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13th Air Force, 307th Bombardment Group (Heavy)—History

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The 307th Bombardment Group (Heavy) was activated in 1942 by the Army Air Corps Combat Command after an attack on Pearl Harbor thrust the United States in war with Japan. In succeeding years, the 307th's participation in World War II, the Korean Conflict and the Vietnam Conflict proved it to be one of the most renowned bombing units in military annals.

On April 15, 1942, the 307th began operations as a B-17 Flying Fortress bomber unit at Geiger Field, Washington. Its first mission to guard the northwestern United States and Alaskan coasts against armed invasion prepared the group for its later role in the Pacific Theater of World War II. After patrolling the coastline of America for five months, the 307th's B-17s were replaced with the famous B-24 "Liberators". Subsequently, the entire unit was transferred to Sioux City, Iowa, for a brief training period. After completing a three-week familiarization program, the 307th relocated its entire cadre and 35 bombers to Hamilton Field, California.

Three days later, the B-24s were deployed to Oahu in the Hawaiian Islands. An old Norwegian freighter slowly transported the remainder of the group to its "Pacific Paradise". Upon arrival at Oahu, each of the group’s four squadrons was assigned to different Hawaiian locations; the 370th to Kipapa, the 371st to Wheeler Field, the 372nd to Kabuka and the 424th to Mokaleia. Headquarters for the 307th was centered at Hickam Field. Finally settled at Oahu, 307th bombers began search and patrol missions over the surrounding Pacific area. Mantaining a 24-hour vigil, the bombers were to avert any naval attack against the Hawaiian Islands. Stations were eventually set up on Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides on Jan 13, 1943; Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands on Aug 20, 1943; Los Negros, Admiralty Islands on Jun 1, 1944; Wake Island on Sep 3 ,1944; Morotai, New Guinea on Oct 17, 1944 and Clark Field, Luzon, Philippines on Aug 27, 1945.

307th Bombardment Group B-24 Burning
A 307th Bombardment Group B-24 burns on the runway after returning from a mission damaged.
Group bombers received their first taste of combat December 27, 1942. Twenty-seven of the group’s aircraft were deployed from Oahu to Midway Island. From here, the B-24s staged their first attack against an enemy fortress on Wake Island. The enemy was taken by surprise during the predawn raid. Before Japanese units responded with a barrage of anti-aircraft fire, 307th bombers had blasted 90 percent of the Wake stronghold. All aircraft returned safely from what was considered the longest mass raid of that time. It was from this and succeding long-distance combat missions,  that the 307th Bombardment Group became known as the "Long Rangers".

The 307th moved to Guadalcanal in February 1943. From their new location on the largest of the Solomon Islands, Group bombers attacked fortified Japanese airfields and shipping installations within the Southwest Pacific. At Guadalcanal, the 307th Bombardment Group was subjected to massive air attacks by enemy bomber and fighter aircraft. On a warm day in March 1943, three waves of Japanese planes blasted the airfield, causing the greatest number of 307th casualties during the war.

November 11, 1943, the 307th participated in the largest aerial strike of the South Pacific War. In conjunction with United States naval elements, group bombers pounded enemy war and merchant ships at Rabaul, New Guinea. Amdist swarms of Japanese "Zeros" and heavy anti-aircraft fire, 307th aircraft released their bombs, leaving the port of Rabaul in complete ruin.

Throughout the remainder of the war, 307th aircraft continued to cripple the debilitated enemy. Group elements neutralized Japanese forces at Yap, Truk, Palau, Balikapan, and the Phillipines. Bombing strikes against Japanese shipping centers in the Philippines inhibited the enemy from gaining a further strong hold in the area. An unescorted attack by group aircraft against oil refineries at Balikapan, Borneo, October 3, 1944 helped assure an allied victory in the South Pacific.

Following V-J Day, 1945, 307th aircraft ferried former American war prisoners from Okinawa to Manila. No longer needed, the group returned to the states in December 1945 and was subsequently deactivated. With barely time to form cobwebs, the 307th Bombardment Group was reactivated August 4, 1946, and is still active today.

While in the Pacific, the 307th was awarded two Distinguished Unit Citations, one for an air strike against Truk on March 29, 1944 and another for a strike against the refineries at Borneo on October 3, 1944. The group was also awarded the Philippine Presidential Unit Citation for its active role in the Philippines campaign.

