452nd Bomb Wing (L) Korea
452nd Bomb Wing (L)
The 452nd Bomb Group was originally established as the 452nd Bomb Group (H) on 6/1/43 and flew B-17's with the 8th Air Force during W.W.II. It returned to the US in June 1945 and was inactivated in August 1945.
It was reactivated as a reserve light bomb wing under the USAF Wing Base Plan as the 452nd Bomb Wing (L) on 4/18/47. For the first couple of years the going was rough, as it had no regular meeting place and no aircraft. In the summer of 1949 it received some A-26's and reassigned to Long Beach, CA and became a functioning wing
With the outbreak of the Korean War, the best of the 452nd and the 448th were combined under BG Sweetser and called to active duty on 10 August 1950. The Wing proceeded to George AFB in California and accomplished two months of training. On 15th October 1950, the Wing began its movement to Itazuke AFB, Japan. Six hundred-gallon ferry tanks were installed in the aircraft and the airborne elements ferried the A/C to Japan via, Hawaii, Johnson, Kwajaline, and Guam, lead by a B-29 mother ship. The water borne elements arrived in Japan on 11/15/50. The 731 Bomb Squadron, a night intruder squadron, was detached and assigned to the 3rd Bomb Wing to bring it to a full three-squadron strength.
The 452nd flew it first combat mission on 10/27/50 - just 77 days after being called to active duty. While the Wing missed the Pusan perimeter campaign, it provided close air support during the victorious drive to the Yalu and the subsequent withdrawal after CCF intervention in November 1950. The Wing continued to supply daylight close air support and interdiction in four to six plane elements, often being called upon to fly when weather had grounded Navy and Marine air support units . The 3rd Bomb Wing was converted to Night Intruder operations in December so full Light Bomber daylight support requirement fell to the 452nd. The Wing provided close air support, armed recce, and interdiction during the first UN counter offensive (1/25 - 3/21) and the CCF Spring Offensive (3/22-7/27). In December the Wing moved to Miho AFB Japan and continued to provide support without missing a beat. By May 1951, the continuous demand was taking its toll of the Wing. Most of the crews were at or near the 40 mission mark, and attrition of aircrews and aircraft were becoming unmanageable, with no relief in sight. A number of aircrews equal to half a squadron and 37% of the aircraft had been lost. The 729th had lost half its aircraft and was down to 8 operational aircraft.
On 23 May, the Wing moved to K-9 (Pusan East) AFB, Korea. The Maintenance and Supply Group and the special organizational maintenance squadron remained at Miho and established the REMCO. This was criticized by some but by November the REMCO operation had raised the in commission rate of A/C from 57% TO 85%
Continues air support pressure caused the CCF to convert its re-supply efforts to nighttime operations. Because the B-26 was the most suitable A/C available for night interdiction, the 452nd was converted into the Light /Night Intruder role in June. By this time replacement crew were beginning to filter in and the mission limit was established at 70. General Stratameyer, recognizing the effectiveness of B-26 NI work; pushed to bring the Wing to is full wartime 24 A/C per squadron strength. With the requirement to activate the 136th Bomb Wing (L) for Europe and the 11 per month B-26 attrition rate, the USAF was unable to meet this requirement. The USAF could, at most, provide a total of 96 active B-26's with a 50% reserve, which meant that the 452nd had strength of approximately 12 A/C per squadron.
During the ensuing period the two Light Bomb Wings developed various techniques for N/I work. N/I work required that crews violate some of the basic tenets of aviation: i.e. do not fly into canyons, do not let down into mountainous territory through bad weather without knowing your exact position, do not fly below the height of the lowest terrain at night. Operation Strangle (the sustained attack on railroads) and the famous (or infamous) AVQ-2 Searchlight was introduced and discontinued (to the delight of the aircrews). Both bomb wings determined that the B-26C with the Norden bomb sight and wing guns was more effective than the B-26B with its hardnose and nose guns. The nose guns caused the pilots to lose night vision when fired. Additional requests for B-26C's went out and many of the B-26B's were converted to C's. In August, the Korean routes were divided up so that the 3rd Bomb Wing took the Western half of North Korea and the 452nd took the Eastern half. The weather was unpredictable, but generally bad. In addition, missions were of such duration as to cause gas short approaches to be common place.
In June 1951 the first truce/peace overtures were made. This changed the tempo of the War in that there were no more major offensives by either side. This reduced the CCF supply requirements and as the war settled into a WWI type of trench warfare, increased AAA batteries were stationed along the major supply routes and at the major supply depots. In January of 1952 the attempt was made to close the Wadong choke point, by B-29's and Shoran equipped B-26's. This was only marginally successful so the 452 reverted to the "lone wolf" type of individual missions. The attrition of aircrews and aircraft again resulted in a called for an increase in aircrews and aircraft. With the mission quota reduced now to 50 missions, and aircrews flying approximately 20 missions per month, aircrews tended to rotate every three months. Langley AFB increased its output from 45 crews per month to 58-63 then to 93. The 452 continued the arduous task of night intruder duty mixed with TADP close air support and SHORAN missions. Occasional daylight missions broke the monotony.
On 9 May the 452nd was relieved from active duty, having served its 21-month active duty period allowed by law. Its personnel and aircraft were transferred to the 17th Bomb Wing (L/NI) a regular Air Force unit activated on 10 May 1952.
During its tour the 452nd flew 15000 sorties (7000 at night) ,participated in 8 campaigns and had served at three bases. They had flown daylight and night close air support, formations, bomber stream, lone wolf interdiction missions and had lost 85 crew members, and a comparable number of A/C.
- 728th (Transitioned to 34th Bomb Squadron)
- 729th (Transitioned to 37th Bomb Squadron)
- 730th (Transitioned to 95th Bomb Squadron)
- 731st (Assigned to 3rd Bomb Wing October 1950 -June 1951 converted to the 90th Bomb Squadron)
- Brigadier General Luther W. Sweetster -(at activation)
- Col. Brooks A.Lawhon -May 51
- Col. Reginald J. Clizbe -September 51
- Col. Albert W. Fletcher -Feb 52
- LTC Charles W. Howe -(at activation)
- LTC Frank L. Wood, Jr -May 1951
- LTC John A. Herrington -June 1951
- LTC Harry C. Mailey - Dec 1951
- Col. James D Kemp-March 1952
- Long Beach, CA -cir.1949
- George AFB, CA-10 August 1950
- Itazuki AFB, Japan- Oct 1950
- Miho AFB, Japan-December 1950
- K-9 (Pusan East) AFB, Korea-23 May 1951
- UN Defensive 27 June-15 Sept 1950
- UN Offensive 16 Sept - 2 Nov 1950
- CCF Intervention 3 Nov 1950 - 24 Jan 1951
- 1st UN Counter Offensive 25 Jan -21 Apr 1951
- CCF Spring Offensive 22 Apr - 8 July 1951
- UN Summer-Fall Offensive 9 July - 27 Nov 1951
- 2nd Korean Winter 28 Nov 1951 - 30 Mar 1952
- Korean Summer-Fall 1952 1 May - 9 May 1952
- Distinguished Unit Citation
- First Award - 7/9/1951 to 11/27/1951
- Second Award - 11/28/1951 to 4/30/1952
- Korean Presidential Unit Citation
- 10/27/1950 to 10/27/1951
- Shield: Azure, fimbriated Or, a bomb Gules, point downward superimposed on lightning flashes Or, shaded Gules, in saltire.
- Motto: LABOR AD FUTURUM - Work for the Future (Approved for 452nd Wing and assigned groups on October 11,1951.)