Constituted as 91st Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 28 Jan 1942. Activated on 15 Apr 1942. Trained with B-17's. Moved to England, Aug-Oct 1942, and assigned to Eighth AF. Operated primarily as a strategic bombardment organization throughout the war. Entered combat in Nov 1942 and concentrated its attacks on submarine pens, ship-building yards, harbors, and dock facilities until mid-1943. During this period, also struck airdromes, factories, and communications. Attacked the navy yard at Wilhelmshaven on 27 Jan 1943 when heavy bombers of Eighth AF first penetrated Germany. Received a DUC for bombing marshalling yards at Hamm on 4 Mar 1943 in spite of adverse weather and heavy enemy opposition. From the middle of 1943 until the war ended, engaged chiefly in attacks on aircraft factories, airdromes, and oil facilities. Specific targets included airfields at Villacoublay and Oldenburg, aircraft factories in Oranienburg and Brussels, chemical industries in Leverkusen and Peenemunde, ball-bearing plants in Schweinfurt, and other industries in Ludwigshafen, Berlin, Frankfurt, and Wilhelmshaven. On 11 Jan 1944 organizations of Eighth AF went into central Germany to attack vital aircraft factories; participating in this operation, the 91st group successfully bombed its targets in spite of bad weather, inadequate fighter cover, and severe enemy attack, being awarded a DUC for the performance. Expanding its operations to include interdictory and support missions, the group contributed to the Normandy invasion by bombing gun emplacements and troop concentrations near the beachhead area in Jun 1944; aided the St Lo breakthrough by attacking enemy troop positions, 24-25 Jul 1944; supported troops on the front lines near Caen in Aug 1944; attacked communications near the battle area during the Battle of the Bulge, Dec 1944-Jan 1945; and assisted the push across the Rhine by striking airfields, bridges, and railroads near the front lines in the spring of 1945. Evacuated prisoners from German camps after the war ended. Returned to the US, Jun-Jul 1945. Inactivated on 7 Nov 1945.
Redesignated 91st Reconnaissance Group. Activated on 1 Jul 1947. Assigned to Strategic Air Command. Redesignated 91st Strategic Reconnaissance Group in Nov 1948. Used a variety of aircraft, including B-17's and RB-17's, B-29's and RB-29's, and B-50's. Redesignated 91st Strategic Reconnaissance Group (Medium) in Jul 1950. Equipped with RB-45's. Inactivated on 28 May 1952.
Squadrons. 7th Geodetic: 1949-1950. 91st: 1949-1950. 322d: 1942-1945; 1947-1948, 1949-1952. 324th: 1942-1945; 1947-1952. 401st: 1942-1945.
Stations. Harding Field, La, 15 Apr 1942; MacDill Field, Fla, 16 May 1942; Walla Walla, Wash, c. 26 Jun-24 Aug 1942; Kimbolton, England, Sep 1942; Bassingbourn, England, c. 14 Oct 1942-23 Jun 1945; Drew Field, Fla, 3 Jul-7 Nov 1945. Andrews Field, Md, 1 Jul 1947; McGuire AFB, NJ, 20 Jul 1948; Barksdale AFB, La, 1 Oct 1949; Lockbourne AFB, Ohio, c. 5 Sep 1950-8 May 1952.
Commanders. 1st Lt Edward R Eckert, 15 Apr 1942; Col Stanley T Wray, 15 May 1942; Lt Col Baskin R Lawrence Jr, c. 25 May 1943; Lt Col Clemens L Wurzbach, 25 Jun 1943; Col Claude E Putnam, Dec 1943; Col Henry W Terry, 17 May 1944; Lt Col Donald E Sheeler, 30 May 1945-unkn. Col Frank L Dunn, 1948; Lt Col Robert S Kittel, 10 Nov 1948; Col Charles R Greening, 24 Jun 1949; Maj James I Cox, 23 Aug 1949; Col Jean R Byerly, 1 Oct 1949; Col Lewis E Lyle, 25 Nov 1950-c. Aug 1951; Col Joseph A Preston, c. Aug 1951-28 May 1952.
Campaigns. Air Offensive, Europe; Normandy; Northern France; Rhineland; Ardennes-Alsace; Central Europe.
Decorations. Distinguished Unit Citations: Hamm, Germany, 4 Mar 1943; Germany, 11 Jan 1944.
Insigne. Shield: Azure (sky blue), a lightning flash issuing from dexter base and pointing to an eye proper on a cloud issuing from the sinister chief, on the flash in dexter base a sphere proper in an orbit argent; over all a bend azure fimbriated argent. (Approved 23 Dec 1952.)
Data from Air Force Combat Units of World War II By Maurer, Maurer, Published 1986