90th Bombardment Group

90th Bombardment Group

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90th Bombardment Group

History - Books - Aircraft - Time Line - Commanders - Main Bases - Component Units - Assigned To


The 90th Bombardment Group was a Liberator group that took part in the campaigns in the south-west Pacific and the Philippines

The group was constituted on 28 January 1942 as part of the post-Pearl Harbor increase in the size of the US military. It was activated in April and trained with the B-24 Liberator, the aircraft it would use throughout the Second World War.

In September 1943 the group moved to Hawaii, where it expected to say for some time, but in October MacArthur made an urgent plea for more support, and one of the units allocated to him was the 90th.

In November 1942 the group moved to Australia, where it joined the Fifth Air Force and immediately entered combat. The heavy bombers were used rather differently in the Pacific theatre - lacking the range to reach Japanese industry for most of the war the B-24s were instead used to attack Japanese troop concentrations, airfields, ground bases and shipping across large areas of the south-west Pacific theatre.

The group's B-24s were early models without a nose turret. During the winter of 1942-43 some of them were equipped with Consolidated tail turrets mounted in the nose. This work was carried out at Archerfield, Australia, and was considered to be a success. Thirty-five more turrets were requested in January 1943 and they arrived in March. More were requested in May. General Kenney, commander of the Fifth Air Force, also had the ball turret replaced with manually operated .50in machine guns.

The group began to make a major contribution to the fighting in January 1943. At this early stage its abilities were limited by aircraft serviceability, with on average fifteen of its sixty aircraft available at any one time.

The group officially moved to Port Moresby in February 1943 and it remained there for most of the year. This reduced the distances the aircraft were flying, and in turn improved availability.

While most of the group moved to Port Moresby the 319th Bombardment Squadron moved to Darwin, where it remained from February-July 1943. During this period it operated over the Dutch East Indies, attacking Amboina, Koepang, Makassar and Kendari. It was replaced in this role by the 380th Bombardment Group and joined the main part of the group at Port Moresby.

In March 1943 the group took part on the Battle of the Bismarck Sea.

The group was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation for an attack on Japanese airfields on Wewak in September 1943.

On 12 October it took part in the Fifth Air Force's largest attack to date, an attack on the harbour at Rabaul. The group claimed to have sunk a destroyer and damaged two tenders and two large merchant ships. Japanese fighters attacked the formation and two B-24s were lost.

In November 1943 the group attacked Japanese targets around Arawe, in preparation for an allied landing which took place on 15 December. In December the group attacked targets at Cape Gloucester, again in preparation for an Allied invasion.

In December 1943 the group moved forward to Dobodura.

In February 1944 the group made its final move on New Guinea, to Nadzab. The same month saw the Fifth Air Force concentrate its efforts against Kavieng. The 90th took part in a large attack on 11 February, catching Japanese aircraft on the apron preparing to take off. The group returned on 13 February and the airfield was knocked out of service.

At the same time the group made a series of attacks on the Admiralty Islands, attacking Momote on 26 January and Madang on 6 February.

On 28 April 1944 the group took part in the first large scale raids on Biak. June saw the group attack airfields on Vogelkop, in an attempt to divert attention away from a planned invasion of Noemfoor, as well as attack Noemfoor directly.

In August 1944 the group moved onto a newly completed base at Biak. This had been a rather stretched out move - on 22 June part of the air echelon moved to Wakde, while some of the ground personnel were already onboard ships waiting to sail for Biak.

The focus of Fifth Air Force operations now moved towards the Philippines. On 1 September the group took part in an attack on Japanese airfields on the islands. Barracks at Likana were the target on 2 September and the Santa Ana docks on Mindanao were attacked on 6 September. Oil tanks at Davao were the target on 18 September.

In September and October 1944 the group carried out long range attacks on the vital oil refineries at Balikpapan on Borneo. The first attack was carried out on 30 September but the 90th arrived last, after cloud had obscured the target and only one of its squadrons was able to bomb the target. On 14 October the 90th led the attack, the most successful in this series of five attacks on the oil refineries.

In January 1945 the group moved onto Mindoro. It was used to support the troops fighting on Luzon, and also gained a more traditional strategic role, attacking Japanese industries on Formosa and railways, harbours and airfields on the Chinese mainland. During this period the group had a number of aircraft equipped with H2X navigational radar, which were used for night missions, especially over Formosa, and as pathfinders on day missions.

Saigon was attacked in April, with the naval yards and Japanese ships the main targets. Rail targets across Indo-China were attacked in May. In June 1945 the group made a series of attacks on Borneo, in preparation for the invasion of Brunei on 10 June 1945. Canton was the target twice during July.

In mid-August 1945 the group moved to Ie Shima, a small island off the coast of Okinawa.

