VI BOMBER COMMAND
IN DEFENSE OF THE PANAMA CANAL
1941 - 45
Areas of Interest:
VI Bombardment Command History:
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)
40th Bombardment Group
45th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy)
The 45th Bombardment Squadron was formed at Borinquen Field, Puerto Rico, on April 1, 1941, and assigned to the newly formed 40th Bombardment Group (Medium), along with three other newly activated Squadrons- - Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron of the 40th Bombardment Group, and the 29th, 44th, and 45th Bombardment. Squadrons.
The 45th Bombardment Squadron, until the outbreak of war, flew routine training flights in the Caribbean Area, using Douglas B-18 type aircraft.
At the time of its origination, the 45th Squadron was located in what was known as "Tent City," which was as the name implies, a number of tents southeast. of the old runway.
The 45th Bombardment Squadron (Medium) was redesignated as a "heavy" bombardment unit on May 25.
The 45th Bombardment Squadron departed Borinquen Field, Puerto Rico, at 9:00 A.M., on June 7, 1942, by USAT No. 62 for the Panama Canal Zone, and arrived at its temporary Station at France Field, Canal Zone, at 1:35 P.M., on June 17. From June 17 until it moved to David, R. de P., in November, the 45th Squadron continued flying anti-submarine patrol from France Field, the average pilot flying time reaching 90 hours, using a B-18 type aircraft. The Squadron Commander, Major Giannatti, gave the pilots at that time the choice of either flying a half-day every day, or a whole day every other day.
The Hq. & Hq. Squadron. of the 40th Bombardment Group and the 485th Ordnance Company Aviation (Bomb) were disbanded by General Orders No. 41, Headquarters Sixth Air Force, August 8, 1942, and 57 enlisted men and one officer, and 28 enlisted personnel, respectively, were reassigned to the 45th Bombardment Squadron
The 45th Bombardment Squadron moved from its temporary duty Station at France Field to its permanent Station at David, R. de P., under the authority of paragraph 1, Special Orders No. 59, Hq. VI Bomber Command, November 6, 1942.
An advance detail of two officers and 45 men departed France Field for David, R. de P., on November 6. Thirty-two (32) enlisted men left France Field on November 8 by plane for David. Three (3) officers and 38 enlisted men departed for new Station by motor transportation on November 11, arriving at David on November 13. Six officers and 92 enlisted men left France Field on November 12 for David by rail and water transportation, arriving at David on November 13.
The 45th Bombardment Squadron was assigned LB-30 aircraft and later B-24s upon its arrival at David. The 45th continued to fly anti-submarine patrols out of David, but those flights were made over the Pacific instead of the Caribbean.
The 45th Bombardment Squadron changed Stations from David, R. de P., to the Galapagos Islands, in accordance with Special Orders No. 15, Headquarters VI Bomber Command, February 15, 1943.
Six officers and 157 enlisted men left David on February 17 for the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, traveling by rail and water transportation, arriving at the new Station on February 21. Twenty-four (24) officers and 70 enlisted men departed David on February 21, for the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, by air transportation, arriving at the Galapagos Islands on February 18. While stationed in the Galapagos Islands, the 45th continued flying anti-submarine patrols, using Consolidated B-24 type aircraft
Most of the personnel of the 45th Bombardment Squadron left the Galapagos Islands for Balboa, Canal Zone by water transportation on May 17, arriving in Balboa on May 22. Twenty officers and 17 enlisted men left Galapagos for Howard Field, Canal Zone, by air transportation, on May 31, arriving at Howard Field on the same day. The 45th remained in casual status from the date of its arrival at Howard Field, awaiting transfer to the United States for assignment.
The 45th Bombardment Squadron, consisting of 60 officers and 337 enlisted men, left Howard Field by truck convoy at 4:10 P.M., on June 15, to board Army Transport "George Washington" at Balboa, Canal Zone, bound for San Francisco, California. The "George Washington" arrived at San Francisco, California, at 1:43 A.M., on June 25.