15th AF The Fifteenth Air Force 15th AF

97th Bombardment Group

B-17

Squadrons of the 97th BG

340th Bombardment Squadron - Heavy

341st Bombardment Squadron - Heavy

342nd Bombardment Squadron -Heavy

414th Bombardment Squadron - Heavy


Assigned 8th AAF: 20 May 1942

Wing/Command Assignment

VIII BC 20 May 1942

VIII BC, 1 BW Aug 1942

Combat Aircraft:

B-17E

B-17F

Stations

POLEBROOK 13 Jun 1942 to 25 Nov 1942

GRAFTON UNDERWOOD 6 Jun 1942 to 8 Sep 1942

Group COs

Col. Cornelius W. Cousland 3 Feb 1942 to 29 Jul 1942

Col. Frank A. Armstrong 31 Jul 1942 to 27 Sep 1942

Col. Joseph H. Atkinson 27 Sep 1942 to 5 Jan 1943

First Mission: 17 Aug 1942

Last Mission: 21 Oct 1942

Missions: 14

Total Sorties: 247

Total Bomb Tonnage: 395 Tons

Aircraft MIA: 14

Major Awards:

None

Claims to Fame

Flew 8th AFs first heavy bomber mission from United Kingdom on 17 Aug 1942.

Early History:

Activated 3 February 1942 at MacDill Field Fl. formed and trained there until end of March 1942 when the unit moved to Sarosota AAB, Fl for training. Went overseas on the 15th of May 1942, with the aircraft of the 340th, and 341st BSs flying to Dow Field in, Me., and those of the 342nd, and 414th BSs to Grenier Field in NH. Elements were detached to Pacific coast bases from 2 to 11 June 1942. The first B-17s left for the UK on the 23rd of June 1942, flying by the northern ferry route, Goose Bay, Greenland, to Prestwick. The first B-17s arrived in England on the 1st of July 1942. The ground unit sailed on the Queen Elizabeth on the 4th of June 1942 and arrived in Clyde on the 10th of June 1942.

Subsequent History:

Assigned the 12th AF, XII BC, 14 September 1942, but continued to operate under VIII BC. The main part of the aircraft left Polebrook on the 18th of November 1942 for Hurn, prior to flying directly to North Africa. The ground unit sailed in convoy late in November 1942. Operations in the Mediterranean theater with the 12th Air Force for a year, then the group established in Italy as part of the 15th Air Force. The unit flew the first shuttle mission to Russia from Italy. Attacking targets chiefly in southern Germany and the Balkins.

The unit was established as a B-29 group in the states in 1946, and served as a Strategic Air Command wing for over 20 years flying B-47s, and later B-52s.

Ruby F

Courtesy of Tom Summers

Crew of the Ruby F of the 414th Squadron.  Engineer Doug Jenkinson is front right.

Jackson Crew

Courtesy of Bill Jackson

WJ Jackson crew taken during training in the States.  Jackson is front row third from left.  His co-pilot is Bill Marshall front row second from the left.

Jackson Crew Plane

Courtesy of Bill Jackson

WJ Jackson crew taken in Italy.  Jackson is back row fourth from the left.  Co-pilot Bill Marshall is back row third from the left.

97th Bomb Group