After the end of the war the group flew reconnaissance missions over Japan. It was also used to transport liberated prisoners of war from Okinawa to Manila. The group moved back to the Philippines in December 1945 and was inactivated in the next month.


To Follow


1942-46: Consolidated B-24 Liberator


28 January 1942Constituted as 90th Bombardment Group (Heavy)
15 April 1942Activated
September 1942To Hawaii and Seventh Air Force
November 1942To Southwest Pacific and Fifth Air Force
27 January 1946Inactivated

Commanders (with date of appointment)

1st Lt Newman W Enloe: 17 April 1942
Lt Col Eugene P Mussett: 17 May 1942
Col Roger M Ramey: 14 September 1942
Lt Col Eugene P Mussett: 16 Oct 1942
Col Arthur Mechan: 21 Oct 1942
Lt Col Arthur H Rogers: 16 Nov 1942
Col Ralph E Koon: 18 Nov 1942
Col Arthur H Rogers: 11 July 1943
Lt Col Harry J Bullis: c.20 December 1943
Col Carl A Brandt: 16 March 1944
Col Edward W Scott Jr: 10 June 1944
Lt Col Wilson H Banks: 8 Dec 1944
Col Ellis L Brown: 24 Feb 1945-unknow

Main Bases

Key Field, Miss: 15 April 1942
Barksdale Field, La: 17 May 1942
Greenville AAB, SC: 21 Jun 1942
Ypsilante, Mich: 9-c. 18 Aug 1942
Hickham Field, TH: 12 Sep 1942
Iron Range, Australian: Nov 1942
Port Moresby, NewGuinea: 10 Feb 1943
Dobodura, NewGuinea: Dec 1943
Nadzab, New Guinea:23 Feb 1944
Biak: 10 Aug 1944
San Jose,Mindoro: 26 Jan 1935
Ie Shima: c. 10 Aug1945
Ft William McKinley, Luzon: Dec1945-27 Jan 1946

Component Units

319th Bombardment Squadron: 1942-46; 1947-48; 1951-51
320th Bombardment Squadron: 1942-46; 1947-48; 1951-51
321st Bombardment Squadron: 1942-46; 1947-48; 1951-51
400th Bombardment Squadron: 1942-46

Assigned To

1942: Seventh Air Force
1942-1945: V Bomber Command; Fifth Air Force

90th Operations Group

The 90th Operations Group (90 OG) is the operational component of the United States Air Force 90th Missile Wing. It is stationed at Francis E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming, and is assigned to the Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC) Twentieth Air Force.

The group is responsible for maintaining and operating on alert the wing's assigned Minuteman III Intercontinental ballistic missiles, including training missile crew members.

The unit's World War II predecessor unit, the 90th Bombardment Group, operated primarily in the Southwest Pacific Theater as an B-24 Liberator heavy bomber unit assigned to Fifth Air Force. It was awarded two United States Distinguished Unit Citations and the Philippine Presidential Unit Citation for its combat service in China Netherlands East Indies New Guinea the Bismarck Archipelago the Western Pacific Leyte, and Luzon.

During the early years of the Cold War, the unit operated as a Strategic Air Command B-29 Superfortress Operational Training Unit for aircrews being assigned to combat duties during the Korean War.

Medal of Honor, Brigadier General Kenneth Newton Walker, United States Army Air Forces.



Rank and organization: Brigadier General, U.S. Army Air Corps, Commander of V Bomber Command.

Place and date: Rabaul, New Britain, 5 January 1943.

Entered service at: Colorado.

Birth: Cerrillos, New Mexico

G.O. No.: 13, 11 March 1943.

For conspicuous leadership above and beyond the call of duty involving personal valor and intrepidity at an extreme hazard to life. As commander of the 5th Bomber Command during the period from 5 September 1942, to 5 January 1943, Brig. Gen. Walker repeatedly accompanied his units on bombing missions deep into enemy-held territory. From the lessons personally gained under combat conditions, he developed a highly efficient technique for bombing when opposed by enemy fighter airplanes and by antiaircraft fire. On 5 January 1943, in the face of extremely heavy antiaircraft fire and determined opposition by enemy fighters, he led an effective daylight bombing attack against shipping in the harbor at Rabaul, New Britain, which resulted in direct hits on 9 enemy vessels. During this action his airplane was disabled and forced down by the attack of an overwhelming number of enemy fighters.

Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bombers of the 43rd Bombardment Group (Heavy) parked in revetments at 7 Mile Drome (Jackson Airfield), Port Moresby, 31 December 1942. (U.S. Air Force)

On the morning of 5 January 1943, six Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and six Consolidated B-24 Liberator heavy bombers departed 7 Mile Drome, an airfield near Port Moresby at the eastern end of the island of New Guinea. Their mission was to attack an enemy shipping convoy believed to be approaching the Japanese military base at Rabaul on the neighboring island of New Britain.

