The 5th Bombardment Group had originally been created on Hawaii in 1919 as the 2nd Group (Observation). It became a Bombardment Group in March 1938, moving up in scale from medium bombers in 1939 to heavy bombers in 1940, although by the start of the Second World War it was still equipped with a mix of B-17 Flying Fortresses and B-18 Bolo Medium bombers. The 5th BG was the first overseas group to be equipped with the new Boeing heavy bomber.
On 8 December 1941 the 5th BG had twelve B-17s based at Hickam Field, but most of those aircraft were destroyed during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. In the reorganisation that followed Pearl Harbor, the 5th BG was allocated to the Seventh Air Force, based on Hawaii. It remained there until November 1942, performing search and patrol duties from the islands, guarding against a repeat attack.
In November 1942 the group was transferred to the Thirteenth Air Force, to take part in the campaign in the Solomons. By now its B-18s had gone and the group was equipped with a mix of B-17 Flying Fortresses and Consolidated B-24 Liberators.
From November 1942 until August 1943 the group conducted long range patrol missions over the Solomons, took part in the campaign on Guadalcanal, and attacked Japanese airfields in the northern Solomons.
From August 1943 until the spring of 1944 it took part in the campaigns against Bougainville, New Britain and New Ireland. It then took part in the attacks on Woleai in April and May 1944. In June and August 1944 it operated over the Truk and Palau Islands. That was followed by a period spent attacking targets in the Dutch East Indies and on Borneo.
From October 1944 the group took part in the invasion of the Philippines, even directly supporting the infantry.
Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and B-18 Bolo by December 1941
Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and Consolidated B-24 Liberator: November 1942 to end of war
|March 1938||Redesignated 5th Bombardment Group|
|March 1939||Redesignated 5th Bombardment Group (Medium)|
|November 1940||Redesignated 5th Bombardment Group (Heavy)|
|February 1942||Assigned to Seventh Air Force|
|December 1941-November 1942||Search and Patrol duties off Hawaii|
|November 1942-end of war||With Thirteenth Air Force during advance from Solomons to Philippines.|
Lt. Colonel Edwin B. Bobzien: 1941
Colonel Arthur W. Meechan: 1942
Colonel Brooke E Allen: 1942
Colonel Marion D. Unruh: 10 August 1943
Lt. Colonel Joseph E Reddoch Jr: 31 December 1943
Colonel Thomas C Musgrave Jr: 4 April 1944
Colonel Joseph E Reddoch Jr: 21 April 1944
Colonel Thomas C Musgrave Jr: 15 August 1944
Major Albert W James: 28 February 1945
Colonel Isaac J. Haviland: 15 March 1945
Lt. Colonel Albert W. Hames: 5 July 1945
Hickam Field: 1 January 1939
Espiritu Santo: 1 December 1942
Guadalcanal: 19 August 1943
Munda, New Georgia: 4 February 1944
Momote Airfield, Los Negros: 7 April 1944
Wakde: 17 August 1944
Noemfoor: 22 September 1944
Moratai: October 1944
Samar: 5 March 1945
Clark Field, Luzon: December 1945-May 1949
23rd Bombardment Squadron: 1938-1947
31st Bombardment Squadron: 1938-1947
72nd Bombardment Squadron: 1938-1947
394th (formerly 4th) Bombardment Squadron: 1939-1946
1931-1942: 18th Bombardment Wing (Hawaii)
February 1942-November 1942: VII Bomber Command, Seventh Air Force, Hawaii:
November 1942-1946: XIII Bomber Command, Thirteenth Air Force: