458th Air Expeditionary Group

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458th Air Expeditionary Group
C-9 Nightingale, Mihail Kogălniceanu Airport.JPEG
C-9 Nightingale of the 458th Air Expeditionary Group at Mihail Kogălniceanu Air Base
Active 1943–1945; 1992–1995; 2004; 2006 (twice); 2007 (twice); 2007-2011
Country  United States
Branch  United States Air Force
Type Provisional
Role Air Expeditionary
Part of United States Air Forces in Europe

The 458th Air Expeditionary Group (458 AEG) is a provisional United States Air Force unit assigned to the United States Air Forces in Europe. As a provisional unit, the 458 AEG may be activated or inactivated at any time.

The last known activation of the unit was at Mihail Kogălniceanu International Airport, 26 km NW of Constanţa, Romania. The group was active from about March to June 2003, charged with maintaining an airbridge at the base to transport supplies and people to the US Central Command Area of Responsibility (AOR).

During World War II, the 458th Bombardment Group was an Eighth Air Force B-24 Liberator unit in England. Assigned to RAF Horsham St Faith in early 1944, the group flew its last combat mission on 25 April 1945, flying 240 missions losing 47 aircraft in combat.

History[edit]

World War II[edit]

B-24 Liberators of the 458th Bombardment Group over the North Sea with an escort of P-51 Mustangs of the 353d Fighter Group
B-24J-165-CO Liberator 44-40475 "Jolly Roger", 752d Bombardment Squadron On the bomb run over Bielefeld, Germany on 24 February 1945

The Group flew its first diversionary missions on 24 and 25 February 1944 to draw enemy fighters from German targets being attacked by other USAAF bombers. The group's first bombing mission was on 2 March 1944, and afterward the group operated primarily against strategic targets in Nazi Germany, examples being the industrial areas of Saarbrücken, oil refineries at Hamburg, an airfield at Brunswick, aircraft factories at Oschersleben building the Fw 190 under contract, a fuel depot at Dulmen, a canal at Minden, the aircraft works at Brandenburg, the marshalling yards at Hamm and an aircraft engine plant at Magdeburg.

The Group helped to prepare for the D-Day invasion of Normandy by striking gun batteries, V-weapon sites, and airfields in France and hit coastal defenses in support of the assault on 6 June 1944. Afterward the Group supported the Allied advance through France, bombing bridges and highways to prevent the movement of enemy materiel to the beachhead and by attacking enemy troops to aid the Allied breakthrough at Saint-Lô in July 1944. The Group ceased bombing activity briefly during September 1944 to carry fuel as cargo to airfields in France.

During Battle of the Bulge in December 1944 and January 1945 the Group struck transportation lines, later attacking enemy airfields to assist the Allied assault across the Rhine in March 1945.

The Group flew its last combat mission on 25 April 1945, returning to the USA almost immediately through June and July 1945. The Group was redesignated 458th Bombardment Group (Very Heavy) in August 1945, training with the Boeing B-29 Superfortress until it was inactivated on 17 October 1945.

Modern era[edit]

The unit was reactivated on 1 June 1992 as the 458th Operations Group and controlled two KC-10 Extender tanker squadrons as a detached component of the 22d Air Refueling Wing at Barksdale AFB, Louisiana. The group was inactivated on 1 July 1995 when it's KC-10s were reassigned to McGuire AFB, New Jersey, and its squadrons to the 305th Operations Group when Air Mobility Command consolidated its aerial tanker force.

The unit was converted to provisional status about 2002 and assigned to the United States Air Forces in Europe. In September 2002 the 458 AEG was deployed to Air Force Base Waterkloof, South Africa to participate in the first bilateral exercise between the air forces of South Africa and the United States. More than 200 airmen from Royal Air Force Mildenhall and RAF Lakenheath in England, Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., and the Oklahoma Air National Guard are participated in the exercise.

The group was again brought briefly to life in 2003, when the 458th Air Expeditionary Group was active at Mihail Kogălniceanu International Airport, 26 km NW of Constanţa, Romania. The group was active from about March to June 2003, charged with maintaining an airbridge at the base to transport supplies and people to the US Central Command Area of Responsibility (AOR).

Lineage[edit]

  • Constituted as the 458th Bombardment Group, Heavy on 19 May 1943
Activated on 1 July 1943
Redesignated 458th Bombardment Group, Heavy on 16 August 1944
Redesignated 458th Bombardment Group, Very Heavy 5 August 1945
Inactivated on 17 October 1945
  • Redesignated 458th Operations Group on 1 July 1992 and activated
Inactivated on 1 July 1995
  • Redesignated as 458th Air Expeditionary Group, converted to provisional status on 5 February 2001 and assigned to United States Air Forces Europe to activate or inactivate as needed
Activated on 27 May 2004
Inactivated on 11 June 2004
Activated on 5 May 2006
Inactivated on 6 June 2006
Activated on 3 September 2006
Inactivated on 20 September 2006
Activated on 26 July 2007
Inactivated on 20 September 2007
Activated on 11 October 2007
Inactivated on 13 November 2007
Activated on 26 November 2007
Inactivated on 25 July 2011[1]

Assignments[edit]

3d Air and Space Expeditionary Task Force, 27 May 2004 - 11 June 2004
Attached to Air Command, Europe, 5 May 2006 - 6 June 2006
Attached to Air Command, Europe, 3 September 2006 - 20 September 2006
Attached to Third Air Force, 26 July 2007 - 20 September 2007
Attached to Third Air Force, 11 October 2007 - 13 November 2007
Attached to Third Air Force, 26 November 2007 - 25 July 2011[1]

Components[edit]

Istres Air Base, France
Zaragoza Air Base, Spain

Stations[edit]

Aircraft[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Robertson, Patsy (11/7/2011). "Factsheet 458 Air Expeditionary Group (USAFE)". Air Force Historical Research Agency. Retrieved February 1, 2014.  Check date values in: |date= (help)

Bibliography[edit]

 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. (2001) The Mighty Eighth: The Colour Record. Cassell 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.

External links[edit]