Constituted as 497th Bombardment Group (Very Heavy) on 19 Nov 1943 and activated on 20 Nov. Prepared for overseas duty with B-29's. Moved to Saipan, Jul-Oct 1944, and assigned to Twentieth AF. Began operations in Oct 1944 with attacks against Iwo Jima and the Truk Islands. Took part in the first attack (24 Nov 1944) on Japan by AAF planes based in the Marianas. Flew many missions against strategicrobjectives in Japan; on numerous raids, made its attacks in daylight and from high altitude. Received a DUC for a mission on 27 Jan 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 second DUC for attacking strategic centers in Japan during Jul and Aug 1945. Assisted the assault on Okinawa in Apr 1945 by bombing enemy airfields to cut down air attacks against the invasion force. Beginning in Mar 1945 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. Returned to the US in Nov 1945. Assigned to Strategic Air Command on 21 Mar 1946. Inactivated on 31 Mar 1946.
Squadrons. 513th: 1945-1946. 869th: 1943-1946. 870th: 1943-1946. 871st: 1943-1946. 872d: 1943-1946.
Stations. El Paso Mun Aprt, Tex, 20 Nov 1943; Clovis AAFld, NM, 1 Dec 1943; Pratt AAFld, Kan, 13 Apr-28 Jul 1944; Isley Field, Saipan, 17 Oct 1944-1 Nov 1945; Camp Stoneman, Calif, 14 Nov 1945; March Field, Calif, 26 Nov 1945; MacDill Field, Fla, 5 Jan-31 Mar 1946.
Commanders. Lt Col John P Veerling, 10 Dec 1943; Col Karl Truesdell Jr, 6 Mar 1944; Col Stuart P Wright, 26 Apr 1944; Col Arnold T Johnson, 26 Feb 1945-31 Mar 1946.
Campaigns. Air Offensive, Japan; Eastern Mandates; Western Pacific.
Decorations. Distinguished Unit Citations: Japan, 27 Jan 1945; Japan, 26 Jul-2 Aug 1945.
Data from Air Force Combat Units of World War II By Maurer, Maurer, Published 1986