Organized as 3rd Observation Group in the Panama Canal Zone on 30
1919. Redesignated 6th Group (Observation) in 1921, 6th Group (Composite) in
1922, 6th Bombardment Group in 1937, 6th Bombardment Group (Medium) in 1939,
and 6th Bombardment Group (Heavy) in 1940. Operations, which were concerned
chiefly with defense of the canal, included training, participating in
maneuvers, flying patrol missions, photographing the canal area, staging
aerial reviews, making good-will flights to Central and South American
countries, and flying mercy missions in Jan 1939 to earthquake victims at
Santiago, Chile. Equipped with R-4's and DH-4's in 1919; used SE-5A, MB-3A,
and P-12B aircraft in the period 1922-1929; received B-10's in 1936 and B-18's
in 1939; used B-17, B-18, B-24, LB-30, and L-4E aircraft after the US entered
World War II. Disbanded in the Canal Zone on 1 Nov 1943.
Reconstituted on 29 Jun 1944 and consolidated with 6th Bombardment
(Very Heavy), which had been constituted on 28 Mar 1944 and activated in the
US on 19 Apr 1944. Equipped first with B-17's; later trained for combat with
B-29's. Moved to Tinian, Nov 1944-Feb 1945. Assigned to Twentieth AF.
Commenced operations by attacking Iwo Jima and the Truk Islands in Feb 1945.
Afterward, struck industrial targets in Japan, flying in daylight and at high
altitude to carry out these missions. Began incendiary raids on area targets
in Japan in Mar 1945 and was awarded a DUC for action on 25 May when the group
flew at night and at low altitude through alerted enemy defenses to drop
incendiaries on Tokyo. Participated in mining operations in the Shimonoseki
Strait and received second DUC for contributing to the blockade of the
Japanese Empire by mining harbors in Japan and Korea in Jul 1945. Assisted
the invasion of Okinawa in Apr 1945 with strikes on Kyushu, hitting airfields
that were used by kamikaze pilots. After the war, dropped food and supplies
to Allied prisoners and took part in show-of-force flights over Japan. Moved
to the Philippines in Jan 1946 and to the Ryukyus in Jun 1947. Inactivated on
Okinawa on 18 Oct 1948.
Redesignated 6th Bombardment Group (Medium). Activated in the US on
Jan 1951. Assigned to Strategic Air Command and equipped with B-29's.
Inactivated on 16 Jun 1952.
Squadrons. 3d: 1940-1942. 24th: 1922-1929; 1944-1948;
25th: 1922-1943. 29th: 1943. 39th: 1944-1948; 1951-1952. 40th:
1944-1948; 1951-1952. 44th: 1930-1937. 74th: 1940-1942, 1943. 395th:
1942-1943. 397th (formerly 7th): 1919-1940, 1942-1943.
Stations. France Field, CZ, 30 Sep 1919; Rio Hato, Panama, 9 Dec
Albrook Field, CZ, 14 Jan 1943; Howard Field, CZ, Oct-1 Nov 1943. Dalhart
AAFld, Tex, 19 Apr 1944; Grand Island AAFld, Neb, 19 May-18 Nov 1944; North
Field, Tinian, 28 Dec 1944; Clark Field, Luzon, 28 Jan 1946; Kadena, Okinawa,
1 Jun 1947-18 Oct 1948. Walker AFB, NM, 2 Jan 1951-16 Jun 1952.
Commanders. Unkn, 1919-1923; Maj Follett Bradley, 1923-1926; Lt
Lewis H Brereton, Aug 1931-c. Jun 1935; Lt Col William O Butler, c. Jan.
1937-Jul 1939; Lt Col Edwin House, 1939-1940; Maj Samuel M Connell, c. Sep
1940-Feb 1941, Col Henry K Mooney, 15 Sep 1941-20 Jan 1943; unkn, 20 Jan-1 Nov
1943. Maj William E Taylor, 19 Apr 1944; Lt Col Howard D Kenzie, 28 Apr 1944;
Col Kenneth H Gibson, 17 Jun 1944; Lt Col Theodore W Tucker, 31 Aug 1945; Col
John P Kenny, 29 Aug 1946; Col Frank P Sturdivant, 4 Dec 1946-unkn. Col
William K Martin, 15 Jan 1951-16 Jun 1952.
Campaigns. Antisubmarine, American Theater; Air Offensive,
Eastern Mandates; Western Pacific.
Decorations. Distinguished Unit Citations: Tokyo, Japan, 25 May
Japanese Empire, 9-19 Jul 1945.
Insigne. Shield: Per fess debased or and azure issuant against the
of the setting sun a full rigged ship (black hull and white sails), in the
gaillard cut (light and dark green), in chief a biplane (black) diving bend
sinisterwise all proper. Crest: On a wreath of the colors (or and azure) a
pirate's head and shoulders tattooed on the chest with skull and bones proper,
garbed and coifed or and sable. Motto: Parati Defendere - Ready to Defend.
(Approved 22 Jan 1924.)
Data from Air Force Combat Units of World War II By Maurer, Maurer, Published 1986