Leading the attack force was B-17 41-24458, San Antonio Rose, flown by Major Allen Lindberg, commanding officer, 64th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) and Captain Benton Hayes Daniel, Jr. Also on board as observers were Lieutenant Colonel Jack Bleasdale, the executive officer of the 43rd Bombardment Group (Heavy), and Brigadier General Kenneth Newton Walker, commanding general, V Bomber Command, Fifth Air Force. There were a total of 11 airmen on board.¹

Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses of the 43rd Bombardment Group (Heavy) en route to attack Rabaul, New Britain, 5 January 1943. (U.S. Air Force A–23272 A.C.)

The bombers arrived over Rabaul at 8,500 feet (2,591 meters) at 12:00 p.m., local time, and the formation broke up to make individual attacks against the ships in the harbor. Anti-aircraft artillery fire was light and ineffective. The bomber crews claimed several ships sunk and damaged.²

As the bombing force left the target, it was attacked by enemy fighter aircraft, which were described as Mitsubishi A6M Navy Type 0 (Allied reporting name, “Zeke,” but best known as the “Zero”) or Nakajima Ki-43 Army Type 1 Fighters (the Hayabusa, Allied reporting name, “Oscar”).

Enemy shipping under attack in Simpson Harbor, 5 January 1943. (U.S. Air Force E-23272 A.C.)

One of the B-24s had been badly damaged and diverted to Milne Bay. Four of the five B-17s which returned to Port Moreseby were damaged.

San Antonio Rose, the B-17 carrying General Walker, was seen trailing smoke and diving through clouds. A Fifth Air Force message stated, “ Later B-17 was observed heading south just east of Vunakanau [10 miles (16 kilometers) south-southwest of Rabaul] at about 5,000 feet, left outboard engine smoking but later appeared alright, was being closely pursued by four to five Zekes and last seen going into clouds. ” A Japanese fighter pilot wrote that the B-17 was seen flying to the south, about 25 miles south of Rabaul. It was not seen again.

San Antonio Rose and its crew never returned from the mission. Searches over the next several days were unsuccessful. The 11 airmen were listed as Missing in Action.³

On 12 December 1945, the crew of San Antonio Rose were reclassified as Killed in Action.

An 8 minute, 34 second, film of the 5 January 1943 mission from the National Archives and Records Administration is available on YouTube:

Kenneth Newton Walker was born 17 July 1898 at Los Cerrillos, a tiny community along the “Turquoise Trail” in the Territory of New Mexico. He was the son of Wallace Walker and Emma Helen Overturf Walker. His father abandoned them when he was very young. Mrs Walker took Kenneth to Denver, Colorado, and later to Kansas City, where he attended Central High School. He graduated from the Omaha High School of Commerce in Omaha, Nebraska in 1915. Ken Walker studied business through a college extension course.

The United States entered World War I on 6 April, 1917. Ten months later, 10 December 1917, Kenneth Newton Walker enlisted in the Signal Enlisted Reserve Corps, United States Army, at Denver, Colorado. Walker was 5 feet, 8 inches (1.73 meters) tall, with a high forehead and ruddy complexion. He had brown hair and green eyes.

Walker was promoted to private first class, Aviation Section, Sig. E.R.C., 7 March 1918. Pfc. Walker was then assigned to the University of California School of Military Aeronautics, and in June 1918, he began flight training at the Air Service Flying School, Mather Field, near Sacramento, California. On completion of his flight training, Pfc. Walker was discharged from his enlistment, effective 1 November 1918, to accept a commission as a second lieutenant, Aviation Section, Signal Corps, United States Army, the following day.

2nd Lieutenant Walker was sent to Brooks Field at San Antonio, Texas, where he trained as a flight instructor. He was then assigned to Barron Field, south of Fort Worth, Texas. In 1919, Walker was reassigned to Post Field at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

Under the National Defense Act of 1920, the Aviation Section became the Air Service, a distinct combatant branch of the Army, and was no longer a part of the Signal Corps. This resulted in changes in officers’ commissions.

2nd Lieutenant Walker’s commission was vacated on 15 September 1920. Retroactively, he received a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant, Air Service, United States Army, effective 1 July 1920, and was promoted to 1st lieutenant with the same date of effect. The new commission was accepted 15 September 1920. His rank as 1st lieutenant was accepted 13 April 1921.

Lt. and Mrs. Kenneth N. Walker. (Photograph courtesy of Douglas P. Walker)

2nd Lieutenant Walker married Miss Marguerite Potter, 28 September 1922. The ceremony was performed by Rev. H. Leach Hoover at St. Andrew’s Church, Lawton, Nebraska. The Walkers would have two sons: Kenneth Newton Walker, Jr., born in 1927, and Douglas Potter Walker, born in 1933.

