453rd Operations Group
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|453rd Operations Group|
453rd Bombardment Group Insignia
The 453rd Operations Group is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its last assignment was to the 43d Air Refueling Wing, stationed at Souda Bay, Greece. It was activated as a temporary MAJCOM air refueling organization flying KC-135 Stratotankers as part of Operation Restore Hope.
During World War II, its predecessor unit, the 453rd Bombardment Group was an Eighth Air Force B-24 Liberator heavy bombardment group stationed in England. Its 733d Bombardment Squadron completed 82 consecutive missions without a loss, a record. James Stewart, of film fame, was Group Operations Officer from March 31 to July 1, 1944.
Constituted as the 453rd Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 14 May 1943, it was activated on 1 June 1943. Trained with B-24's. Moved to RAF Old Buckenham in East Anglia, December 1943 – January 1944, and assigned to Eighth Air Force. The group was assigned to the 2nd Combat Bombardment Wing, and the group tail code was a "Circle-J".
The 453rd BG entered combat on 5 February 1944 with an attack against an airfield at Tours. Throughout combat, the unit served chiefly as a strategic bombardment organization. Targets included a fuel depot at Dulmen, marshalling yards at Paderborn, aircraft assembly plants at Gotha, railway centres at Hamm, an ordnance depot at Glinde, oil refineries at Gelsenkirchen, chemical works at Leverkusen, an airfield at Neumünster, a canal at Minden, and a railway viaduct at Altenbeken.
The group took part in the concentrated attack against the German aircraft industry during Big Week, 20–25 February 1944. Besides strategic operations, the group engaged in support and interdictory missions. Bombed V-weapon sites, airfields, and gun batteries in France prior to the invasion of Normandy in June 1944; on 6 June hit shore installations between Le Havre and Cherbourg and other enemy positions farther inland. Attacked enemy troops in support of the Allied breakthrough at Saint-Lô in July. Bombed German communications during the Battle of the Bulge, December 1944 – January 1945. Ferried cargo on two occasions: hauled gasoline, blankets, and rations to France in September 1944; dropped ammunition, focal, and medical supplies near Wesel during the airborne assault across the Rhine in March 1945.
James "Jimmy" Stewart, the Hollywood movie star, was Group Operations Officer at Old Buckenham during the spring of 1944. The actor Walter Matthau also served in the group as a radioman-gunner, rising to the rank of Staff Sergeant.
The 453rd Bomb Group flew its last combat mission in April. Initially it was prepared for possible redeployment to the Pacific theatre using B-29 Superfortresses. However hostilities in Europe had ceased before the group had time to start its movement. It returned to New Castle AAFld, Delaware on 9 May 1945 and was inactivated on 12 September 1945.
453rd Bomb Group Museum
In February 2015, it was announced that Old Buckenham Airport the modern civilian name for RAF Old Buckenham has applied for permission to build a museum dedicated to the 453rd at their former base in England. The plans are for the erection of two Nissen Huts, one of which will house a items described as having the potential to be the largest collection of 453rd Bomb Group memorabilia in existence.
- Constituted as 453rd Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 14 May 1943
- Activated on 1 June 1943
- Inactivated on 12 September 1945
- Redesignated 453rd Operations Group on 1 June 1992 and activated
- Inactivated 1 July 1994
- II Bomber Command, 1 June-2 December 1943
- 20th Combat Bombardment Wing, 23 December 1943
- 2d Combat Bombardment Wing, 8 January 1944 – 9 May 1945
- Army Service Forces (for inactivation), 18 June-12 September 1945
- 43d Air Refueling Wing, 1 June 1992 – 1 July 1994
- 92d Air Refueling Squadron, 1 June 1992 – 1 July 1994
- 96th Air Refueling Squadron, 1 April – 1 July 1994
- 97th Air Refueling Squadron, 1 April – 1 July 1994
- 98th Air Refueling Squadron, 1 April – 1 July 1994
- 732d Bombardment Squadron (E3), 1 June 1943 – 12 September 1945
- 733d Bombardment Squadron (F8), 1 June 1943 – 12 September 1945
- 734th Bombardment Squadron (E8), 1 June 1943 – 12 September 1945
- 735th Bombardment Squadron (H6), 1 June 1943 – 12 September 1945
- Wendover Field, Utah, 1 June 1943
- Pocatello Army Airfield, Idaho, 29 July 1943
- March Field, California, 30 September-2 December 1943
- RAF Old Buckenham (AAF-114), England, 23 December 1943 – 9 May 1945 144
- New Castle Army Air Base, Delaware, 25 May 1945
- Fort Dix Army Air Base, New Jersey, 18 June-12 September 1945
- Souda Bay AB, Greece, December 1992 – May 1993
- Freeman, Roger A. (1978) Airfields of the Eighth: Then and Now. After the Battle ISBN 0-900913-09-6
- Freeman, Roger A. (1991) The Mighty Eighth The Colour Record. Cassell & Co. 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.
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