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1st Photographic Group
1stphotogroup-emblem.jpg
Emblem of the 1st Photographic Group
Active 1941–1944
Country United States
Branch United States Army Air Forces
Role Aerial Reconnaissance

The 1st Photographic Group is an inactive United States Army Air Forces unit. It was last assigned to the 311th Photographic Wing, stationed at Buckley Field, Colorado. It was disbanded on 5 October 1944, but reconstituted in 1985 as the 358th Special Operations Group.

History[edit | edit source]

Established in mid-1941 as a GHQ Air Force aerial mapping and reconnaissance group based at Bolling Field. Mission was to conduct long-range photo reconnaissance after the pattern developed by the British. Each of the four initial assigned squadrons of the group (1st, 2d, 3d, 4th) was assigned to one of the four continental air forces (1st, 2d, 3d, 4th). The unit almost no opportunity for training because each of its squadrons was busily engaged in carrying out mapping missions for hemisphere defense. The Photographic Squadrons were largely equipped with short-range second-line aircraft from the 1930s. Not until the end of 1942 were the first modern aircraft, B-25 (F-10) Mitchells, were assigned to observation groups

Long-range reconnaissance squadrons were established as part of combat bombardment groups in the Continental United States as well as the Caribbean and in Hawaii. These squadrons were associated with the 1st Photographic Group for crew training in aerial photography and reconnaissance. These bomber reconnaissance squadrons were designed to provide a long-range reconnaissance capability with each group. However, with the entry of the United States into World War II after the Pearl Harbor Attack, these units could no longer serve as both reconnaissance training and photo-mapping squadrons. The bombers were needed for combat bombing missions more than for reconnaissance. In April 1942 these squadrons were absorbed by those groups and were redesignated as bombardment squadrons. During World War II, the group charted and mapped areas of the United States and sent detachments to perform similar functions in Alaska, Canada, Africa, the Middle East, India, the Caribbean, Mexico, Central and South America, and the Kurils. Inactivated in late 1944.

Lineage[edit | edit source]

  • Constituted as 1st Photographic Group on 15 May 1941
Activated on 10 June 1941
Redesignated 1st Mapping Group ca. 12 January 1942
Redesignated 1st Photographic Charting Group ca. 11 August 1943
Disbanded on 5 October 1944.
  • Reconstituted on 31 July 1985 and redesignated 358th Special Operations Group[1]

Assignments[edit | edit source]

Redesignated Air Force Combat Command, 20 Jun 1941

Squadrons[edit | edit source]

Assigned Photographic Squadrons

Attached to Headquarters, 1st (later First) Air Force, 10 Jun 1941 – 13 Oct 1942
Attached to Headquarters, 2d (later Second) Air Force, 10 Jun 1941 – 13 Oct 1942
Attached to Headquarters, 3d (later Third) Air Force, 10 Jun 1941 – 13 Oct 1942
Attached to Headquarters, 4th (later Fourth) Air Force, 10 Jun 1941 – 13 Oct 1942

Associated 1st Air Force (later I Bomber Command) Reconnaissance Squadrons (all stationed at Langley Field, Virginia)

B-17D Flying Fortress
34th Bombardment Group, 15 Jan 1941 – 22 Apr 1942
B-17D Flying Fortress; B-18 Bolo; A-29 Hudson
43d Bombardment Group, 15 Jan 1941 – 22 Apr 1942

Martin B-10 (1936); B-18 Bolo (1937); B-25 Mitchell (1941); B-26 Marauder (1941)
22d Bombardment Group, 1 Sept 1936 – 22 Apr 1942
Martin B-10; B-17D Flying Fortress; B-18 Bolo
2d Bombardment Group, 1 Feb 1940 – 22 Apr 1942

These units were assigned to antisubmarine patrols along the Atlantic coast and convoy patrol duty over the North Atlantic shipping lanes in the immediate months after the Pearl Harbor Attack. Associated 2d Air Force (later II Bomber Command) Reconnaissance Squadrons

B-17D Flying Fortress
39th Bombardment Group, Fort Douglas, 15 Jan 1941 – 22 Apr 1942

B-17D Flying Fortress
42d Bombardment Group, Fort Douglas, 15 Jan 1941 – 22 Apr 1942

  • Established as bomber reconnaissance squadrons in early 1942, but not activated or trained:

9th Reconnaissance (later 399th Bombardment) Squadron
23d Reconnaissance (later 413th Bombardment) Squadron
29th Reconnaissance (later 419th Bombardment) Squadron
30th Reconnaissance (later 420th Bombardment) Squadron

33d Reconnaissance (later 422d Bombardment) Squadron
34th Reconnaissance (later 423d Bombardment) Squadron
35th Reconnaissance (later 424th Bombardment) Squadron
36th Reconnaissance (later 425th Bombardment) Squadron

