34th Training Wing

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34th Training Wing
34th Training Wing.jpg
Active 20 November 1940 – present
Country United States
Branch Air Force
Type Training
Part of United States Air Force Academy
Garrison/HQ Air Force Academy
Mascot The Bird
Decorations Air Force Outstanding Unit Award
Commanders
Current
commander
Brig. Gen. Richard M. Clark
Notable
commanders
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[edit]

Emblem of the 34th Bombardment Group
34th Bomb Group Lockheed/Vega B-17G-65-VE Fortress Serial 44-8457
Douglas-Tulsa B-24H-15-DT Liberator Serial 41-28851 of the 7th Bomb Squadron. This aircraft was damaged during a mission on 24 August 1944 and made an emergency landing in Sweden (MACR 8461). The aircraft was interned until the end of the war then repaired and flown back to the UK in 1945.

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[1] 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 moved to RAF Mendlesham England in April 1944 and entered combat on 23 May 1944. The 34th was assigned to the 93d Combat Bombardment Wing, and the group tail code was a "Square-S".

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.

Cold War[edit]

Emblem of the 34th Tactical Group

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[edit]

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.

Lineage[edit]

  • 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.

Assignments[edit]

Components[edit]

Group

  • 34th Operations: 31 October 1994 – 4 October 2004

Squadron

Stations[edit]

Aircraft operated[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Wilson, Art (2008). Runways in the Sand. Blythe, California: Art Wilson. p. 128. ISBN 978-0-615-21889-2. OCLC 316309702.  LCC D769.85.C21 B598 2008

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

  • 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.