7th Reconnaissance Group

7th Reconnaissance Group

7th Reconnaissance Group (USAAF)

History - Books - Aircraft - Time Line - Commanders - Main Bases - Component Units - Assigned To

History

The 7th Reconnaissance Group (USAAF) was allocated to the Eighth Air Force and operated from bases in England from the summer of 1943 to the end of the Second World War.

The group was formed in the United States in the spring of 1943 with three squadrons, but in July 1943 the group transferred to England without personnel, equipment or with the initial three squadrons. The group was given new squadrons once in England, and operated a mix of Spitfires and L-5 Lightnings.

The group carried out reconnaissance in support of the bombing campaign, photographic mapping both for bomber and for ground units, monitored German units and even carried out some meteorological work.

In the period before the D-Day landings the group was used to survey airfields, industries and ports. During June 1944 it was used to cover German transport links including bridges, canals, roads, railways and key marshalling yards, and was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation for its performance between 31 May and 30 June.

In July 1944 the group was used to search for German missile sites. In August it provided mapping services for the Allied armies as they advanced across France. In September it was used to support Operation Market Garden. Between December 1944 and January it took part in the Battle of the Bulge.

During 1945 the group supported the crossing of the Rhine and the advance into Germany, and was given a number of P-51 Mustangs so it could escort its own reconnaissance aircraft. After the war the group took part in the analysis of the damage inflicted by the bombing campaign before being inactivated on 21 November 1945.

Books

Pending

Aircraft

Lockheed F-5 Lightning;
Supermarine Spitfire
North American P-51 Mustang

Timeline

5 Feb 1943Constituted as 7th Photographic Group
1 May 1943Activated
May 1943Redesignated 7th Photographic Reconnaissance and Mapping Group
July 1943To England and Eighth Air Force
Nov 1943Redesignated 7th Photographic Group (Reconnaissance)
June 1945Redesignated 7th Reconnaissance Group
21 Nov 1945Inactivated
6 Mar 1947Disbanded

Commanders (with date of appointment)

Col James G Hall: 7 Jul1943
Col Homer L Saunders: Sep 1943
Col Paul T Cullen: 1 Jan 1944
Lt ColGeorge A Lawson: 17 Feb 1944
Lt ColNorris E Hartwell: 7 May 1944
Lt ColClarence A Shoop: 9 Aug 1944
Col George W Humbrecht: Oct 1944
Maj Hubert MChildress: 18 Jun 1945-unkn

Main Bases

Peterson Field, Colo: 1 May-7 Jul 1943
Mount Farm, England: 7 Jul1943
Chalgrove, England: Mar 1945
Hitcham, England: Oct-21 Nov 1945

Component Units

13th Reconnaissance Squadron: 1943-1945
14th Reconnaissance Squadron: 1943-1945
22nd Reconnaissance Squadron: 1943-1945
27th Reconnaissance Squadron: 1943-1945
28th Reconnaissance Squadron: 1943
29th Reconnaissance Squadron: 1943
30th Reconnaissance Squadron: 1943

Assigned To

1944-1945: 325th Reconnaissance Wing; Eighth Air Force


7th Photo Reconnaissance Group

Erected 1984 by the 7th Photo Recon Group Association.

Location. 39° 0.979′ N, 104° 51.31′ W. Marker is in United States Air Force Academy, Colorado, in El Paso County. Marker is in the United States Air Force Academy Cemetery, on Parade Loop west of Stadium Boulevard, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: USAF Academy CO 80840, United States of America. Touch for directions.

Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. 379 th Bomb Group (H) (here, next to this marker) World War II Glider Pilots (here, next to this marker) 306 th Bombardment Group (H) (here, next to this marker)

95 th Bomb Group H (here, next to this marker) 492nd Bomb Group (H) & 801st Bomb Group (P) (here, next to this marker) 416th Bombardment Group (L) (here, next to this marker) 20th Fighter Group (here, next to this marker) 344 th Bomb Group (M) AAF (here, next to this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in United States Air Force Academy.

More about this marker. Must have a valid ID to enter the USAF Academy grounds.

Also see . . .
1. 7th Reconnaissance Group. (Submitted on February 18, 2021, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. 7th Reconnaissance Group. (Submitted on February 18, 2021, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
3. Witness to War: Marshall Williams, 14th Photo Recon Sqdn, 7th Photo Recon Group Interview. (Submitted on February 18, 2021, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
4. 7th Photographic Reconnaissance Group. (Submitted on February 18, 2021, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)


7th Reconnaissance Group - History

2nd Military Intelligence Battalion
(Aerial Exploitation)
66th Military Intelligence Group

Looking for more information from military/civilian personnel assigned to or associated with the U.S. Army in Germany from 1945 to 1989. If you have any stories or thoughts on the subject, please contact me

Let me give you a little of my own background and what I know of the 7877 AU and then later I'll dig through my piles of old photos and see what I can find for you.

Our mission was to print and interpret aerial photographs from negatives supplied us by the Air Force. We maintained a file of basic coverage, which consisted of negatives of every square mile of West Germany (and, just between you and me, parts of East Germany), all overlapped 30% in both directions and all shot at 10,000 ft (MSL I always assumed, but upon reflection, that might be a little low in parts of Southern Germany) and all carefully cataloged and identified. The film was on long rolls and we made either 10" x 10" or 10" x 20" contact prints of them. Almost all the work of the company was done in 42' vans pulled by two and a half ton semi tractors.

I was a member of the 7th Army Air Reconnaisance Co (SAARSCO) from Feb 1957 to Sep. 1959 and again from May 1962 to April 1966. I found the article (e-mail) written by Ben Young and it brought back many emories.

I enjoyed reading your website stories on the history of the unit from it's inception thought it's growth. Like I said, it brought back many memories. I have a scrap book, movies and pictures of my first tour and I was probably in the same 2-1/2-ton truck that you ran a picture of (No.1) with Clyde Ninomiya hanging out the back as we were in the same platoon and bunked in the same room at Kapaun Barracks.

I remember Major Ross Calvert and LTC Herman Ruff along with LTC Clarence G. Simon and LTC Rocky Barbuto, all of who were the CO's during my two tours.

Like yourself, I was a Photo Lab Technician and worked in the Repro Section out of one of the vans in "The Plant."

After my first tour with SAARSCO, I spent a tour of duty with the Photographic Facility at Fort Devens, MA, before returning to Kaiserslauten and what was now designated the 2d MI Bn (ARS) . By now I was a SP5 and with my previous photo lab experience at SAARSCO fit right in and was in charge of one of the repro sections.

I remained in that position for the first two years and in 1964, due to a shortage of image intereperters, was asked to help out in the library section of the unit where I became familiar with reading, screening, plotting and interpretation of aerial photographs.

In 1964, the battalion's security and intelligence analyst NCO passed away and once again I was asked to relinquish my duties with the Library section and take over the duties of the deceased security/intelligence analyst. I attended the Combat Intelligence NCO Course at the U.S. Army School Europe and upon returning to my unit I was assigned as the Intelligence Analyst (S-2 sergeant) of the battalion and promoted to Staff Sergeant, (E-6) and awarded the intelligence analyst MOS of 96B40.

That about ends my career with SAARSCO and the 2d MI BN (ARS).

I retired from the army in 1979 as a CW3 Order of Battle Technician) after 22 years of service that included two tours of duty in Vietnam, and tours with the USAINTS at Fort Holabird, MD., 3d MI Detachment (3d Infantry) in Wurzberg Germany), the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff (Washington, D.C.), Bootstrapped at the University of Nebraska (Omaha, Neb) and finished up helping writing the MI Warrant Officer Advance Course at USAINTS (Fort Huachuca, AZ).

If you have any information on former members of SAARSC/2d MIBARS from early 1957 - 1966 I definately would like to get in touch with them. I am already in touch with Paul Wells and Benjamin Perez (who was my best man at my wedding) which took place at Kapaun Barraks in Oct. 1960. I married the daughter of SP Roger Wilcox (deceased) who also was assigned to SAARSCO.

by Henry B. Kraft, Staff Writer

A Chinese sage once said that "one picture is worth ten thousand words." To the 7th Army, one picture interpreted by its Air Recon Co. stationed at Kaiserslautern, Germany, may be worth thousands of American lives.

For a photograph taken from the air may reveal a vital enemy position, a camouflaged supply depot or a plant which makes equipment vital to an enemy.

The Kaiserslautern unit has the responsibility of supplying the 7th Army with aerial information. The outfit is commanded by Maj. Ross H. Calvert, Jr. Its 150 technicians must reproduce, interpret and distribute all Air Force aerial photographs for tactical use by units of the 7th Army.

Air photo missions are flown by 12th Air Force reconnaissance planes. However, Army ground liaison officer teams (GLO), which are assigned with the Air Force, receive the developed negatives and rush them to Calvert's outfit.

In actual combat, the GLO would stand by while the films were being developed, prepared to scan the wet negatives and then speedily relay the "hot target" information to Army G2.

When the 7th Army Recon Co. receives the negatives, personnel examine them in mobile vans. Then they are printed and plotted to pinpoint the area covered and finally interpreted by the specialists to whom photographs are an open book.

"A good photograph," said Sp3 Roger L. Marohn, "will show about everything but the inside of a building. We get so much information from them that it doesn't seem legal."

Photo interpretation teams must be so highly trained that - to quote Sp2 Hoke S. Garrett - "we can generally decide the weight capacity of a bridge just by looking at a picture of it."

The teams study the aerial photographs for tactcial targets, troop movements and vehicle convoys, enemy emplacements, camouflaged positions and layout of the terrain. And they also consider strategic targets such as ports and industrial concentrations. A faint shadow, a dim line, may contain a clue to vital intelligence information.

A foxhole looks pretty small when a picture of it is taken from a plane two miles up. Yet troop concentrations can be determined just by counting foxholes in a picture. A pinpoint automatic counter is used for this purpose. Almost no enemy secret is safe from the photo technicians once they focus their attention upon a good photograph.

The company goes into the field whenever the 7th Army does. It is completely mobile. Whether on alert or maneuvers the darkrooms and photo interpretation vans roll quickly out of their permanent base at Kaiserslautern, taking with them all smaller vehicles and equipment essential to independent operation.

Calvert, describing the functions of his organization, said:

Most people read books, but MSgt Harry W. Griffin reads pictures. And they tell him quite a story.

A member of the 7th Army Air Reconnaissance Co. stationed here (Kaiserslautern), Griffin studies pictures as part of his job of interpreting aerial photos. The other part of his job is training others to read the messages that aerial photos have to tell.

Griffin has spent most of his time in the service poring over photographs, analyzing them and making reports on what information they have to tell him.

During the early days of World War II Griffin was assigned to the photo-interpreting unit at Camp Ritchie, Md. That was when the Army was learning how photographs of enemy-held territory could save American lives if some one could interpret them.

The World War II Army Air Corps could and did take pictures of enemy-held areas. But it was up to some one like Griffin to study them, to find the location of enemy positions, weapons, troops, and enemy transportation and communication facilities.

Other Duties
Now busy studying photos here, Griffin devotes most of his time to training a new crop of photo interpreters as he passes along the skills he accumulated during World War II and Korea.

Skill as a photo interpreter doesn't come easily, Griffin's pupils point out. Senior noncommissioned officers in this relatively new field have to start their trainees from scratch.

They need a basic education in photography, but that's only a beginning. They need to know conventional military signs and symbols, and they need to be able to recognize enemy equipment and formations from a photograph.

Experience, Judgement
Experenced judgement plus special tools of the trade allow these photo interpreters to make a close calculation on the weight capacity of a bridge and what it would take to blow it up.

From stacks of photographs taken from the cameras of speedy Air Force planes the interpreter in his mobile van makes a map overlay, piecing together photographs until he has a complete picture of the area under study.

He examines the photographs almost microscopically for every scrap of information, and then prepres a clear report for his superiors on what he saw and where it was.

The results of the photo interpretations performed by the company serve as a vital source of intelligence for the 7th Army -- the (peacetime) mission of the unit includes route reconnaissance, survey of maneuver and bivouac areas, investigation of bridges and their approaches, and surveys of possible river crossing sites.

Ground liaison officers are assigned to the Air Force recon squadrons. When they receive a survey mission from an Army tactical unit (such as a division or corps) they brief the pilots who will make the flight. (The briefing will include information on the target area and what the Army unit is looking for.) The AF recon plane then takes vertical and oblique shots of the target area during its fly over. Upon its return to the air base, the film is developed and the pilot de-briefed by the ground liaison officer. Once developed, the film is turned over to the photo interpretation teams of the 7th Army Air Recon Co.

Depending on the level of urgency, the film can be placed on a light table for direct interpretation or prints can be made for study under stereoscopes. The stereoscope provides a 3-D effect and makes the terrain stand out in relief. The Reproduction Section of the company can develop and print as many copies as the Army unit needs.

The company generates immediate reports that are primarily based on the intelligence collected during the de-briefing performed by the ground liaison officers. The reports are sent over a special radio net called the "Reccy-Glo" net.

Besides receiving much of their training "on the job," most of the photo interpreters are graduates of the Photo Interpretation Division, US Army Intelligence School (Fort Holabird, Md.) or of the USAREUR Intelligence School in Oberammergau.

Welcome to the Seventh United States Army Air Reconnaissance Support Company. During your brief visit we will introduce and present a brief orientation on US Army Signal equipment which is designed to reproduce in quality and quantity, the aerial photos required by Seventh Army units.

The semi-trailer van, ES-22 , with organic equipment is being manufactured in limited quantity and at present only two (2) are in this theatre, both in this organization. The ES-22 compares most favorable with existing equipment and has a capability which will far exceed any like equipment in the theatre.

The Fort Monmouth Instructor Team, composed of seven (7) enlisted men, all specialized, will introduce and explain the operation of this equipment. Should any of you have any questions you are encouraged to direct them to the instructor concerned.

DESCRIPTION OF EQUIPMENT

Photographic Laboratory, Semi-trailer Mounted ES-22 is a complete unit containing the necessary facilities for rapidly processing prints from previously developed 9½" aerial film at the rate of approximately 8,000 9" x 18" or 9" x 9" contact prints per eight hour day. It is designed for field use under all climatic conditions from -68 degrees to 125 degrees fahrenheit. It may be transported by truck, plane, or ship.

