VIII Air Support Command
|VIII Air Support Command|
World War II era emblem of Eighth Air Force
|Branch||United States Army Air Force|
|Role||Medium Bombardment; Troop Carrier|
The VIII Air Support Command is an inactive United States Army Air Forces unit. Its last assignment was with Eighth Air Force, stationed at Sunninghill, Berkshire, England. It was inactivated on 1 December 1943.
VIII Air Support Command engaged in training, with one reconnaissance and one troop carrier group assigned, until July 1943. Afterward, carried out medium bombardment operations against the enemy on the Continent until October 1943 when all components and personnel were withdrawn from the command
The command was inactivated and its units reassigned to other Eighth and Ninth Air Force units on 1 December 1943.
- Constituted as VIII Ground Air Support Command and activated on 24 April 1942
- Redesignated VIII Air Support Command in September 1942
- Disbanded on 1 December 1943.
- Eighth Air Force, 24 April 1942-1Dec 1943
- Bolling Field, DC, 28 April 1942
- Savannah, AAB, Georgia, 29 May-c. 20 July 1942
- Bushy Park (AAF-586), England, July 1942
- RAF Membury (AAF-466), England, 21 August 1942
- Sunninghill Park (AAF-472), England, 19 October 1942 – 1 December 1943.
The VIII Ground Air Support Command (GASC) was constituted on 28 April 1942 at Bolling Field, Washington, D.C. commanded by Col. Robert C. Candee and assigned to Eighth Air Force. Col. Candee was promoted to Brigadier General and deployed the VIII GASC to England, but did not open its headquarters at Membury in Berkshire until 17 August where took control of a troup carrier wing whose two groups, the 60th and 64th, were stationed at Aldermarston and Ramsbury, both places in the vicinity of Membury.
The mission of VIII Ground Air Support Command was initially training and reconnaissance and troop transport. The transport units were reassigned to the new Twelfth Air Force in late 1942. In February 1943, the command's mission was expanded to carrying out medium bombardment operations against the enemy on the Continent.
In February 1941, the first Martin B-26 Marauder medium bombers were accepted by the USAAF. It was to be in the European theatre where the Marauder was to achieve its greatest success. In the United Kingdom, the Marauder formed the basis of the medium bomber forces of the VIII Air Support Command. The first B-26s arrived in the United Kingdom in February 1943. They were to be used in low-level missions against German military targets on the Continent.
On 16 October 1943, the B-26 Marauder units were reassigned to IX Bomber Command, leaving VIII Air Support Command without any operational units. Its command staff was reassigned to other units, and the command was inactivated on 1 December 1943
- Maurer, Maurer, Air Force Combat Units of World War II, Office of Air Force history (1961). ISBN 0-405-12194-6
- Maurer, Maurer, Combat Squadrons of the Air Force, World War II, Office of Air Force history (1982). ISBN 0-8317-1501-4