Constituted as 351st Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 25 Sep 1942. Activated on 1 Oct 1942. Trained for duty overseas with B-17's. Moved to England, Apr-May 1943. Served in combat with Eighth AF from May 1943 to Apr 1945. Operated primarily against strategic objectives in Germany, striking such targets as ball-bearing plants at Schweinfurt, communications at Mayen, marshalling yards at Koblenz, a locomotive and tank factory at Hannover, industries at Berlin, bridges at Cologne, an armaments factory at Mannheim, and oil refineries at Hamburg. Also struck harbor facilities, submarine installations, airfields, V-weapon sites, and power plants in France, Belgium, Holland, and Norway. Received a DUC for performance of 9 Oct 1943 when an aircraft factory in Germany was accurately bombed in spite of heavy flak and pressing enemy interceptors. Received another DUC for its part in the successful attack of 11 Jan 1944 on aircraft factories in central Germany. Participated in the intensive air campaign against the German aircraft industry during Big Week, 20-25 Feb 1944. 2d Lt Walter E Truemper, navigator, and Sgt Archibald Mathies, engineer, were each awarded the Medal of Honor for action on 20 Feb 1944: when their aircraft received a direct hit that killed the co-pilot and wounded the pilot, Truemper and Mathies managed to fly the plane until other crew members could bail out; on the third attempt to land the plane in an effort to save the pilot, the B-17 crashed and the men were killed. In addition to its strategic missions, the group often operated in support of ground forces and attacked interdictory targets. Bombed in support of the Normandy invasion in Jun 1944 and the St Lo breakthrough in Jul. Hit enemy positions to cover the airborne attack on Holland in Sep 1944. Struck front-line positions, communications, and airfields to help stop the German counteroffensive in the Battle of the Bulge, Dec 1944-Jan 1945. Flew missions in support of the airborne assault across the Rhine in Mar 1945. Returned to the US soon after V-E Day. Inactivated on 28 Aug 1945.
Redesignated 351st Bombardment Group (Very Heavy). Allotted to the reserve. Activated on 9 Apr 1947. Inactivated on 27 Jun 1949.
Squadrons. 508th: 1942-1945; 1947-1949. 509th: 1942-1945; 1947-1948. 510th: 1942-1945; 1947-1948. 511th: 1942-1945; 1947-1949. 434th: 1948-1949.
Stations. Salt Lake City AAB, Utah, 1 Oct 1942; Geiger Field, Wash, Nov 1942; Biggs Field, Tex, Dec 1942; Pueblo AAB, Colo, c. 1 Mar-c. 12 Apr 1943; Polebrook, England, c. 1 May 1943-Jun 1945; Sioux Falls AAFld, SD, Jul-28 Aug 1945. Scott Field, Ill, Apr 1947-27 Jun 1949.
Commanders. Col William A Hatcher Jr, Nov 1942; Col Eugene A Romig, c. 1 Jan 1944; Col Robert W Burns, Oct 1944; Col Merlin I Carter, 30 Mar 1945-unkn.
Campaigns. Air Offensive, Europe; Normandy; Northern France; Rhineland; Ardennes-Alsace; Central Europe.
Decorations. Distinguished Unit Citations: Germany, Oct 1943; Germany, 11 Jan 1944.
Data from Air Force Combat Units of World War II By Maurer, Maurer, Published 1986