The laboratory is divided into three compartments separated by light-tight doors. The forward compartment (utility room) is used for storage of heaters, air conditioners, water storage, etc. The center compartment has the necessary equipment for viewing negatives, cutting and sorting the finished prints. The rear compartment contains necessary equipment for the printing and processing of prints.

The major components of the ES-22 are:
a. Semi-trailer, Van V-79/G, 10 ton.
b. 30 KW Diesel Power Generator on trailer, 1½ ton.
c. Processing Machine, Photographic Paper, EH-26.
d. Printer, Photographic, Contact, USAF Type, D1

Photo #1 -- Semi-trailer, Van V-79/G, 10 ton w/generator
Recommended crew:
1 Crew Chief
2 Operators
1 Assistant Operator
1 Maintenance Man
1 Generator Operator
(2 of the above are drivers)

Photo #2 -- Printer, Photographic, Contact USAF Type D1-A
The printer, photographic, contact USAF type D1-A is a semi-portable, continuous-multiple operation unit for the production of 9" x 9" or 9" x 18" prints on bromide printing paper. From processed roll film 9½" x 500 ft. The number of prints per cycle is one (1) to twenty-five (25) and this can be adjustable for any number prints desired per negative, Film and paper travel from left to right and paper frame or photo is adjustable in inches from 8" to 20" lengths. Paper width is 9½" and 9".

Printer is equipped with printer counter assembly and can be reset for counting purposes. Four consecutive negatives can be readied for printing prior to "Printing" of first negative by "Setting up" on the dodging control panel. Approximate operating weight of machine is 650 lbs. Printer is used on 115 volt, 60 cycle, single phase and alternating current. Printer is manufactured by Morse Instrument Company, Hudson, Ohio

Photo #3 -- Continuous Contact Printer, Type C1-B
The type C1-B continuous contact printer is designed to print 70mm to 9½" wide aerial photographic negatives on to positive paper or film by means of the photographic process. This printer is designed to print good quality aerial photographs, for photo interpretation and for examining the quality of prints produced by the negatives on a roll of aerial film. Photographic printing process is briefly a method of exposing a postive print from a photographic negative. In this contact printer, the negative is held directly against the postive paper by a continuous method. That is the negative or the postive do not start and stop during the process printing. They are rolled together, causing a continuous print. The printer is composed of the following major components:
a. Case cover and table.
b. Side shelf and drawer.
c. Shelf support.
d. Cine cord.
e. Film adaqters.
f. Paper flanges.
g. Printer and case base.

The complete unit packed weights approximately 140 lbs. The printer can print 390 ft of aerial negative, and 500 ft spool of positive paper. The printer is operated on 110 volt alternating current-semi-portable and manufactured by Consolidated Photo Engraverz and Lithographers Equipment Company, Inc., Chicago, Illinois.

Photo #4 -- Processor (EH-26)
The paper processing machine was designed in accordance with the stabilization process. In addition, this equipment is capable of utilizing the Navy rapid developer #25 and the Navy rapid stabilizer #2 which are modifications of formula used in the Eastman Kodak Company stabilization process.

The paper processing machine was designed to process rapidly and continuously 9½" or 9" water resistant paper in rolls up to 1000 ft, at speeds ranging from 5 to 50 ft per minute. The operating speed is determined by the processing chemistry involved. The speed at which the processor machine is run using the Signal Corps stabilization process, is 22 ft per minute. At this speed, each print is allowed to stay in each tank 8 seconds. The processing machine is composed of four (4) tanks, each containing 6 gallons. It has a paper transport system, electrically heated drying drum, pumps for filling the tanks and to circulate the solutions. There are three (3) flow-meters which govern the flow of solutions from the replenisher in gallons per hours. There are master flow valves which govern flow and counter-flow between the tanks. The machine has a tachometer which governs the speed of the paper which moves from the supply spool, into each tank and is taken up on the paper takeup spool. The replenishment rate of each tank is 18 gallons per hour for the Developer, 18 gallons per hour for the Short Stop, and 24 gallons per hour for the stabilizer. The reason for the difference in replenishment of the stabilizer and the other tanks is that one flow-meter governs both the stabilizer tanks in the processor. For cleaning this equipment, each processor tank is easily removed with self seating gromets. The rate of replenishment is 18 gallons per hour of Developer, 18 gallons per hour of Short Stop, 24 gallons per hour of Stabilization for a total of 60 gallons per hour of chem mix resulting in a 8 hour requirement of 480 gallons of chem mix at 22 feet per minute. The processor processes 1320 ft per hour, an 10,560 ft per 8 hour period.

Photo #5 -- Replenisher (EH-26)
The replenisher tanks are used to store and mix the chemicals used in the Stabilization Process. Each tank holds 50 gallons, and each-tank is equipped with a heavy duty mixer with measurements on the shafts. Each notch measures 10 gallons. In the Developer tank, Short Stop and Stabilizer tanks, there are submergion type heaters which are thermostatically controlled. The reason there is no heater in the fourth tank is that this tank is used to accurately measure the water to be used in the other three tanks. In the fourth tank on the back right, there are permanently welded notches which measure 90 gallons each. Attached to this fourth tank is an Echo pump to transfer the water to the other three tanks. At the bottom of each tank, there are two (2) valves. The larger of the two (2) valves is used to drain each tank. Also on the first, second and third tank, there is a smaller valve which is used to transfer the solutions to the Processor thru three (3) Neoprene tubes which run between the Replenisher and the processor. These solutions are pulled over by means of pumps located in the processor. There are four (4) indicators located on the wall behind the replenisher which allow the operator to know the temperature of the solutions in each of the replenisher tanks. Temperature must be maintained at 100 degrees fahrenheit for best results with chemicals.

Photo #6 -- Photographic Paper Chopper, Model # 2, Vectron
The photographic paper chopper, model # 2 serves to out off the individual photographic prints from a continuous strip roll of processed phatographic paper material 9½" wide x 1000 ft in length. (This is fed through the chopper.) The chopper is an integral component of the automatic processing machine, rapid, continuous and electro-mechanical, and a semi-automatic, self contained and manually controlled which serves to chop off prints from 9½" to 18½" in length. It is suited for use on 115 volts (+ or - 10 volts) single phase 60 or 50 cycles, alternating current. The components of the model # 2 chopper are:
a. Chopper assembly.
b. Control panel.
c. Electronic chassis.
d. Photo-electric unit.
e. Motor and gear head (ratiomotor) drive

The photographic paper chopper, model # 2, is manufactured by Vectron of Massachusetts.

Photo #7 -- Utility Room
The utility room houses a 50 gallon hot water tank, 100 gallon cold water tank and other miscellaneous items.

I saw the information from Jim Plante (below) and thought I would add what I could to the story.

I arrived at the 8th MI Detachment of 2nd MI Battalion at the end of Jul 1968 from Vietnam. We were attached to the 8th Infantry Division (Airborne) at Rose Barracks in Bad Kreuznach, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany.

The Commanding Officer when I arrived was Lt Jack J. Frezzolini. Later that year he was transferred to the 66th MI Group in München, Bayern, Germany. If my memory serves me, he was replaced by Captain John H. Black.

Other names I recall are: SFC Vincent Antelmi, SP5 James Beard, SFC Theodor Beck, SSG Robert Beisswanger, SSG Alvin Coombs, 2LT Robert Daniel, 1LT Robert DiJulio, 1LT William Fisher, 1LT Harry Gowens, Dennis Harline, SP5 Melvin Holt, SP5 Gary Nolan, SFC Henry Otten, SSG Edmond Roberge, 1LT Marvin Roberts, SP5 Jacob Sussle, MSG Pedro Torres, 1LT Tony Vella, and SFC Alvin Winslow.

In Feb 1969 I was re-assigned to Detachment D of the 2nd MI Battalion in Upper Heyford England with LTC Norman R. House as Commanding Officer. I recall SP4 Jim Plante and 2LT Larry White. Some of the other names I recall from my time at Upper Heyford are: SSG Ashby, SFC Robert Bergstrom, SP4 Billareal, SP4 Boucha, SP5 John Doriety, SP4 Ray Kenyon, SFC John Lawson, SP4 Earl Rivard, SFC Alexander Salsgiver, SP5 William Smart, and MAJ John Ullrich.

I remember the 17th TRS having RF4 Phantoms before I left in October 1969. I found a reference that bears this out (http://www.raf-upper-heyford.org/17th_TRS.html).

I also remember seeing the BOAC Concorde SST at the June 1969 NATO Airshow at Upper Heyford.

Around 29 July, 1969 I arrived at HHC 2nd MI Bn (ARS) Kaiserslautern commanded by Maj. Crider, Terence and later by July, 1971, by LTC Galli. I am nearly certain the location was at the Kapaun Barracks, Bldg #2772 is on a set of orders to report to. The HHC 2nd Mi Bn was under control of the 66th MI Group.

From there I was sent to Det D 2nd MI BN (ARS) , RAF Upper Heyford, England 31 July 1969 commanded by 2nd Lt White, Larry D. On my orders there is another 2nd Mi Bn Det C at RAF Alconbury, England. We also wore the 7th Army shoulder patch. Shortly after being assigned to the 2nd MI the new subdued patch was issued for the work uniform (black and OD, while full color remained worn on class A&rsquos)

At Det D we worked with the USAF 17th TAC RECON SQ flying the VooDoo 101&rsquos. I remained at RAF Upper Heyford, England with Det D 2nd Mi Bn (ARS) until 19 December 1969 just short of 6 months. At that time the whole unit &ldquoDET D&rdquo was moved along with the USAF 17th TAC RECON SQ to Zweibucken AFB, Germany. The base was located right on the old Siegfried Line. There are blown up bunkers in farm fields all around the base. Shortly after the move we got a new commander Maj. Crider, Terence

We were some of the first units to re-occupy the Zweibrucken AB after the Canadians vacated it. The base was a mess and in dire need of numerous repairs. Shortly after the move to Germany the USAF 17th TAC Recon SQ replaced there aircraft with Phantom F4C&rsquos. By the end of Dec Maj. Korf, Calvin became CO of DET D.

There was also a Det B 2nd MI Bn but I am not sure of its location. It seems to me it was at Wiesbaden, Germany. The 2nd MI had something at Sembach also.

I remained with DET D 2nd MI BN in Zweibrucken, Germany for just short of 2 years. It was a very interesting unit to be part of and hard to leave. Those that were familiar with the AB -- our barrack&rsquos location was the last set of buildings closest to the Water tower right of the old gate entering to the Base, the chapels on the other end long the fence line.

When I arrived at the Zweibrucken AB, no concrete aircraft revetments were on the AB. By time I rotated out to go back to the states construction was at full swing, several were done and in use.

The USAF along with our Detachment went on alert once every month and a half sometimes more often depending on NATO maneuvers or Soviet movement along the East, West German border.

At full strength the Detachments were only at about 40 men, no women during this time period. DET D primarily did image interpretation, we had our own photo lab run by SSGT Ashby and SP4 Johnson. We sent all info gathered from the photo&rsquos to HHC 2nd MI BN by decoding machine ( can not remember its nomenclature ) and from there it was transferred to the 66 MI Group. On all our vehicles the bumpers were marked 7A2MI with the number of the jeep or truck beginning with D for detachment D4, D5, D7 etc.

It was sad to hear Zweibrucken AB closed on 22 July 1993 followed by Kreuzberg Kaserne 16 Sep 1993 on the other side of the City of Zweibrucken. Many great memories of places where the 2nd MI took me.

To add to Jim Plante&rsquos email (above), the B Detachment was stationed at Ramstein AB.

Our TIFFs were clustered on the flight line and photo missions were flown by Air Force RF4Cs.

I was assigned there after a 12 month tour with the II Section, 55th MI Detachment supporting 1st Field Force in Nha Trang, Vietnam.

I have found a couple of pictures from the planes used by 2nd MI, they are old but viewable. You may post to include some additional pictures in the information provided of 2nd MIBARS. These pictures are circa 1981.

I was assigned to the 2d MI Bn (Aerial Exploitation) from 1978-1982. The unit was basically a Corps-level unit that was operating as an Echelons Above Corps (EAC) role as it was the only unit in USAREUR with aerial exploitation assets. The 2d MI was assigned to the 66th MI Group (Intelligence & Security) (Provisional) , an INSCOM unit. To further complicate things, we wore the 7th Army left shoulder patch, which the rest of the 66th wore the INSCOM patch. And, in the event of war, we chopped to CENTAG. A nice, clean chain of command&hellip

It appears that the 2d MI could trace its lineage back to the Seventh Army Reconnaissance Support Company that was originally stationed at Kapaun Barracks in Kaiserslautern. When Kapaun Barracks was transferred to the Air Force during Operation Creek Swap in the mid 1970&rsquos, I believe the unit was temporarily moved to the Muenchweiler Army Hospital, just east of Pirmasens. (There was probably some violation of the Geneva Convention to have an MI unit in a hospital, which I think wasn&rsquot active but a contingency hospital, but I don&rsquot know the particulars of that&hellip) Somewhere along the way the battalion was re-designated to be the 2 nd MI Bn (Aerial Reconnaissance and Surveillance) or 2nd MIBARS. In 1976 or 1977 towards the end of my first tour in Germany, I interviewed with then-LTC Ted Cummings, the Battalion Commander, regarding branch transferring from ADA to MI. We met in the BN HQ at Muenchweiler.

In the spring of 1978 2d MI had an HHC, and three companies. The Battalion HQ and HHC had moved from Muenchweiler to Husterhoeh Kaserne in Pirmasens and was located in Building 4607 (I think) on the east side of the kaserne. The three companies were the 73rd Combat Intelligence Company (Aerial Surveillance), the 330th Electronic Warfare Aviation Company (Forward) and the Combat Intelligence Company (Imagery Interpretation).

The 73rd Combat Intelligence Company (Aerial Surveillance) was located at Stuttgart Army Airfield and shared runways with the Stuttgart civilian airport. They flew two variants of the Mohawk, the OV-1D and RV-1D. The OV-1D was equipped with various aerial camera systems taking both panchromatic and infra-red imagery. Additionally, it had the APPS-94 Side-Looking Airborne Radar (SLAR) system. The RV-1D was an Electronic Intelligence (ELINT) collector. Both the OV-1D and RV-1D flew Peacetime Aerial Reconnaissance Program (PARPRO) missions on the East German and Czech borders. The OV-1D missions were called &ldquoLard Can&rdquo and the RV-1D&rsquos missions were called &ldquoCarrot Rock&rdquo (I think). The 73d was commanded by a Major and had at about 300 soldiers assigned to it. It was a challenging command, flying time-sensitive PARPRO missions, exercise support for things like REFORGER, and providing aerial surveillance for a theater versus a single Corps AO.

