788th Bombardment Squadron

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788th Tactical Fighter Squadron
Squadron B-24 Liberators in combat formation
Active1943-1946; 1965
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
RoleBombardment, Fighter
Part ofTactical Air Command
EngagementsEuropean Theater of Operations
DecorationsFrench Croix de Guerre with Palm[1]
788th Bombardment Squadron emblem (approved 27 June 1945)[1]788th Bombardment Squadron - Emblem.png

The 789th Tactical Fighter Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. During World War II, as the 789th Bombardment Squadron, it was assigned to the 467th Bombardment Group as a Consolidated B-24 Liberator squadron in 1943. After training in the United States, it moved to the European Theater of Operations the following year. It saw combat until the surrender of Germany in May 1945, earning a French Croix de Guerre with Palm for its actions contributing to the liberation of France. From May to December 1944, the squadron was detached to the 801st Bombardment Group (Provisional) engaging in Operation Carpetbagger operations. After V-E Day, the squadron returned to the United States and transitioned into the Boeing B-29 Superfortress It was inactivated on 4 August 1946 at Clovis Army Air Field, New Mexico in August 1946.

The squadron was redesignated the 786th Tactical Fighter Squadron and activated in April 1965 as part of the 33d Tactical Fighter Wing. It began to train with the McDonnell F-4 Phantom II, but less than three months after activation, it was inactivated and its Phantoms, personnel and mission were transferred to the 25th Tactical Fighter Squadron.


World War II[edit]

Established as a B-24 Liberator heavy bombardment squadron in mid-1943 and activated on 1 August. Trained under II Bomber Command in Idaho and Utah. In January 1944 the squadron received deployment orders for the European Theater of Operations (ETO). Moved to RAF Rackheath, Norfolk in England, February–March 1944, and was assigned to the VIII Bomber Command.

Upon arrival in England, was attached to VIII Composite Command and performed special operations missions over Occupied Europe and Nazi Germany, flying black painted aircraft equipped with engine flame dampeners and noise suppression equipment. Engaged in parachuting Allied agents; retrieving others; providing supplies and equipment to Resistance Forces; leaflet dropping and other clandestine missions. In August 1944, the squadron transferred its personnel and equipment to the 859th Bombardment Squadron.[2]

Returned to home unit in August 1944 and engaged in very long range strategic bombardment operations over Occupied Europe and Nazi Germany. In combat, the unit served chiefly as a strategic bombardment organization, attacking the harbor at Kiel, chemical plants at Bonn, textile factories at Stuttgart, power plants at Hamm, steel works at Osnabrück, the aircraft industry at Brunswick, and other objectives. Attacked German communications and fortifications during the Battle of the Bulge, December 1944 – January 1945. Hit enemy transportation to assist the Allied assault across the Rhine in March 1945.

After the German Capitulation in May 1945, the squadron was ordered back to the United States for B-29 transition and redeployment to the Pacific Theater of Operations (PTO). Redeployed to the US June/July 1945. Upon arrival, most of the group was demobilized due to their combat service in Europe; a cadre of officers and men was formed at Sioux Falls Army Air Field, South Dakota on 25 August.

At Sioux Falls, the unit was reformed with newly trained pilots, aircrews and ground personnel. The reformed group was sent to Harvard Army Airfield, Nebraska for initial Second Air Force training. The Japanese Capitulation in early August canceled the planned deployment to the Pacific, however the group continued to train

Due to the advanced training state of the squadron received new B-29 Superfortresses and completed training. In December 1945 was assigned to a permanent base at Clovis Army Air Field, New Mexico as part of Continental Air Forces. The unit, however was inactivated on 4 August 1946 due to personnel shortages and funding reductions in the immediate postwar Air Force. The equipment and remaining personnel were reassigned to other SAC units.

Fighter operations[edit]

As the United States Air Force expanded its McDonnell F-4 Phantom II fleet in April 1965, it activated the 33d Tactical Fighter Wing at Eglin Air Force Base Florida. Although it was planned that the squadrons of the 33d Wing would be Convair F-102 Delta Dagger squadrons that were inactivating in the Pacific, these squadrons were still winding down their operations, so the 33d was initially formed with the 786th, 787th, 788th and 789th Tactical Fighter Squadrons. The 33d embarked on a program of tactical training with the Phantom. In June 1965, the squadron was inactivated and its planes and personnel were transferred to the 25th Tactical Fighter Squadron, which moved on paper to Eglin from Naha Air Base, Okinaawa.[3]


  • Constituted as the 788th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) on 19 May 1943
Activated on 1 Aug 1943
Redesignated 788th Bombardment Squadron, Heavy c. 10 August 1944
Redesignated 788th Bombardment Squadron, Very Heavy on 5 August 1945
Inactivated on 4 August 1946[1]
  • Redesignated 789th Tactical Fighter Squadron on 9 February 1965 and activated (not organized)
Organized on 1 April 1965[4]
Inactivated on 20 June 1965[4]





  1. ^ a b c d e f Maurer, p. 756
  2. ^ Maurer, Combat Squadrons, pp. 756, 785-786
  3. ^ a b Bailey, Carl E. (28 November 2007). "Factsheet 33 Fighter Wing (ACC)". Air Force Historical Research Agency. Retrieved 13 February 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d See Bailey, Factsheet 33 Fighter Wing
  5. ^ a b c Station number in Anderson.


 This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website http://www.afhra.af.mil/.

Further reading