409th Air Expeditionary Operations Group
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|409th Air Expeditionary Operations Group|
|Role||Air Expeditionary Operations|
|Engagements||Air Offensive, Europe; Normandy; Northern France; Rhineland; Ardennes-Alsace; Central Europe.|
The 409 AEOG was assigned to Camp Sarafovo, Burgas, Bulgaria during March–June 2003 as a logistics support organization. It was also responsible for refueling operations in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom using six KC-10 Extender aircraft deployed from McGuire AFB, New Jersey to help keep coalition aircraft fueled and flying on their air routes through Bulgaria and on to the theater of war.
The current status of the unit is undisclosed.
Its World War II predecessor, the 409th Bombardment Group, was a Ninth Air Force unit flying A-20 Havoc light bombers in Western Europe during the 1944 Battle of Normandy and the 1945 Western Allied invasion of Germany.
- Constituted as: 409th Bombardment Group (Light) on 1 June 1943
- Activated on 1 June 1943
- Inactivated on 7 November 1945
- Redesignated as: 409th Air Expeditionary Operations Group and converted to provisional status, 1 February 2003.
- III Air Support Command, 1 June 1943
- 97th Bombardment Wing, 7 March 1944 – August 1945
- Army Service Forces, 6 October-7 November 1945
- Air Mobility Command to activate or inactivate anytime after 1 February 2003.
- 640th Bombardment Squadron (W5), 1 June 1943 – 7 November 1945
- 641st Bombardment Squadron (7G), 1 June 1943 – 7 November 1945
- 642d Bombardment Squadron (D6), 1 June 1943 – 7 November 1945
- 643d Bombardment Squadron (5I), 1 June 1943 – 7 November 1945
- Will Rogers Field, Oklahoma, 1 June 1943
- Woodward Army Air Field, Oklahoma, October 1943
- DeRidder Army Airbase, Louisiana c. 10 December 1943 – 10 February 1944
- RAF Little Walden (AAF-165), England, 7 March 1944
- Bretigny Airfield (A-48), France, September 1944
- Laon-Couvron Airfield (A-70), France, February–June 1945
- Seymour Johnson Field, North Carolina, August 1945
- Westover Field, Massachusetts, ca. 6 October-7 November 1945
- Sarafovo Air Base, Bulgaria (2003)
World War II
Constituted as 409th Bombardment Group (Light) on 1 June 1943 and activated the same day. Used A-20's in preparing for duty overseas. The unit moved to RAF Little Walden England, February–March 1944, and was assigned to Ninth Air Force.
The 409th flew the A-20 "Havoc" light bomber and Douglas A-26 "Invader" medium bomber and was originally trained in low-level attack missions. However, the group was busy flying medium-altitude bombing runs from 10,000 ft. Over 100 missions were flown by the group, attacking coastal defenses, V-weapon sites, aerodromes, and other targets in France in preparation for the invasion of Normandy. The group supported ground forces during the Battle of Normandy by hitting gun batteries, rail lines, bridges, communications, and other objectives. During July 1944, aided the Allied offensive at Caen and the breakthrough at Saint-Lô with attacks on enemy troops, flak positions, fortified villages, and supply dumps.
The group moved to their Advanced Landing Ground in at Bretigny, France (A-48) to support Third Army's advance toward Germany on 10 September. A total of ten aircraft were lost by the group flying from Little Walden.
In February 1945 the 409th moved to Laon-Couvron Air Base (A-70) France, remaining until June. The group returned to the United States and was inactivated at Seymour Johnson AAF North Carolina on 6 October 1945. It may be observed that that although the 409th was inactivated at Seymour-Johnson AFB, this would not be the last time "SJ" would claim them.
War on Terror
The 409th Air Expeditionary Group was activated in March 2003 as an aerial refueling unit at Sarafovo Air Base, Bulgaria as part of the War On Terror. The 409th Group was responsible for refueling operations in support of the US-led Operation Iraqi Freedom and the mission included the use of six Boeing KC-10 Extender aircraft, deployed from McGuire AFB New Jersey, to help keep coalition aircraft fueled and flying on their air routes through Bulgaria and on to the theatre of war. The 409th AEG was inactivated in June 2003.
The US originally purchased 60 KC-10(A) airframes; however, one was burned in a fire. At the time they were divided between Seymour-Johnson AFB, North Carolina; and Barksdale AFB, Louisiana. Ultimately they were assigned to Travis AFB, California and McGuire AFB, New Jersey. The Camp Sarafavo planes included some of the aircraft originally assigned to Seymour-Johnson AFB. The New Jersey airmen joked casually upon arrival that the tail designator SJ (Seymour-Johnson) stood for South Jersey instead. Today there is an integration of both Seymour-Johnson and Barksdale airmen at both bases and the aerial refueling mission goes on across the generations and the globe.
- Maurer 1983, p. 295.
- Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.
- Johnson, David C. (1988), U.S. Army Air Forces Continental Airfields (ETO), D-Day to V-E Day; Research Division, USAF Historical Research Center, Maxwell AFB, Alabama.