309th BG Commander ..... In January 1942, Lt. Colonel J. H. Doolittle, who had recently returned to active duty with the Air Forces, was selected to do this job. A high priority was given this project to insure the expedient preparation and training necessary for successful accomplishment. It was explained to the Commanding Officer of the 17th Bombardment Group, Lt. Colonel W. C. Mills, that this was to be a mission that would be extremely hazardous and would require a high degree of skill and would be of great value to our defense effort.
The REST is HISTORY; http://doolittleraider.com/first_joint_action.htm#_Toc510516192
** June,1942 **
321st Bomb Group, Col. Wm C Mills until 3 Aug. 1942 (of the Original Cadre' of this Bomber Group).
Then to the 340th Bomb Group Col Mills, Sept.1942 (with Col Adolph Tokaz).
Col Mills was Killed in Action 6 May, 1943 on a Combat Mission.
1) 309th Bombardment Group
Constituted as 309th Bombardment Group (Medium) on 28 Jan 1942. Activated on 15 Mar 1942. Assigned to Third AF. Trained medium bombardment groups and later trained replacement crews, using B-25 aircraft in both the operational and the replacement training programs. Disbanded on 1 May 1944.
Reconstituted, redesignated 309th Troop Carrier Group (Medium), and allotted to the reserve, on 16 May 1949. Activated on 26 Jun 1949. Inactivated on 20 Feb 1951.
Redesignated 309th Troop Carrier Group (Assault, Fixed Wing). Activated on 8 Jul 1955. Assigned to Tactical Air Command. Using C-122 and C-123 aircraft, the group trained to airlift troops, equipment, and supplies for assault landings.
Squadrons. 376th: 1942-1944; 1949-1951; 1955-. 377th: 1942-1944; 1949-1950; 1955-. 378th: 1942-1944; 1955-. 426th: 1942-1944.
Stations. Davis-Monthan Field, Ariz, 15 Mar 1942; Jackson AAB, Miss, 15 Mar 1942; Key Field, Miss, c. 26 Apr 1942; Columbia AAB, SC, 16 May 1942-1 May 1944. Smyrna AFB, Tenn, 26 Jun 1949-20 Feb 1951. Ardmore AFB, Okla, 8 Jul 1955-.
Commanders. Maj Henry G Silleck, 1942; Lt Col Flint Garrison Jr, 2 June 1942;
***** Col William C Mills ***** 26 Jun 1942; Col John L Nedwed, 3 Aug 1942; Lt Col Milton E Lipps, 2 Feb-1 May 1944. Col William C Bentley, 8 Jul 1955-.
2) 321st Bombardment Group
Constituted as 321st Bombardment Group (Medium) on 19 Jun 1942 and activated on 26 Jun. Prepared for overseas duty with B-25's. Moved to the Mediterranean theater, Jan-Mar 1943, and assigned to Twelfth AF. Engaged primarily in support and interdictory operations, bombing marshalling yards, rail lines, highways, bridges, viaducts, troop concentrations, gun emplacements, shipping, harbors, and other objectives in North Africa, France, Sicily, Italy, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, and Greece. Sometimes dropped propaganda leaflets behind enemy lines. Took part in the Allied operations against Axis forces in North Africa during Mar-May 1943, the reduction of Pantelleria and Lampedusa in Jun, the invasion of Sicily in Jul, the landing at Salerno in Sep, the Allied advance toward Rome during Jan-Jun 1944, the invasion of Southern France in Aug 1944, and the Allied operations in northern Italy from Sep 1944 to Apr 1945. Received twc DUC's: for completing a raid on an air drome near Athens, 8 Oct 1943, in spite of intense flak and attacks by numerous enemy interceptors; and for bombing a battleship, a cruiser, and a submarine in Toulon harbor on 18 Aug 1944 to assist the Allied invasion of Southern France. Inactivated in Italy on 12 Sep 1945.
Redesignated 321st Bombardment Group (Light). Allotted to the reserve. Activated in the US on 29 Jun 1947. Inactivated on 27 Jun 1949.
Squadrons. 445th: 1942-1945; 1947-1949. 446th: 1942-1945; 1947-1949. 447th: 1942-1945; 1947-1949. 448th: 1942-1945; 1947-1949.
Stations. Barksdale Field, La, 26 Jun 1942; Columbia AAB, SC, c. 1 Aug 1942; Walterboro, SC, Sep 1942; DeRidder AAB, La, c. 1 Dec 1942-21 Jan 1943; Ain M'lila, Algeria, 12 Mar 1943; Souk-el-Arba, Tunisia, c. 1 Jun 1943; Soliman, Tunisia, 8 Aug 1943; Grottaglie, Italy, Oct 1943; Amendola, Italy, c. 20 Nov 1943; Vincenzo Airfield, Italy, 14 Jan 1944; Gaudo Airfield, Italy, Feb 1944; Corsica, 23 Apr 1944; Falconara, Italy, 1 Apr 1945; Pomigliano, Italy, c. Seo-12 Sep 1945. Mansfield, Ohio, 29 Jun 1947-27 Jun 1949.
