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39th Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron
United States Air Forces in Europe.png
Douglas EB-66E Destroyer in flight 061103-F-1234P-005.jpg
39th Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron EB-66E
Active 1943-1945; 1947-1949; 1969-1973
Country  United States
Branch  United States Air Force
Role Electronic Warfare
Engagements Mediterranean Theater of Operations European Theater of Operations
Decorations Distinguished Unit Citation
Insignia
World War II tail markings before May 1944[1] Black diamond on white circle above, black number 1 in white circle below.
World War II tail markings after May 1944[1] Black diamond above, bottom of tail white
39 TEWS tail code 1969-1973[2] SP

The 39th Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. It was last assigned to the 52d Tactical Fighter Wing at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, where it was inactivated in January 1973.

The squadron was first activated in 1943 at Alamogordo Army Air Field, New Mexico as the 739th Bombardment Squadron. The 739th was last active in the Air Force Reserve at Spokane Air Force Base, Washington, where it was inactivated in June 1949.

History[edit | edit source]

World War II[edit | edit source]

B-24 Liberator of the 454th Bombardment Group

The squadron was first activated in June 1943 at Alamogordo Army Air Field, New Mexico as the 739th Bombardment Squadron, one of the original four squadrons of the 454th Bombardment Group.[3] The 454th was a Consolidated B-24 Liberator heavy bombardment group. The unit trained under Second Air Force. It deployed to the Mediterranean Theater of Operations, and was stationed in outhern Italy at San Giovanni Airfield under Fifteenth Air Force.

The squadron engaged in long range strategic bombardment of enemy military, industrial and transportation targets. Operations included attacks against such objectives as marshalling yards, aircraft factories, railroad bridges, and airdromes in Italy, Austria, and Rumania. It helped to prepare the way for and supported Operation Dragoon, the invasion of Southern France during July and August 1944. At the same time, it expanded its previous operations to include attacks on oil refineries and storage facilities, locomotive works, and viaducts in France, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and the Balkans.

The 739th returned to the United States after the surrender of Germany in May 1945. It began to be re-equipped as a Boeing B-29 Superfortress very heavy bombardment squadron. The squadron began training under Second Air Force in August 1945, however it was inactivated in October after the surrender of Japan.[3]

Air Force Reserve[edit | edit source]

The 739th Bombardment Squadron was reactivated as a reserve unit under Air Defense Command (ADC) at McChord Field, Washington in April 1947 as a Boeing B-29 Superfortress unit, where its training was supervised by the 406th AAF Base Unit (later the 2345th Air Force Reserve Training Center) However, the squadron does not appear to have been fully manned or equipped while a reserve unit.[4] In 1948 Continental Air Command assumed responsibility for managing reserve and Air National Guard units from ADC.[5] President Truman’s reduced 1949 defense budget required reductions in the number of units in the Air Force.[6] Continental Air Command also reorganized its reserve units under the wing base organization system in June 1949. The squadron was inactivated and its personnel and equipment were transferred to elements of the 302d Troop Carrier Wing, which was activated simultaneously.[7][8]

Cold War[edit | edit source]

The 39th Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron was activated in April 1969 at Spangdahlem Air Base Germany in an effort to restore an electronic warfare capability to United States Air Forces Europe (USAFE). It was planned to equip the squadron with Douglas EB-66 Destroyers, but all of USAFE's EB-66s had deployed to Southeast Asia to provide jamming support for the Viet Nam War. As a result, the squadron was initially equipped with the less capable Martin EB-57 Canberra. Shortly after activation, it became possible to equip the unit with sixteen EB-66s.[9] The squadron continued its mission at Spangdahlem until inactivating in 1973 as the EB-66 was withdrawn from the Air Force inventory.[10]

The 739th Bombardment Squadron and the 39th Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron were consolidated into a single unit in September 1985.[11]

Lineage[edit | edit source]

739th Bombardment Squadron

  • Constituted as the 739th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) on 14 May 1943
Activated on 1 June 1943
Redesignated 739th Bombardment Squadron, Very Heavy on 5 August 1945
Inactivated on 17 October 1945
  • Activated in the reserve on 16 August 1947
Inactivated on 27 June 1949[12]
  • Consolidated on 19 September 1985 with the 39th Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron as the 39th Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron[11]

39th Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron

  • Constituted as the 39th Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron on 18 March 1969
Activated on 1 April 1969
Inactivated on 1 January 1973
  • Consolidated on 19 September 1985 with the 739th Bombardment Squadron[11]

Assignments[edit | edit source]

Stations[edit | edit source]

Aircraft[edit | edit source]

Awards and campaigns[edit | edit source]

Award streamer Award Dates Notes
Streamer PUC Army.PNG Distinguished Unit Citation 12 April 1944 739th Bombardment Squadron, Bad Voslau, Austria[3]
Streamer PUC Army.PNG Distinguished Unit Citation 25 July 1944 739th Bombardment Squadron, Linz, Austria[3]
Campaign Streamer Campaign Dates Notes
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal streamer.png Air Combat, EAME Theater January 1944-11 May 1945 739th Bombardment Squadron[3]
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal streamer.png Air Offensive, Europe January 1944-5 June 1944 739th Bombardment Squadron[3]
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal streamer.png Rome-Arno 22 January 1944 – 9 September 1944 739th Bombardment Squadron[3]
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal streamer.png Normandy 6 June 1944 – 24 July 1944 739th Bombardment Squadron[3]
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal streamer.png Northern France 25 July 1944 – 14 September 1944 739th Bombardment Squadron[3]
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal streamer.png Southern France 15 August 1944 – 14 September 1944 739th Bombardment Squadron[3]
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal streamer.png North Apennines 10 September 1944 – 4 April 1945 739th Bombardment Squadron[3]
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal streamer.png Rhineland 15 September 1944 – 21 March 1945 739th Bombardment Squadron[3]
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal streamer.png Central Europe 22 March 1944 – 21 May 1945 739th Bombardment Squadron[3]
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal streamer.png Po Valley 3 April 1945 – 8 May 1945 739th Bombardment Squadron[3]

References[edit | edit source]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Watkins, p. 99
  2. See photo of squadron EB-66
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 Maurer, Combat Squadrons, p. 729
  4. See Maurer, Combat Squadrons, p. 729 (listing no aircraft for the period 1947-1949)
  5. "Abstract, Mission Project Closeup, Continental Air Command". Air Force History Index. 27 December 1961. http://www.airforcehistoryindex.org/data/000/896/983.xml. Retrieved March 24, 2014. 
  6. Knaack, p. 25
  7. Ravenstein, pp. 147-149
  8. See Mueller, p. 394
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Knaack, pp. 448-449
  10. Knaack, pp. 449-450
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Department of the Air Force/MPM Letter 662q, 19 September 85, Subject: Reconstitution, Redesignation, and Consolidation of Selected Air Force Tactical Squadrons
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 739th Bombardment Squadron lineage, including assignments, stations and aircraft in Maurer, Combat Squadrons, p. 729, except as indicated

Bibliography[edit | edit source]

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

Further reading

  • Cantwell, Gerald T. (1997). Citizen Airmen: a History of the Air Force Reserve, 1946-1994. Washington, D.C.: Air Force History and Museums Program. ISBN 0-16049-269-6. 

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