The 330th Electronic Warfare Aviation Company (Forward) was located in multiple sites, which made command and control for the Company Commander a real challenge. The flight line was at Ramstein Air Base on the south side of the runway. The barracks for the 330th were at Kleber Kaserne in Kaiserslautern. Finally, the Integrated Processing Facility (IPF), where the data from the company&rsquos aircraft was downlinked for processing and analysis, was located at Gruenstadt , overlooking the Rhine Valley in an old Matador SSM site. The 330th&rsquos commander spent a lot of time on the autobahn between Ramstein, Kaiserslautern and Gruenstadt&hellip When I first arrived the 330th was flying RU-21 GUARDRAIL IIA aircraft (I think). Like the 73rd the 330 th flew a theater-level mission. Data from the aircraft was downlinked directly or via a second RU-21 to the IPF, where it was analyzed and distributed via terrestrial communications or uplinked back to the RU-21 for downlinks to Tactical Commanders&rsquo Terminal (TCT) that were located with MI units in both V and VII Corps, as well with British forces in Northern Germany. This allowed the 330th to provide almost real-time COMINT data to supported units. The 330th was a large unit, also commanded by a Major.

In 1978 we upgraded aircraft and sensors in both the 330th and the 73rd. The 330th went to GUARDRAIL V, which was a significantly improved airframe and collection capability. The 73rd received the OV-1D and RV-1D Mohawks with the APPS-94F SLAR and improved ELINT capability for the RV-1D. (The RV-1D was the only ELINT collector in theater that could collect and geolocate the GUN DISH radar in the Russian&rsquos ZSU-23 AAA system &ndash knowledge the Corps&rsquo aviation units were very happy to have&hellip) When the upgrade was complete, a combined PARPRO mission was flown on the East German border. The Russian response to these new sensors was &ldquointeresting&rdquo to say the least. We located lots of new Warsaw Pact elements who responded to these new sensors&hellip

The CBTI Co (II) was basically the old 2d MIBARS. There were four platoons and a company headquarters. (At one time the unit had a Delivery Platoon of U-21 aircraft for aerial delivery of photo reconnaissance products, but it stood down in 1979-80.) Two of the platoons and the company HQ were located at Zweibruecken Air Base with the USAFE 26th TRW and its two squadrons, the 38th TRS and the 17th TRS. (The 17th stood down in the late 1970&rsquos). Another platoon was co-located with USAFE&rsquos 497th Reconnaissance Technical Group at Schierstein (near Wiesbaden), also known as the European Special Activity Facility (ESAF) where they supported CREEK MISTY missions flying the Berlin Corridors, as well as national imagery exploitation. The final platoon was located at RAF Alconbury, UK and supported the 10th Reconnaissance Wing.

Command and control for the CBTI Co (II) was a real challenge as the Platoon Commander (not Platoon Leader &ndash Platoon Commander with UCMJ authority&hellip) at ESAF was not rated by either the Company Commander or 2d MI Bn Commander. He was rated by the ESAF Commander (USAF 0-6) and senior rated by either the 66th MI Gp Commander or the USAREUR DCSINT. Lots of challenges there&hellip The Platoon Commander at RAF Alconbury was rated by the CBTI Co (II) Commander, but due to the geographic separation from the rest of the company, he had UCMJ authority as well. I commanded the CBTI Co (II) from June of 1981 until October, 1982.

This was a period when tactical reconnaissance was robust in USAFE. Zweibruecken AB was experimenting with data-linked side-looking airborne radar (SLAR), allowing for real-time exploitation of data in support of NATO forces using a variety of soft-copy systems such as Goodyear&rsquos ABLE and Texas Instrument&rsquos TIPI/MAGIIC/MAGIS. Reconnaissance Exploitation Reports (RECCEXREPs) could be generated much faster and push out to supported units.

2d MI also ran a unique intelligence support system for CENTAG and NORTHAG called the Tactical Aerial Reconnaissance Results Reporting System (TARRRS). TARRRS was activated for major exercises and consisted of landline links between different NATO recce elements and 2d MI HQ. A high-frequency radio-teletype (HF RATT) was the backup capability, but this was very slow and not too reliable. For exercises such as REFORGER, WINTEX, ABLE ARCHER and others, German, Belgium and occasionally French communications elements would converge at Husterhoeh Kaserne. RECCEXREPS from Zweibrucken, Alconbury, Stuttgart, and other NATO elements such as the French base near Strasbourg, would come in to 2d MI and then be pushed out to supporting units such as HQ CENTAG, V Corps, VII Corps, etc. As an example, a 38th TRS RECCEXREP supporting a German Corps could come from Zweibrucken to Pirmasens to the TARRRS Comm Center where it was routed to the German comms element deployed to Husterhoeh and then pushed to the German Corps. The TARRRS was an excellent example of multi-national use of intelligence assets. Even the French would occasionally participate in the TARRRS.

By 1982 there was a push to provide both V and VII Corps with their own Aerial Exploitation capability. Additional Mohawk and GUARDRAIL assets were deployed in theater, and the 1st MI Bn (AE) was activated. (For details on this see the USAREUR Historian Web Page&hellip) The CBTI Co (II) didn&rsquot fit into the aerial exploitation TOE, so a decision was made to move it under the 502d MI Bn and 66 th MI Group. Each of the 4 platoon received new, separate numerical designations (the 581st, 582nd, 583rd and 584th MI Detachments) and reported directly to the 502nd, which had previously been a pure SIGINT unit.

During the 1978-82 period the 2d MI Bn (AE) performed in a mission that it was not originally envisioned for, but did it in an amazing manner. It fielded state-of-the-art aerial reconnaissance and surveillance systems in the 73rd and 330th with minimal assistance from HQ USAREUR and the 66th MI. The 73rd and 330th continually flew PARPRO missions from the North Sea to the southeastern corner of Germany. The CBTI Co (II) fielded the Army&rsquos first Mobile Army Ground Imagery Interpretation Center (MAGIIC). It flew Delivery Platoon Missions throughout Germany, the UK, Berlin, Italy and Spain. Finally, the 330th played a key role in the search for and release of then-BG Dozier when he was kidnapped in Italy by the Red Brigade. This was a huge battalion, somewhere in the neighborhood of 800-1000 soldiers scattered throughout Germany and the UK. It had superb leadership in LTC Gary Moore and his successor, LTC Jim Kollar. One General Officer and a disproportionate number of Colonels served as Captains and Majors in this Battalion. It truly was an outstanding unit that performed some very difficult missions in the height of the Cold War.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Let me add a little info to follow on Jim Plante's email (above) on 2nd MI Battalion.

In 1978-82, Company structure was as follows:

Platoon A - Located with the USAF 497th Reconnaissance Technical Group (RTG) at Schierstein Compound in Wiesbaden. They did imagery exploitation of theater-level platforms such as CREEK MISTY and "National Systems."

Platoon B - Located at Zweibrücken Air Base with the 38th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, 26th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing. The 38th flew the RF-4 with photo, IR and side-looking airborne radar (SLAR). The RF-4 also had an ELINT package called TEREC (tactical electronic reconnaissance), but we didn't work that product.

Platoon C - Located at RAF Alconbury with the 10th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing (I think). Their RF-4s had photo and IR systems, but no SLAR.

Platoon D - Also located at Zweibrücken Air Base with the 17th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron. Their RF-4s had photo and IR systems, but no SLAR. When the 17th TRS de-activated, we combined the Platoons B & D to work the 38th's mission.

Total for all of these folks was about 200 soldiers. As you can imagine, command and control was a challenge, to put it mildly even if the Platoon A Commander didn't work for me. Because of geographical separation we designated both Platoon A and Platoon C as commanders, to allow for them to handle UCMJ issues, etc.

This was how the unit was structured until right when I turned over command to CPT Marilyn Crawford in October 1982. The Company then split into 3 separate Detachments, with the 581st MI Detachment (Image Interpretation) remaining at Zweibrücken Air Base, the 582nd at Schierstein, and the 583rd at RAF Alconbury. The Detachments fell under the 502d MI Battalion at Augsburg, which kept them in the 66th MI Group chain of command while the remainder of the 2d MI BN (AE) moved under VII Corps.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION #2
2d MI BN (ARS) had been in K-town at Kapaun Barracks.

As part of Operation Creek Swap (HQ USAFE moving from Wiesbaden to Ramstein and taking over K-town in the mid-1970's) the AF picked up Kapaun Barracks. So 2d MI BN (ARS) moved to USAH Muenchweiler.

Sometime before January 1978 2d MI moved to Husterhoeh. I showed up in early 1978 at the Battalion HQ was in 4607.

The battalion had added the 73rd CBTI CO (AS) and 330th EW AVN CO (FWD) by then and was called 2d MI BN (AE) .


7th Reconnaissance Group - History

THE SEVENTH BOMBARDMENT GROUP (H) AAF, Tenth Air Force, has the distinction of participating in two World Wars and at one time having nineteen present day Generals as members of their organization.

The Group was originally activated at Park Field, Tenn., on Oct. 1, 1919, as the 1st Army Observation Group, while two present squadrons of the Group participated in World War I.

The 9th Bombardment Squadron (H) came into being provisionally on May 31, 1917, at Kelly Field, Texas, and was known at that time as the 9th Aero Observation Squadron. They arrived overseas in November of 1917 and had the duties of night flying and reconnaissance. They took part in three major battles Battle of Lorraine, Battle of St. Mihiel, and the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. The present day insignia of the 7th Bombardment Group have those battles represented by three German Crosses. The 438th Bombardment Squadron also took part in World War I, and were known at that time as the 88th Reconnaissance Squadron. Their duties consisted mainly of reconnaissance flying.

The Group itself, activated in 1919, was placed on the Air Corps inactive list in September 1921. Though one squadron of the Group, the llth, distinguished itself in 1919 when they took part in the history-making bombing of three Navy battleships under the supervision of Brig. Gen. Billy Mitchell, who had a major part in the foundation of today's U.S. Air Force.

Placed on active duty in June, 1928, they moved to Rockwell Field, California. During the years 1928 to 1939 they were engaged mainly in the training of air cadets, making flights of mercy, dropping food and medical aid to persons marooned or lost, and taking part in many flying reviews for high ranking visitors. During that time they had many Group Commanders, among those Lt. Gen. Carl Spaatz, Lt. Gen. Ira C. Eaker, Lt. Gen. Lewis H. Brereton, Maj. Gen. Ralph Royce and a host of others.

In 1939, the Group as a whole, flying from their new location, Hamilton Field, California, made a mock bombing raid on the Boeing Aircraft's plant in Seattle, Washington, using the new four-engine bomber, B-17C, which later reached fame as the Flying Fortress. The Group at that time was a member of the newly organized GHQ, Army Air Force. During the remainder of 1939 and 1940 they continued their program of training and were the nation's main air defense for the Northwest Pacific Coast. The Group was then composed of the 9th Bomb Squadron, llth Bomb Squadron, 22nd Bomb Squadron, and the 88th Reconnaissance Squadron, which was at that time attached to GHQ, Army Air Force.

The present day commanding officer, Col. Harvey T. Alness, joined the Group as a 2nd Lt. and served under Lt. Gen. George E. Stratemeyer, under whom the Group performed so well during the India-Burma campaign, as a member of the Strategic Air Force.

On Nov. 13, 1941, they departed from their home base, Salt Lake City, Utah, and proceeded by rail for an unknown destination called "Plum." They arrived in San Francisco shortly afterwards and were occupied in the usual manner of preparing for overseas movement during peacetime. On November 21st the ground echelon boarded the U.S.S. Republic enroute to "Plum." They arrived at Honolulu on November 28th and remained there overnight for servicing. Departed from there the next day and remained at sea until December 9, 1941, when they docked at the Fiji Islands. They were called to General Quarters at 1000 hours, December 7, 1941, the day the Japs attacked Pearl Harbor, where the Group had docked only a few days before. They departed from the Fiji Islands shortly after they had docked, and were now getting accustomed to the daily drill of possible air attack, attack by submarine, and night blackout as they were sailing in enemy waters. On December 22, 1941, they docked at Brisbane, Australia.

While the ground echelon was on the high seas the flying personnel had remained at Salt Lake City, departing from that field December 5th with 35 of the latest heavy bombers. Arriving in San Francisco they departed from Hamilton Field the next night for Hickam Field, Hawaii, arriving there shortly after the Japanese attack on the field. Along with the planes of the 7th Bomb Group were those of the 19th Bomb Group, both of whom would make history in the battle for Java. They departed from Hickam Field shortly after arrival as it was impossible to stay at the bomb-shattered field for repairs.

Arriving at Brisbane, Australia, in January, 1942, they were met by the ground echelon and stationed at Camp Amerley Field in that city. During the time they were stationed there they were busily engaged in repairing and assembling the latest type aircraft hastily arriving from the States for the defense of the Philippines.

At that time members of the flying echelon joined with the 29th Bomb Group as gunners and pilots on A-24's. Shortly after this merger, the llth Bomb Squadron and the 22nd Bomb Squadron were sent on secret orders to assist the 19th Bomb Group in the defense of Java. They played a great part in repulsing the enemy, allowing enough time to permit the evacuation of U.S. personnel from Java.

They were returned to Australia in February and the Group prepared to move to a new secret station. Units of the Group had left previously on February 4, 1942, on the U.S.A.T. Willard A. Holbrook. Arriving in Karachi, India, on March 12, 1942, they established headquarters at the Dirigible hangar seven miles east of Karachi. Almost at once the 7th Bomb Group, already veterans of battle with the Japanese in Java, proceeded to hit the enemy which was at that time attempting to move into Burma. They also aided greatly in the delivery of troops to Burma and on their return trip bringing out evacuees. While this was being carried out, other members of the command were hastily constructing a permanent air base for the Group. Many of the buildings were constructed out of packing crates and other various discarded materials. The men at that time were stationed in tents located near the newly constructed headquarters. Major Cecil E. Combs, originally with the famed 19th Bomb Group, was assigned to the Group at this time and assumed command. During the latter part of March and early April, new crews with the B-17 type airplanes arrived from the U.S. and although forward units of the Group stationed at Agra and Calcutta were already hitting the enemy, the training of these crews was undertaken to prepare them for the future air war against the Japanese in the China-Burma-India theater.

