430th Bombardment Squadron
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|430th Bombardment Squadron|
Emblem of the 430th Bombardment Squadron
|Branch||United States Army Air Forces|
The 430th Bombardment Squadron is an inactive United States Army Air Forces unit. Its last assignment was with the 502d Bombardment Group, based at Northwest Field, Guam. It was inactivated on 15 April 1946.
World War I
Established as the 44th Aero Squadron in June 1917, just after the United States' entry into World War I. The squadron's duties are unknown, eventually being assigned to Wright Field, Ohio apparently as a ground support unit. The squadron was demobilized in April 1919.
Inter war years
Reactivated in the Panama Canal Zone in April 1931 as the 44th Observation Squadron. It was the sole reconnaissance unit in the Canal Zone at the time, flying light reconnaissance aircraft over both approaches of the canal. The 44th was the first Air Corps unit to occupy Albrook Field after it opened in 1932-33.
World War II
It was redesignated as a Reconnaissance Squadron on 1 September 1937, had the suffix designation (Medium Range) added on 6 December 1939 and, on 20 November 1940 this was changed to (Heavy). The status of the unit changed from "assigned" to "Attached" to the 16th Pursuit Group from 1 February 1940. Later, on 20 November 1940, the unit was attached to the 9th Bombardment Group.
The Squadron had been amongst the first Canal Zone-based units to re-equip with the Douglas B-18 Bolo, which joined the unit as early as December 1938, although several veteran Thomas-Morse O-19C biplanes were still rendering good service as well. In June 1941, the Squadron began to receive Boeing B-17B Flying Fortress (38-266) from units in the United States upgrading to the C or D models. The Squadron moved from Albrook to Howard Field on 8 July, ending its nine-year stint at Albrook. There, with five B-18's, one B-18A and the B-17B, the Squadron commenced ultra-long range reconnaissance training in earnest.
The assignment to Howard Field was short lived and the squadron was moved Atkinson Field, British Guiana on 27 October 1941, the move didn't actually transpire until 4 November, the attachment to the 9th Bomb Group (H) continuing. Unfortunately, conditions at Atkinson were not adequate to support the B-17B, and it was left behind in Panama, being transferred to the 7th Reconnaissance Squadron prior to the units departure.
From British Guiana, the squadron operated as an element of the infant Trinidad Base Command at Atkinson Field. In late 1941, with the coming of war, the unit immediately commenced far-ranging patrols with its remaining three B-18's and, now, two B-18A's. The attachment to the 9th Bomb Group became a formal assignment on 25 February 1942, and, by mid-February, following an accident to one of its B-18's and severe maintenance problems with the other aircraft (one other B-18 and two B-18A's), the Squadron could count only one B-18A as airworthy and ready for action.
The unit commander also reported that he had "no fully combat trained crews," and, considering that this was the only USAAC unit at Atkinson at the time, things had deteriorated dangerously. Apparently there was a recognition of this dire situation within the Squadron for, on 22 April 1942, the unit was reorganized entirely as the 430th Bombardment Squadron and returned to the United States, being assigned as a B-17 Flying Fortress training unit at the Army Air Forces School of Applied Tactics in Florida.
At the end of March 1944, with the closing of heavy bomber training, the squadron was redesignated a Very Heavy bomber squadron and assigned to Second Air Force for B-29 Superfortress conversion training at Dalhart Army Airfield, Texas. Initially equipped with B-17 Flying Fortresses for training, due to shortage of B-29 Superfortresses. Moved to Harvard Army Airfield, Nebraska, in August 1944 and equipped with B-29B limited production aircraft.
After completion of training deployed to Central Pacific Area (CPA), assigned to XXI Bomber Command, Northwest Field (Guam) for operational missions. B-29Bs were standard production aircraft stripped of most defensive guns to increase speed and bomb load, The tail gun was aimed and fired automatically by the new AN/APG-15B radar fire control system that detected the approaching enemy plane and made all the necessary calculations.
Mission of the squadron was the strategic bombardment of the Japanese Home Islands. Dntered combat on 16 June 1945 with a bombing raid against an airfield on Moen. Flew first mission against the Japanese home islands on 26 June 1945 and afterwards operated principally against the enemy's petroleum industry. Flew primarily low-level, fast attacks at night using a mixture of high-explosive and incendary bombs to attack targets.
Flew last combat mission on 15 August 1945, later flew in "Show of Force" mission on 2 September 1945 over Tokyo Bay during formal Japanese Surrender. Inactivated on Guam 15 April 1946, personnel returned to the United States and aircraft sent to storage in Southwest United States.
Operations and Decorations
- Combat Operations: Antisubmarine patrols, Dec 1941-Jan 1942 Combat in Western Pacific, 23 June-14 Aug 1945.
- Campaigns: Antisubmarine, American Theater; Air Offensive; Japan; Eastern Mandates; Western Pacific.
- Decorations: Distinguished Unit Citation, Japan 6–13 July 1945
- Organized as 44th Aero Squadron on 30 June 1917
- Redesignated: Squadron K, Wilbur Wright Field, Ohio, in October 1918
- Redesignated: Squadron P, Wilbur Wright Field, Ohio, in November 1918
- Demobilized on 30 April 1919
- Reconstituted and consolidated (1924) with 44th Squadron which was authorized on 10 June 1922
- Organized on 26 June 1922
- Redesignated 44th Observation Squadron on 25 January 1923
- Inactivated on 31 July 1927
- Activated on 1 April 1931
- Redesignated: 44th Reconnaissance Squadron on 1 September 1937
- Redesignated: 44th Reconnaissance Squadron (Medium Range) on 6 December 1939
- Redesignated: 44th Reconnaissance Squadron (Heavy) on 20 November 1940
- Redesignated: 430th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) on 22 April 1942
- Redesignated: 430th Bombardment Squadron (Very Heavy) on 28 March 1944
- Inactivated on 10 May 1944
- Activated on 1 June 1944
- Inactivated on 15 April 1946.
- Unknown, 1917–1919
- Eighth Corps Area, 26 June 1922
- Attached to Field Artillery School, c. August 1922
- Air Corps Training Center, – 31 June July 1927
- 6th Composite Group, 1 April 1931
- Attached to 16th Pursuit Group, c. December 1932
- 16th Pursuit Group, assigned on 1 September 1937, and attached on 1 February 1940
- 9th Bombardment Group, attached on 20 November 1940, and assigned 25 February 1942 – 10 May 1944
- Associated with: 1st Photographic Group, 10 June 1941 – 22 April 1942 (training)
- 502d Bombardment Group, 1 June 1944 – 15 April 1946.
- Maurer, Maurer, ed. (1982) . Combat Squadrons of the Air Force, World War II (PDF) (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-405-12194-6. LCCN 70605402. OCLC 72556.
- Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.
- Conaway, William. "VI Bomber Command In Defense Of The Panama Canal 1941 - 45". Planes and Pilots Of World War Two.