47th Operations Group

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47th Operations Group
47thoperationsgroup-emblem.jpg
Emblem of the 47th Operations Group
Active 1941–1949; 1951–1955; 1991–present
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Type Training
Part of 47th Flying Training Wing
Garrison/HQ Laughlin Air Force Base
84th FTS Raytheon T-6A Texan II 05-3812
86th FTS Beechcraft T-1A Jayhawk 93-0624

The 47th Operations Group (47 OG) is the flying component of the 47th Flying Training Wing, assigned to the United States Air Force Air Education and Training Command. The group is stationed at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas.

Overview[edit]

The 47th Operations Group contains five flying squadrons, one support squadron, and a maintenance flight. The Operations Group is responsible for training US Air Force and allied nation pilots under the Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training Program (SUPT).

The group provides management, control, and standardization/evaluation of all aspects of flying training operations, aircraft maintenance, and airfield management at Laughlin AFB, Texas.

Components[edit]

Squadrons of the 47th Operations Group (Tail Code: XL) are:

History[edit]

See 47th Flying Training Wing for additional history and lineage information

World War II[edit]

47thbg-patch.jpg
Douglas A-26C Invader (Later B-26C) flown by the 47th Bomb Group from early 1945 into the postwar era, before being replaced by the B-45 in 1948

Constituted as 47th Bombardment Group (Light) on 20 November 1940, and activated on 15 January 1941. Operational squadrons of the group were:

Initially based at McChord Field, Washington, the group's mission was to perform anti-submarine patrols along the Pacific coast with the Douglas B-18 Bolo its primary aircraft. This was a short-lived mission, however, as after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, the group began training for duty overseas when it was assigned Douglas A-20Cs which were taken over by the USAAF from Lend-Lease contracts.

Training at several bases in the midwest and southeast, it was first believed that the 47th would be sent to the South Pacific. However shortly after Operation Torch, the Allied invasion of North Africa in November 1942, the 47th became the first USAAF A-20 group to participate in large-scale combat in the North African Campaign, being assigned to Twelfth Air Force.

Flying to a former Vichy French Air Force base at Mediouni, French Morocco. the aircrews used ferry tanks on their A-20s to cross the North Atlantic. The group began operations by flying low-level missions against the enemy in North Africa flying its first combat mission from Youks-les-Bains, Algeria on 13 December 1942.

47th Group A-20s provided valuable tactical support to US and British ground forces, especially during and after the allied defeat at the Battle of the Kasserine Pass. Though undermanned and undersupplied, the group flew eleven missions on 22 February to attack the advancing Nazi armored columns and thus to help stop the enemy’s offensive-an action which helped save the day, and eventually the Germans were forced back into a small perimeter in Tunisia. For these actions, the group was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation.

The 47th remained active in combat during March and April 1943 while training for medium level bombardment. In 1943 the group was upgraded to the A-20G, which increased their forward firepower during low-level strafing missions. Moving to Malta, the group participated in the reduction of Pantelleria and Lampedusa (Operation Corkscrew) in June 1943 and the invasion of Sicily (Operation Husky) in July. The group also bombed German evacuation beaches near Messina in August.

The group supported the British Eighth Army during the invasion of Italy in September. Moving to Italy as part of the Italian Campaign, the group assisted the Allied advance toward Rome, September 1943 – June 1944 at the battles of the Bernhardt Line, Monte Cassino, and Operation Shingle. The 47th began flying numerous night intruder missions after June 1944, and supported the invasion of Southern France from bases in Corsica and also in France during August–September 1944.

Returning to Italy, the group attacked German communications in northern Italy, 1 September – 4 April 1945. Received a second DUC for performance from to 21–24 April 1945 when, in bad weather and over rugged terrain, the group maintained operations for 60 consecutive hours, destroying enemy transportation in the Po Valley to prevent the organized withdrawal of German forces.

After January 1945, the 47th received some new Douglas A-26Cs which flew alongside its A-20s during the last four months of the war for specialized night attacks. The group flew support and interdictory operations attacking such targets as tanks, convoys, bivouac areas, troop concentrations, supply dumps, roads, pontoon bridges, rail lines, and airfields. The A-26 was regarded as being the USAAF's best twin-engined bomber, and plans were being made for the conversion of the 47th to the type.

The 47th Bombardment Group returned to the United States in July 1945 and was reassigned to Seymour Johnson Field, North Carolina. Its mission was to prepare for redeployment to the Pacific Theater for night pathfinder operations against Japan. Its black-painted A-26Cs were equipped with radar however the surrender by Japan in August 1945, cancelled all redeployment plans.