The effective date of redesignation of the 88th Recon Squadron to the 436th Bomb Squadron (H) took place April 22, 1942. The ground echelon of the 9th Bomb Squadron moved out of Karachi by troop train for Allahabad to set up new quarters. About this time the 7th suffered their first casualties in the India-Burma war when a crew taking off from Asonsol, India, to bomb the enemy crashed on the take-off. Of course, the Group had lost a large percentage of men in the Java campaign, but this new loss was felt deeply as the lead pilot of the ship was an old-timer, Capt. Elmer L. Parcel. The llth Bomb Squadron that had distinguished itself and the 7th Bomb Group so well at Java were made a Medium Bombardment outfit and assigned to the Group, now using heavy and medium bombers. Shortly after converging into a Medium Bombardment Squadron, the llth was sent to China, one of the first bomber squadrons to hit the enemy in that country.

Outstanding missions during this time consisted of bomber raids on Akyab, Rangoon and various other points in Burma. Losses were slight, though a number of crews failed to return, being destroyed in the air by Japanese Zeros. On June 7, 1942, a lone B-25 attacked Japanese installations in Burma, hitting the enemy at a low altitude of 300 feet. The plane was badly shot up, and the crew was forced to ditch the aircraft in the Bay of Bengal, making this one of the first ditchings of airplanes attempted in this war. They were rescued from the water by the commanding officer, Major Necrason, and a crew from the Chinese National Airways Corporation.

On June 29th, combat crews and ground men from the 9th Bomb Squadron departed from India for the Middle East for duty in that theater, to repulse the Nazis then attempting an offensive against the new invasion forces of the U.S. Upon their departure from the theater, they were placed on D.S. with the Middle East Air Force.

About this time the Group headquarters were moved to Calcutta and a drastic change took place. Hq. Hq. Squadron was disbanded and formed Headquarters, 7th Bomb Group, while the 341st Bomb Group (M) was formed from the llth and the 22nd Bomb Squadrons, long members of the veteran 7th Bomb Group. The remaining personnel of the 436th Bomb Squadron stayed on in Calcutta awaiting orders to activate two new heavy bombardment squadrons. On October 7, 1942, the 9th Bomb Squadron began returning to Karachi from their tour of duty in the Middle East. Some personnel of this Squadron remained in Africa where they formed a new Bombardment Group.

On October 25, 1942, by order of the commanding general, Army Air Forces, the 492nd and 493d Bomb Squadrons (H) were activated from the squadrons and headquarters of the 7th Bomb Group and joined the Group, making the total strength four squadrons and headquarters. The Group was now prepared for increased action with the enemy now in control of the majority of Burma.

In December, 1942, the Group began moving to their new base, set up especially for them at Pandaveswar, India, where later they were again to set bombing records, inaugurate new bombing techniques and receive high praise from the leaders of the Allied Armed Forces in Southeast Asia.

At the end of 1942 the Squadrons of the 7th were still on the move to Pandaveswar, though the 492nd and 493d Squadrons were awaiting new men in Karachi. During the year 1942 the Group had participated in action against the enemy from bases in India and China, and spent several months carrying out raids in the Middle East.

As the second full year of World War II got under way, the 7th was still engaged in moving, though they continued to strike the enemy from various India bases. Col. Necrason, commanding officer, was wounded on a mission to the Pyinmany railroad yards when heavy ack-ack was encountered. Besides the wounded, two ships were lost through enemy action. In May 1943, a formation was held honoring the famed Eddie Rickenbacher who spoke to the men and awarded medals to those who were hitting the enemy constantly in all types of weather. During the ensuing months, the bomber crews distinguished themselves by undertaking every possible type of mission, practical or impractical, for missions deep into Thailand, Burma and the Andaman Islands, flew over shark-infested waters, jungles notorious for head hunters, and through skies filled with enemy fighters. Individual planes flew alone against heavily fortified Rangoon at altitudes as low as 6,000 feet, virtually making that port useless to the Japanese. Many losses were sustained by the Group during this period.

In the latter part of the year (1943), the Group began also to hit Japanese shipping in the Bay of Bengal, along with hitting airfields at Meiktila, Lashio and Rangoon, as well as destroying much enemy material stored at various points throughout Burma. During this period the Group was operating with the new type bomber, B-24, which replaced the delapidated B-17's brought from the States by the Group in 1942.

On December 19, 1943, the heavies of the 7th flew the longest known bomber mission at that time to Bangkok, Thailand. The planes were in the air for a total period of 14 to 15 hours.

During the early stages of 1944, the 7th, now a part of the newly formed 10th Air Force, continued to strike the enemy in Burma, Thailand and the Andaman Islands, inflicting heavy damage to their installations. At the start of the monsoon season, when it is impractical and impossible to fly deep into Burma and Thailand, the Group again moved, this time to Tezgaon and Kurmitola, located near Dacca, India. Here they started another new phase for the use of armed B-24's when they were assigned the task of hauling high octane gasoline over Japanese territory, infested with Jap planes, to the forward bases of the hard-pressed 14th Air Force in China, then, as now, in dire need of supplies. This practice continued until October 1944, during which time the Group suffered a number of losses due to take-off crashes, bad weather and other reasons. During the period from June to October, the Group hauled a total of 2,124,228 gallons of gasoline to the 14th Air Force.

In October, the Group moved to their old home, Pandaveswar, where for the first part of their stay they concentrated in the training of pilots and bombardiers, readying them for the job of again making their air strength felt by the enemy.

On Nov. 1, 1944, the campaign for destroying the Japanese lines of communications in Burma was begun, one crew from each squadron joined in flight to knock out the Dan Dara bridge on the strategically important Bangkok-Chi-engmai railroad line. This was but the first in a string of many bridges that would fall due to the excellent bombing of the 7th. The target at that time was termed by Strategic Air Force as the most important enemy target in Burma.

During the remainder of the month, the Group continued to hit bridges, assisted in a search for members of a B-29 down in the Bay of Bengal, hit railroad sheds at Mokpalin, Burma, and on November 23d, they hit the important and vital Moulmein jetties, repeating the attack the following week, though enemy opposition was met and three aircraft failed to return.

During December, the Group continued to hit Japanese positions and vital supply dumps. At the start of the year, 1945, the Group began in earnest to knock out bridges. During the remainder of January, bridges kept tumbling down with all four squadrons hitting the enemy line of communications time and time again. Their total up to January 1, 1945, had been five bridges, with the new method of bombing - Azon bombing, developed to a high degree by the Group, making it of use to the whole U.S. Air Force. This method of using radio controlled bombing had been tried in other theaters and declared unsatisfactory, but men of the 493d Bomb Squadron found it to be just the thing for knocking out bridges.

While the 7th carried out its primary assignment of destroying the enemy lines of communication and prevented the movement of supplies in Burma and Thailand, it was called upon to support the 14th Air Force in China. Operating from Luliang, China, with Lt. Col. James F. Williford as commanding officer, heavy bombers of the 7th supplied high octane gasoline once again to the forward bases of the 14th Air Force. From its home base in India, supplies, personnel and gasoline were ferried into China, enabling the 14th Air Force and 20th Bomber Command to continue its operation against the enemy.

In February, 1945, the Group was operational 20 out of 28 days, setting a new record in the number of bombs dropped. The 9th, 436th, and 492nd Bomb Squadrons hit Japanese troop concentrations day after day, while the 493d continued to destroy and damage the enemy's bridges on the Burma-Siam railroad now carrying the brunt of supplies to Jap troops in Burma. The pin point precision bombing by the squadrons hitting the troop concentrations resulted in the retake of Mandalay and other Central Burma towns by the British 14th Army. Beginning in March, 1945, the Group once again returned to their old haunt, Rangoon, hitting the Japanese Army's headquarters and inflicting considerable damage to the enemy port. During the month, the 7th set records anew when they flew the longest formation attack mission by heavy bombers deep into the Kra Isthmas, knocking out two bridges and damaging three others. The crews participating on this mission flew an average combat time of 17 hours and 30 minutes, quite a contrast to the 14 hours flown in 1943 when the Group hit Bangkok. Yet again in the latter part of March, the Group once more flew the 2900 mile trip, knocking out still more bridges.

During the past months, the total number of bridges destroyed had mounted considerably and by April 1 had reached a total of 98 knocked out since November 1, 1944. During the past three weeks of April, a new technique of bombing was under development by the Group, using a B-24 as a dive bomber. On two different missions Lt. Col. William B. Kyes, Group Operations Officer, and his assistant, Capt. Edward Theilen, knocked out nine bridges on the Burma-Siam railroad, practically the only line of supply the retreating Japanese in Burma had to depend upon. On April 24, a day that will long be remembered by all who fought in the Burma war, all planes of the Group that were fit to fly, set out to virtually destroy for all time the Burma-Siam railroad. Using the new technique of dive bombing, the 41 B-24's flew up and down the railroad, hitting bridges at tree-top level by swooping down upon the enemy and knocking out the bridge. When all planes had returned safely and the count of bridges damaged and destroyed had been verified by reconnaissance photos, it was shown that a grand total of 37 had been lost to the enemy for a long time to come. One high American officer was quoted as saying, "This one mission alone did more to hinder the Japanese and make possible the destruction of his forces in Burma than any other."

The Group did not stop at this mission, but continued to strike the enemy and participated in the invasion of Akyab, the Ramaree Islands, and the final goal of the Allied forces in Burma - Rangoon, which was occupied early in May. Upon the capture of this vital city, 17 men from the 7th Bomb Group were rescued from the clutches of the enemy. These men had gone down in November and December of 1943, during which time the Group suffered their heaviest losses.

This brings the history to June, 1945, at which time the Group is again on the move, this time to Tezpur, India, where they will again supply high octane gasoline to the 14th Air Force in China. But not all of the Group are included in the move, as due to the success attained with Azon bombing, and the new technique of dive-bombing, the 493d Bomb Squadron is being sent to China to hit the enemy at that point. In the middle of August, peace rumors were heard daily and it seemed that the end of the war was definitely in sight. Fighting ceased on all fronts during the latter part of the month.

The gas haul over "The Hump" continued, though at a much smaller rate. No planes were dispatched unless all conditions were favorable.


Doctrine [ edit | edit source ]

We believe in using skill instead of numbers. We choose to challenge Planetside 2's motto, "SIZE. ALWAYS. MATTERS."

We achieve victory through other means. We use unconventional tactics to gain an advantage over our numerical superior enemy. Our outfit use communication and coordination to make sure that our attack is successful and complete.

We use anything and everything (but hacking and cheating) such as terrain and the ability to contrive a situation in our advantage.


7th Reconnaissance Group - History

The 1st Cavalry Division, a major subordinate command of the US Third Mobile Armored Corps, is a 19,000 soldier, heavy armored division stationed at Ft. Hood, TX. As one of the two "on-call" heavy contingency force divisions of the Army, the First Team has an on-order mission to deploy by sea, air or land to any part of the world on a short notice. The following narratives, divided in timeline eras of major operational missions, describes the threat environment, tactical conditions, evolution of equipment technology and the strategic methodology employed by one of its subordinate units, the 7th Cavalry Regiment, to contribute to the successful missions and enhancement of the warring organization of the 1st Cavalry Division.

Mission:

The mission of the 7th Cavalry Regiment is to, on order, deploy and conduct reconnaissance operations to enable the cognizant Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division to conduct decisive full spectrum operations.

Organizational Summary:

At the end of the Civil War, the ranks of the Regular cavalry regiments were thin indeed, as were those of the other Regular regiments. Of the 448 companies of cavalry, infantry, and artillery authorized, 153 were not organized, and few, if any, of those in being were at full strength. By July 1866 this shortage had eased since many of the members of the disbanded Volunteer outfits had by then enlisted as Regulars. By that time, however, it became apparent in Washington that the Army, even at full strength, was not large enough to perform all its duties. Consequently, on 28 July Congress authorized 4 additional cavalry regiments and enough infantry companies to reorganize the existing 19 regiments- then under two different internal organizations- into 45 regiments with 10 companies each. After this increase there were 10 regiments of cavalry, 5 of artillery, and 45 of infantry.

Cavalry companies accounted for 20 percent of the total number of company sized organizations. The Regular Army's authorized strength of approximately 57,000 officers and men was then more than double what it had been at the close of the war. The whole arrangement was remarkable because it was the first time in the nation's history that the Regular establishment had been increased substantially immediately after a war. Recruiting, to obtain the increase in man power force levels, began at once. Emphasis was placed upon securing veteran Volunteers before they left the service. The officers were selected from both Volunteers and Regulars each candidate was required to have had at last two years of honorable service in the Civil War.

The new cavalry regiments, numbered 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th, were organized under the same tables as the 6 already in existence. A regiment consisted of 12 companies formed into 3 squadrons of 4 companies each. Besides the commanding officer who was a colonel, the regimental staff included 7 officers, 6 enlisted men, a surgeon, and 2 assistant surgeons. Each company was authorized 4 officers, 15 noncommissioned officers, and 72 privates. A civilian veterinarian accompanied the regiment although he was not included in the table of organization.

Recruits for a regiment of cavalry were concentrated at Fort Riley, Kansas, in August, 1866. On 10 September, the work of organization was inaugurated by Major John W. Davidson of the 2nd Cavalry, and completed by Colonel Smith, on the 22d December. The new regiment was first designated in orders as the "Eighth Cavalry," but the figure eight subsequently gave way to the cabalistic (mystic) number - "Seven".

Andrew J. Smith, a veteran of the Mexican War, who had been a distinguished cavalry leader in the Army of the West during the Civil War, promoted to colonel, took command of the new regiment.

The early history of 7th Cavalry Regiment was closely tied to the movement of people and trade along the southwest and on the western plains.These routes, a result of perceived "manifest destiny", extended the domination of the United States into the far reaches of a largely unsettled western plains and southwestern territories. More and more wagon trains loaded with settlers, rolling west, were being attacked by Indians. The Army, having large areas of territory to protect, established a number of military posts at strategic locations throughout the West.

