458th Air Expeditionary Group
||This article includes a list of references, related reading or external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations. (January 2013)|
|458th Air Expeditionary Group|
Emblem of the World War II 485th Bombardment Group
|Active||1943–1945; 1992–1995; 2002 (TBD)|
|Branch||United States Air Force|
|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.
World War II 
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.
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 
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).
- Constituted as 458th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 19 May 1943
- Activated on 1 July 1943
- Redesignated 458th Bombardment Group (Very Heavy) in August 1945
- Inactivated on 17 October 1945
- Redesignated 458th Operations Group on 1 July 1992 and activated
- Inactivated on 1 July 1995
- Redesignated 458th Air Expeditionary Group and converted to provisional status, 1 September 2002
- II Bomber Command, 1 July 1943
- Second Air Force, 6 October-29 December 1943
- 96th Combat Bombardment Wing, 11 January 1944 – 3 July 1945
- Second Air Force, 12 July-17 October 1945
- 22d Air Refueling Wing, 1 June 1992 – 1 July 1995
- United States Air Forces in Europe, to activate or inactivate at any time after 1 September 2002
- 2d Air Refueling Squadron, 1 June 1992 – 1 July 1995
- 32d Air Refueling Squadron, 1 June 1992 – 1 July 1995
- 752d Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) (7V), 1 July 1943 – 17 October 1945
- 753d Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) (J4), 1 July 1943 – 17 October 1945
- 754th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) (Z5), 1 July 1943 – 17 October 1945
- 755th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) (J3), 1 July 1943 – 17 October 1945
- 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.
- http://www.heritageleague.org/groups/458bg.htm – Source of much of this article
- Air Force participates in South Africa exercise
- "Romanians Eager for Long-Awaited Arrival of the Yanks", Kevin Sullivan, The Washington Post, 6 February 2006
- "AF members build friendships, bridges in Romania", 1st Lt. Chris Watt, 458th Air Expeditionary Group Public Affairs, 9 April 2003