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458th Air Expeditionary Group
485th Bombardment Group - World War II - Emblem.png
Emblem of the World War II 485th Bombardment Group
Active 1943–1945; 1992–1995; 2002 (TBD)
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Type Provisional
Role Air Expeditionary
Part of United States Air Forces in Europe

The 458th Air Expeditionary Group (458 AEG) is a provisional United States Air Force unit assigned to the United States Air Forces in Europe. As a provisional unit, the 458 AEG may be activated or inactivated at any time.

The last known activation of the unit was at Mihail Kogălniceanu International Airport, 26 km NW of Constanţa, Romania. The group was active from about March to June 2003, charged with maintaining an airbridge at the base to transport supplies and people to the US Central Command Area of Responsibility (AOR).

During World War II, the 458th Bombardment Group was an Eighth Air Force B-24 Liberator unit in England. Assigned to RAF Horsham St Faith in early 1944, the group flew its last combat mission on 25 April 1945, flying 240 missions losing 47 aircraft in combat.

History[edit | edit source]

World War II[edit | edit source]

B-24s of the 753d and 754th Bomb Squadrons on a mission from Horsham St. Faith.

B-24J-165-CO Liberator 44-40475 "Jolly Roger", 752d Bombardment Squadron On the bomb run over Bielefeld, Germany on 24 February 1945.

The Group flew its first diversionary missions on 24 and 25 February 1944 to draw enemy fighters from German targets being attacked by other USAAF bombers. The group's first bombing mission was on 2 March 1944, and afterward the group operated primarily against strategic targets in Nazi Germany, examples being the industrial areas of Saarbrücken, oil refineries at Hamburg, an airfield at Brunswick, aircraft factories at Oschersleben building the Fw 190 under contract, a fuel depot at Dulmen, a canal at Minden, the aircraft works at Brandenburg, the marshalling yards at Hamm and an aircraft engine plant at Magdeburg.

The Group helped to prepare for the D-Day invasion of Normandy by striking gun batteries, V-weapon sites, and airfields in France and hit coastal defenses in support of the assault on 6 June 1944. Afterward the Group supported the Allied advance through France, bombing bridges and highways to prevent the movement of enemy materiel to the beachhead and by attacking enemy troops to aid the Allied breakthrough at Saint-Lô in July 1944. The Group ceased bombing activity briefly during September 1944 to carry fuel as cargo to airfields in France.

During Battle of the Bulge in December 1944 and January 1945 the Group struck transportation lines, later attacking enemy airfields to assist the Allied assault across the Rhine in March 1945.

The Group flew its last combat mission on 25 April 1945, returning to the USA almost immediately through June and July 1945. The Group was redesignated 458th Bombardment Group (Very Heavy) in August 1945, training with the Boeing B-29 Superfortress until it was inactivated on 17 October 1945.

Modern era[edit | edit source]

The unit was reactivated on 1 June 1992 as the 458th Operations Group and controlled two KC-10 Extender tanker squadrons as a detached component of the 22d Air Refueling Wing at Barksdale AFB, Louisiana. The group was inactivated on 1 July 1995 when it's KC-10s were reassigned to McGuire AFB, New Jersey, and its squadrons to the 305th Operations Group when Air Mobility Command consolidated its aerial tanker force.

The unit was converted to provisional status about 2002 and assigned to the United States Air Forces in Europe. In September 2002 the 458 AEG was deployed to Air Force Base Waterkloof, South Africa to participate in the first bilateral exercise between the air forces of South Africa and the United States. More than 200 airmen from Royal Air Force Mildenhall and RAF Lakenheath in England, Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., and the Oklahoma Air National Guard are participated in the exercise.

The group was again brought briefly to life in 2003, when the 458th Air Expeditionary Group was active at Mihail Kogălniceanu International Airport, 26 km NW of Constanţa, Romania. The group was active from about March to June 2003, charged with maintaining an airbridge at the base to transport supplies and people to the US Central Command Area of Responsibility (AOR).

Lineage[edit | edit source]

  • Constituted as 458th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 19 May 1943
Activated on 1 July 1943
Redesignated 458th Bombardment Group (Very Heavy) in August 1945
Inactivated on 17 October 1945
  • Redesignated 458th Operations Group on 1 July 1992 and activated
Inactivated on 1 July 1995
  • Redesignated 458th Air Expeditionary Group and converted to provisional status, 1 September 2002

Assignments[edit | edit source]

Components[edit | edit source]

Stations[edit | edit source]

Aircraft[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

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

  • Freeman, Roger A. (1978) Airfields of the Eighth: Then and Now. After the Battle ISBN 0-900913-09-6
  • Freeman, Roger A. (2001) The Mighty Eighth: The Colour Record. Cassell ISBN 0-304-35708-1
  • Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.
  • http://www.458bg.com/
  • http://www.heritageleague.org/groups/458bg.htm – Source of much of this article

458 AEG:

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