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T-37s of the 340th Flying Training Group


Activated on 1 July 1997, the 340th Flying Training Group at Randolph Air Force Basemarker, Texasmarker, administers and executes the Air Education and Training Command (AETC) and Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC) Associate Instructor Pilot Program and provides Active Guard Reserve and Traditional Reserve IPs to augment the cadre of active duty pilots conducting pilot training. The Group has inherited the history and traditions of the Second World War 340th Bombardment Group.

During wartime, or in the event of hostilities, the unit is mobilized to offset anticipated losses of experienced active duty pilot contributions to the instructor pilot training programs.

Units

The Group is assigned to the AFRC Tenth Air Force and consists of a headquarters element at Randolph AFB and five Associate Reserve Flying Training Squadrons flying the T-37B, T-38/AT-38, T-1, and T-6.

History

Lineage

  • 340th Bombardment Group (1942–1945, 1947–1949)
    • Commanders:
      • Lt. Col. Adolph E. Tokaz, 3 Sep 1942;
      • William C. Mills, 21 Sep 1942;
      • Lt. Col. Adolph E. Tokaz, 7 May 1943;
      • Col. Charles D. Jones, 8 Jan 1944;
      • Col. Willis F. Chapman, 16 Mar 1944-7 Nov 1945.


    • Campaigns:
      • Air Combat, EAME Theater; Tunisia; Sicily; Naples-Foggia; Anzio; Rome-Arno; Southern France; North Apennines; Central Europe; Po Valley.
    • Decorations:
      • Distinguished Unit Citations: North Africa and Sicily, [Apr]-17 Aug 1943; Italy, 23 Sept 1944.


  • 340th Bombardment Wing (1952–1966)
  • 340th Bombardment Group (1968–1971)
  • 340th Air Refueling Wing (1977–1992)
  • 340th Flying Training Group (1997–Present)


Major Commands



Stations

United States Army Air Forces



United States Air Force

Aircraft Flown



Operational History

World War II

B-25J of the 340th Bomb Group-328080/486th Bomb Squadron
B-25J of the 340th Bomb Group-34045/489th Bomb Squadron
B-47Es on the flightline
B-52G on the flightline
An air-to-air front overhead view of two FB-111 aircraft in formation.
Boeing KC-135
The 340th Bombardment Group was a World War II United States Army Air Forces combat organization. It served primarily in the Mediterranean, African, and The Middle East Theatres of World War II.

Operational squadrons of the 340th Bomb Group and tail codes were the 486th(6B), 487th(6N), 488th(7T), and 489th(9T) Bombardment Squadron.

The unit was constituted as 340th Bombardment Group (Medium) on 10 August 1942 and was activated on 20 August. Trained with B-25 Mitchell bombers for duty overseas. Arrived in the Mediterranean theater in March 1943. Assigned first to the Ninth Air Force IX Bomber Command and later (in August 1943) to the Twelfth Air Force when the Ninth was reassigned to England.

The 340th served in combat from April 1943 to April 1945. Engaged chiefly in support and interdictory missions, but sometimes bombed strategic objectives. Targets included airfields, railroads, bridges, road junctions, supply depots, gun emplacements, troop concentrations, marshalling yards, and factories in Tunisiamarker, Sicily, Italy, France, Austria, Bulgariamarker, Albaniamarker, Yugoslavia, and Greece.

Also dropped propaganda leaflets behind enemy lines. Participated in the reduction of Pantelleriamarker and Lampedusamarker in June 1943, the bombing of German evacuation beaches near Messinamarker in July, the establishment of the Salernomarker beachhead in September, the drive for Rome during January–June 1944, the invasion of Southern France in August, and attacks on the Brenner Passmarker and other German lines of communication in northern Italy from September 1944 to April 1945.

In January 1944, Colonel Charles D. Jones was the commanding officer of the 340th Bombardment Group. On 10 March 1944, while participating in a bombing mission with the 486th Bombardment Squadron, he was shot down and became a prisoner of war (POW) for the remainder of the war. Colonel Jones later received the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) for this mission.

The 340th Bombardment Group probably suffered the loss of more aircraft than any other medium bombardment group during World War II primarily because of two devastating events that occurred in addition to their normal combat losses. The first of these events was the eruption of Mount Vesuviusmarker in March 1944 when the 340th just happened to be based at Pompeii Airfield near Terzigno, Italy, just a few kilometers from the base of the mountain. The second event was a surprise German air raid of their base at Alesani, Corsica on 13 May 1944. Estimated losses were 75–88 B-25 Mitchells from Vesuvius and approximately 60 aircraft from the German air raid.

The 340th Received a Distinguished Unit Citation (DUC) for the period April–August 1943 when, although handicapped by difficult living conditions and unfavorable weather, the group supported the British Eighth Army in Tunisia and Allied forces in Sicily. A second DUC was received for the destruction of the Italian light cruiser Taranto in the heavily defended harbor of La Speziamarker on 23 September 1944 before the ship could be used by the enemy to block the harbor's entrance.

With the end of the war in Europe, the 340th returned to the United States during July–August 1945. It was inactivated on 7 November 1945 at Columbia, South Carolinamarker.

Cold War

The unit was reactivated and continued performing medium bombardment training in the Air Force Reserve from October 1947 to August 1949 at Tulsa Municipal Airportmarker, Oklahomamarker with B-29 Stratofortresses.

B-47 Era
The United States Air Force Strategic Air Command established the 340th Bombardment Wing, (Medium) on 3 October 1952. It was activated on 20 October 1952 at Sedalia AFBmarker, Missourimarker. The 320th Bombardment Group was its operational component, with the 441st, 442d and 443d Bomb Squadrons. The 320th was assigned to Second Air Force.