The sound of the bugle and the cry of "Charge" sent the thundering hooves of the US Cavalry troopers, many who had former service in the Civil War, to oversee and protect the western bound settlers in an era when Indians roamed the western frontier and pioneering settlers clung to their land with determination. The 1st, 4th, 5th, 7th, 8th and 10th Cavalry Regiments (all eventually subordinate maneuvering units of the 1st Cavalry Division) clashed with the Sioux, Comanche, Arapaho, Apache and the Indian Nations during the Indian Wars.

The current capability of the 7th Cavalry Regiment has been developed in conjunction with the long history of the 1st Cavalry Division. It is the combination of the experienced training received by each dedicated member of the Team and adherence to the performance level and traditions of the past. Highlights of the many subsequent historical critical missions performed by members of the 7th Cavalry Regiment and the honors they achieved are summarized in the chapters that follow:

On 22 January 1921 the 1st Cavalry Division was constituted in the US Regular Army. On 13 September 1921, with the initiation of the National Defense Act, the 1st Cavalry Division was formally activated at Ft. Bliss, TX and Major General Robert Lee Howze, a Texas native from Rusk County and seasoned veteran of then Frontier Indian Wars, Spanish American War, Philippines Insurrection, Mexican Expedition, World War I and recipient of the Medal of Honor, was selected as its first Division Commander.

Upon formal activation, the 7th, 8th and 10th Cavalry Regiments were assigned to the new Division. With almost a century of service behind the oldest of its regiments and sixty five years of service for its youngest, the units that had already ridden and fought its way into the pages of history were organized into the newly formed divisional structure. The four regiments were now to fight side by side. Other units initially assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division in 1921 included the 1st and 2nd Machine Gun Squadrons, Weapons Troops, 10th Light Tank Company, 13th Signal Troop, 15th Veterinary Company, 27th Ordnance Company, 43rd Ambulance Company, 82nd Field Artillery Battalion (Horse) and the 1st Cavalry Quartermaster Trains which later was redesignated as the 15th Replacement Company.

Later, on 18 December 1922, the 5th Cavalry Regiment was assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division, relieving the 10th Cavalry Regiment. It would not be until 03 January 1933 that the 12th Cavalry Regiment, organized in 1901, would join the 1st Cavalry Division, relieving the 1st Cavalry Regiment. and it was not until 15 October, 1957, when the 4th Cavalry Regiment joined with the 1st Cavalry Division as the 2nd Battle Group, 4th Cavalry, (an element) of the Pentomic Division in ceremonies held in Tonggu, Korea when the colors of the 24th Infantry Division were retired and replaced by those of the 1st Cavalry Division.

  • The 1st Squadron, organized as an Armed Reconnaissance Squadron, is assigned to the 1st Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division currently deployed and stationed at Camp Buehing, Kuwait.
  • The 2nd Battalion, organized as a Combined Arms Battalion, is assigned to the 4th Brigade of the 1st Cavalry Division, stationed at Fort Hood, Texas.
  • The 3rd Squadron, organized as an Armed Reconnaissance Squadron, is assigned to the 2nd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, stationed at Fort Stewart, Georgia.
  • The 4th Squadron, organized as an Armed Reconnaissance Squadron, is assigned to the 1st Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, stationed at Camp Hovey, South Korea.
  • The 5th Squadron organized as an Armed Reconnaissance Squadron, is assigned to the 1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, stationed at Fort Stewart, Georgia.

This folio of material highlights of the many subsequent historical critical missions performed by members of the 7th Cavalry Regiment, whose actions, operations and the many critical issues resolved over its 143 year history to meet the changing threat and the honors they achieved are summarized in the following sections:

If none of the data that you have found by surfing the reference unit chapter titles and indexes measures up to your interests, you may want to deploy the R&S (Reconnaissance and Surveillance) Scouts to search and identify keywords or subjects within individual unit pages. Enter the descriptive keyword or search terms(s) in the input field and "Click" on the Search button to screen the multiple DataBases of the Cavalry OutPost and the garrisoned occupants - "The 1st Cavalry Division and its Subordinate Units".

The search action will open the "first-team.us WebSite - R&S Scout Report", which displays a listing of WebSite Titles and HTML Summaries that contain the specific search term(s) of interest. To review any that best depicts a match of your search term(s), "Click" on the WebSite Title to open a New Window. After the WebSite is fully loaded, use the browser [EDIT/Find] Tool Button to locate the search term within the page. After reviewing, close the New Window to return to the listing of WebSites.

If this is your first review of the Outpost of the 1st Cavalry Division and its Subordinate Units, you may want to record your own report on your findings during your visit, or perhaps you may want to review the log entries of other visitors.


To report on your findings,
"click" on the "Report-In"
Index Tab of the Troop Log.

To review entries of others,
"Click"on the "View Entries"
Index Tab of the Troop Log.

As you journey through the history of the 1st Cavalry Division and its assigned elements, you may find it interesting enough to send a message to your friends and extend them an invitation for the opportunity to review the rich history of the Division. We have made it easy for you to do. All that is required is for you to click on the Push Button below, fill in their eMail addresses and send.

The TITLE and URL of this WebSite are automatically read, formatted and entered into your standard eMail form.
Note - The eMail Message is processed and transmitted On-Line to the addressee(s) via your Internet Provider.
Copyright © 2002, Cavalry Outpost Publications ®

eMail Your WebSite Comments.

Return to "MyOwnPages"©.

Copyright © 1996, Cavalry Outpost Publications ® and Trooper Wm. H. Boudreau, "F" Troop, 8th Cavalry Regiment (1946 - 1947). All rights to this body of work are reserved and are not in the public domain, or as noted in the bibliography. Reproduction, or transfer by electronic means, of the History of the 1st Cavalry Division, the subordinate units or any internal element, is not permitted without prior authorization. Readers are encouraged to link to any of the pages of this Web site, provided that proper acknowledgment attributing to the source of the data is made. The information or content of the material contained herein is subject to change without notice.


The group's emblem, approved in 1933, features three crosses symbolizing its squadrons' battle honors. The diagonal stripe was taken from the coat of arms of Province of Lorraine which France took back from Germany in World War I.

World War I

In the summer of 1918 and the organization of the United States First Army in France, the Gondreville-sur-Moselle Aerodrome on 6 September. The group initially consisted of the 91st and 24th Aero Squadrons, which flew over the front into enemy territory. Aircraft from the group took numerous air photos and compiled maps of enemy troop concentrations, road convoys, railway traffic, artillery and other targets during the Battle of Saint-Mihiel in mid-September. [1]

On 22 September, the group changed stations, moving to Vavincourt Aerodrome. At Vavincourt, the 9th Aero Squadron (Night Observation) was assigned to the unit. With the addition of the 9th, both day and night patrols were made over enemy territory, with intelligence being returned to First Army headquarters. The duties of the group consisted of long-distance patrols far into the enemy rear areas, both visual and photographic. Special attention was paid to enemy movements on roads, canals and railways. Railway stations and marshalling yards were noted, along with supply depots, airfields and munition storage areas. Once located, they were kept under routine observation. Also, the locations of enemy heavy artillery batteries were monitored and their movements recorded. [1]

The First Army OG flew no less than 521 successful missions, with a total of 1,271 sorties being made. Daily battles with enemy aircraft were engaged, with the group shooting down 50 aircraft in 111 aerial combats. With the Armistice with Germany being reached on 11 November 1918, the group ceased flying into enemy territory, but maintained an alert for several weeks afterward. [1]

Between the wars

After World War I, the Army Air Service was re-organized on a permanent basis. The 1st Army Observation Group was organized at Park Field, Memphis, Tennessee on 1 October 1919. It was transferred to Langley Field, Virginia and was assigned the 1st, 12th and 88th Aero Squadrons, equipped with surplus de Havilland DH-4s. On 14 March 1921, with the formation of the United States Army Air Service, it was re-designated as the 7th Observation Group. It was inactivated due to funding issues on 30 August 1921. [2]

The group was re-formed at Rockwell Field, San Diego, California and activated on 1 June 1928. The re-formed Group was assigned the 9th, 11th, 22d and 31st Bombardment Squadrons. The 9th, 11th and 31st squadrons lent their World War I lineage to the group’s emblem as indicated by the three Maltese Crosses on the shield. While the group was assigned at Rockwell Field, the fledgling Air Force was testing new theories and ideas. In early 1931, the 7th began training aircrews in radio-controlled interception. A bomber, acting as a target, reported by radio to a ground station, giving location, altitude and course. Armed with this information, ground controllers guided pursuit aircraft to the objective. [2]

The 7th was transferred to March Field, Riverside California, on 29 October 1931 with its 11th Squadron joining the 9th and 31st Bombardment Squadrons which had been activated on 1 April 1931, but had not been manned. The Curtiss B-2 Condor was flown by the 11th the 9th flew the Keystone B-4 while the 31st flew 0-35s, B-1s, and B-7s. A sprinkling of other aircraft types from the era was also found among the squadrons. [2]

The 7th trained and participated in aerial reviews, assisted in atmospheric experiments, dropped food and medical supplies to people marooned or lost, and took part in massive Army maneuvers during the 1930s flying Curtiss and Keystone biplane bombers, then Martin B-12s, [2]

For 102 days in 1934 the Army Air Corps flew domestic air mail routes, assigned to the job by an executive order from the White House. This followed a year long investigation that alleged fraud and collusion among the dozen or so airlines who hauled the mail for a subsidy of fifty four cents per mile own. [2]

Following the closure of Rockwell Field in San Diego, the 7th had to make room at March for the 19th Bomb Group. Overcrowding at March and the opening of the new Hamilton Field near San Francisco led the group to be transferred on 22 May 1937 and equipped with B-18 Bolos. Equipped with the new B-17C in 1939, runway issues at Hamilton Field forced a transfer to Fort Douglas/Salt Lake City Municipal Airport, Utah on 1 September 1940 which could better handle the large, heavy bombers. In Utah, the group was re-equipped with the B-17E – the first Fortress to introduce a completely new rear fuselage with a manually operated turret housing two 0.50-inch machine guns fitted in the extreme tail. [2]

With the crisis in the Pacific in late 1941, ground elements departed from Fort Douglas 13 November 1941 and sailed from the port of San Francisco on 21 November on an army transport en route to the Philippines. Aircraft and crews began departing Muroc Field, CA, on 6 December en route to Hawaii. Elements of the group flew their B-17s into Hickam Field at the height of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. [2]

World War II

The group was in the process of moving to the Philippines when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941. Six of the Group's B-17 aircraft left Utah on 5 December for deployment to the Far East. Six of them arrived in Hawaii but landed safely at alternate airfields, avoiding destruction by the attacking Japanese aircraft. The rest of them were ordered to defend California against the Japanese threat, since in the hysteria of the moment the Japanese fleet was expected to show up off the Pacific Coast at any time.

The ground echelon, on board a ship in the Pacific Ocean, was diverted to Brisbane, Australia. The air echelon moved its B-17Es via North Africa and India to Java, where from 14 January to 1 March 1942, it operated against the Japanese advancing through the Philippines and Netherlands East Indies. Received the Distinguished Unit Citation (DUC) for its action against enemy aircraft, ground installations, warships and transports.

The group's B-17Es were distributed to other bomb squadrons in Australia, and the air echelon was reunited with the ground echelon in India in March 1942, being equipped with longer-range B-24 Liberators. From bases in India, the group resumed combat under Tenth Air Force against targets in Burma. It received B-25 Mitchells and LB-30s in early 1942 but by the end of the year had converted entirely to B-24s. From then through September 1945, bombed airfields, fuel and supply dumps, locomotive works, railways, bridges, docks, warehouses, shipping, and troop concentrations in Burma and struck oil refineries in Thailand, power plants in China and enemy shipping in the Andaman Sea. Ceased bombing operations in late May 1945 and was attached to the Air Transport Command to haul gasoline over "The Hump" from India to China. Received second DUC for damaging enemy's line of supply in Southeast Asia with an attack against rail lines and bridges in Thailand on 19 March 1945. Returned to US in December 1945 and inactivated the following month.

Cold War

Activated on 1 October 1946 as a B-29 bombardment group and trained with B-29s in global bombardment operations, November 1947 – December 1948. Personnel and aircraft of the new group, consisting of the Boeing B-29 Superfortress, were transferred to Fort Worth AAF from the 92nd Bombardment Group at Spokane AAFld, Washington.

With its B-29s, the 7th prepared its people for any combat eventuality that might arise, flying simulated bombing missions over various cities. On 5 July 1947, a flight of eight B-29s of the 492nd Bomb Squadron deployed from Fort Worth AAF to Yokota AB, Japan. Shortly after this the detachment received orders to redeploy to Fort Worth AAF via Washington, D.C. The aircraft left Yokota AB on 2 August, flew over the Aleutian Islands, then into Anchorage, Alaska. From Anchorage the flight flew over Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, turned south and flew over Minnesota and Wisconsin. The bombers flew a low-level flight between The Pentagon and Washington Monument in the Capitol on 3 August. Completing this aerial demonstration, they headed for Fort Worth, landing 31 hours after launch from Japan and covering 7,086 miles.

On 12 September, the group deployed 30 B-29s to Giebelstadt Army Airfield, near Würzburg, West Germany. This flight was the largest bomber formation flown from Fort Worth AAF overseas to date, landing in Germany on 13 September. During their ten-day stay, the group bombers participated in training operations over Europe, as well as a show-of-force display by the United States in the early part of the Cold War with the Soviet Union. The flight redeployed from Germany on 23 September.

On 17 November 1947, the 7th Bombardment Wing was established to organize and train a force capable of immediate and sustained long range offensive warfare and operations in any part of the world. The 7th Bombardment Group became its operational component. The wing's mission was to prepare for global strategic bombardment in the event of hostilities. Under various designations, the 7th Bomb Wing flew a wide variety of aircraft at the base until its inactivation in 1993.

In June 1948 the first Consolidated B-36A Peacekeeper was delivered. The first B-36 was designated the "City of Fort Worth" (AF Serial No. 44-92015), and was assigned to the 492d Bomb Squadron. With the arrival of the B-36s, the wing was redesignated as the 7th Bombardment Wing, Heavy on 1 August. B-36s continued to arrive throughout 1948, with the last B-29 being transferred on 6 December to the 97th Bomb Group at Biggs AFB. For 10 years, the "Peacemaker" cast a large shadow on the Iron Curtain and served as our nations major deterrent weapons system.