Squadrons

  • 370th: 1942-1946; 1946-1952
  • 371st: 1942-1946, 1946-1952
  • 372d: 1942-1945; 1946-1952
  • 424th: 1942-1945

Stations

  • Geiger Field, Wash, 15 Apr 1942
  • Ephrata, Wash, 28 May 1942
  • Sioux City AAB, Iowa, 30 Sep-20 Oct 1942
  • Hickam Field, TH, 1 Nov 1942
  • Guadalcanal, Feb 1943
  • New Georgia, 28 Jan 1944
  • Los Negros, c. 29 Apr 1944
  • Wakde, 24 Aug 1944
  • Morotai, c. 18 Oct 1944
  • Clark Field, Luzon, Sep-Dec 1945
  • Camp Stoneman, Calif, 16-18 Jan 1946
  • MacDill Field, Fla, 4 Aug 1946-16 Jun 1952

Commanders

  • Capt Bill Jarvis, 1 May 1942
  • Col William A Matheny, 22 May 1942
  • Col Oliver S Picher, 19 Aug 1943
  • Col Glen R Birchard, 27 Oct 1943
  • Col Robert F Burnham, 28 Mar 1944
  • Col Clifford H Rees, Nov 1944-unkn
  • Col Richard T King Jr, 4 Aug 1946
  • Lt Col Clyde G Gillespie, 25 Aug 1946
  • Lt Col Frank L Davis, Sep 1946
  • Col John G Eriksen, 13 Jan 1947
  • Col Clifford Heflin, 12 Aug 1947

World War II Campaigns

  • Central Pacific
  • Guadalcanal
  • New Guinea
  • Northern Solomons
  • Eastern Mandates
  • Bismarck Archipelago
  • Western Pacific
  • Leyte
  • Luzon
  • Southern Philippines

Decorations.

  • Distinguished Unit Citation: Truk, 29 Mar 1944
  • Distinguished Unit Citation: Borneo 3 Oct 1944
  • Philippine Presidential Unit Citation

About the 307th Bomb Group—Did you know? The story of the 307th Bomb Group "Long Rangers" in World War II is an impressive one.

  • The 307th Bomb Group gunners shot down an average of 25 per cent of their Japanese fighter interceptors. 307th Bomb Group Crews encountered coordinated and concentrated interception by Japanese airmen over many Japanese held islands without their own fighter escort including Rabaul, Truk, Yap, Palau, Balikpapan and the Phillipines.
  • Their first taste of combat came Dec 24th 1942, when 27 aircraft flew 1,260 miles to bomb selected targets on Wake Island. All planes returned safely from the flight after having flown 2,240 miles, the longest mass raid of the war to that time. As a result of this mission and the many long distance flights to come, the 307th Bombardment Group (HV) soon became known as the "Long Rangers".
  • The Group's aircraft were the first over Tarawa, Naura, Ocean Island and the Marshall Islands. It was January 1943 when the unit was credited with its first Japanese Zero.
  • Two Distinguished Unit Citations were awarded to the Group, one for action in the bombing of the Island of Truk, the most heavily defended and strongly fortified japanese base in the Pacific. During withdrawal. gunners of the Group destroyed 31 of the 75 attacking aircraft, probably destroyed 12 more and damaged 10 in an air battle that lasted 43 minutes.This daring raid, made on 29 March 1944, neutralized the Islands airfields, making possible long range flights without fighter protection. A 2nd Distinguished Unit Citation was awarded for the successful strike at the Baltkapapan Oil Refineries in Borneo on 03 October 1944. The 307th had to fly their B-24 Liberator bombers 17 1/2 hours for a round trip of 2,610 miles, the longest mass daylight mission ever flown by this type aircraft
  • They hit the Japanese in the air. They shot down 355 planes, 68 probables and 51 damaged. On the ground they destroyed 170 airplanes, scores of airfields and supply dumps, oil refineries and harbor installations. On the sea they sunk 21,000 tons of shipping and damaged another 112,000 tons.
  • Shortly after V-J Day, the proud numerals of the 307th Bomb Group became just another line on the list of deactivated fighting units.
  • In November 1945, the 307th Bomb Group was deactivated, but with the Air Force's Policy of preserving the names of the top fighting units of World War II, the 307th Bomb Group was reactivated as the 307th Bombardment Wing on 4 August, 1946. Assigned to Macdill Air Force Base, Florida, and furnished with B-29 Aircraft. The 307th Bomb Wing took part in all Strategic Air Command Operations until the outbreak of the Korean War in July 1950.
  • They had a sucessful campaign in Korea, and received another Distinguished Unit Citation for their extraordinary heroism in action against an enemy of the United Nations during the period of 11 to 27 July, 1953. At this time they flew 93 sorties and dropped 860 tons of bombs on targets at the Simanju Air Field, where despite severe icing, intense enemy anti-craft fire and co-ordinated search light fighter opposition they rendered the airfield unservicable.
  • During the course of the Korean operations, the Wing mounted 6.052 sorties against enemy targets. flew 55.473 cornbat hours and dropped 51,757 tons of bombs.
  • The 307th Bomb Wing returned to the United States in 1954. The 307th Bomb Wing the last remaining B-29 Wing in the Far East returned in October 1954 to be equipped with the B-47 Stratojet bomber and reassigned to the new duty station at Lincoln Air Force Base, Nebraska