The 340th replaced and absorbed the resources of the 4224th Air Base Squadron in October 1952. Whiteman at the time was undergoing a massive modernization program, from its World War II configuration of temporary buildings and short runways designed for glider and pilot training to that of a modern, permanent Air Force Base. The wing devoted its efforts to supervising base rehabilitation and new construction until May 1954, This was done by the 340th Air Base Group. The wing headquarters, tactical and maintenance squadrons had minimum manning during this period and were basically "paper" units.

The Wing received its first Boeing B-47E Stratojet in March 1954 and on 1 July 1955, was declared combat ready. The wing also supported the 340th Air Refueling Squadron with KC-97L Stratotankers. On 3 December 1955, Sedalia AFB became Whiteman AFB.

The 340th BMW achieved recognition as one of SAC's first units to reorganize under the Deputy Commander concept of command and control. It tested the feasibility of assigning Aviation Depot Squadron functions to the Deputy Commander for Maintenance. SAC later adopted the plan and accomplished a command-wide change which included the formation of Munitions Maintenance Squadrons. Until 1960, the 340th BMW played a key role in SAC's mission of strategic deterrence.

In anticipation of a mission change, SAC redesignated the wing as the 340th Bombardment Wing (Heavy) in September 1962 in preparation for the phase-in of the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress and the KC-135 air refueling tanker. The B-47s were reassigned to other SAC wings and on 1 September 1963 the 340th Bomb Wing was inactivated as Whiteman became a Minuteman ICBM Strategic Missile base.

B-52s Era
On 1 September 1963, SAC inactivated the temporary 4130th Strategic Wing at Bergstrom AFBmarker, Texasmarker. Its personnel and assets were absorbed by the 340th Bombardment Wing which was activated on that date. The 340th Bomb Wing consisted of the following operational squadrons:

  • 486th Bombardment Squadron (B-52D)
  • 910th Air Refueling Squadron (KC-135)


The 340th BW was under SAC's 19th Air Division of Eighth Air Force, and the wing continued SAC global strategic bombardment training and air refueling operations. Beginning in 1965, the Air Force decided to convert most of its B-52Ds to conventional warfare capability for service in Southeast Asia. Foremost among the changes needed was to give the B-52D the ability to carry a significantly larger load of conventional bombs. This led to the Big Belly project which was begun in December 1965.

In 1966, Bergstrom AFB was transferred to Tactical Air Command, and in July its aircraft were reassigned to the 22d Bomb Wing at March AFBmarker, Californiamarker. The 340th Bomb Wing was inactivated on 2 October 1966.

FB-111 Era
The 340th Bombardment Group (Medium) was reactivated on 2 July 1968 at Carswell AFBmarker, Texasmarker. Although it was given the designation of a bomb group, the 340th was organized and functioned as a SAC Wing. Its operational squadron was the 4007th Combat Crew Training Squadron (CCTS)

The 340th BMG was given the primary mission of conducting initial qualification training for General Dynamics FB-111 aircrew members. FB-111s were being produced at the huge General Dynamics plant, also known as Air Force Plant #4 in Fort Worthmarker, and it shared the main runway at Carswell. The Group received its first production FB-111A aircraft from General Dynamics on 30 August 1968. A second FB-111A was delivered on 25 October. The 340th's staff and instructor received training in the F-111A at Nellis AFBmarker, Nevadamarker with the 4527th CCTS. The Group also maintained a combat crew force capable of conducting bombardment operations if necessary with the FB-111.

On 7 October 1970, the 340th BMG's first major aircraft accident occurred when FB-111A 68-0253 crashed at Carswell AFB, causing the deaths of Lt. Col Robert S. Montgomery (9th BMS's Commander) and his navigator, Lt. Col Charles G. Robinson.

The 340th BG participated in SAC's annual Bombing and Navigation Competition held at McCoy AFBmarker, Floridamarker from November 13–20, 1970. Showing an outstanding performance, the group finished the competition first in bombing and second in navigation. The 340th also participated in the Strike Command Bombing and Navigation held April 17–23, 1971. The FB-111A was not allowed to compete for the trophies but flew in the competition.

The last production FB-111A (68-0291) was delivered to SAC on 30 June 1971, and the 340th Bomb Group was inactivated on 31 December 1971 with the end of FB-111 production. A total of 76 FB-111A aircraft were produced, and when group was inactivated the 4007th CCTS was reassigned to Plattsburgh AFBmarker, New York and became part of the 380th Strategic Aerospace Wing with 38 FB-111A aircraft

KC-135 Era
The unit was redesignated as the 340th Air Refueling Group (Heavy) and reactivated on 1 July 1977 at Altus AFBmarker, Oklahomamarker. It was redesignated the 340th Air Refueling Wing (Heavy) on 1 October 1984 and assigned to the Strategic Air Command, Eighth Air Force, 19th Air Division. It was then reassigned to Fifteenth Air Force, on 6 June 1988 with subsequent redesignation as the 340th Air Refueling Wing on 1 September 1991.

With the inactivation of SAC, the wing was reassigned to Air Mobility Command on 1 June 1992, and was inactivated on 1 October 1992 as part of the general drawdown of the USAF after the Cold War ended.

References

  • Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0892010924.
  • Mueller, Robert (1989). Active Air Force Bases Within the United States of America on 17 September 1982. USAF Reference Series, Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-912799-53-6
  • Ravenstein, Charles A. (1984). Air Force Combat Wings Lineage and Honors Histories 1947–1977. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0912799129.
  • Rogers, Brian (2005). United States Air Force Unit Designations Since 1978. Hinkley, England: Midland Publications. ISBN 1-85780-197-0.
  • Joe Baugher's Encyclopedia Of Military Aircraft (B-52, FB-111)
  • Strategic Air Command.Com (Whiteman AFB, 340th Wing)


External links




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