As part of the 7th Bomb Wing, the 11th Bomb Group was activated on 1 December with the 26th, 42nd, and 98th Bomb Squadrons, Heavy, were activated and assigned. The 11th Bomb Group was equipped with B-36As for training purposes. A five ship B-36 formation was flown on 15 January 1949, in an air review over Washington, D.C., commemorating the inauguration of the President of the United States, Harry S. Truman.

In February 1949, a B-50 Superfortress (developed from the famed B-29) and named Lucky Lady II took off from Carswell for the first nonstop flight around the world. She returned to Carswell after mid-air refueling, flying 23,108 miles, and remaining aloft for ninety-four hours and one minute.

In January 1951, the 7th took part in a special training mission to the United Kingdom. The purpose of the mission was to evaluate the B-36D under simulated war plan conditions. Also, further evaluate the equivalent airspeed and compression tactics for heavy bombardment aircraft. The aircraft, staging through Limestone AFB, Maine, would land at RAF Lakenheath, United Kingdom, following a night radar bombing attack on Helgoland, West Germany. From there the bombers would conduct a simulated bomb run on the Heston Bomb Plot, London, finally landing at RAF Lakenheath.

This was the first deployment of wing and SAC B-36 aircraft to England and Europe. For the next four days the flight flew sorties out of England. The aircraft redeployed to the states on 20 January arriving at Carswell on 21 January.

On 16 February 1951 became a paper organization. With all assigned flying squadrons reassigned directly to the 7 Bombardment Wing as part of the Tri-Deputate organization plan adopted by the wing. The group inactivated on 16 June 1952.

Modern era

[3] As part of a major Air Force-wide reorganization due to the implementation of the Objective Wing organization, the Group was redesignated 7 Operations Group and again became the combat element of the 7 Wing. It controlled two B-52 squadrons and one KC-135 air refueling squadron. When flying operations ended at Carswell AFB, TX in December 1992, the group inactivated the following month.

Upon activation of the 7 Wing at Dyess AFB, TX on 1 October 1993, the group again activated as the combat element of the wing. Equipped with B-1B and C-130 aircraft, the group's mission included bombardment and tactical airlift. It lost its airlift responsibilities in April 1997. At that time it also gained a conventional bombing mission. In November 1998, deployed several aircraft to Oman in support of Operation Desert Fox, where the B-1 flew its first combat missions on 17 and 18 December 1998.

Since 1999, trained bomber aircrews for global conventional bombing.

Lineage

  • Organized in France as: First Army Observation Group, 6 September 1918
  • Organized as: 1st Army Observation Group, 1 October 1919
  • Activated on 1 June 1928
  • Re-designated 7th Bombardment Group, Very Heavy on 1 October 1946
  • Re-designated 7th Operations Group on 29 August 1991
  • Activated on 1 October 1993
  • Consolidated with the First Army Observation Group, 13 January 1994
  • Consolidated unit reconstituted as 7th Operations Group, 13 January 1994

Assignments

  • First Army Air Service, 6 September 1918 – 15 April 1919
  • 2d Wing, 1 October 1919 – 30 August 1921
  • IX Corps Area, 1 June 1928
  • 1st Bombardment Wing, c. 30 October 1931
  • IX Corps Area, c. 1 October 1933
  • 1st Wing, 1 March 1935
  • 20th Bombardment Wing, 18 December 1940
  • II Bomber Command, 5 September 1941
  • V Bomber Command, c. 22 December 1941
  • Tenth Air Force, March 1942
  • Army Air Forces, India-Burma Theater, 12 June-c. 7 December 1945
  • New York Port of Embarkation, 5–6 January 1946
  • Fifteenth Air Force, 1 October 1946
  • Eighth Air Force, 1 November 1946
  • 7th Bombardment Wing, 17 November 1947 – 16 June 1952
  • 7th (later, 7th Bomb) Wing, 1 September 1991 – 1 January 1993 1 October 1993–present

Components

  • 9th Aero (later, 9th Bombardment 9th Bomb) Squadron: September–November 1918 1 April 1931 – 6 January 1946 (detached 28 June-c. 4 October 1942) 1 October 1946 – 16 June 1952 (detached 16 February 1951 – 16 June 1952) 1 September 1991-15 August 1992 1 October 1993–present
  • 24th Aero Squadron (Observation), September–April 1919
  • 91st Aero Squadron (Observation), September–November 1918
  • 186th Aero Squadron (Observation), 5–11 November 1918
  • Photographic Section No. 1, November 1918 – April 1919
  • 1st Aero (later, 1st Squadron) Squadron: 1 October 1919 – 30 August 1921 (detached 6 May – 30 August 1921)
  • 11th Bombardment Squadron: 1 June 1928 – 15 September 1942 (detached 26 April – 2 May 1942)
  • 12th Aero (later, 12th Squadron) Squadron: 1 October 1919 – 24 March 1920 (detached 13 October 1919 – 24 March 1920)
  • 31st Bombardment Squadron: attached 1 April −29 June 1931, assigned 30 June 1931 – 1 February 1938
  • 50th Aero Squadron: attached c. October 1919–23 March 1920, assigned 24 March 1920 – 10 February 1921
  • 88th Aero (later, 88th Reconnaissance Squadron 436th Bombardment) Squadron: attached c. October 1919–23 March 1920, assigned 24 March 1920 – 10 February 1921 attached 28 September 1935 – 24 February 1942 (air echelon detached 10 December 1941 – 14 March 1942), assigned 25 February 1942 – 6 January 1946 assigned 1 October 1946 – 16 June 1952 (detached 16 February 1951 – 16 June 1952)
  • 95th Pursuit Squadron: attached 1 June 1928 – 29 October 1931
  • 14th Bombardment Squadron: 2 December 1941 – 6 January 1946 (detached 2 December 1941 – May 1942 not manned May 1942-6 January 1946)
  • 22d Bombardment Squadron: 20 October 1939 – 15 September 1942 (detached 26 April – 28 May 1942)
  • 32d Bombardment Squadron: apparently attached c. 8–16 December 1941
  • 493d Bombardment Squadron Squadron: 25 October 1942 – 6 January 1946.
  • 7th Air Refueling Squadron: 1 September 1991 – 1 June 1992
  • 13th Bomb Squadron: 14 June 2000 – 9 September 2005
  • 20th Bomb Squadron: 1 September 1991 – 18 December 1992
  • 28th Bomb Squadron: 1 October 1994–present
  • 39th Airlift Squadron: 1 October 1993 – 1 April 1997
  • 40th Airlift Squadron: 1 October 1993 – 1 April 1997
  • 337th Bomb Squadron: 1 October 1993 – 1 October 1994
  • 492d Bombardment Squadron: 25 October 1942 – 6 January 1946 1 October 1946-16 June 1952 (detached 16 February 1951 – 16 June 1952)

Stations

  • Gondreville-sur-Moselle Aerodrome, France, 6 September 1918
  • Vavincourt Aerodrome, France, 22 September 1918 – April 1919
  • Park Field, Tennessee, 1 October 1919
  • Langley Field, Virginia, 28 October 1919 – 30 August 1921
  • Rockwell Field, California, 1 June 1928
  • March Field, California, 30 October 1931
  • Hamilton Field, California, 5 December 1934
  • March Field, California, 5 November 1935
  • Hamilton Field, California, 22 May 1937
  • Fort Douglas, Utah, 7 September 1940 – 13 November 1941
  • Archerfield Airport (Brisbane), Australia, 22 December 1941 – 4 February 1942 (Ground Echelon)
  • Karachi Airport, India, 12 March 1942
  • Dum Dum Airfield, India, 30 May 1942
  • Karachi Airport, India, 9 September 1942
  • Pandaveswar Airfield, India, 12 December 1942
  • Kurmitola Airfield, India, 17 January 1944
  • Pandaveswar Airfield, India, 6 October 1944
  • Tezpur Airfield, India, 7 June 1945
  • Dudhkundi Airfield, India, 31 October – 7 December 1945
  • Camp Kilmer, New Jersey, 5–6 January 1946
  • Fort Worth AAFld, Texas (later renamed Carswell AFB), 1 October 1946 – 16 June 1952 1 September 1991-1 January 1993
  • Dyess AFB, Texas, 1 October 1993–present

Aircraft

  • Breguet 14, DH-4, Salmson 2 in addition to Spad XIII and Sopwith FE-2, 1918–1919
  • Loening OA-2, 1928-unkn
  • LB-7, 1929-unkn
  • B-3, B-4, O-19, O-38, 1931–1934
  • B-12, 1934–1936
  • Martin B-10, 1936–1937
  • B-18 Bolo, 1937–1941
  • B-17 Flying Fortress, 1939–1942
  • B-25 Mitchell, 1942
  • B-24 Liberator, LB-30, 1942–1945
  • B-29 Superfortress, 1946–1948
  • Convair B-36, 1948–1951
  • Convair XC-99, 1949
  • B-52H Stratofortress, 1991–1993
  • KC-135 Stratotanker, 1991–1993
  • B-1B Lancer, 1993–present
  • C-130 Hercules, 1993–1997

7th Reconnaissance Group - History

The 1st Cavalry Division, a major subordinate command of the US Third Mobile Armored Corps, is a 19,000 soldier, heavy armored division stationed at Ft. Hood, TX. As one of the two "on-call" heavy contingency force divisions of the Army, the First Team has an on-order mission to deploy by sea, air or land to any part of the world on a short notice. The following narratives, divided in timeline eras of major operational missions, describes the threat environment, tactical conditions, evolution of equipment technology and the strategic methodology employed by one of its subordinate units, the 7th Cavalry Regiment, to contribute to the successful missions and enhancement of the warring organization of the 1st Cavalry Division.

Mission:

The mission of the 7th Cavalry Regiment is to, on order, deploy and conduct reconnaissance operations to enable the cognizant Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division to conduct decisive full spectrum operations.

Organizational Summary:

At the end of the Civil War, the ranks of the Regular cavalry regiments were thin indeed, as were those of the other Regular regiments. Of the 448 companies of cavalry, infantry, and artillery authorized, 153 were not organized, and few, if any, of those in being were at full strength. By July 1866 this shortage had eased since many of the members of the disbanded Volunteer outfits had by then enlisted as Regulars. By that time, however, it became apparent in Washington that the Army, even at full strength, was not large enough to perform all its duties. Consequently, on 28 July Congress authorized 4 additional cavalry regiments and enough infantry companies to reorganize the existing 19 regiments- then under two different internal organizations- into 45 regiments with 10 companies each. After this increase there were 10 regiments of cavalry, 5 of artillery, and 45 of infantry.

Cavalry companies accounted for 20 percent of the total number of company sized organizations. The Regular Army's authorized strength of approximately 57,000 officers and men was then more than double what it had been at the close of the war. The whole arrangement was remarkable because it was the first time in the nation's history that the Regular establishment had been increased substantially immediately after a war. Recruiting, to obtain the increase in man power force levels, began at once. Emphasis was placed upon securing veteran Volunteers before they left the service. The officers were selected from both Volunteers and Regulars each candidate was required to have had at last two years of honorable service in the Civil War.

The new cavalry regiments, numbered 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th, were organized under the same tables as the 6 already in existence. A regiment consisted of 12 companies formed into 3 squadrons of 4 companies each. Besides the commanding officer who was a colonel, the regimental staff included 7 officers, 6 enlisted men, a surgeon, and 2 assistant surgeons. Each company was authorized 4 officers, 15 noncommissioned officers, and 72 privates. A civilian veterinarian accompanied the regiment although he was not included in the table of organization.

Recruits for a regiment of cavalry were concentrated at Fort Riley, Kansas, in August, 1866. On 10 September, the work of organization was inaugurated by Major John W. Davidson of the 2nd Cavalry, and completed by Colonel Smith, on the 22d December. The new regiment was first designated in orders as the "Eighth Cavalry," but the figure eight subsequently gave way to the cabalistic (mystic) number - "Seven".

Andrew J. Smith, a veteran of the Mexican War, who had been a distinguished cavalry leader in the Army of the West during the Civil War, promoted to colonel, took command of the new regiment.

The early history of 7th Cavalry Regiment was closely tied to the movement of people and trade along the southwest and on the western plains.These routes, a result of perceived "manifest destiny", extended the domination of the United States into the far reaches of a largely unsettled western plains and southwestern territories. More and more wagon trains loaded with settlers, rolling west, were being attacked by Indians. The Army, having large areas of territory to protect, established a number of military posts at strategic locations throughout the West.

The sound of the bugle and the cry of "Charge" sent the thundering hooves of the US Cavalry troopers, many who had former service in the Civil War, to oversee and protect the western bound settlers in an era when Indians roamed the western frontier and pioneering settlers clung to their land with determination. The 1st, 4th, 5th, 7th, 8th and 10th Cavalry Regiments (all eventually subordinate maneuvering units of the 1st Cavalry Division) clashed with the Sioux, Comanche, Arapaho, Apache and the Indian Nations during the Indian Wars.

The current capability of the 7th Cavalry Regiment has been developed in conjunction with the long history of the 1st Cavalry Division. It is the combination of the experienced training received by each dedicated member of the Team and adherence to the performance level and traditions of the past. Highlights of the many subsequent historical critical missions performed by members of the 7th Cavalry Regiment and the honors they achieved are summarized in the chapters that follow:

On 22 January 1921 the 1st Cavalry Division was constituted in the US Regular Army. On 13 September 1921, with the initiation of the National Defense Act, the 1st Cavalry Division was formally activated at Ft. Bliss, TX and Major General Robert Lee Howze, a Texas native from Rusk County and seasoned veteran of then Frontier Indian Wars, Spanish American War, Philippines Insurrection, Mexican Expedition, World War I and recipient of the Medal of Honor, was selected as its first Division Commander.

Upon formal activation, the 7th, 8th and 10th Cavalry Regiments were assigned to the new Division. With almost a century of service behind the oldest of its regiments and sixty five years of service for its youngest, the units that had already ridden and fought its way into the pages of history were organized into the newly formed divisional structure. The four regiments were now to fight side by side. Other units initially assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division in 1921 included the 1st and 2nd Machine Gun Squadrons, Weapons Troops, 10th Light Tank Company, 13th Signal Troop, 15th Veterinary Company, 27th Ordnance Company, 43rd Ambulance Company, 82nd Field Artillery Battalion (Horse) and the 1st Cavalry Quartermaster Trains which later was redesignated as the 15th Replacement Company.

