The 319th Bombardment Group first fought in World War II in Europe, North Africa and the Mediterranean as part of the 12th US Army Air Force.
Led by Col. (later Gen.) Randy Holzapple, the 319th became the first complete AAF unit to transfer from European to the Pacific theater. Along the way it was re-assigned to the 7th US Army Air Force and re-equipped with the new Douglas A-26 Invader, a twin engine attack/bomber.
After the war, the 319th became part of Strategic Air Command, flying B-52H and B-1b bombers from Grand Forks, ND, now home to the 319th Air Refueling Wing.
Gene Paul Ryan was a member of the 319th Bomb Group.
With deepest regret we announce that Gene Paul Ryan, author of these web pages,
319th BOMB GROUP PACIFIC PROJECT http://members.cruzio.com/~mgryan/319th/index.html
passed away early Wednesday morning, May 28, 2008, in Klamath Falls, Oregon, after a long illness, age 83 years. He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Frances, and his son, Mark.
Interment will be at Lakeview Cemetary, Macdoel, California, on Sunday, June 8, 2008, at 2:00 pm, Rev. Karen Little officiating. The family have requested, in lieu of flowers, donations to High Desert Hospice or to Klamath Basin Senior Citizen's Council .
The 319th BG
Activated in June, 1942 as the 319th Bombardment Group_ Assigned to the 12th Air Force Trained in Martin B-26 Maurders and moved via England to N. Africa, participated in landing at Arzeu beach* Became known as the "Big Tail Birds"* Briefly assigned to the 15th Air Force, Nov. 1943 - Jan. 1944* Action in Tunisia: attacking airdromes, harbors and rail facilities* Action in Sicily: the reduction of Pantelleria* Action in support of ground forces at Solarno and Anzio* The reduction of Monte Cassino* Awarded Distinguished Unit Citation for a mission on March 3, 1944 bombing rail facilities in Rome* Awarded second DUC for striking marshalling yards in Florence on March 11, 1944* Awarded French Croix de Guerre with Palm for action in preparation for and support of Allied offensive in Italy* Bombed targets in the Po Valley and in Yugoslavia July-Dec 1944* Converted to B-25s and later A-26s without interrupting combat._**319th in the Pacific and After
First complete AAF unit sent from Europe to the Pacific.
Reached Okinawa on July 1945
Flew 22 mission over China and Japan
6-abreast A-26 take-offs earned the 319th the name,"Colonel Randy's Flying Circus"
Astronaut Deke Slayton served with the 319th.
On August 9, crews on mission to Kanoya Airfield saw atomic cloud over Nagasaki
Awarded 3 Battle Stars: Air Offensive Japan, Air Offensive China, and the Ryukyus Campaign.
515 missions and awarded 12 Battle Streamers by War's end.
After the war, became the SAC 319th Bomb Wing: flying B-52s and B-1Bs based in Grand Forks, North Dakota.
Barbi Ennis Connolly <a>PRINCESSBARBI_B25@msn.com</a> Researcher for the 57th BW and Historian for her Dad/Ed Ennis' 321st Bomb Group. 28 July, 2009