Also in 1922, Lieutenant Walker graduated from the Air Service Observation School, as a qualified aerial observer. On 15 December 1922, Walker was discharged as a 1st lieutenant, A.S., U.S.A., and appointed a 2nd lieutenant.

Lieutenant Walker was assigned to Nichols Field, south of Manila on the island of Luzon, in the Philippine Islands. He was once again promoted to 1st lieutenant, 24 July 1924.

1929, Air Corps Tactical School, Langley Field, 1929 faculty, senior instructor

Second Lieutenant Kenneth N. Walker, Air Service, United States Army, circa 1924. (National Archives and Records Administration)

On 18 August 1934, Lieutenant Walker married Ms. Juliet G. Wimberly in Madison County, Alabama. This was the second marriage for both. A second wedding ceremony took place in Franklin County, Tennessee, 8 September 1934, officiated by L.J. Sisk, Justice of the Peace. They would have one son, John W. Walker. This marriage ended in divorce at Reno, Nevada, in February 1940.

Captain Kenneth Newton Walker, Air Corps, United States Army. (U.S. Air Force)

Command and General Staff School, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, 1935. Promoted to captain, 1 August 1935, then less than three months later, 20 October 1935, to the rank of major (temporary).

Douglas B-18 BG-23 after accident at Denver, Colorado, 23 December 1937. (UP)

On 23 December 1937, Captain Walker was piloting one of three Douglas B-18 twin-engine bombers which had picked up recent graduates from the Air Corps Technical School at Rantoul, Illinois, and were returning them to Hamilton Field, Novato, California. After a stop at Denver Municipal Airport (now Stapleton International Airport, DEN), Captain Walker’s airplane was the second to takeoff. Just after becoming airborne, the B-18 crashed.

“We were about 20 feet off the ground and going about 80 miles an hour when the ship just seemed to lose power,” he said. “I kicked hard on the left rudder and we swung around at right angles after sliding across that little gully,” indicating a ravine at the roadside.

The Billings Gazette, Vol.. L., No. 50, Friday, 24 December 1937, Page 2 column 1

The B-18 hit the runway, slid about 200 feet (61 meters) then cut through a fence and came to rest on a roadway between a ravine and railroad tracks. None of the nine men on board ⁴ were injured but the B-18 was seriously damaged. It had flown just 49 hours since new. (49:00 TTSN)

Major Walker commanded the 18th Pursuit Group (Interceptor), Wheeler Field, Territory of Hawaii.

Major Walker’s Curtiss-Wright P-36A Hawk, in flight over the island of Oahu, Territory of Hawaii, 8 February 1940. (Hawaii Aviation)

Attended the General Staff School from 10 March 1942 to 1 July 1942. Walker was promoted to the temporary rank of Brigadier General, Army of the United States, on 17 June 1942.

In addition to the Medal of Honor, Brigadier General Kenneth Newton Walker was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the Silver Star, the Legion of Merit and the Purple Heart.

General Walker’s remains have not been recovered. There is a cenotaph in his memory is at the Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia. His name, along with the other airmen of San Antonio Rose, appears on the Walls of the Missing, Manila American Cemetery, Taguig City, Philippines. In 1948, Roswell Army Air Field was renamed Walker Air Force Base in his honor.

“Brigadier General Kenneth N. Walker, commanding general of a bomber command in the southwest Pacific, who has been reported missing in action after leading a flight against Japanese shipping. This is the most recent photograph of General Walker, taken in front of his tent-office in the field.” (Library of Congress LC-USW33-000979-ZC [P&P] ) Two Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses of the 43rd Bombardment Group at Port Moresby, Fall 1942. The airplane in the foreground is B-17E 41-2649, previously assigned to the 19th Bombardment Group. 41-2649 survived the war. It served in the Mediterranean Theater until August 1945. It crash-landed at Goose Bay, Canada, 23 August 1945, and was salvaged. (U.S. Air Force).

San Antonio Rose was a Boeing B-17F-10-BO Flying Fortress, c/n 3143, Army Air Corps serial number 41-24458. The bomber was built during the summer of 1942, in the same production block with another famous B-17, Memphis Belle (41-24485). It was delivered to the United States Army Air Corps 8 July 1942.

Deep within my heart lies a melody
A song of old San Antone
Where in dreams I live with a memory
Beneath the stars all alone

It was there I found beside the Alamo
Enchantment strange as the blue, up above
A moonlit path that only she would know
Still hears my broken song of love

Moon in all your splendor knows only my heart
Call back my Rose, Rose of San Antone
Lips so sweet and tender like petals fallin’ apart
Speak once again of my love, my own

Broken song, empty words I know
Still live in my heart all alone
For that moonlit pass by the Alamo
And Rose, my Rose of San Antone

—”New San Antonio Rose,” by Bob Wills, 1941

Boeing B-17F-10-BO Flying Fortress 41-24458, San Antonio Rose, parked in a revetment at 7 Mile Drome, Port Moresby, New Guinea, with all engines running. (U.S. Air Force via

¹ Major Allen Lindberg, Pilot, Aircraft Commander Captain Benton H. Daniel, Jr., co-pilot 1st Lieutenant John W. Hanson, Navigator 2nd Lieutenant Robert L. Hand, Bombardier Technical Sergeant Dennis T. Craig, Engineer/Top Turret Gunner Staff Sergeant Quentin W. Blakeley, Radio Operator/Top Gunner Sergeant Leslie A. Stewart, Gunner Private 1st Class William G. Fraser, Jr., Gunner and Private Leland W. Stone, Gunner.