Later, on 18 December 1922, the 5th Cavalry Regiment was assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division, relieving the 10th Cavalry Regiment. It would not be until 03 January 1933 that the 12th Cavalry Regiment, organized in 1901, would join the 1st Cavalry Division, relieving the 1st Cavalry Regiment. and it was not until 15 October, 1957, when the 4th Cavalry Regiment joined with the 1st Cavalry Division as the 2nd Battle Group, 4th Cavalry, (an element) of the Pentomic Division in ceremonies held in Tonggu, Korea when the colors of the 24th Infantry Division were retired and replaced by those of the 1st Cavalry Division.

  • The 1st Squadron, organized as an Armed Reconnaissance Squadron, is assigned to the 1st Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division currently deployed and stationed at Camp Buehing, Kuwait.
  • The 2nd Battalion, organized as a Combined Arms Battalion, is assigned to the 4th Brigade of the 1st Cavalry Division, stationed at Fort Hood, Texas.
  • The 3rd Squadron, organized as an Armed Reconnaissance Squadron, is assigned to the 2nd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, stationed at Fort Stewart, Georgia.
  • The 4th Squadron, organized as an Armed Reconnaissance Squadron, is assigned to the 1st Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, stationed at Camp Hovey, South Korea.
  • The 5th Squadron organized as an Armed Reconnaissance Squadron, is assigned to the 1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, stationed at Fort Stewart, Georgia.

This folio of material highlights of the many subsequent historical critical missions performed by members of the 7th Cavalry Regiment, whose actions, operations and the many critical issues resolved over its 143 year history to meet the changing threat and the honors they achieved are summarized in the following sections:

If none of the data that you have found by surfing the reference unit chapter titles and indexes measures up to your interests, you may want to deploy the R&S (Reconnaissance and Surveillance) Scouts to search and identify keywords or subjects within individual unit pages. Enter the descriptive keyword or search terms(s) in the input field and "Click" on the Search button to screen the multiple DataBases of the Cavalry OutPost and the garrisoned occupants - "The 1st Cavalry Division and its Subordinate Units".

The search action will open the "first-team.us WebSite - R&S Scout Report", which displays a listing of WebSite Titles and HTML Summaries that contain the specific search term(s) of interest. To review any that best depicts a match of your search term(s), "Click" on the WebSite Title to open a New Window. After the WebSite is fully loaded, use the browser [EDIT/Find] Tool Button to locate the search term within the page. After reviewing, close the New Window to return to the listing of WebSites.

If this is your first review of the Outpost of the 1st Cavalry Division and its Subordinate Units, you may want to record your own report on your findings during your visit, or perhaps you may want to review the log entries of other visitors.


To report on your findings,
"click" on the "Report-In"
Index Tab of the Troop Log.

To review entries of others,
"Click"on the "View Entries"
Index Tab of the Troop Log.

As you journey through the history of the 1st Cavalry Division and its assigned elements, you may find it interesting enough to send a message to your friends and extend them an invitation for the opportunity to review the rich history of the Division. We have made it easy for you to do. All that is required is for you to click on the Push Button below, fill in their eMail addresses and send.

The TITLE and URL of this WebSite are automatically read, formatted and entered into your standard eMail form.
Note - The eMail Message is processed and transmitted On-Line to the addressee(s) via your Internet Provider.
Copyright © 2002, Cavalry Outpost Publications ®

eMail Your WebSite Comments.

Return to "MyOwnPages"©.

Copyright © 1996, Cavalry Outpost Publications ® and Trooper Wm. H. Boudreau, "F" Troop, 8th Cavalry Regiment (1946 - 1947). All rights to this body of work are reserved and are not in the public domain, or as noted in the bibliography. Reproduction, or transfer by electronic means, of the History of the 1st Cavalry Division, the subordinate units or any internal element, is not permitted without prior authorization. Readers are encouraged to link to any of the pages of this Web site, provided that proper acknowledgment attributing to the source of the data is made. The information or content of the material contained herein is subject to change without notice.


Contents

World War II

The 7th SFG(A) traces its lineage to the 1st Company, 1st Battalion, 1st Special Service Force, which was established on 9 July 1942 at Camp William Harrison, Montana. The unit was a combined Canadian-American commando unit, designed to conduct raids against Germany's fledgling nuclear capability in northern Europe. However, it was relocated to the Aleutian Islands to fight the Japanese. Upon the successful completion of the Aleutian campaign, the SSF was transferred to the European theater of operations. The unit earned the nickname "The Devil's Brigade" for fighting with distinction in Italy and Southern France. It was disbanded in France in 1945, and reactivated in Fort Bragg on 10 November 1953 as the 77th Special Forces Group.

Reorganization as 7th Group

In 1960, the 77th was reorganized and redesignated as the 7th Special Forces Group. In the 1960s, the need for mobile training teams exceeded the capability of the US military, so the 7th Group provided the cadre for the 3rd and 6th Special Forces Groups

Vietnam

The 7th Group was active early in the Vietnam War, first operating in Laos (Operation White Star), and later in other global Cold War operations in addition to South East Asia (Laos, Thailand, and South Vietnam). 7th Group was also the first unit in South Vietnam to have a member earn a Medal of Honor, Captain Roger Donlon. [5]

Latin America

At the same time, Special Forces were expanding into Latin America. In May 1962, the advance party from Company D, 7th Special Forces Group departed for Fort Gulick, Panama, in the Canal Zone, to establish the 8th Special Forces Group. 8th Group was deactivated in 1972 and the unit redesignated as the 3rd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group. The entire 7th Special Forces Group was scheduled for inactivation on 1 October 1980, and was unfunded after that in the completed and approved US Army POM. General Edward C. Meyers reversed the decision after USSOUTHCOM briefings and discussions with LTG Wallace H. Nutting, the CINCSOUTH, and LTC Charles Fry, the 3rd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group commander, regarding the growing threat to Central America and the need for U.S. Army Special Forces to respond to the threat.

Throughout the 1980s, 7th Special Forces Group played a critical advisory role for the El Salvadoran armed forces, which grew from a force of 12,000 to a total of 55,000 men. The Salvadoran military became a highly trained counter-insurgency force under the tutelage of 7th Group.

The 7th Special Forces Group also played a very important role in preparing the Honduran military to resist and defeat an invasion from Nicaragua. 7th Group also trained the Honduran military in counter-insurgency tactics, which enabled Honduras to defeat the Honduran communist-backed guerrillas.

7th Special Forces Group also became involved in counter narcotics operations in the Andean Ridge countries of Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia. The goal was not just to stop the flow of drugs into the United States, but to stem the violence that resulted from the drug trade in those countries.

During the 3 October 1989 coup against Noriega by some of his troops, members of 7th Group conducted reconnaissance operations near the road that led from the cuartel of Battalion 2000 to Panama City, giving the US Southern Command advanced early warning of the elite Panamanian unit moving to rescue Noriega, who was being held captive in the Panamanian Comandancia. Meanwhile, one 7th Group Company was being readied to take custody of Noriega. When the coup was over and Noriega was released, that company prepared a raid on the Carcelo Modelo where American Kurt Muse was being held for operating an illegal radio station that was broadcasting anti-Noriega programming. That mission was later turned over to 1st SFOD-D and performed on D-Day during Operation Just Cause.

From 19 December 1989 to 31 January 1990, elements of the 7th Special Forces Group participated in Operation Just Cause to restore democracy to Panama. The 7th Group conducted combat operations on D-Day against multiple strategic targets. Over the next two weeks, 7th Special Forces Group conducted many reconnaissance and direct action missions in support of the operation.

When combat operations ceased, Operational Detachments-A and -B fanned out over the entire country, living in villages with the people. 7th Group soldiers restored public utilities such as water and power while maintaining a watch on the (then) new Panamanian Police Force. Non-commissioned officers served as temporary judges and mayors gaining enormous support from the populace.

Global War on Terrorism

Since early 2002, the 7th SFG has deployed almost nonstop in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. 7th SFG along with the 3rd Special Forces Group are the two SFGs responsible for conducting operations in Afghanistan. The Group has also deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom numerous times, but not as often as Afghanistan. The 7th SFG has lost more SF soldiers in the Global War on Terrorism than any other SFG.


Origns [ edit | edit source ]

Formation of the Hawaiian Air Force [ edit | edit source ]

The United States Army Hawaiian Department was established on 6 February 1913, which formally established the presence of the Army in the Territory of Hawaii. The history of Seventh Air Force can be traced to the arrival of the 6th Aero Squadron, Aviation Section, Army Signal Corps, at Fort Kamehameha, Hawaii on 13 March 1917 under the Air Office, Hawaiian Department, which was established in 1916.

Airplanes assigned to the 6th Aero Squadron consisted of three Curtiss N-9 seaplanes which were single-engine biplanes carrying a crew of two and capable of a top speed of 70 miles an hour. Late in 1917 the U.S. Government purchased Ford Island in Pearl Harbor for use as an airport and by September 1918 the 6th Aero Squadron, by then composed of ten officers and a small group of enlisted men, moved to Ford Island.

The first inter-island flight occurred in February 1919 and by 1920 inter-island flights were used for training purposes. Early in 1920 the 4th Observation Squadron arrived at Ford Island, known by then as Luke Field, named for "balloon buster" Frank Luke who fell in action during World War I on the Western Front in 1918. Also by this time, Luke Field was used jointly by the aerial forces of the Army and Navy. The year 1920 marked a considerable advance in aviation in the Islands. The first night flight over Oahu took place on 30 June 1920.

Also air power began to take its place in the Hawaiian Department's military maneuvers. An aerial photo section joined other air units the 23d Bombardment Squadron moved to Luke from March Field, California on 25 Jan 1923, and the 72d Bombardment Squadron was activated at Luke on 1 May 1923

The first detachment of twenty men started clearing land south of Schofield Barracks for Wheeler Field in February 1922. This Field was named for Major Sheldon H. Wheeler, who had assumed command of Luke Field in 1920 and was killed in an air accident in 1921. By June 1923, Wheeler boasted six 112x200 foot hangars, three used for housing shops and three others for planes, plus four hangars used as warehouses, and oil storage tanks holding 50,000 gallons. Tents and huts housed the men. The First commander of Wheeler Field was Major George E. Stratemeyer, who by 1941 was a brigadier general and Acting Chief of the Army Air Corps.

The first known reforesting by plane was accomplished for the Department of Agriculture by a plane from Wheeler in 1926. The first non-stop Hawaiian flight from Oakland, California to Wheeler Field was made in June 1927 by Lts. L. J. Maitland and A. F. Hegenberger. (Navy Commander John Rodgers had set a non-stop seaplane record from San Francisco in 1925 and had fallen short of the mark for Honolulu, landing off the Island of Kauai), The famous Dole flight also took place in 1927, with Art Goebel and Lt. W. V. Davis, USN, the only fliers completing the flight to Hawaii.

During the period from 1917 to 1931, the military air component in Hawaii grew to seven tactical squadrons and two service squadrons. In 1931 the 18th Composite Wing was activated with headquarters at Fort Shafter, and was combined with the Air Office of the Hawaiian Department. The Hawaiian Air Depot was based at Luke Field. Since the Navy contemplated using the entire area available at Ford Island, plans for purchasing land adjacent to Pearl Harbor near Fort Kamehameha for construction of an airfield resulted in purchase by the U.S. Army on 20 February 1935 of this land from Faxon Bishop et al. for US$1,091

Hickam Field was dedicated on 31 May 1935, named for Lt. Colonel Horace M. Hickam, C.O. 3rd Attack Group, killed 5 Nov 1934 at Ft. Crockett, Texas. The first detachment of 12 men (the 31st Bomb Squadron) arrived at Hickam on 1 September 1937 and was housed in tents. By September 1938, the Hawaiian Air Depot began its move from Luke Field. The move was completed on 31 October 1940.

On 1 November 1940 the Hawaiian Air Force was established as a part of the general United States Army Air Corps expansion program of 1939/1940. It was organized and activated with headquarters at Fort Shafter - the first Army Air Forces outside the continental United States. It consisted of two air base commands:

    Formerly 18th Composite Wing (B-10's) at Hickam Field Activated on 1 November 1940 (P-26's) at Wheeler Field

Aircraft strength at the beginning of the year 1941 consisted of 117 planes, mostly obsolete. In connection with defense plans for the Pacific, planes were brought to Hawaii throughout 1941 (principally P-36's and P-40's) by carrier. The first mass flight of Army bombers (21 B-17 Flying Fortresses) from Hamilton Field, California, arrived at Hickam on 13 May 1941. By December 7, 1941, the Hawaiian Air Force had been an integrated command for slightly more than one year, under the and consisted of 754 officers and 6,706 enlisted men with 231 military aircraft.

Order of Battle, 6 December 1941 [ edit | edit source ]

The day before the Japanese Attack on Hawaii, and subsequent United States entry into World War II, the Hawaiian Air Force consisted of the following:

The B-17 squadrons were equipped with a mixture of B-17B, B-17C and B-17D models. Additional units assigned to Hawaiian Air Force on 6 December 1941 were:

In addition to the above units, during the night of 6–7 December 1941, another squadron, the 38th Reconnaissance Squadron of the 41st Bombardment Group, Davis-Monthan Field, Arizona, were en route to Hawaii with four B-17Cs and two B-17Es to reinforce the 18th Bombardment Wing.

Also, six B-17Es the 88th Reconnaissance Squadron, 7th Bombardment Group, were also en route to Hawaii from Hamilton Field, California, with a final destination of Clark Field, Luzon, Philippines.

These units were deploying due to the heightened tensions between the United States and the Empire of Japan. They arrived in Hawaii at the height of the attack on 7 December (radar operators mistakenly thought that the Japanese attack force was this flight arriving from California). Two of the B-17Es managed to land at a short fighter strip at Haleiwa, one B-17E set down on a golf course, one landed at Bellows Field and five B-17Cs and three B-17Es landed at Hickam under the strafing of Japanese planes.

