VI BOMBER COMMAND

IN DEFENSE OF THE PANAMA CANAL

1941 - 45

Areas of Interest:

VI Bombardment Command History:


Unit Histories:


6th BGp (Heavy)
  3rd BS (Heavy)
  29th BS (Heavy)
  74th BS (Heavy)
  397th BS (Heavy)

9th BGp (Heavy)
  1st BS (Heavy)
  5th BS (Heavy)
  99th BS (Heavy)
  430th BS (Heavy)

25th BGp (Medium)
  12th BS (Medium)
  35th BS (Medium)
  59th BS (Medium)
  417th BS (Medium)

40th BGp (Heavy)
  25th BS (Heavy)
  44th BS (Heavy)
  45th BS (Heavy)
  395th BS (Heavy)


Units Attached to VI Bomber Command
  10th BS (Heavy)
  15th BS (Light)

Crew Pictures:

U-Boat Sinkings:

Aircraft Crashes:

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UNIT HISTORIES

 40th Bombardment Group (Heavy)

1941   1942   1943  

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1941

April 1941

The 40th Bombardment Group (Medium) was activated on April 1, 1941 (General Orders No. 10, Headquarters, Puerto Rican Department, San Juan, Puerto Rico), with duty station at Borinquen Field, Puerto Rico.  The 40th Bombardment Group, at its activation, was comprised of the Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron, and the 29th, 44th, and 45th Bombardment Squadrons.  The 5th Reconnaissance Squadron (Medium) and the 485th Ordnance Company (Aviation) (Bomb), independent units, were attached to the Group on April 1 for administration only.  Officer personnel were assigned to the 40th by transfer from the 25th Bombardment Group; and the enlisted personnel were transferred to the Group from the 24th Air Base Group, 25th Bombardment Group, 27th Reconnaissance Squadron (LR), and from Detachment, Air Corps Unassigned (a casual Squadron made up of recruits which had been assembled at Barksdale Field, LA, for embarkation to the Puerto Rican Department).

The young Group, at activation, was quartered in what was known as "Tent City," which was, as the name implies, a number of tents southeast. of the old runway.

The first commanding officer of the newly activated Group was Lt. Col. W. B. Souza.  Lt. Col. Souza formerly commanded the 215th Bombardment Group (Heavy).

The 40th Bombardment Group, until the outbreak of war, flew routine training flights from Borinquen Field to bases located within the Continental Limits of the United States, in the Lesser Antilles and the northeastern coast of South America, and in other areas of the Caribbean, using Douglas B-18 type aircraft.  Upon the beginning of hostilities, the Group immediately commenced the flying of anti-submarine patrols using the same type aircraft.

Major George W. McGregor, assumed command of the 40th Bombardment Group on April 29, 1941, when Col. Souza was assigned to Base Headquarters as the Base Executive.  Major McGregor was formerly assigned to the 27th Reconnaissance Squadron.

The strength of the Group was 29 officers and 567 enlisted men.

  July 1941

Headquarters Squadron gave a big party on July 25 for Master Sergeant Van Houten who left the organization on July 31 to go on furlough prior to his retirement on February 26, 1942.

August 1941

The 40th Bombardment Group vacated its tent area to move into new barracks across the runway.  The elimination of mosquitoes, dust and dirt, rain and mud made things more pleasant for all members of the Group.

November 1941

Major Ivan M. Palmer assumed command of the 40th Bombardment Group on November 26, 1941, when Major McGregor was transferred to Base Headquarters, Losey Field, Puerto Rico.  Major Palmer had recently transferred from the 27th Reconnaissance Squadron.The strength of the Group totaled 72 officers and 739 enlisted men, following the addition of quite a few Reserve Officers and enlisted men from Detachment, Air Corps Unassigned,

December 1941

The Declaration of War on December 8 changed the activities of the 40th Bombardment Group.  The organization went on alert status.

1941   1942   1943

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1942

February 1942

Hanger Number 2 was finally completed, and the 40th Bombardment Group had occasion to rejoice again when it moved in on February 11.  All technical offices and most administrative offices were moved to the new building.

