|497th Air Refueling Wing
497th Air Refueling Wing emblem
||United States Air Force
||PARATI STAMUS – 'We Stand Ready'
- Asiatic-Pacific Campaign
869th Bomb Squadron B-29 42-24592 "Dauntless Dolly". Shown is Major Robert Morgan, pilot of the aircraft. On 24 November 1944, he led the first mission of the XXI Bomber Command to bomb Japan, 110 aircraft of the 73rd Bomb Wing to Tokyo, with wing commander Brig. Gen. Emmett O'Donnell, Jr. as co-pilot. His B-29 was nicknamed Dauntless Dotty, after his third wife, Dorothy Johnson Morgan.
Crew of the 869th Bomb Squadron B-29 42-24592 "Little Gem", 4 December 1944.
Nose view of 869th Bomb Squadron B-29 42-24599 "Scrapper".
Crew of 869th Bomb Squadron B-29 42-24598 "Waddy's Wagon". It was lost on 9 January 1945.
The 497th Air Refueling Wing is an inactive United States Air Force unit. It was assigned to Strategic Air Command, based at Plattsburgh AFB, New York. The unit was inactivated on 15 September 1964.
The unit's origins begin with its predecessor unit, the United States Army Air Forces 497th Bombardment Group (497th BG) was part of Twentieth Air Force during World War II. The 497th BG engaged in very heavy (B-29 Superfortress) bombardment operations against Japan. Its aircraft were identified by a "A" and a square painted on the tail.
World War II 
The unit was established in late 1943 at El Paso Municipal Airport, Texas, being formed as a B-29 Superfortress Very Heavy bombardment Group. The unit was formed with four bomb squadrons (869th, 870th, 871st and 872d), all being newly-constituted.
It moved to Pratt Army Air Field, Kansas in December 1943 to begin training. Due to a shortage of B-29s, the group was equipped with former II Bomber Command B-17 Flying Fortresses already at Pratt which were previously used for training heavy bomber replacement personnel. In the spring of 1944, it finally received newly-manufactured B-29 Superfortresses. In May shortages in aircraft and equipment led to the 872d Bomb Squadron being inactivated, with its personnel being consolidated into other group squadrons.
As a three squadron group, the 497th was deployed to Pacific Theater of Operations (PTO) in September 1944, being assigned to the XXI Bomber Command 73d Bombardment Wing in the Northern Mariana Islands; being stationed at Isley Field, Saipan. Upon arrival the group's personnel were engaged in Quonset hut construction. By mid-October most personnel were able to move into the huts from the initial tents which they were assigned on arrival. The group began operations in October 1944 with attacks against Iwo Jima and the Truk Islands. Took part in the first attack (24 November 1944) on Japan by AAF planes based in the Marianas. Flew many missions against strategic objectives in Japan; on numerous raids, made its attacks in daylight and from high altitude.
Received a Distinguished Unit Citation for a mission on 27 January 1945. Although weather conditions prevented the group from bombing its primary objective, the unescorted B-29’s withstood severe enemy attacks to strike an alternate target, the industrial area of Hamamatsu. Awarded a second DUC for attacking strategic centers in Japan during Jul and August 1945. Assisted the assault on Okinawa in April 1945 by bombing enemy airfields to cut down air attacks against the invasion force. Beginning on 19 March and continuing until the end of the war the group made incendiary raids against Japan, flying at night and at low altitude to bomb area targets. The group released propaganda leaflets over the Japanese home islands, July–August, continuing strategic bombing raids and incendiary attacks until the Japanese Capitulation in August 1945.
After V-J Day, the 497th dropped supplies to Allied prisoners, participated in show-of-force missions, and flew over Japan to evaluate bombardment damage. In November 1945 the unit returned to the United States; initially being assigned to Continental Air Forces's (CAF) Fourth Air Force at March Field, California. At March Field, the 513th Bombardment Squadron joined the group; it previously being a Fifteenth Air Force B-24 Liberator squadron based in Italy, having been returned to the United States in May and was undergoing B-29 Very Heavy Bomber upgrade training in Nebraska when its former assigned group, the 376th Bombardment Group, was inactivated.
In January 1945, the 498th was reassigned to the CAF Third Air Force at MacDill Field, Florida. It later was transferred to the new Strategic Air Command on 21 March 1946, being one of SAC's initial bombardment groups. Demobilization, however, was in full swing and the group turned in its aircraft and was inactivated on 31 March.
Strategic Air Command 
On 1 January 1963 the 497th Air Refueling Wing was activated and replaced the 4108th Air Refueling Wing at Plattsburgh AFB, New York, flying KC-97s. It was assigned to the Eighth Air Force's 820th Strategic Aerospace Division. The group supported global air refueling missions of SAC and other USAF needs, as required. The operating squadrons were closely associated with the 380th Bombardment Wing.
The 497th ARW was discontinued and inactivated on 15 September 1964.
- Constituted as 497th Bombardment Group (Very Heavy) on 19 November 1943
- Activated on 20 November 1943
- Inactivated on 31 March 1946
- Established as the 497th Air Refueling Wing
- Activated 15 November 1962 by redesignation of the 4108th Air Refueling Wing
- Organized on 1 January 1963
- Discontinued and inactivated 15 September 1964
- Attached to 17th Bombardment Operational Training Wing (Very Heavy), 13 April – 18 July 1944
- El Paso Mun Aprt, Texas, 20 November – 1 December 1943
- Clovis AAF, New Mexico, December 1943 – 13 April 1944
- Pratt AAF, Kansas, 13 April – 18 July 1944
- Isley Airfield, Saipan, Mariana Islands, 17 September 1944 – 1 November 1945
- Camp Stoneman, California, 14–26 November 1945
- March Field, California, 26 November 1945 – 5 January 1946
- MacDill Field, Florida, 5 January – 31 March 1946
- Plattsburgh AFB, New York (1 January 1963 – 15 September 1964)
This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.
- Goforth, Pat E. (ed). The Long Haul: The Story of the 497th Bomb Group (VH). San Angelo, Texas: Newsfoto Publishing Company, 1946.
- Maurer, Maurer. Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama: Office of Air Force History, 1983. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.
- Ravenstein, Charles A. Air Force Combat Wings Lineage and Honors Histories, 1947–1977. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History, 1984. ISBN 0-912799-12-9.
- Thomas, Captain Rowan T. Born In Battle: Round The World Adventures Of The 513th Bombardment Squadron. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: John C. Wilson Company, 1944. (republished 1983 by Zenger Publishing Company, ISBN 0-89201-078-9.)
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