World War II [ edit | edit source ]

Pearl Harbor Attack [ edit | edit source ]

The attack on Pearl Harbor or Hawaii Operation as it was called by the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters devastated Hawaiian Air Force. Total Air Force casualties during the Japanese attack on December 7 were 163 killed. 43 missing, and 336 wounded, of which 121 killed, 37 missing, and 274 wounded were at Hickam Field. Out of a total of 231 aircraft of the Hawaiian Air Force, 64 were destroyed and not more than 79 were left usable.

Seventh Air Force [ edit | edit source ]

On 5 February 1942, the Hawaiian Air Force was re-designated 7th Air Force.

    replaced the 18th Bombardment Wing replaced the 14th Pursuit Wing
  • VII Base Command assumed responsibility for various base and service functions, along with the Hawaiian Air Depot.

The 7th Air Force was redesignated Seventh Air Force on 18 September 1942

Re-equipping of the command after the Japanese attack on Oahu took a significant length of time. The re-equipped Seventh Air Force consisted of the following units:

VII FIGHTER COMMAND FIGHTER GROUPS BOMB GROUPS MISCELLANEOUS
548th Night Fighter Squadron (P-61) 15th Fighter Group 5th Bombardment Group (B-17/B-24) 28th Photo Reconnaissance Squadron (F-5B)
549th Night Fighter Squadron (P-61) 18th Fighter Group 11th Bombardment Group (B-24) 9th Troop Carrier Squadron(C-47/C-46)
21st Fighter Group 30th Bombardment Group (B-24) 163d Liaison Squadron (L-5)
318th Fighter Group 41st Bombardment Group (B-25) 41st Photo Reconnaissance Squadron (F-5)
508th Fighter Group 307th Bombardment Group (B-17/B-24)
319th Bombardment Group (A-26)

In Hawaii the Seventh Air Force used the following military airfields. Some were operated solely by the AAF, others were jointly used with the United States Navy. Wartime images of these airfields are linked to their names as most of them were minimal facility landing fields.

Wartime operations [ edit | edit source ]

Seventh Air Force retained the mission of its predecessor of the defense of the Hawaiian Islands and until the closing months of the war it maintained its headquarters at Hickam Field. In Hawaii, the command grew into a key position in the logistical organization of the Pacific war. One of the biggest elements of this organization was the Hawaiian Air Depot at Hickam, which served as an in-transit supply, repair, and modification center for force units scattered all the way to Australia. The Air Depot had to expand its activities, which in peace time included assembly, repair, and reconditioning of aircraft to handle large numbers of P-39's and P-40's which were rushed out in crates for assembly, flight-testing, and delivery to forward-deployed combat units.

Seventh Air Force also became the hub of the Pacific aerial network - supporting, in addition to Depot functions, the 4-engine all-weather transport used in ferrying troops, supplies, and evacuating wounded from forward areas. These transport planes were under the command of Pacific Division, Air Transport Command. The command also played a major role throughout the Pacific War as a training, staging, and supply-center for air and ground troops.

The command, however, deployed most of its combat units to the Central Pacific where operations were best summed up by its air and ground views as "Just one damned island after another!"

Seventh Air Force units deployed 2,000 miles southwest to the Gilbert Islands, then 600 miles northwest to the Marshall Islands, 900 miles west to the Caroline Islands, 600 miles northwest to the Mariana Islands, 600 miles north to Iwo Jima, 1,000 miles west to Okinawa, always edging closer towards the center of Japanese power. A map story of the Seventh Air Force would cover 3,000 miles north and south of Midway Atoll to Fiji, and 5,000 miles east and west from Pearl Harbor to the Ryukus. The combat record of its major units is as follows:

  • The 15th Fighter Group was re-equipped after the Pearl Harbor attack and remained in Hawaii as part of the Hawaiian Defense Force, although rotated squadrons to the Central Pacific attached to Thirteenth Air Force groups. In April 1944, received P-51 Mustang fighters and trained for long-range bomber escort missions. The group deployed to Iwo Jima in February 1945. Was reassigned to Twentieth Air Force for the remainder of the war, returning to Hawaii and Seventh Air Force in November 1945.
  • The 18th Fighter Wing was re-equipped after the Pearl Harbor attack then was deployed to the Central Pacific and reassigned to Thirteenth Air Force and began operations from Guadalcanal. Moving across the Pacific, at the end of the war, the group moved to Clark Field on Luzon and became a permanent part of Far East Air Forces after the war.
  • The 21st Fighter Group was created in Hawaii in March 1944 and initially was part of the Hawaiian Defense Force flying P-39 Airacobras. Re-equipped with P-51 Mustangs in January 1945 and trained for long-range bomber escort missions. The group deployed to Iwo Jima in February 1945. Was reassigned to Twentieth Air Force for the remainder of the war, being inactivated on Guam in April 1946.
  • The 318th Fighter Group was created in Hawaii in May 1942 as part of the Hawaiian Defense Force flying P-39s, P-40s and later P-47s. Deployed to the Central Pacific being attached to Thirteenth Air Force in June 1944. Reassigned to Eighth Air Force in July 1945 in preparation for the Invasion of Japan. Returned to the United States in January 1946 and was inactivated.
  • The 508th Fighter Group was created on 12 October 1944 at Peterson Field, Colorado. The group trained with P-47 Thunderbolt aircraft to provide very-long-range escort for B-29 Superfortress bombardment units in the Southwest Pacific Theater. The lack of significant Japanese fighter defense by late 1944 caused a change of mission and the group was reassigned to Seventh Air Force in Hawaii in January 1945 and served as part of the Hawaiian Defense Force. In Hawaii, the group also trained replacement pilots for other organizations, repaired P-47's and P-51's received from combat units, and ferried aircraft to forward areas. The unit was inactivated in Hawaii on 25 November 1945 when it replaced by the 15th Fighter Group.
  • The 5th Bombardment Group was re-equipped after the Pearl Harbor attack with a mixture of B-17 Flying Fortresses and B-24 Liberator bombers. The unit was engaged primarily in search and patrol missions off Hawaii from December 1941 to November 1942. In Hawaii, the group was used in the Battle of Midway to attack Japanese surface fleets. Deployed to Espírito Santo in the Solomon Islands and served in combat with Thirteenth Air Force during the Allied drive from the Solomons to the Philippines. Was assigned to the Philippines in 1945 till the end of the war.
  • The 11th Bombardment Group was re-equipped after the Pearl Harbor attack with B-24 Liberators and initially flew patrol missions around Hawaii. It was deployed to the New Hebrides in July 1942 where it became part of Thirteenth Air Force and engaged in combat operations in the central Pacific.
  • The 30th Bombardment Group was reassigned to Seventh Air Force in October 1943 from March Field, California where it flew west coast antisubmarine patrols for Fourth Air Force. It was deployed to the Ellice Islands in the central Pacific during November 1943 where its B-24s took part in the invasion of the Gilbert Islands. Remaining part of Seventh Air Force, the group moved westward across the Pacific, taking part in several campaigns until returning to Wheeler Field, Hawaii in March 1945. From Wheeler, the group flew patrol missions until being inactivated in June 1946.
  • The 41st Bombardment Group was formed at March Field, California in January 1941 and performed antisubmarine patrols along the west coast until deploying to Seventh Air Force in Hawaii during October 1943 for final overseas training. From Hawaii, the group deployed its B-25 Mitchell medium bombers to Tarawa in the central Pacific in December 1943. Remaining as part of 7AF, the group took part in combat operations across the western Pacific as well as attacking targets on Taiwan and mainland China as well as the Japanese home islands. It was inactivated at Clark Field, Philippines on 27 January 1946.
  • The 307th Bombardment Group was reassigned to Seventh Air Force in October 1942 from Fourth Air Force where it flew patrols off the west coast, first in B-17's and later in B-24's. In Hawaii, the group trained and flew patrol and search missions. Attacked Wake Island in December 1942 and January 1943, by staging through Midway Island. The group deployed to Guadalcanal in February 1943 and was assigned to Thirteenth Air Force. It served in combat, primarily in the Central and Southwest Pacific, until the war ended.
  • The 319th Bombardment Group was assigned to Seventh Air Force late in the war, after spending three years in combat with the Twelfth and Fifteenth Air Forces in the North African Campaign and Italian Campaign in the Mediterranean Theater. It joined Seventh Air Force in Okinawa flying A-26 Invaders during April 1945 and flew combat missions over China and the Japanese home islands. It returned to the United States in December 1945 where it was inactivated at Fort Lewis, Washington.

The Seventh Air Force along with Thirteenth Air Force in the Central Pacific and Fifth Air Force in Australia were assigned to the newly created United States Far East Air Forces (FEAF) on 3 August 1944. FEAF was subordinate to the U.S. Army Forces Far East and served as the headquarters of Allied Air Forces Southwest Pacific Area. By 1945, three numbered air forces—5th, 7th and 13th—were supporting operations in the Pacific. FEAF was the functional equivalent in the Pacific of the United States Strategic Air Forces (USSTAF) in the European Theater of Operations.

From mid-1944 to July 1945 the Seventh Air Force attempted to prevent the Japanese air attacks on the Mariana Islands by attacking Iwo Jima and other Japanese-held islands and providing fighter protection for the Marianas. During the summer of 1945, the 15th Fighter Group (along with the 21st and 318th from the VII Fighter Command) were reassigned to the Twentieth Air Force and continued fighter sweeps against Japanese airfields and other targets, in addition to flying long-range B-29 escort missions to Japanese cities, until the end of the war. In addition, Seventh Air Force command echelon was moved to Okinawa, Ryukyu Islands, and assigned to United States Far East Air Force, effective 14 July 1945. VII Fighter Command remained attached to 20th Air Force until the end of the war.

Pacific Air Command [ edit | edit source ]

On 1 January 1946, Seventh Air Force was reassigned without personnel or equipment to Hickam Field, Territory of Hawaii, where it resumed its prewar mission of defense of the Hawaiian Islands. In May 1946 the Hawaiian Air Depot assumed jurisdiction of Hickam Field.

On 15 December 1947, Seventh Air Force was re-designated Pacific Air Command (PACAIRCOM) and elevated to major command status. The Hawaiian Air Depot was re-designated Hawaiian Air Materiel Area (HAWAMA) both at Hickam. PACAIRCOM's mission was to oversee air defense and other operations in the Pacific Ocean area, of the Pacific Region from the Hawaiian Islands west to include Wake, Midway Atoll, the Mariana, Caroline, Solomon and Marshall Islands.

Pacific Air Command was discontinued effective 1 June 1949 as a result of a budgetary actions. Its mission, functions, responsibilities and command jurisdiction of installations and facilities transferred to the Pacific Division, Military Air Transport Service.

Cold War [ edit | edit source ]

During the Korean War, and the years following, Hawaii again became the hub of trans-Pacific military air activity. On March 1954, the Joint Chiefs of Staff directed that Pacific Air Force be established. This unit came into being on 1 July 1954, the primary mission being to serve as the USAF component on the staff of the Commander-in-Chiefy Pacific. Responsibilities included preparation of plans to support CINCPAC and allied operations. For purely Air Force matters, the new command was placed under the command of Far East Air Forces Headquarters located in Japan. That headquarters completed its move to Hickam on 1 July 1957, its designation being changed to Pacific Air Forces.

With the reactivation of Pacific Air Force, Seventh Air Force was reactivated on 5 January 1955 at Hickam AFB. It was assigned to Pacific Air Force (later, Pacific Air Force/FEAF [Rear]) and transferred to Wheeler AFB, Hawaii, in March 1955.

Seventh Air Force oversaw Pacific Air Force's area of responsibility east of 140 degrees east longitude, including the Hawaiian Islands. Seventh was also responsible for the air defense of the islands. However, the movement of United States Far East Air Force (renamed Pacific Air Forces) from Japan to Hawaii led to the inactivation of Seventh Air Force on 1 July 1957.

Vietnam War [ edit | edit source ]

Headquarter of Seventh Air Force in Tan Son Nhut Air Base, Saigon, Republic of Vietnam.

Seventh Air Force was revived under the command of Lt. Gen. Joseph H. Moore to serve Pacific Air Forces during the Vietnam War when the growth of forces required a replacement for the 2d Air Division. In this capacity Seventh Air Force was the Air Component Command of Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV).

Upon reactivation on 28 March 1966, Seventh Air Force was designated a combat command at Tan Son Nhut Air Base, overseeing the operations of the ten primary USAF bases in the Republic of Vietnam. From April 1966 until 1973, the command assumed responsibility for most Air Force operations in Vietnam and shared responsibility with the Thirteenth Air Force for operations conducted from Thailand as 7/13 Air Force.

In June 1966, the first US air attacks near Hanoi and Haiphong occurred when 7AF planes bombed nearby oil installations. The following month, US aircraft struck North Vietnamese forces inside the Vietnamese Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).

One of the most publicized battles of the war was the siege of Khe Sanh in early 1968, known as "Operation Niagara." More than 24,000 tactical and 2700 B-52 strikes dropped 110,000 tons of ordnance in attacks that averaged over 300 sorties per day. At night, AC-47 gunships kept up fire against enemy troops. In August 1968, General George S. Brown began to oversee the "Vietnamization" of the air war. By 1970, this effort was successful enough that General Brown released the first USAF units to leave Vietnam.

On 29 March 1973, the command transferred to Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand, where it accepted dual responsibility as the US Support Activities Group and Seventh Air Force. As a result, 7AF controlled air assets and operations in Thailand. On 30 June 1975, it was inactivated.

Post Cold War [ edit | edit source ]

On 11 September 1986, Seventh Air Force was reactivated at Osan Air Base, South Korea to replace the 314th Air Division. Since then, 7AF, as the US Air Force component to the US and ROK Combined Forces Command's Air Component Command, has been an integral part of deterring aggression from North Korea against the ROK.

Headquarters Seventh Air Force consists of approximately 10,000 Air Force personnel located primarily at Osan AB, Kunsan AB, and five other collocated operating bases throughout the Republic of Korea. Air Force personnel fly and maintain the F-16 Fighting Falcon and the A/OA-10 Thunderbolt combat aircraft, and perform a myriad of intelligence, logistics, planning, communications, and liaison duties.

Although primarily a combat ready command, 7AF also provides assistance to non-combatants and civilians with the region. Rescue at sea, typhoon evacuations, and medical assistance are typical missions.


Watch the video: Aegean Airlines new route @Alexandroupolis - Summer 2021