March 1942

The 5th Reconnaissance Squadron was redesigned the 395th Bombardment Squadron (Medium) on March 3, and assigned to the 40th Bombardment Group, with station at Borinquen Field, Puerto Rico (General Orders Number 18, Headquarters, Sixth Air Force, Albrook Field, Canal Zone.  This brought  the total number of squadrons comprising the 40th to five.  The Fifth's photographic section also was transferred to the Group's Headquarters Section.  These changes brought the strength of the Group to 111 officers and 895 enlisted men.

April 1942

The 40th celebrated organization day on April 1 with a gigantic Field Day in which races and contests of all kinds were held.  At the final tabulation, the 45th Bombardment Squadron took the winner's cup, closely pursued by Headquarters Squadron. and the 29th Bombardment Squadron.  The 45th also won the rifle match.  Organization day activities were concluded with banquets in the squadron mess halls.

One hundred and eight (108) enlisted men from Detachment, Air Corps Unassigned were assigned to the 40th Group on April 1, bringing its personnel strength to 112 officers and 1,003 enlisted men.

May 1942

The 40th Bombardment Group (Medium) and its assigned units- - the 29th, 44th, 45th, and 395th Bombardment Squadrons (Medium), were redesignated as "heavy" bombardment units (War Department Adjutant General's Office Letter, Subject: "Redesignation of Air Corps Units," May 7, 1942).

June 1942

The 40th Bombardment Group departed from San Juan, Puerto Rico, on June 7 (Troop Movement Orders No. 15, Headquarters, Caribbean Defense Command, May 17, 1942), and arrived in Panama on June 16.  The 29th Bombardment Squadron was assigned permanent Station at Aguadulce, R. de P.; the 44th permanently assigned at Guatemala City, Guatemala; the 45th temporarily stationed at France Field, Canal Zone, with permanent Station at David, R. de P; and the 395th permanently stationed at Rio Hato, R. de P.  These Stations were assigned per instructions contained in General Orders No. 27 and 32, Headquarters, Sixth Air Force, June 20 and 27, 1942, respectively.

August 1942

The 74th Bombardment Squadron was assigned from the 6th Bombardment Group to the 40th Bombardment Group on August21 (General Orders No. 45, Headquarters, Sixth Air Force).  The same General Orders relieved the 395th Bombardment Squadron from assignment with the 40th Bombardment Group, and assigned it to the 6th Bombardment Group

The Hq. & Hq. Squadron. of the 40th Bombardment Group, and the 485th Ordnance Company Aviation (Bomb) were disbanded and their personnel assigned to the 29th, 44th, 45th, and 74th Bomb. Squadrons. (General Orders No. 41, Headquarters Sixth Air Force, August8, 1942).

September 1942

Headquarters 40th Bombardment Group changed permanent Stations from Howard Field to Albrook Field on September 16 (Special Orders No. 50, Headquarters Sixth Air Force).

Seventy-two officers and enlisted men were transferred to the 18th Replacement Wing, Salt Lake City, Utah, under the 5% replacement plan that went into effect in October 1942.

November 1942

The 45th Bombardment Squadron moved from its temporary Station at France Field to its permanent Station at David, R. de P. (Special Orders No. 59, Headquarters VI Bomber Command, November 6, 1942).

December 1942

The 25th Bombardment Squadron (6th Bombardment Group) at Salinas, Ecuador, and the 29th Bombardment Squadron (40th Bombardment Group) at Aguadulce, R. de P., exchanged personnel, Station, and designation on December 1.

1941   1942   1943

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1943

January 1943

Colonel Ivan M Palmer, Commanding Officer, 40th Group, was transferred to Headquarters, 2nd Air Force, Fort George Wright, Washington (War Department A.G.O. Letter, January 9, 1943).  Colonel Vernon C. Smith assumed command of the 40th Bombardment Group (General Orders No. 1, Headquarters 40th Bombardment Group, January 19, 1943).

Six officers of the 40th Bombardment Group were transferred to the 18th Replacement Wing, Salt Lake City, Utah, on January 1, under the 5% replacement plan.

