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22d Operations Group
Emblem of the 22d Operations Group
Active 1940–1952; 1991–present
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Role Air Refueling
Motto(s) Ducemus – "We Lead"
Col Ron Langford

Boeing KC-135R-BN Stratotanker 57-1486 taking off.

The 22d Operations Group (22 OG) is the operational flying component of the United States Air Force 22d Air Refueling Wing. It is stationed at McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas, and is assigned to the Air Mobility Command (AFGSC) Eighteenth Air Force.

The 22d OG primary mission is to provide global reach by conducting air refueling and airlift where and when needed. The group directs the 22d Refueling Wing's KC-135R Stratotanker refueling and airlift operations in support of worldwide AMC, U.S. Transportation Command, Air Force, Department of Defense, and allied operations anywhere in the world.

The group's World War II predecessor unit, the 22d Bombardment Group was one of the first U.S. Army Air Force units to be deployed into the Pacific Theater after Pearl Harbor with the Martin B-26 Marauder medium bomber. It operated primarily in the Southwest Pacific Theater as a B-25 Mitchell unit assigned to Fifth Air Force. It was awarded two United States Distinguished Unit Citations and the Philippine Presidential Unit Citation for its combat service in China; Netherlands East Indies; New Guinea; the Bismarck Archipelago; the Western Pacific; Leyte and Luzon.

During the early years of the Cold War, the group moved temporarily to Okinawa in July 1950 and attached to Far East Air Forces for duty in the Korean War. It began combat immediately, and until October 1950 attacked marshalling yards, bridges, highways, airfields, and industries and supported UN ground forces in Korea.


The 22d Operations Group uses five squadrons and their assigned personnel to execute the wing's challenging and diverse refueling and airlift missions, from CONUS refueling support to unit deployments in support of theatre operations worldwide.

With these air refueling squadrons, the group supervises operations in support of strategic force projection and mobility, special operations, tactical air operations, and humanitarian assistance efforts.
  • 22d Operations Support Squadron
The squadron provides airfield management, air traffic control, intelligence, combat crew communications, base weather service, mission scheduling, planning, and combat tactics.


For additional history and lineage, see 22d Air Refueling Wing


The authorizing document was a letter issued by the Adjutant-General's Office titled "The Constitution and Activation of Certain Air Corps Units". Lieutenant Colonel Ross F. Cole was the first Group Commander.

The first elements of the Group included:

  • 2d Bombardment Squadron, commanded by Captain Leslie P. Halcomb
  • 19th Bombardment Squadron, commanded by 1st Lieutenant Herman E. Hurst
  • 33d Bombardment Squadron, commanded by 1st Lieutenant Theodore E. Graff
  • 18th Reconnaissance Squadron (later became 408th Bombardment Squadron), commanded by Captain John P. Doyle.

The Group was located at Langley Field, Virginia. Its first aircraft were a few B-18 Bolo bombers, with a few B-25 Mitchell bombers allocated to the 18th Reconnaissance Squadron.

In 1941 the Group transitioned to B-26 Marauder bombers, a fast bomber with very specialized aerodynamic capabilities. These capabilities included short, stubby wings, which led the plane to be known as "The Flying Prostitute" (no visible means of support). However its flying characteristics led to many crashes, which also led to the plane being known as "The Flying Coffin".

Throughout 1941 the 22d BG trained extensively, increasing in intensity in November 1941. It was so combat ready that 16 hours after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, the 44 planes of the 22d BG headed for the West Coast and on to the South West Pacific.

World War IIEdit

22d Bombardment Group - World War II - Emblem

The Group prepared itself at Muroc Army Air Field in the Mojave Desert in California from 15 December 1941 and began patrols of the west coast. A ground crew team left San Francisco on 31 January 1942 for Brisbane, Queensland in Australia.

On 6 February 1942, the Group's aircraft were shipped to Hickam Field (arriving about a week later). They immediately commenced patrol duties.

On 22 March 1942, the first flight of the 22d air echelon arrived at Amberley Field. near Brisbane in Australia, and became the first fully armed Air Force Group to fly the Pacific en masse. They were warmly welcomed by the Australians who were concerned that, while the Japanese were threatening Australia, its troops were fighting the Germans in the Middle East.

Shortly after arriving in Australia, the Group (now under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Millard L. Haskin) moved further North to the Townsville area:

  • 2nd Squadron (commanded by 1st Lt George R. Anderson) was based at Reid River, about 40 miles South of Townsville
  • 408th Squadron (formerly 18th Reconnaissance Squadron, now commanded by Captain Brian O'Neill) was also based at Reid River
  • 19th Squadron (commanded by 1st Lt Elliott H. Reed) was based at Garbutt field.
  • 33rd Squadron (commanded by 1st Lt William A. Garnett) was based Antill Plains, 20 miles South of Townsville.

On 5 April 1942, the 22d BG took off from Garbutt Field for its first combat action, an attack on Rabaul in New Britain (North of New Guinea). In this attack on the Japanese Naval Base, the Group sunk a transport ship but lost a plane and the life of S/Sgt Bourne.

