Constituted as 39th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 20 Nov 1940. Activated on 15 Jan 1941. Assigned to Second AF. Equipped with B-17's. Patrolled the northwest coast of the US after the nation entered the war. Equipped with B-24's in 1942. Served as an operational training and later as a replacement training unit. Inactivated on 1 Apr 1944.
Redesignated 39th Bombardment Group (Very Heavy). Activated on 1 Apr 1944. Trained with B-29's. Moved to Guam early in 1945 for duty with Twentieth AF. Bombed enemy-held Maug early in Apr 1945. Conducted its first mission against the Japanese home islands by hitting the Hodagaya chemical plant at Koriyama on 12 Apr. Supported the Allied invasion of Okinawa, Apr-May 1945, by attacking airfields that served as bases for kamikaze pilots. Bombed military and industrial targets in Japan and participated in incendiary raids on urban areas from mid-May until the end of the war. Received a DUC for an attack against the Otake oil refinery and storage area on Honshu in May 1945. Received second DUC for bombing industrial and dock areas in Yokohama and manufacturing districts in Tokyo, 23-29 May 1945. Dropped food and supplies to Allied prisoners and took part in show-of-force missions over Japan after V-J Day. Returned to the US, Nov-Dec 1945. Inactivated on 27 Dec 1945.
Squadrons. 60th: 1941-1944; 1944-1945. 61st: 1941-1944; 1944-1945. 62d: 1941-1944; 1944-1945. 402d: 1942-1944; 1944.
Stations. Ft Douglas, Utah, 15 Jan 1941; Geiger Field, Wash, 2 Jul 1941; Davis-Monthan Field, Ariz, 5 Feb 1942-1 Apr 1944. Smoky Hill AAFld, Kan, 1 Apr 1944-8 Jan 1945; North Field, Guam, 18 Feb-17 Nov 1945; Camp Anza, Calif, 15-27 Dec 1945.
Commanders. Maj Newton Longfellow, 15 Jan 1941; Capt Maurice A Preston, 1 Feb 1941; Lt Col Elmer E Adler, 17 Mar 1941; Capt George W Hansen, 13 May 1941; Maj Charles B Overacker Jr, 12 Nov 1941; Lt Col George W Hansen, 25 Jan 1942; Col James H Wallace, 16 Feb 1942; Col Fay R Upthegrove, 12 Jul 1942; Lt Col Samuel C Mitchell, 13 Sep 1942; Maj Marden M Munn, 17 Dec 1942; Lt Col Horace D Aynesworth, 1 Mar 1943; Lt Col Charles A Watt, 1 Jul 1943; Lt Col Frank R Pancake, 25 Nov 1943; Col Clyde K Rich, 1 Dec 1943-1 Apr 1944. Capt Claude Hilton, 28 Apr 1944; Maj Gordon R Willis, 6 May 1944; Maj Campbell Weir, 11 May 1944; Lt Col Robert W Strong Jr, 10 Jun 1944; Col Potter B Paige, 15 Jun 1944; Col John G Fowler, 22 Feb 1945; Col George W Mundy, 16 Mar 1945; Col James E Roberts, 16 Aug 1945; Lt Col James C Thompson, 9 Oct 1945; Col Robert Mason, 13 Oct 1945-unkn.
Campaigns. American Theater; Air Offensive, Japan; Western Pacific.
Decorations. Distinguished Unit Citations: Japan, 10 May 1945; Tokyo and Yokohama, Japan, 23-29 May 1945.
Data from Air Force Combat Units of World War II By Maurer, Maurer, Published 1986