² Postwar analysis found that one ship, the transport Keifuku Maru, 5,833 tones, had been bracketed by two bombs and sank. Another freighter, Kagu Maru, and the Minikaze-class destroyer Tachikaze, were damaged. (Tachikaze had been damaged in an earlier air attack, 27 December 1942, and its commanding officer killed.) On 5 January 1943, the destroyer was alongside Yamabiko Maru, a passenger-cargo steamer which had been converted to a repair ship for the Imperial Japanese Navy.

Keifuku Maru, 5,833 tons, photographed during the 1930s, was sunk during the Allied air attack on Rabaul, 5 January 1943. (Wikipedia)

³ It is possible that two airmen, Lieutenant Colonel Bleasdale and Lieutenant Daniel, bailed out of the bomber and were later captured and held as prisoners of war. Neither survived the war, however.

90th Bombardment Group

The 90th Bombardment Group was first organized at Key Field, Mississippi in April 1942 as a Consolidated B-24 Liberator unit. The group's original squadrons were the 10th Reconnaissance Squadron and the 319th, 320th and 321st Bombardment Squadrons, although within a week of activation the 10th was renamed the 400th Bombardment Squadron. The group trained with Liberators in the southeastern United States under III Bomber Command until August 1942.

The group moved to Willow Run Airport, Michigan for conversion training on newly manufactured Ford Liberators. Assigned to VII Bomber Command with B-24Ds, The unit moved to Hickam Field, Hawaii in September. The group arrived in northern Queensland, Australia in November 1942 and began bombardment missions under V Bomber Command almost immediately.

The group attacked enemy airfields, troop concentrations, ground installations and shipping in New Guinea, the Bismarck Archipelago, Palau and the southern Philippines. The group was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation for operations in Papua through January 1943,[note 2] The unit participated in the Battle of Bismarck Sea in March 1943, and earned another citation for strikes on enemy airfields at Wewak, New Guinea in September 1943 despite heavy flak and fighter opposition.

During 1944, the 90th supported the New Guinea Campaign through the end of June, then made long-range raids on oil refineries at Balikpapan, Borneo, in September and October. In January 1945, the group moved to the Philippines and supported ground forces on Luzon, attacked industrial targets on Formosa, and bombed railways, airfields, and harbor facilities on the Asiatic mainland. Shortly before the end of the war in the Pacific, the 90th moved to Okinawa, from which it would be able to strike the Japanese home islands.

After VJ Day, the group flew reconnaissance missions over Japan and ferried Allied prisoners of war from Okinawa to Manila. Ceased operations by November 1945. The group was inactivated in the Philippines in early 1946.


  • The 90th Operations Group provides over 1,500 combat-ready personnel on continuous alert to operate, protect, maintain, and support 150 ICBMs and 20 missile alert facilities deployed over 12,600 square miles (33,000 km 2 ) and provides the North American Aerospace Defense Command and the Air Force Global Strike Command with road mobile, survivable, and endurable command, control, and communications, and base support capability.
  • The 90th Mission Support Group provides mission support to 20th Air Force, 90th MW and all associate organizations. This support includes base engineering, food services, billeting, recreational programs, transportation, contracting support, central base administration and educational and personnel services for more than 4,000 military and civilian employees and their families.
  • The 90th Security Forces Group provides continuous security for the 90th Missile Wing's and United States's most vital assets.
  • The 90th Maintenance Group works 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to ensure the ICBM force remains safe, reliable and effective. They provide training and evaluation for over 650 maintenance personnel, maintaining over 200 specialized maintenance vehicles, and 850 mission specific pieces of equipment.

90th Bombardment Group - History

The 90th Bombardment Group (90th BG) was nicknamed "Jolly Rogers" and includes Headquarters Squadron (HQ), 319th Bombardment Squadron (319th BS) "Asterperious", 320th Bombardment Squadron (320th BS) "Moby Dick", 321st Bombardment Squadron (321st BS) "Bombs Away" and 400th Bombardment Squadron (400th BS) "Black Pirates". Assigned to the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF), 5th Air Force (5th AF).

Headquarters Squadron (HQ)
The Headquarters Squadron (HQ).