Associated 3d Air Force (later III Bomber Command) Reconnaissance Squadrons

B-24A/LB-30B Liberator
44th Bombardment Group, MacDill Field, 15 Jan 1941 – 22 Apr 1942
B-18 Bolo; B-26 Marauder
38th Bombardment Group, Jackson Army Air Base, 15 Jan 1941 – 22 Apr 1942

B-18 Bolo (1937); B-17C/D Flying Fortress (1939)
29th Bombardment Group, MacDill Field, 1 Sept 1936 – 22 Apr 1942

These units were assigned to antisubmarine patrols along the Atlantic coast and Gulf of Mexico s in the immediate months after the Pearl Harbor Attack.

  • Established as bomber reconnaissance squadrons in early 1942, but not activated or trained:

8th Reconnaissance (later 398th Bombardment) Squadron
10th Reconnaissance (later 400th Bombardment) Squadron
11th Reconnaissance (later 401st Bombardment) Squadron
17th Reconnaissance (later 407th Bombardment) Squadron
19th Reconnaissance (later 409th Bombardment) Squadron
20th Reconnaissance (later 410th Bombardment) Squadron

22d Reconnaissance (later 412th Bombardment) Squadron
24th Reconnaissance (later 414th Bombardment) Squadron
25th Reconnaissance (later 415th Bombardment) Squadron
26th Reconnaissance (later 416th Bombardment) Squadron
28th Reconnaissance (later 418th Bombardment) Squadron

Associated 4th Air Force (later IV Bomber Command) Reconnaissance Squadrons

B-18 Bolo; B-17C/D Flying Fortress; LB-30B Liberator
30th Bombardment Group, March Field, 15 Jan 1941 – 22 Apr 1942
B-18 Bolo; A-29 Hudson; LB-30B Liberator
41st Bombardment Group, March Field, Davis-Monthan Field, 15 Jan 1941 – 22 Apr 1942
B-18 Bolo; B-23 Dragon
12th Bombardment Group, McChord Field, 15 Jan – 14 Aug 1941

Martin B-10; B-18 Bolo; B-17C/D Flying Fortress
19th Bombardment Group, March Field, 1 Sep 1936 – 22 Apr 1942
Martin B-10; B-18 Bolo; B-17C/D Flying Fortress
7th Bombardment Group, Hamilton Field; Fort Douglas, Salt Lake City Army Air Base, 1 Sep 1936 – 22 Apr 1942
B-18 Bolo; B-23 Dragon; B-25 Mitchell
17th Bombardment Group, March Field, McChord Field, Pendleton Army Airfield, 1 Feb 1940 – 22 Apr 1942

  • Established as bomber reconnaissance squadrons in early 1942, but not activated or trained:
37th Reconnaissance (later 426th Bombardment) Squadron
39th Reconnaissance (later 428th Bombardment) Squadron

Associated Panama Canal/Puerto Rican Department (later Caribbean Air Force) Reconnaissance Squadrons

B-18 Bolo
40th Bombardment Group, Borinquen Field, 1 Apr 1941 – 22 Apr 1942
Martin B-10; B-18 Bolo; B-17B Flying Fortress
6th Bombardment Group, France Field, Howard Field, 1 Sept 1937 – 22 Apr 1942

B-18 Bolo
25th Bombardment Group, Borinquen Field, 16 Sep 1939 – 22 Apr 1942
B-18 Bolo
6th Bombardment Group, France Field, Howard Field, 1 Sep 1937 – 22 Apr 1942

Associated Hawaiian Air Force (later 7th Air Force) Reconnaissance Squadrons

B-18 Bolo; B-17C/D Flying Fortress; Re-equipped with LB-30B Liberators after Pearl Harbor Attack
5th Composite (later Bombardment) Group, Hickam Field, 25 Jan 1938 – 22 Apr 1942
Martin B-12; B-18 Bolo; B-17C/D Flying Fortress; Re-equipped with B-17E Flying Fortresses after Pearl Harbor Attack
11th Bombardment Group, Hickam Field, 25 Jan 1938 – 22 Apr 1942

Stations[edit | edit source]

Aircraft[edit | edit source]

Heraldry[edit | edit source]

Per pale, vert and azure, a pile or debruised by a barrulet arched of the field upon and over the pile a camera lens proper rimmed sable. Motto: FIDELITER ET DILIGENTER —Faithfully and Diligently. (Approved 24 October 1942)

References[edit | edit source]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. Department of the Air Force/MPM Letter 648q, 31 July 1985, Subject: Reconstitution, Redesignation, and Consolidation of Selected Air Force Organizations

Bibliography[edit | edit source]

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

  • 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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