A new Squadron arrived from the United States and was assigned to the 29th Bombardment Squadron (Special Orders No. 14, Headquarters Sixth Air Force, January 14, 1943).  Captain Cramer was the Commanding Officer of the new squadron.

The 74th Bombardment Squadron at Guatemala was transferred to the 29th Bombardment Squadron, Aguadulce (Special Orders No. 2, Headquarters, VI Bomber Command, January 4, 1943).  The 29th Bombardment Squadron (Captain Cramer's outfit), in turn, was transferred to the 74th Bombardment Squadron to replace the squadron that left Guatemala.

February 1943

On Special Orders No. 35 and 55, Headquarters Sixth Air Force, February 4 and 24, respectively, four enlisted men were transferred to the 18th Replacement Wing, Salt Lake City, Utah.

The 45th Bombardment Squadron changed Stations from David, R. de P., to the Galapagos Islands (Special Orders No. 15, Headquarters VI Bomber Command, February 15, 1943).

The 29th Bombardment Squadron was transferred to Gowen Field, Boise, Idaho (Troop Movement Order No. 1, Headquarters Sixth Air Force, February 16, 1943).

A new Squadron arrived from the United States and was assigned to the 29th Bombardment Squadron (Special Orders No. 56, Headquarters Sixth Air Force, February 25, 1943).  Captain Yengst was the Commanding Officer.

March 1943

Two officers and five enlisted men of the 40th Bombardment Group were sent to the Southern Signal Corps School at Camp Murphy, Florida, for a course of instruction (Special Orders No. 66, Headquarters Sixth Air Force, March 7, 1943).

The 3rd Bombardment Squadron stationed at David, R. de P., was transferred to the 29th Bombardment Squadron at Anton, R. de P. (Special Orders No. 26, Headquarters VI Bomber Command, March 12, 1943).  This Squadron was then transferred to Davis-Monthan Field, Tucson, Arizona (Troop Movement Order No. 2, Headquarters Sixth Air Force, March 24, 1943).

April 1943

A new Squadron arrived from the United States and was assigned to the 29th Bombardment Squadron (Special Orders No. 99, Headquarters Sixth Air Force, April 9, 1943).  Captain Kline was the Commanding Officer.

Two enlisted men were transferred to the 18th Replacement Wing, Salt Lake City, Utah (Special Orders No. 119, Headquarters Sixth Air Force, April 29, 1943),

May 1943

Colonel Vernon C. Smith was relieved from assignment as Commanding Officer, 40th Bombardment Group, and reassigned to the 72nd Observation Group (Special Orders No. 135, Sixth Air Force, May 15, 1943).  Colonel D. K. Mooney assumed command of the Group (General Orders No. 2, Headquarters, 40th Bombardment Group, May 16, 1943).

The 29th and 74th Bombardment Squadrons (Heavy) were released from assignment to the 40th Bombardment Group (Heavy), and assigned to the 6th Bombardment Group (Heavy) (General Orders No. 31, Headquarters Sixth Air Force, May 12, 1943).  The same General Orders assigned the 25th and 395th Bomb. Squadrons from the 6th to the 40th Bombardment Group

June 1943

Headquarters 40th Bombardment Group (Heavy) Movement Orders No. 1, May 31, 1943, provided for the movement of Group Headquarters from Albrook Field, CZ, to Howard Field, CZ, effective June 2, 1943.  The 40th Bombardment Group Headquarters Command Post. opened at Howard Field at 10:00 AM, June 2, 1943.  Total strength of the 40th Bombardment Group as of June 2 was 247 officers and 1,391 enlisted men.

A review and presentation of Air Medals was held on June 7.  Colonel D. K. Mooney, Commanding Officer of the 40th Bombardment Group (Heavy), awarded citations.

The 40th Bombardment Group, comprised of the 25th, 44th, 45th, and 395th Bombardment Squadrons, left Howard Field by truck convoy on June 15, to board Army Transport "George Washington" at Balboa, Canal Zone, bound for San Francisco, California, and redeployment.  The "George Washington" arrived at San Francisco, California, on June 25, and the 40th personnel disembarked and boarded the ferry "Army Queen," for Fort McDowell on Angel Island in San Francisco Bay.

1941   1942   1943

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