Postwar era[edit]

47thbw-patch.jpg
North American B-45A-1-NA Tornado Serial 48-010 of 86th Bomb Squadron at RAF Alconbury. This aircraft is now on display at the Museum of the United States Air Force, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio.

With the closing of Seymour Johnson in August 1945, the group was reassigned to Lake Charles AAF, Louisiana and was fully equipped with the Douglas A-26 Invader (renamed B-26 in June 1948). The A-26 was selected as the standard light bomber and night reconnaissance aircraft of the postwar USAAF, primarily as the main offensive light bomber of the Tactical Air Command which was created in 1946 out of the remnants of the wartime 9th and 12th Air Forces. At Lake Charles, the unit trained in night tactical operations, conducted firepower demonstrations, and participated in tactical exercises.

The group was moved Biggs Field, Texas in October 1946 when Lake Charles became a Strategic Air Command (SAC) base. At Biggs, the Group was reduced from four to three tactical squadrons when the 97th Bombardment Squadron was inactivated.

On 1 February 1948 Biggs was also turned over to SAC, forcing a relocation of the group to Barksdale AFB, Louisiana in November. The 47th moved into the jet age in 1949, when the North American B-45 Tornado, bomber replaced the B-26s. The 47th was the first USAF wing equipped with the B-45.

The 47th was inactivated at Barksdale 2 October 1949 as a result of budgetary reductions. However the 84th and 85th Squadrons continued with the B-45's and moved to Langley AFB, Virginia where they were attached to the 363d Tactical Reconnaissance Wing.

Cold War[edit]

RB-45C 48-022, 19th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron

On 12 March 1951, the 47th Bombardment Group was reactivated at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, with tactical squadrons the 84th and 85th. The group was the only Jet-Medium Bomber Group in the Air Force. After becoming proficient in the handling and use of nuclear weapons, moved to RAF Sculthorpe, United Kingdom where it began operations there on 1 June 1952.

For nearly three years, the 47th Bombardment Group provided an in-place Atomic Air Strike Force to back up NATO Ground Forces in Europe. Operational missions of the group were training for tactical bombardment training operations, including participation in exercises and firepower demonstrations in support of NATO.

Owing to the small size of Sculthorpe, the group operated two B-45A jet bomber squadrons (84th and 85th) from Sculthorpe. In March 1954, a third B-45A jet bomber squadron (86th) was assigned to the wing, but operated from RAF Alconbury in order to accommodate the additional aircraft.

A few months after moving to England that year, the group ceased operations and remained a paper organization until inactivation again in 1955 as a result of the Air Force tri-deputate reorganization.

Modern era[edit]

The group was reactivated in on 9 December 1991 as the 47th Operations Group and assigned to the 47th Flying Training Wing as part of the "Objective Wing" concept adapted by the Air Force. The 47th OG was bestowed the lineage, honors and history of the 47th Bombardment Group and its predecessor units.

The 47OG was assigned the flying components of the wing, and since its reactivation has USAF and Allied pilots using various types of trainer aircraft.

Lineage[edit]

  • Established as 47 Bombardment Group (Light) on 20 November 1940
Activated on 15 January 1941
Redesignated: 47 Bombardment Group, Light (Night Attack) on 1 May 1946
Redesignated: 47 Bombardment Group, Light, on 22 August 1948
Inactivated on 2 October 1949
  • Activated on 12 March 1951
Inactivated on 8 February 1955
  • Redesignated 47 Operations Group on 9 December 1991
Activated on 15 December 1991

Assignments[edit]

Attached to: Northwest Air District [later, Second Air Force], 15 January-14 August 1941
Attached to: IV Bomber Command, 17 December 1941 – 15 February 1942
Attached to: III Ground Air Support Command, 29 June-10 August 1942
Moroccan Composite Wing, 31 December 1942
Attached to: Northwest African Tactical Air Force, 18 February-20 March 1943
Attached to: Northwest African Tactical Bomber Force, 20 March-1 September 1943
Attached to: XII Air Support Command, 1 September-6 October 1943
Attached to: 57th Bombardment Wing [Medium], 6 October-10 December 1943
Attached to: XII Air Support [later, XII Tactical Air] Command, 10 December 1943 – 20 July 1944
Attached to: 87th Fighter Wing, 20 July-7 September 1944
Attached to: XII Tactical Air Command, 7–15 September 1944
Attached to: XII Fighter Command [later, XXII Tactical Air Command] , 15 September 1944 – 7 June 1945

Components[edit]

Stations[edit]

Aircraft assigned[edit]

References[edit]

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

  • Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.
  • Ravenstein, Charles A. (1984). Air Force Combat Wings Lineage and Honors Histories 1947–1977. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-912799-12-9.

External links[edit]