98th Bombardment Group

Constituted as 98th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 28 Jan 1942. Activated on 3 Feb 1942. Trained with B-24's. Moved to the Mediterranean theater, Jul-Aug 1942, and served in that area until the end of the war. Assigned to Ninth AF in Nov 1942, to Twelfth AF in Sep 1943, and to Fifteenth AF in Nov 1943. Entered combat in Aug 1942. Bombed shipping and harbor installations in Libya, Tunisia, Sicily, Italy, Crete, and Greece to cut enemy supply lines to Africa. Also hit airdromes and rail facilities in Sicily and Italy. Received a DUC for action against the enemy in the Middle East, North Africa, and Sicily from Aug 1942 to Aug 1943. Awarded another DUC for participation in the low-level assault on oil refineries at Ploesti on 1 Aug 1943: although its target had already been attacked by another group, the 98th proceeded through dense smoke and intense flak to bomb its assigned objective. Col John R Kane, group commander, received the Medal of Honor for leading the 98th to complete this attack despite the hazards of oil fires, delayed-action bombs, and alerted defenses. Afterward the group flew many long-range missions to Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and the Balkans to bomb such strategic targets as industries, airdromes, harbors, and communications, and engaged primarily in such operations until Apr 1945. 1st Lt Donald D Pucket, one of the group's pilots, was awarded the Medal of Honor for action during a mission against oil refineries at Ploesti on 9 Jul 1944: just after bombing the target, Lt Pucket's plane was crippled by antiaircraft fire and crew members were wounded; he calmed the crew, administered first aid, surveyed the damage, and, realizing it was impossible to reach friendly territory, gave the order to abandon ship; refusing to desert three men who were unable to leave the bomber, Lt Pucket stayed with the plane that a few moments later crashed on a mountainside. In addition to strategic operations, the 98th also flew interdictory and support missions. Aided Allied forces at Anzio and Cassino. Participated in the invasion of Southern France. Assisted the Russian advance in the Balkans. Returned to the US, Apr-May 1945. Redesignated 98th Bombardment Group (Very Heavy) in May. Inactivated on 10 Nov 1945.

Activated on 1 Jul 1947. Assigned to Strategic Air Command. Trained with B-29's. Redesignated 98th Bombardment Group (Medium) in May 1948. Moved to Japan in Aug 1950 and attached to Far East Air Forces for duty in the Korean War. Engaged primarily in interdicting enemy communications but also operated in support of UN ground forces. Targets included marshalling yards, oil centers, rail facilities, bridges, roads, troop concentrations, airfields, and military installations. Inactivated on 16 Jun 1952 while on temporary duty in Japan.

Squadrons. 343d: 1942-1945; 1947-1952. 344th: 1942-1945; 1947-1952. 345th: 1942-1945; 1947-1952. 415th: 1942-1945.

Stations. MacDill Field, Fla, 3 Feb 1942; Barksdale Field, La, Feb 1942; Ft Myers, Fla, 30 Mar 1942; Drane Field, Fla, c. 15 May-c. Jul 1942; Ramat David, Palestine, 25 Jul 1942; Fayid, Egypt, c. 11 Nov 1942; Benina, Libya, c. 9 Feb 1943; Hergla, Tunisia, c. 21 Sep 1943; Brindisi, Italy, c. 18 Nov 1943; Manduria, Italy, 19 Dec 1943; Lecce, Italy, 17 Jan 1944-19 Apr 1945; Fairmont AAFld, Neb, c. 6 May 1945; McCook AAFld, Neb, 25 Jun-10 Nov 1945. Andrews Field, Md, 1 Jul 1947; Spokane AAFld, Wash, 24 Sep 1947-16 Jun 1952.

Commanders. Lt Col Frank H Robinson, c. Feb 1942; Col Hugo P Rush, 1942; Col John R Kane, c. 29 Dec 1942; Lt Col Julian M Bleyer, 1 Nov 1943; Col William E Karnes, 18 Nov 1943; Lt Col Marshall R Gray, 13 Jan 1944; Col Salvatore E Manzo, c. Jul 1944-unkn; Col John G Eriksen, 25 Jun-c. Sep 1945; unkn, Sep-Nov 1945. Unkn, Jul-Oct 1947; Lt Col Joseph D White, 20 Oct 1947; Col William D Cairnes, 12 Apr 1948; Col Richard D Dick, 20 Jan 1949; Col Richard H Carmichael, c. Apr 1950; Col David Wade, c. 31 Mar 1951; Col Edwin F Harding Jr, Sep 1951; Col Lewis A Curtis, Nov 1951; Col Winton R Close, May-16 Jun 1952.

Campaigns. World War II: Air Combat, EAME Theater; Egypt-Libya; Air Offensive, Europe; Tunisia; Sicily; Naples-Foggia; Anzio; Rome-Arno; Normandy; Northern France; Southern France; North Apennines; Rhineland; Central Europe; Po Valley. Korean War: UN Defensive; UN Offensive; CCF Intervention; 1st UN Counteroffensive; CCF Spring Offensive; UN Summer-Fall Offensive; Second Korean Winter; Korea Summer-Fall, 1952.

Decorations. Distinguished Unit Citations: North Africa and Sicily, Aug 1942-17 Aug 1943; Ploesti, Rumania, 1 Aug 1943. Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation: [Aug 1950-Jun 1952].

Insigne. Shield: Azure, a bend indented between a dexter mailed hand couped at the wrist, in bend, grasping a drop bomb and an olive wreath, all or. Motto: Force For Freedom. (Approved 29 Jul 1942.)

Data from Air Force Combat Units of World War II By Maurer, Maurer, Published 1986

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