347th Bombardment Squadron
|347th Bombardment Squadron|
Boeing B-52D Stratofortress 56-0591
|Active||1942-1945; 1947-1949; 1953-1963|
|Branch||United States Air Force|
|Emblem of the 347th Bombardment Squadron|
During World War II, the 347th Bombardment Squadron was a B-17 Flying Fortress squadron, assigned to the 99th Bombardment Group, Fifteenth Air Force. It earned Two Distinguished Unit Citations.
The squadron was established in early 1942 as a B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bombardment squadron. It first trained under the Second Air Force in the Pacific Northwest, but the poor flying weather forced a relocation to the Midwest for the second and third phases of training.
After completion of training, the 99th departed for the Mediterranean Theater of Operations (MTO) in Algeria, where the ground echelon went by ship from New York City to Marrakech, Morocco; the air echelon flying to Morrison Field, Florida then along the South Atlantic Route to Navarin Airfield, Algeria where the ground and air echelons of the group were reunited in late February 1943. Assigned to Twelfth Air Force, the squadron engaged in combat operations in support of American ground forces in Algeria and Tunisia during the 1943 North African campaign.
They helped force the capitulation of Pantelleria Island in June 1943, and bombed in preparation for and in support of the invasions of Sicily and southern Italy in the summer and fall of 1943. The squadron was reassigned to the new Fifteenth Air Force in October 1943 and until the German Capitulation in May 1945, they engaged in strategic bombardment of enemy targets in Italy, France, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, and Greece, attacking oil refineries, marshaling yards, aircraft factories, and other strategic objectives. It was demobilized in Italy in late 1945; inactivated in November.
The unit was activated in the reserves in 1947; however it was never equipped or manned, and was inactivated in 1949 due to budget restraints. It reactivated in 1953 as a Strategic Air Command B-36 Peacemaker intercontinental strategic bombardment squadron, and engaged in worldwide strategic bombardment training and stood nuclear alert until 1956 when the B-36 was retired. Then, it was re-equipped with B-52 Stratofortresses and continued training and nuclear alert status.
In 1961 it was ssigned to SAC provisional 4047th Strategic Wing and re-equipped with B-52D Stratofortress intercontinental heavy bombers, then reassigned to McCoy AFB, Florida by SAC to disperse its heavy bomber force. The squadron conducted worldwide strategic bombardment training missions and providing nuclear deterrent. It was finally inactivated in 1963 when SAC inactivated its provisional Strategic Wings, redesignating them permanent Air Force Wings. Squadron was inactivated with aircraft/personnel/equipment being redesignated 367th Bombardment Squadron in an in-place, name-only transfer.
- Constituted 347th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) on 28 Jan 1942
- Activated on 1 Jun 1942
- Inactivated on 8 Nov 1945
- Re-designated 347th Bombardment Squadron (Very Heavy) on 13 May 1947
- Activated in the reserve on 29 May 1947
- Inactivated on 27 Jun 1949
- Re-designated 347th Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron (Heavy), and activated, on 1 Jan 1953.
- Re-designated 347th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) on 1 Oct 1955
- Discontinued, and inactivated on 1 Apr 1963; personnel/aircraft/equipment redesignated as 367th Bombardment Squadron
- 99th Bombardment Group, 1 Jun 1942-8 Nov 1945; 29 May 1947-27 Jun 1949
- 99th Strategic Reconnaissance (later Bombardment) Wing, 1 Jan 1953
- 4047th Strategic Wing, 1 Sep 1961-1 Apr 1963
- Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress Units of the Mediterranean Theater of Operations
- List of B-52 Units of the United States Air Force
- Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, AL: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.