34th Tactical Group to train Republic of Vietnam Air Force (RVNAF) personnel in counter-insurgency operations. It provided training for RVNAF strike pilots, forward air controllers, and observers. The 34th also flew a variety of combat missions, including close air support, escort and interdiction, psychological warfare, aerial supply, forward air control and tactical liaison. The group pioneered tactical weapons and munitions, such as the A-1 Skyraider, the minigun, the daisycutter, and the gunship. Aircrews of the 1st Air Commando Squadron performed the first combat tests of the FC-47 gunship beginning December 1964. The 6251st Tactical Fighter Wing replaced the group in July 1965, and the 34th was again inactivated.
Post Cold War
In late 1994, the 34th Training Wing was activated to encompass the office of the Commandant of Cadets at the United States Air Force Academy as the administrative organization responsible for cadet leadership and military training programs, instruction in military and airmanship courses, and general supervision of cadet life activities.
- Established as 34th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 20 November 1940
- Activated on 15 January 1941
- Redesignated 34th Bombardment Group, Heavy, c. 15 February 1944
- Inactivated on 28 August 1945
- Consolidated (31 January 1984) with the 34th Tactical Group, which was established, and activated, on 19 June 1963.
- Organized on 8 July 1963
- Discontinued, and inactivated, on 8 July 1965
- Redesignated 34th Training Wing on 30 September 1994
- Activated on 31 October 1994.
- 34th Operations: 31 October 1994 – 4 October 2004
- 1st Reconnaissance (later, 391st Bombardment): attached 15 January 1941 – 24 February 1942, assigned 25 February 1942 – 28 August 1945
- 1st Air Commando Squadron: 8 July 1963 – 8 July 1965
- 4th Bombardment Squadron: 15 January 1941 – 28 August 1945
- 7th Bombardment Squadron: 15 January 1941 – 28 August 1945
- 8th Bombardment Squadron: attached 5 August-3 November 1964
- 13th Bombardment Squadron: attached 5 August-3 November 1964; 17 February-16 May 1965
- 18th Bombardment: 15 January 1941 – 28 August 1945
- 19th Tactical Air Support Squadron: 8 July 1963 – 8 August 1964; 21 October 1964-8 July 1965
- 602d Fighter Squadron (Commando): 18 October 1964 – 8 July 1965
- 34th Education Squadron
- 50th Education Squadron
- Freeman, Roger A. (1978) Airfields of the Eighth: Then and Now. After the Battle ISBN 0-900913-09-6
- Freeman, Roger A. (1991) The Mighty Eighth: The Colour Record. Cassell & Co. ISBN 0-304-35708-1
- Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.