Meanwhile, four B-26 Marauders, including two from the 18th Reconnaissance Squadron, left behind at Hawaii, saw action on 4 June 1942 as part of the air attack in the Battle of Midway, and were the first Army planes to make a torpedo attack. These planes, piloted by 1st Lieutenant Herbert C. Mayes and 1st Lieutenant James P. Muri attacked the Japanese Naval Invasion Force, focusing torpedo and strafing action on its aircraft carrier. Lt Muri's plane, badly damaged with over 500 bullet and shrapnel holes, crash landed. [Lt Muri's account:]

In 1944, the group converted from medium, twin engined B-25 Mitchell and B-26 marauder bombers to heavy four engined B-24 Liberator bombers. Following its conversion to B-24 Liberators, on 11 February 1944 the 22d Bomb Group was redesignated 22 Bomb Group, Heavy. Bombed Japanese airfields, shipping, and oil installations in Borneo, Ceram, and Halmahera. Began raiding the southern Philippines in September 1944 to neutralize Japanese bases in preparation for the invasion of Leyte.

From December 1944 to August 1945, struck airfields and installations on Luzon, supported Australian ground forces on Borneo, and bombed railways and industries in Formosa and China. Moved to Okinawa in August 1945 and flew some armed reconnaissance missions over southern Japan.

Postwar eraEdit

The 22 BG's staff and aircraft were released and the Group moved to Clark Air Base in the Philippines in November 1945. In April 1946 the 22 BG returned to Okinawa as the 22d Bombardment Group (Very Heavy), and was remanned and assigned B-29 Superfortress bombers, operating from Kadena Air Base. In May 1948, moved to the United States to serve Strategic Air Command.

Korean WarEdit

22d Operations Group Boeing B-29A-65-BN Superfortress 44-62196

22d Operations Group Boeing B-29A-65-BN Superfortress 44-62196 "Never Happen", on a mission over North Korea, July 1950.

The 22d Bombardment Group deployed its B-29 Superfortresses in early July 1950 to Kadena AB, Okinawa, where it came under control of FEAF Bomber Command (Provisional). On 13 July, the group flew its first mission, against the marshalling yards and oil refinery at Wonsan, North Korea. By 21 October, it had amassed fifty-seven missions against the enemy, attacking bridges, factories, industrial targets, troop concentrations, airfields, marshalling yards, communications centers, and port facilities. During four months of combat, the group flew 335 sorties with only fourteen aborts and dropped over 6,500 tons of bombs. When the 22d returned to March AFB is late October or early November 1950, 335 sorties had been flown. One plane, 44-62279, was reported lost during operations from Okinawa. Combat components of the group were the 2nd, 19th and 33rd Bombardment Squadrons. It became a records unit in February 1951, inactivated on 16 June 1952.

Modern eraEdit

After activation in 1991, commenced air refueling missions. Using KC-10 aircraft, the group airlifted humanitarian equipment and supplies to Somalia, 1992–1994. Deployed group aircrews and aircraft on other contingency operations in many parts of the world, including Haiti in 1994 and Serbia in 1999. The group also refueled aircraft enforcing no-fly zones over Bosnia-Herzegovina in the mid-1990s and over northern and southern Iraq between 1992 and 2002.

After terrorist attacks in the United States in September 2001, deployed crews and aircraft for operations in Afghanistan.


  • Established as 22d Bombardment Group (Medium) on 22 December 1939
Activated on 1 February 1940
Redesignated: 22d Bombardment Group, Heavy, on 11 February 1944
Redesignated: 22d Bombardment Group, Very Heavy, on 15 June 1946
Redesignated: 22d Bombardment Group, Medium, on 28 July 1948
Inactivated on 16 June 1952
  • Redesignated: 22d Air Refueling Group, Heavy, on 31 July 1985 (Remained inactive)
  • Redesignated: 22d Operations Group on 29 August 1991
Activated on 1 September 1991.


Attached to 309th Bombardment Wing, 1–16 February 1944

Detached 1 August 1948 – 30 June 1949, 14 November 1949-20 February 1950, 4 July-c. 31 October 1950; not operational, 10 February 1951 – 16 June 1952


World War II/Korean WarEdit

Modern eraEdit


Detached to: RAF Marham and RAF Lakenheath, England, 15 November 1948 – February 1949
  • March AFB, California, 1 May 1949 – 16 June 1952
Detached to: RAF Marham and RAF Lakenheath, England, December 1949 – March 1950
Detached to Kadena AB, Okinawa, July–October 1950


See alsoEdit


PD-icon.svg This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website

  • 22d Operations Group Factsheet
  • Capt J. W. Brosius, Jr. (editor), "The Marauder: a book of the 22d Bomb Group", 1944
  • Lawrence J Hickey (Warpath Across the Pacific), Walter Gaylor (World War II vet & 22d Bomber Group historian) and Don Evans & Harry Nelson, (who served with the 22d), "Revenge of the Red Raiders", 2006 [ISBN 0-913511-05-6]
  • Michael John Claringbould, "The Forgotten Fifth"

External linksEdit

Personal AccountsEdit

2nd Squadron

19th Squadron

33rd Squadron

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