Commanders. Unkn, Jun-Aug 1942 ***** Col William C Mills ***** 3 Aug 1942; Col Robert D Knapp, Sep 1942; Lt Col Charles T Olmsted, 5 Dec 1943; Lt Col Peter H Remington, 18 Mar 1944; Col Richard H Smith, 26 Mar 1944; Lt Col Charles F Cassidy Jr, 28 Jan 1945-unkn.
Campaigns. Air Combat, EAME Theater; Tunisia; Sicily; Naples-Foggia; Rome-Arno; Southern France; North Apennines; Central Europe; Po Valley.
Decorations. Distinguished Unit Citations: Athens, Greece, 8 Oct 1943; France, 18 Aug 1944.
Insigne. Shield: Azure, six drop bombs, three, two, and one or. Motto: Perseverance, Vision, And Duty. (Approved 7 Nov 1942. This insigne was replaced 30 Aug 1954.)
3) 340th Bomb Group;
Lt Col Adolph E Tokaz, 3 Sep 1942
Col William C Mills, 21 Sep 1942
Lt Col Adolph E Tokaz, 7 May 1943
Col Charles D Jones, 8 Jan 1944
Col Willis F Chapman, 16 Mar 1944-7 Nov 1945
Air Combat, European/African/Middle Eastern Theater
Sicily - Operation Husky
Naples-Foggia - Operation Avalanche
Anzio - Operation Shingle
Rome-Arno - Operation Strangle
Southern France - Operation Dragoon
North Apennines - Operations Olive and Encore
Po Valley - Operation Grapeshot
Distinguished Unit Citations: North Africa and Sicily, [Apr]-17 Aug 1943; Italy, 23 Sep 1944
The 340th Bombardment Group (Medium) was established on August 10, 1942 and activated on August 20, 1942. The group trained with B-25 Mitchell medium bombers manufactured by North American Aviation. The 340th air echelon flew their B-25s via Ascension Island on the South Atlantic route to Accra on the Gold Coast and the Central African route through Maidurgi, Nigeria and Khartoum, Sudan. The group arrived in the Middle East at Cairo, Egypt in late March of 1943.
Within the official United States Army Air Force organization, the 340th was assigned to the 9th Air Force which was a sub-command of the British Royal Air Force (RAF) Middle East Command. RAF Middle East Command was itself, a major sub-command of the Mediterranean Air Command (MAC), the official Allied air force organization in the North African and Mediterranean Theater of Operations (MTO). However, for combat, the 340th Bomb Group operated within the Tactical Bomber Force of the Northwest African Tactical Air Force (NATAF). NATAF was a sub-command of the Northwest African Air Forces (NAAF) which like RAF Middle East Command, was a separate sub-command of MAC. On August 22, 1943, the 340th was transferred from the 9th to the 12th Air Force. On December 10, 1943, MAC was disbanded and the 340th became part of the Mediterranean Allied Tactical Air Force in the newly established Mediterranean Allied Air Forces which persisted in the MTO until the end of the war in Europe.
The 340th flew combat missions between April of 1943 and April of 1945. The first missions were flown with the experienced 12th Bombardment Group in tactical support of the British 8th Army. Typical targets were airfields, railroads, bridges, road junctions, supply depots, gun emplacements, troop concentrations, marshalling yards, and factories in Tunisia, Sicily, Italy, France, Austria, Bulgaria, Albania, Yugoslavia, and Greece. Additionally, the group dropped propaganda leaflets behind enemy lines. The 340th bombed Tunisia in April and May of 1943; Pantelleria and Lampedusa in May and June of 1943; German evacuation beaches near Messina in July of 1943; the Salerno beachhead in September of 1943; the road to Rome from January to June of 1944; Southern France in August of 1944; and important lines of enemy communication and transportation in the Brenner Pass and northern Italy between September 1944 and April 1945.
The 340th Bombardment Group received a Distinguished Unit Citation (DUC) for support of the British Eighth Army in Tunisia (April-May, 1943) and the Allied forces in Sicily (June-August, 1943). A second DUC was awarded for a mission that destroyed the light cruiser Taranto before the ship could be used to block the entrance to the heavily-defended harbor at La Spezia, Italy on September 23, 1944.
The 340th was returned to the United States between July and August of 1945; inactivated on November 7, 1945; redesignated the 340th Bombardment Group (Light); allotted to the reserve; activated on October 31, 1947; and inactivated on August 19, 1949. The apparent successor group of today is the 340th Flying and Training Group based at Randolph Air Force Base as part of the 10th Air Force.