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497th Bombardment Group
869th Bomb Squadron B-29 42-24592 "Dauntless Dolly". Shown is Major Robert Morgan, pilot of the aircraft. On 24 November 1944, he led the first mission of the XXI Bomber Command to bomb Japan, 110 aircraft of the 73rd Bomb Wing to Tokyo, with wing commander Brig. Gen. Emmett O'Donnell, Jr. as co-pilot. His B-29 was nicknamed Dauntless Dotty, after his third wife, Dorothy Johnson Morgan
Active 1943-1946
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Type Combat Operations
Role Bombardment
Motto(s) PARATI STAMUS – 'We Stand Ready'
World War II Victory Medal ribbon.svg Asiatic-Pacific Campaign ribbon.svg
  • World War II
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign

Crew of the 869th Bomb Squadron B-29 42-24592 "Little Gem", 4 December 1944.

Nose view of 869th Bomb Squadron B-29 42-24599 "Scrapper".

Crew of 869th Bomb Squadron B-29 42-24598 "Waddy's Wagon". It was lost on 9 January 1945.

The 497th Bombardment Group is an inactive United States Air Force unit. The unit was inactivated on 31 March 1946.

The unit was part of the United States Army Air Forces and Twentieth Air Force during World War II. The 497th BG engaged in very heavy (B-29 Superfortress) bombardment operations against Japan. Its aircraft were identified by a "A" and a square painted on the tail.

History[edit | edit source]

World War II[edit | edit source]

The unit was established in late 1943 at El Paso Municipal Airport, Texas, being formed as a B-29 Superfortress Very Heavy bombardment Group. Thu unit was formed with four bomb squadrons (869th, 870th, 871st and 872d), all being newly-constituted.

It moved to Pratt Army Air Field, Kansas in December 1943 to begin training. Due to a shortage of B-29s, the group was equipped with former II Bomber Command B-17 Flying Fortresses already at Pratt which were previously used for training heavy bomber replacement personnel. In the spring of 1944, it finally received newly-manufactured B-29 Superfortresses. In May shortages in aircraft and equipment led to the 872d Bomb Squadron being inactivated, with its personnel being consolidated into other group squadrons.

As a three squadron group, the 497th was deployed to Pacific Theater of Operations (PTO) in September 1944, being assigned to the XXI Bomber Command 73d Bombardment Wing in the Northern Mariana Islands; being stationed at Isley Field, Saipan. Upon arrival the group's personnel were engaged in Quonset hut construction. By mid-October most personnel were able to move into the huts from the initial tents which they were assigned on arrival. The group began operations in October 1944 with attacks against Iwo Jima and the Truk Islands. Took part in the first attack (24 November 1944) on Japan by AAF planes based in the Marianas. Flew many missions against strategic objectives in Japan; on numerous raids, made its attacks in daylight and from high altitude.

Received a Distinguished Unit Citation for a mission on 27 January 1945. Although weather conditions prevented the group from bombing its primary objective, the unescorted B-29’s withstood severe enemy attacks to strike an alternate target, the industrial area of Hamamatsu. Awarded a second DUC for attacking strategic centers in Japan during Jul and August 1945. Assisted the assault on Okinawa in April 1945 by bombing enemy airfields to cut down air attacks against the invasion force. Beginning on 19 March and continuing until the end of the war the group made incendiary raids against Japan, flying at night and at low altitude to bomb area targets. The group released propaganda leaflets over the Japanese home islands, July–August, continuing strategic bombing raids and incendiary attacks until the Japanese Capitulation in August 1945.

After V-J Day, the 497th dropped supplies to Allied prisoners, participated in show-of-force missions, and flew over Japan to evaluate bombardment damage. In November 1945 the unit returned to the United States; initially being assigned to Continental Air Forces's (CAF) Fourth Air Force at March Field, California. At March Field, the 513th Bombardment Squadron joined the group; it previously being a Fifteenth Air Force B-24 Liberator squadron based in Italy, having been returned to the United States in May and was undergoing B-29 Very Heavy Bomber upgrade training in Nebraska when its former assigned group, the 376th Bombardment Group, was inactivated.

In January 1945, the 498th was reassigned to the CAF Third Air Force at MacDill Field, Florida. It later was transferred to the new Strategic Air Command on 21 March 1946, being one of SAC's initial bombardment groups. Demobilization, however, was in full swing and the group turned in its aircraft and was inactivated on 31 March.

Lineage[edit | edit source]

  • Constituted as 497th Bombardment Group (Very Heavy) on 19 November 1943
Activated on 20 November 1943
Inactivated on 31 March 1946

Assignments[edit | edit source]

Components[edit | edit source]

Stations[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

Notes[edit | edit source]

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

Bibliography[edit | edit source]

  • Goforth, Pat E. (ed). The Long Haul: The Story of the 497th Bomb Group (VH). San Angelo, Texas: Newsfoto Publishing Company, 1946.
  • Maurer, Maurer. Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama: Office of Air Force History, 1983. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.
  • Thomas, Captain Rowan T. Born In Battle: Round The World Adventures Of The 513th Bombardment Squadron. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: John C. Wilson Company, 1944. (republished 1983 by Zenger Publishing Company, ISBN 0-89201-078-9.)

External links[edit | edit source]

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