319th Bombardment Squadron (319th BS) "Asterperious"
The 319th Bombardment Squadron (319th BS) was nicknamed "Asterperious".

320th Bombardment Squadron (320th BS) "Moby Dick"
The 320th Bombardment Squadron (320th BS) was nicknamed "Moby Dick".

321st Bombardment Squadron (321st BS) "Bombs Away"
The 320th Bombardment Squadron (321st BS) was nicknamed "Bombs Away".

400th Bombardment Squadron (400th BS) "Black Pirates"
The 400th Bombardment Squadron (400th BS) was nicknamed "Black Pirates".

The Jolly Rogers History of the 90th Bomb Group During World War II (1981) by John S. Alcorn unit history of the 90th Bomb Group
Legacy of the 90th Bombardment Group "The Jolly Rogers" (1997) by Wiley O. Woods, Jr unit history of the 90th Bomb Group

90th Bombardment Group - History

Pilot 1st Lt Donald O. Almond, O-433338 (MIA / KIA) SD
Co-Pilot 2nd Lt John J. Cahill, O-728339 (MIA / KIA) OR
Crew 2nd Lt Robert L. McClure, O-726920 (MIA / KIA) OH
Crew 2nd Lt Kenneth A. Olson, O-727254 (MIA / KIA) MN
Crew T/Sgt Forrest D. Wright, 36317419 (MIA / KIA) IL
Crew T/Sgt Ivan O. Sand, 37161484 (MIA / KIA) MN
Crew S/Sgt Marvin C. Parsons, 33156629 (MIA / KIA) DC
Crew S/Sgt Oliver R. Neese, 35351932 (MIA / KIA) IN
Crew S/Sgt Maurice Derfler, 33157713 (MIA / KIA) PA
Crew Cpl Joseph L. Wagner, 18058200 (MIA / KIA) TX
MIA May 19, 1943
MACR none

Aircraft History
Built by Consolidated at San Diego. Delivered to the U.S. Army. Ferried overseas via Hawaii to Australia.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 90th Bombardment Group, 400th Bombardment Squadron. No known nose art or nickname.

Mission History
Took off from 5 Mile Drome (Wards) near Port Moresby on a daylight reconnaissance mission along the eastern coast of New Guinea. No position report was given, but the time element places the aircraft in the Madang area, one hour and thirty five minutes after take off.

Ramming by Japanese Fighter
A radio message was received stating it was under attack by five enemy fighters. Five Ki-43 Oscars of the 24th Sentai attacked the bomber. One Japanese fighter rammed the B-24, killing the Oscar pilot, Sgt. Hikoto Sato, who became the first casualty of the 24th Sentai. Five to ten minutes later the last message sent stated the aircraft was going down. It is believed the aircraft went down in the vicinity of Karkar Island. No trace of the crew was ever found.

The entire crew was officially declared dead on December 19, 1945. All are memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.

PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - B-24D Liberator 41-24269
"A Brief History of Wewak, Part II" by Richard Dunn

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90th Bombardment Group - History

In June the 43rd Bombardment Group left targets in New Guinea to the medium bombers more profitable targets for the Group were Biak, Noemfoor, and the elaborate netword of Japanese airdromes in the Vogelkop Peninsular. Unfortunately, the Vogelkop airfields, for all practical purposes, were out of the Group' range therefore, principal targets during the month were Biak and Noemfoor. By staging through forward airstrips, the 43rd was able also to hit the strongly defended enemy islands of Palau and Yap.

In July 1944 combat operations were greatly restricted because of the move to Owi Island. The Group historian's comments on that move are of great interest:

From July through November 1944 the 43rd Bombardment Group attacked enemy aridromes in the Halmahera Islands, Ambon-Ceram area, and on Celebes. In August the 63rd Squadron was operating against enemy shipping in the Philippine waters. If ships were not sighted, the squadron bombed on the docks and airdromes in the Davao Gulf area, along the Molucca Straits, and Ceram Sea. During September the entire Group made four strikes against the Philippines. The first raid, conducted with the 22nd and 90th Bombardment Groups, was the first mass daylight attack on the Philippines. In October the 43rd participated in the historic Balikapapan raids, which were designed to knock out the important oil refineries and storage facilities in that area. On 4 November the ground echelon of the Group arrived at Tacloban, Leyte. However, that field was not ready for B-24 operations, so the air echelon remained on Owi and staged through Morotai to hit targets in the Philippines.

By 17 January 1945 the 43rd was conducting regular missions from Tacloban. Principle targets during the month were airfields on Luzon, particularly Clark Field and others in that immediate area. Toward the end of the month the Group began to attack industrial targets on Formosa. With the exception of the first six days of February, when the Group blasted Corregidor and furnished close ground support in the areas of Fort Stotsenburd and Ipo Dam on Luzon, the unit's primary targets were on Formosa.