Source of "Did you know?" material contributed by the Lincoln AFB web site.

307th Bomb Group (HV) Histories:

13th Air Force, 307th Bombardment Group (Heavy)—Short History
We'll Say Goodbye Song from the Story of the "Long Rangers"
Charles Lindbergh flew with the 307BG (424th)
307th BG Articles
307th BG Logos
A Partial List of 307th BG Mission Reports & Historical Records
A Partial List of 307th BG Targets
307th BG (H) Missing Air Crew Reports
307th BG (H) Aircraft Inventory,  Aircraft Losses & Crew Losses
307th BG Stations (Bases)
The B-24 Liberator
307th BG Signed Phonograph Top from Guadalcanal
The following 307th BG historical documents are in a PDF file format. If you need Adobe Acrobat, click this link.  You will need this to open, view, and print the files. 
History of the 307th Bombardment Group (Hv) from ACTIVATION to December 1943
 Large file size 15 MB pdf
Airdromes Guide for the Southwest Pacific Area—Published December 1, 1944
(LARGE PDF FILE: 21 MB pdf file )
467601 - The AAF in Australia to the summer of 1942 (AAFHS No. 9). July 1944.
7,014 KB pdf file
467625 - Army Air Forces in the War Against Japan - 1941-1942. June 1945.
6,247 KB pdf file
History of 307th BG Plane, FRENISI. AC# 42-40323, B-24D, that flew 100 missions
(LARGE PDF FILE: 7.2 MB pdf file )
History of the 307th Bomb Group (HV) from 4-15-1942 to 12-31-1943
(LARGE PDF FILE: 15 MB pdf file )
307th BG, 371st Squadron History from April 1942 to December 1943
3.8 MB pdf file
467609 - Air Action in the Papuan Campaign - 21 July 1942 to 23 January 1943. August 1944.
6,868 KB pdf file
467685 - The AAF in the South Pacific - to October 1942. December 1944.
8,930 KB pdf file
467626 - Guadalcanal and the Origins of the Thirteenth Air Force. July 1945.
10,505 KB pdf file
467704 - The Thirteenth Air Force - March - October 1943 (AAFRH No. 20). September 1946.
13,136 KB pdf file
26 October 1942 307th Order listing Crews Assigned to Hawaiin Defense from Hamilton Field, CA. Plane numbers and crew names listed.



26 December 1942 371st BS Mission Report for Wake Island Mission
1 January 1943 Honolulu Star-Bulletin-307th Bomb Group Airmen Smash Wake!
Distinguished Unit Citation for Truk Mission-29 March 1944
(444 KB pdf file )
 DUC 440329  Truk 1944_063 abridged document
(Word Document)
DUC Balikpapan 3 Oct 1944 Original Document

 DUC Balikpapan 3 Oct 1944 abridged document
 Addendum to 3 Oct 1944 307th BG DUC Balikpapan

Lineage and Honors History 307 Operations Group (AFRC)
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