447th Air Expeditionary Group
||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (November 2012)|
|447th Air Expeditionary Group|
Unofficial 447th Air Expeditionary Group emblem
|Active||1943–1945; 1947–1951; 2003–present|
|Branch||United States Air Force|
|Garrison/HQ||Sather AB, Iraq|
|Col Bruce F. Taylor|
|Hunter Harris, Jr.|
The 447th Air Expeditionary Group (447 AEG) was a provisional United States Air Force unit assigned to the Air Combat Command (ACC) and United States Air Forces Central (USAFCENT). The unit presently was last stationed at Sather Air Base on Baghdad International Airport in Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn.
During World War II, its predecessor unit, the 447th Bombardment Group (Heavy) was an Eighth Air Force B-17 Flying Fortress unit in England, stationed at RAF Rattlesden. During Big Week, 20–25 February 1944, the 447th took part in the intensive campaign of heavy bombers against the German aircraft industry.
The 447th AEG provided aerial port, command and control of the military runway, aerial control, base operating support, combat Airmen and combat medical support. The group also supported U.S. and Coalition forces with airlift, supplies and delivery of these forces and materials within the Baghdad area. The 447th operated a true joint environment, with Air Force aerial port Airmen working next to U.S. Army Soldiers. The airfield was a joint civilian-military airport, with a military ramp on the west side and a civilian runway and terminal on the other that is used for international civilian flight operations.
The 447th Air Expeditionary Group’s forces were organized under seven squadrons:
- 447th Expeditionary Communications Squadron (447 ECS)
- 447th Expeditionary Civil Engineering Squadron (447 ECES)
- 447th Expeditionary Force Support Squadron (447 EFSS)
- 447th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron (447 ELRS)
- 447th Expeditionary Medical Squadron (447 EMEDS)
- 447th Expeditionary Operations Support Squadron (447 EOSS)
- 447th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron (447 ESFS)
World War II
The 447th AEG traces its lineage back to the 447th Bombardment Group, which was established on 6 April 1943, and activated on 1 May 1943 at Ephrata Army Air Base, Washington. The group consisted of four squadrons: the 708th, 709th, 710th and 711th Bombardment Squadrons.
The mission of the 447th was to form a heavy bombardment group and begin training in the B-17 Flying Fortress aircraft. After six months of training, first at Rapid City Army Air Base, South Dakota, in June 1943 and then at Harvard Army Air Field, Nebraska, in August 1943, the first 42 of the group's B-17s began its move from the United States to the European theater of operations in November 1943.The unit sailed on the RMS Queen Elizabeth on 23 November 1943 and arrived Clyde on 29 November 1943. The air echelon moved overseas via southern ferry route in early November 1943.
The group was stationed at RAF Rattlesden, England, from 25 November 1943 to 1 August 1945. The group flew its first combat mission on 24 December 1943 against a V-1 missile site in Northern France. Between its first mission and it last on 21 April 1945, the 447th engaged chiefly in strategic bombardment. The group flew 257 combat missions over Europe, comprising 7,605 sorties. Only 15 percent of the aircraft launched on combat missions failed to reach their target.
From December 1943 to May 1944, the 447th helped prepare for the invasion of the European continent by attacking submarine pens, naval installations, and cities in Germany; missile sites and ports in France; and airfields and marshaling yards in France, Belgium and Germany. The group conducted heavy bombardment missions against German aircraft industry during Big Week, 20 to 25 February 1944.
The group supported the invasion of Normandy in June 1944 by bombing airfields and other targets, and the group aided in the breakthrough at St. Lo, France, and the effort to take Brest, France, from July to September 1944. They bombed strategic targets from October to December 1944 and assaulted marshalling yards, railroad bridges and communication centers during the Battle of the Bulge from December 1944 and January 1945. In March 1945 the group bombed an airfield in support of airborne assault across the Rhine.
Lt Franklin Stanley flew an astonishing 35 missions, having waived rotation. The 447th was returned to the United States August 1945 and inactivated 7 November 1945.'
Redeployed to the United States during June/August 1945. The air echelon departed the United Kingdom on 29/30 June 1945. Ground echelon sailed part on the U.S. Army Transport (USAT) ship Joseph T. Robinson and part on the USAT Benjamin R. Milam from Liverpool on 1 and 3 August 1945 respectively. Ships arrived Boston on 12 and 15 August 1945. Personnel had 30 days R&R. Group was established at Drew Field, Florida in August 1945, but apparently was unmanned, and inactivated on 7 November 1945.
Two years later, on 25 July 1947, the 447th was redesignated the 447th Bombardment Group, Very Heavy. It was activated in the Air Force Reserve on 12 August 1947, at Bergstrom Field, Texas, and equipped with B-29 Superfortress. The group was redesignated as the 447th Bombardment Group, Medium as a result of the B-29 being designated as a "medium" bomber and reassigned to Castle Air Force Base, California. The 447th was ordered to active service in May 1951 as a result of the Korean War, with personnel and equipment reassigned to units in Far East Air Force as replacements. Inactivated as a "paper unit" on 16 June 1951.
The group was redesignated the 447th Air Expeditionary Group (447 AEG) and converted to provisional status on 28 January 2003. The 447 AEG was activated at Baghdad International Airport in April 2003, after elements of the 3rd Infantry Division captured the airport 4 April of the same year. The base was named Sather Air Base on 8 April 2005 in honor of Air Force Staff Sergeant Scott D. Sather, who was killed two years prior in combat during Operation Iraqi Freedom. SSgt Sather, of Clio, Michigan, was an Air Force Special Operations combat controller serving with the 24th Special Tactics Squadron, Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina.
- Constituted as 447th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 6 April 1943
- Activated on 1 May 1943
- Inactivated on 7 November 1945.
- Redesignated 447th Bombardment Group (Very Heavy) and activated in the reserve on 12 August 1947
- Redesignated 447th Bombardment Group (Medium) in June 1949
- Ordered to active duty on 1 May 1951
- Inactivated on 16 June 1951.
- Redesignated 447th Air Expeditionary Group, and converted to provisional status on 28 January 2003
- Activated in April 2003
- II Bomber Command, 1 May 1943
- Second Air Force, 6 October-11 November 1943
- 4th Combat Bombardment Wing, 29 November 1943 – 1 August 1945
- Third Air Force, 14 August-7 November 1945
- Tenth Air Force, 12 August 1947
- Strategic Air Command, 1 May – 15 June 1951
- Air Combat Command to activate or inactivate at any time after 28 January 2003.
- 708th Bombardment Squadron (CQ): 1 May 1943 – 7 November 1945; 12 August 1947-15 June 1951
- 709th Bombardment Squadron (IE): 1 May 1943 – 7 November 1945; 10 November 1947-27 June 1949
- 710th Bombardment Squadron (IJ): 1 May 1943 – 7 November 1945
- 711th Bombardment Squadron (IR): 1 May 1943 – 7 November 1945
- Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.
- 447th Air Expeditionary Group Factsheet