90th Bombardment Group - History

The History of Forbes Field (IATA: FOE ICAO: KFOE)
Metropolitan Topeka Airport Authority

Congress authorized the Topeka Army Air Field (TAAF) building project within two weeks after the Dec. 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor. Eight months later, the completed air base -- essential buildings, hangars, repair shops, steam heating plants, fuel storage and three 7,000 by 150-foot paved runways -- was formally accepted by the Army Air Corps. In August 1942 the first troops arrived and had to be quartered in the agriculture building on the Topeka Fair Grounds because their green wood two-story barracks buildings weren't finished yet. By September 1942, the field was the home of the 333rd Bombardment Group. By 1945 TAAF was one of three B-29 centers where newly transitioned crews claimed new Superfortresses and took off for the Pacific to aid in the assault on the Japanese home islands. On 31 October 1947 Topeka Army Air Field was inactivated.

On 01 July 1948, Topeka Army Air Field was reactivated as a Strategic Air Command base (SAC) home to the 311th Air Division, Reconnaissance, and to the 55th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing. That mission continued until 14 October 1949, when the base was again inactivated. During that activation, TAAF was renamed Forbes Air Force Base in memory of Maj. Daniel H. Forbes, a Topeka pilot killed June 5, 1948, while testing the Northrop XB-49 "Flying Wing" jet bomber near Muroc Dry Lake, CA.

During the Korean War, Forbes AFB reopened and was again assigned to SAC. on 16 February 1951 the 21st Air Division was activated at Forbes, and thedivision's 90th Bombardment Wing moved to the base in February and March. The wing trained SAC's newly activated 376th, 308th and 310th Bomb Wings. From June 1951 to August 1953 it also trained B-29 replacement crews for combat. About 10 a month were trained until August 1952 when the bomb wing training program was concluded and the number of B-29 crews produced was doubled.

On 16 June 1952, the 90th was redesignated the 90th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing, Medium, and five months later started training recon crews as replacements for Far East Air Forces. During October 1952, the 55th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing moved to Forbes from Ramey AFB, Puerto Rico, continuing its program of photography, photomapping and electronic reconnaissance. The 90th and 55th Strategic Reconnaisance Wings flew Boeing RB-29 and RB-50 Superfortresses, then the Boeing RB-47 Stratojets.

Satellite image courtesy of
The planes were equipped with a bank of six cameras behind and below the aft crew compartments. Aerial photo and electronic intelligence monitoring became the primary mission of Forbes-based Wings during this period. Such flights often put the planes and crews close to Korea and the USSR. For the arrival of RB-47 jet aircraft in February 1954, a 12,000 foot runway was constructed. Both the 90th and 55th Wings trained to combat readiness and began overseas duty tours.

In 1953, 1960, and 1965 four Forbes-based 55th Wing planes were attacked by Russian MiG fighters over international waters:
1. March 1953 - An RB-50 was attacked by a MiG-15 off the coast of Kamchatka, Western Russia. The RB-50 fired on the MiG, and it dove away.
2. July 1953 - A MiG-15 shot down an RB-50 over the Northern Pacific. Only the copilot was rescued from the 16-man crew.
3. July 1960 - An RB-47 was shot down by "Russian fire" in the Kola Peninsula region over the Barents Seas. Two of the six-man crew survived and were imprisoned by the Soviets for several months.
4. April 1965 - Two North Korean MiG-17 fighters fired upon an RB-47 off the coast of Korea. The aircraft was damaged, but the crew were unharmed and successfully landed the RB-47 at Yokota Air Base in Japan.
In the overhead photo of Forbes AFB at the right (taken in July 1963) there are 70 B-47 and RB-47 Stratojets parked on the ramp with at least six other aircraft of different types.

In June 1960, the 90th SRW was deactivated and replaced by the 40th Bomb Wing, transferred fromSchilling AFB, Salina KS. The 40th was here until 1964 and it flew the B- 47 Stratojets. The Tactical Air Command began operation of the base in 1965.

In October 1958, Topeka received news that Forbes AFB would support Atlas E missile sites to be constructed in the surrounding area. The Corps of Engineers Kansas City District managed construction of the nine "coffins" where the missiles would be stored horizontally. Although Forbes was slated to have three sites with three missiles at each site, in February 1959, the Air Force directed that each missile be placed at an individual launch site, These sites were situated at or near Valley Falls, Dover, Waverly, Osage City, Delia, Wamego, Overbrook, Holton, and Bushong. Construction officially began on June 9,1959, when Kansas Governor George Docking drove a silver nail into a construction form.

