Constituted as 456th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 14 May 1943. Activated on 1 Jun 1943. Trained with B-24's for duty overseas. Moved to Italy, Dec 1943-Jan 1944. Began combat with Fifteenth AF in Feb 1944, operating chiefly against strategic targets until late in Apr 1945. Early operations included attacks against such objectives as marshalling yards, aircraft factories, railroad bridges, and airdromes in Italy, Austria, and Rumania. Received a DUC for performance at Wiener Neustadt on 10 May 1944: when other groups turned back because of adverse weather, the 456th proceeded to the target and, withstanding repeated attacks by enemy interceptors, bombed the manufacturing center. Helped to prepare the way for and supported the invasion of Southern France during Jul and Aug 1944. At the same time, expanded previous operations to include attacks on oil refineries and storage facilities, locomotive works, and viaducts in France, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Austria, and the Balkans. Received second DUC for a mission in Hungary on 2 Jul 1944 when the group braved severe fighter attacks and antiaircraft fire to bomb oil facilities at Budapest. In Apr 1945 bombed gun positions, bridges, roads, depots, and rail lines to support US Fifth and British Eighth Army in their advance through Italy. Transported supplies to airfields in northern Italy after V-E Day. Returned to the US in Jul 1945. Redesignated 456th Bombardment Group (Very Heavy) in Aug. Inactivated on 17 Oct 1945.
Allotted to the reserve. Activated on 1 Jul 1947. Inactivated on 27 Jun 1949.
Redesignated 456th Troop Carrier Group (Medium). Activated on 1 Dec 1952. Assigned to Tactical Air Command and equipped with C-119's. Inactivated on 1 Mar 1955.
Squadrons. 744th: 1943-1945; 1947-1949; 1952-1955. 745th: 1943-1945; 1947-1949; 1952-1955. 746th: 1943-1945; 1947-1949; 1952-1955. 747th: 1943-1945; 1947-1949.
Stations. Wendover Field, Utah, 1 Jun 1943; Gowen Field, Idaho, 14 Jul 1943; Bruning AAFld, Neb, c. 30 Jul 1943; Kearns, Utah, c. 11 Sep 1943; Muroc AAB, Calif, Oct-Dec 1943; Cerignola, Italy, Jan 1944; Stornara, Italy, Jan 1944-Jul 1945; Sioux Falls AAFld, SD, 1 Aug 1945; Smoky Hill AAFld, Kan, 17 Aug-17 Oct 1945. McChord Field, Wash, 12 Jul 1947-27 Jun 1949. Miami Intl Aprt, Fla, 1 Dec 1952; Charleston AFB, SC, 15 Aug 1953-1 Mar 1955.
Commanders. Unkn, 1 Jun-14 Jul 1943; Col Thomas W Steed, 14 Jul 1943; Lt Col Joseph G Russell, 16 Jul 1944; Col Thomas W Steed, Oct 1944; Lt Col Robert C Whipple, c. 19 May 1945-unkn; Col George E Henry, 31 Aug 1945; Col John W White, 4 Sep 1945-unkn. Col Leonard J Barrow Jr, c. Dec 1952; Lt Col Malcolm P Hooker, c. Feb 1953; Col Jay D Bogue, 1953-1 Mar 1955.
Campaigns. Air Combat, EAME Theater; Air Offensive, Europe; Rome-Arno; Normandy; Northern France; Southern France; North Apennines; Rhineland; Central Europe; Po Valley.
Decorations. Distinguished Unit Citations: Wiener Neustadt, Austria, 10 May 1944; Budapest, Hungary, 2 Jul 1944.
Insigne. Shield: Azure, a bar gemel debased argent over-all on a pile quarterly of the second and gules four stylized birds counterchanged. (Approved 7 Jul 1953.)
Data from Air Force Combat Units of World War II By Maurer, Maurer, Published 1986