462d Strategic Aerospace Wing

462d Strategic Aerospace Wing

Infobox Military Unit
unit_name= Editing 462d Strategic Aerospace Wing

caption= 462d Strategic Aerospace Wing Emblem
dates= 1943 - 1946, 1963-1966
country= United States
branch= United States Army Air Forces
United States Air Force
role= Bombardment
command_structure= Twentieth Air Force
Strategic Air Command
garrison= Pacific Ocean Theater of World War II
Larson AFB, Washington

* World War II: Asiatic-Pacific Campaign
The 462d Strategic Aerospace Wing is an inactive United States Air Force unit. It's last assignment was to Strategic Air Command, based at Larson Air Force Base, Washington.


The unit's origins begin with its predecessor, the World War II 462d Bombardment Group (462d BG) which was part of Twentieth Air Force. The 462d Bomb Group's B-29 Superfortress aircraft engaged in very heavy bombardment operations against Japan. The group served primarily in the Pacific Ocean theater and China Burma India Theater of World War II.

Operational Units

* 345th Bombardment Squadron 1945-1946
* 768th Bombardment Squadron 1943-1946, 1963-1966
* 769th Bombardment Squadron 1943-1946
* 770th Bombardment Squadron 1943-1946
* 771st Bombardment Squadron 1943-1944

Aircraft Flown

* Boeing B-29 Superfortress
* B-52D Stratofortress

Stations Assigned

* Smoky Hill AAF, Kansas 1 - 28 Jul 1943
* Walker AAF, Kansas 28 Jul 1943 - 12 Mar 1944
* Piardoba, India 7 Apr 1944-26 Feb 1945
* West Field, Tinian 4 Apr-5 Nov 1945
* MacDill Field, Florida, Nov 1945-31 Mar 1946
* Larson AFB, Washington, 1 Feb 1963 - 25 Jun 1966

Operational History

World War II

The 462d Bombardment Group, Very Heavy was constituted on 15 May 1943 as a B-29 Superfortress group and activated on 1 July at Smokey Hill AAF near Salinas, Kansas. It was assigned the 768th, 769th, 770th and 771st Bomb Squadrons. On 28 July it was reassigned to Walker AAF in Kansas where the group engaged in training on the new aircraft and its new mission. The 462d was assigned to the first Superfortress wing, the 58th Bobmardment Wing.

In March 1944, the group left the United States and deployed to a former B-24 Liberator airfield at Piardoba India, arriving on 7 April In India, the group was assigned to the XX Bombardment Command of the new Twentieth Air Force. During the week of April 15-22, no less than five 58th Bomb Wing B-29s crashed near Karachi all from overheated engines. The entire Wing had to be grounded en route until the cause was found. The cause was traced to the fact that the B-29's R-3350 engine had not been designed to operate at ground temperatures higher than 115 degrees F, which were typically exceeded in India. Modifications had also to be made to the aircraft and after these modifications, B-29 flights to India were resumed.

From India, the 462d Bomb Group planned to fly missions against Japan from airfields in China. However, all the supplies of fuel, bombs, and spares needed to support the forward bases in China had to be flown in from India over "The Hump" (the name given by Allied pilots to the eastern end of the Himalayan Mountains), since Japanese control of the seas around the Chinese coast made seaborne supply of China impossible. Many of the supplies had to be delivered to China by the B-29s themselves. For this role, they were stripped of nearly all combat equipment and used as flying tankers and each carried seven tons of fuel. The Hump route was so dangerous and difficult that each time a B-29 flew from India to China it was counted as a combat mission,

The first combat mission by the group took place on 5 June 1944 when squadrons of the 462d took off from India to attack the Makasan railroad yards at Bangkok, Thailand. This involved a 2261-mile round trip, the longest bombing mission yet attempted during the war.

On 15 June the group participated in the first American Air Force attack on the Japanese Home Islands since the Doolittle raid in 1942. Operating from bases in India, and at times staging through fields in India and China, the group struck transportation centers, naval installations, iron works, aircraft plants, and other targets in Japan, Thailand, Burma, China, Formosa, and Indonesia. From a staging base in Ceylon, the 462d mined the Moesi River on Sumatra in August 1944. Received a Distinguished Unit Citation for a daylight attack on iron and steel works at Yawata, Japan, in August 1944.

The group was reassigned to Tinian, in the Marianas Feb-Apr 1945, for further operations against Japan with the XXI Bomb Command. It participated in mining operations, bombardment of strategic targets, and incendiary raids on urban areas. Bombed industrial areas in Tokyo and Yokohama in May 1945, being awarded a DUC for the action. Received another DUC for a daylight attack on an aircraft plant at Takarazuka on 24 Jul 1945.

Strategic Air Command

The 462d Bomb Group returned to the United States, being assigned to MacDill Field, Florida in November 1945. It was assigned to the Third Air Force of Continental Air Forces. Continental Air Forces would later evolve into the Strategic Air Command on 21 March 1946.

The 462d Bombardment Group was one of the ten existing bombardment groups assigned to SAC when it was first formed. Demobilization, however, was in full swing and the group turned in its aircraft and was inactivated on 31 March 1946. Many of the wing's personnel and aircraft were reassigned to the 307th Bombardment Wing, which was reactivated at MacDill on 4 August 1946 as part of the re-established Fifteenth Air Force.

On 1 February 1963 the Strategic Air Command 4170th Strategic Wing at Larson AFB, Washington was re-designated the 462d Strategic Aerospace Wing in honor of the 462d Bomb Group of World War II. The 327th Bomb Squadron was redesignated the 768th Bomb Squadron after on of the 462d units.

The 462d SAW flew B-52D Stratofortresses, It conducted strategic bombardment training, and refueling operations. It's 568th Strategic Missile Squadron conducted Titan I ICBM training missions from February 1, 1963 to March 25, 1965.

The 462d Strategic Aerospace Wing was inactivated on 25 June 1966 with the inactivation of Larson AFB.

ee also

* Twentieth Air Force
* 58th Air Division


* Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0892010924.
* Ravenstein, Charles A. (1984). Air Force Combat Wings Lineage and Honors Histories 1947-1977. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History.

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