Site construction was split between two firms, with one firm responsible for work at three sites and the other for work at the other six. There were difficulties encountered due to some 519 modifications made during construction. One modification concerned the propellant loading system. Prefabricated in Pittsburgh by Blaw-Knox Manufacturing for Atlas E sites at Vandenberg AFB, California Warren AFB, Wyoming Fairchild AFB, Washington and Forbes AFB, the system components were to arrive on skids bolted together. Unfortunately the skids often arrived late and testing revealed system defects that took time

Labor-management problems caused occasional setbacks in construction. During the project there were 22 work stoppages, most of which were quickly resolved. However, in October and November 1960, a long work stoppage occurred due to a work assignment dispute between the hoisting engineers and the electrical workers. The problem was resolved after the National Labor Relations Board issued a restraining order. There were 25 lost-time accidents during construction, including two fatalities that were electricity-related. One minor disturbance occurred at one of the sites when student pickets from McPherson College arrived to protest the deployment of ICBMs.

Despite the labor problems and student pickets, the project continued on schedule. On July 1, 1960, the 548th Strategic Missile Squadron stood up. Nearly 6 months later, on January 24, 1961, the first Atlas missile arrived at Forbes. By October, all nine sites had their Atlas E missiles. The Forbes sites were completed 3 weeks ahead of schedule. On October 16, 1961, Air Force Ballistic Missile Activation Chief, Maj. Gen. Gerrity turned over operational control of the sites to Second Air Force Commander Lt. Gen. John D. Ryan. In the ensuing press conference the two generals urged Kansans to become interested in constructing fallout shelters as an insurance policy that could enhance deterrence.

As a result of Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara’s May 1964 directive accelerating the decommissioning of Atlas and Titan I missile bases, the 548th Strategic Missile Squadron was deactivated on March 25, 1965.

Forbes transferred to the Tactical Air Command and the 838th Air Division in October 1964. The 313th Troop Carrier Wing (later Tactical Airlift Wing) became the primary flying unit at Forbes, operating Lockheed C-130B and C-130H Hercules cargo aircraft. IN 1966, the 1370th Photo Mapping Wing of the Military Airlift Command began operating at Forbes with Boeing RC-135 Lockheed RC-130 aircraft. The 1370th later became the Aerospace Cartographic and Geodetic Service (ACGS).

In January, 1974, the Metropolitan Topeka Airport Authority was created by Topeka City Charter Ordinance to oversee the transition period, the title for most of the 3,100-acre facility was transferred to the City of Topeka in April of 1976. Title was transferred to the city, less the Air Guard enclave on the northern third of the 6,000-foot north-south ramp, a portion of the south ramp and four associated buildings reserved for the Kansas Army National Guard. Commercial air service was moved to Forbes in May of 1976 and a month later Frontier Airlines initiated the first-ever jet service to Topeka.

Forbes Field is now the home of the Kansas Air National Guard's 190th Air Refuelling Wing and the 1st Battalion 108th Aviation Kansas Army National Guard.

90th Bombardment Group - History

90th Missile Wing

The 90th MW, located at Frances E. Warren AFB, Wyoming, is the fifth Minuteman wing (Wing V), placing the final 200 Minuteman missiles on alert on 15 June 1965.

Lineage - The 90th Bombardment Group (Heavy) was activated on 15 April 1942 and inactivated on 27 January 1946. It was redesignated as 90th Bombardment Wing and was activated on 2 Jan 1951. It was then redesignated as the 90th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing on 16 Jun 1952 and inactivated in 1960. The 90th Strategic Missile Wing (SMW) (ICBM-Minuteman) was activated on 1 Jul 1963. It was again redesignated as 90th MW on 1 Sep 1991, 90th Space Wing (SW) on 1 Oct 1997, and 90th MW on 1 Jul 2008. The 90 MW is one of three ICBM wings that continues to have Minuteman III missiles on alert day to day.

Operations Squadrons

319th Strategic Missile Squadron (SMS) was activated on 1 Dec 1961 and became the 319 Missile Squadron (MS) on1 Sep 1991.

320th SMS was activated on 1 Mar 1962 and became 320th MS on 1 Sep 1991.

321st SMS was activated on 1 May 1962 and became 321st MS on 1 Sep 1991.

400th SMS was activated on 1 Apr 1966, became 400th MS on 1 Sep 1991, and closed 19 Sep 2005.

The squadrons each originally had 50 Minuteman IB LGM30B missiles. Between August 1972 and 1975, the four squadrons were converted to the Minuteman III LGM-30G missiles. In 1994, the launch control centers were modified with REACT (Rapid Execution and Combat Targeting), changing the LCC configuration, consoles, displays and operating procedures for Minuteman.

In 1985, modifications began on the launch facilities of the 400th SMS for the Peacekeeper (LGM-118) missile. The 50th missile was brought on alert on 30 Dec 1988. (See the Peacekeeper link for more details.) The Peacekeeper missiles were removed and the 400th MS deactivated on 19 Sep 2005. One of the 400th MS Missile Alert Facilities (Q01) was turned over the to the State of Wyoming in 2015 for development as a museum and is now open to the public.


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