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5th Bombardment Group (5th BG) "Bomber Barons"
U. S. Air Force (USAAF)

Background
The 5th Bombardment Group (Heavy) was comprised of Headquarters Squadron (HQ), 23rd Bombardment Squadron (23rd BS), 31st Bombardment Squadron (31st BS), 72nd Bombardment Squadron (72nd BS) and 394th Bombardment Squadron (394th BS)

Commanding Officers (C. O.)
Lt. Col. Edwin B. Bobzien (April 1941–January 1942)
Col. A. W. Meehan (January 1942–October 1942)
Lt. Colonel B. E. Allen (November 1942–August 1943)
Lt. Colonel Marion D. Unruh (August 1943–December 30, 1943)
Lt. Col J. C. Reddoch, Jr. (December 30, 1943–August 1944)
Col. T. C. Musgrave (August 1944–February 1945)
Lt. Col. A. W. James (February 1945–March 1945)
Lt. Col. I. J. Haviland (March 1945–July 1945)
Lt. Col. A. W. James (July 1945–January 1947)

Wartime History
The 5th Bombardment Group operated in the Pacific during World War II. At the start of the Pacific War, assigned to the 7th Air Force (7th AF). In 1943 assigned to the 13th Air Force (13th AF) and later the Far East Air Force (FEAF) until the end of the war.

Headquarters Squadron (HQ)
During 1941, the 31st BS was part of the 7th Air Force and based at Hickam Field. During 1942, assigned to Mokuleia Field. On December 1, 1942 arrives at Bomber 1 on Espiritu Santo.

31st Bombardment Squadron (31st BS)
During 1941, the 31st BS was part of the 7th Air Force and based at Hickam Field operating B-18 Bolo and B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bombers. On December 7, 1941 during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and Oahu, the squadron suffered four Killed In Action (KIA) and nine Wounded In Action (WIA).

On May 23, 1942 the 31st BS transfered to Kipapa Field.

On November 30, 1942 arrived at Bomber 1 on Espiritu Santo and began flying combat missions in the South Pacific. On January 17, 1943 arrives at Henderson Field on Guadalcanal and later Carney Field. By early 1943, the squadron began flying only B-24 Liberators. On February 2, 1944 transfered to Munda Airfield on New Georgia Island.

On August 12, 1943 nine B-24s from the 31st BS plus sixteen B-24's from the 307th BG escorted by eight P-40s of the 44th FS and 22 F4Us from VMF-124 flew a bombing mission over Kahili (Buin) on Bougainville. The bombers drop 520 x 100lbs bombs on the runway and revetment areas and claim twenty aircraft destroyed on the ground. Returning, the formation is attacked by roughly 30 A6M Zeros over Ballale.

On March 13, 1944 the squadron returns to Carney Field. On April 21, 1944 transfered to Momote Airfield on Los Negros Island. On August 20, 1944 to Wakde Airfield on Wakde Island. Operated from Pitu Airfield on Morotai Island. On March 17, 1945 transfered to Guiuan Airfield on Samar Island in the eastern Visayas Islands of the Philippines until the end of the Pacific War.

72nd Bombardment Squadron (72nd BS)

Operated from Espiritu Santo. On October 4, 1942 begins operating from Henderson Field on Guadalcanal.

On October 4, 1942 B-17E Flying Fortress 41-9118 piloted by piloted by David C. Everitt took off on a mission against Buka Airfield but could not find the target and encountered bad weather. Returning, spotted six warships and was deliberately rammed from below by a F1M2 Pete piloted by Kiyomi. The right wing of the F1M2 Pete impacted this B-17's right wing, tearing off the wing tip damaging the vertical stabilizer and immediately caused the B-17 to descend in a spiral before then crashed into the sea.

On October 10, 1943 lost was B-24D "My Baby Bubb" 42-40210 crashed into the sea northwest of Choiseul.

394th Bombardment Squadron (394th BS)
Briefly the 4th Reconnaissance Squadron (4th Recon Squadron).

References
Pacific Wrecks - 5th Bombardment Group "Bomber Barons" Consolidated B-17 Flying Fortress
Pacific Wrecks - 5th Bombardment Group "Bomber Barons" Consolidated B-24 Liberators
5thBomber Barons.info
The Story Of The Fifth Bombardment Group: Heavy (1946)
40th Anniversary Headquarters 5th Bombardment Wing (H) (SAC) Kiai O Kalewa Travis Air Force Base, February 13-14, 1959
5th Bomber Barons The History of the 5th Bomb Group in the Pacific during World War II (1982) by Frederick A. Johnsen
Captain James Donald Robertson His Life and Times From Judith Gap, Montana To World War II In The South Pacific (1995)
Bomber Barons 5th Bomb Group Heavy (2000)
Scootin' Thunder (2006) by Beth Houser
Courage Before Every Danger - Honor Honor Before All Men The History of the 31st Bombardment Squadron (H) in World War II In Their Own Words (2010) by Joanne Pfannenstiel Emerick

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