The 7th Bombardment Group was one of the older formations in the USAAC in 1941, having been active since 1928. Late in 1941 it was decided to reinforce the Far East Air Force on the Philippines. The 7th was chosen to fly its B-17s out to the Philippines, while its ground echelons traveled by sea. The ground echelon left San Francisco for the Philippines on 21 November 1941, and the first contingent of aircraft took off on the evening of 6th December, heading for Hawaii.
The next morning the first contingent of bombers touched down in the middle of the Pearl Harbor attack. The group would be scattered for most of the next year. One part of the group was used to fly fifteen LB-30s from the United States, ending up at Karachi (under the codename Project X).
Another part of the unit ended up at Malang, Java, under the command of Major Stanley K. Robinson. It then moved west to Jogjakarta, flying operations against the invading Japanese. On 29 January Major Robinson was killed in action. The defence of Java ended in failure and evacuation to Australia. Those elements of the 7th that ended up in Australia were transferred to the 19th Bombardment Group, while the 7th began to reform in India. During this period the group's ground echelon found itself in heavy demand - between 23 December 1941 and 4 February 1942 they assembled 138 P-40s.
The Tenth Air Force came under the command of Major General Lewis H Brereton. He wanted medium bombers, preferring them to heavy bombers for operations over Burma. The group was redesignated as a Bombardment Group (Composite). The 11th and 22nd Bombardment Squadrons were to operate the B-25 Mitchell, while the 9th and 436th squadrons retained the B-17. Brereton had hardly gained approval for this reorganisation before the deteriorating situation in the Middle East forced the USAAF to move him west to Egypt. He was given permission to take every heavy bomber and just about anything else he wants.
He was replaced in command of the Tenth by Brigadier-General Earl L. Naiden. He found the 7th BG scattered - the 9th squadron was in the Middle East with Brereton, the 11th was in China with its Mitchells and the 436th and 22nd were scattered around India, out of action. He reorganised the unit once again, this time turning it back to a Bombardment Group (Heavy). The 11th and 22nd squadrons transferred to the 341st Bombardment Group (Medium), while two new squadrons, the 492nd and 493rd, were activated in India. The group began to convert to the B-24 Liberator.
From then on the group had a more stable existence, operating from bases in eastern India against the Japanese in Burma. It also hit targets further away, including oil refinaries in Thailand, power stations in China and enemy shipping. The unit was also used to ferry fuel across the hump to China.
|B-24 Liberator Units of the Pacific War, Robert F. Dorr. The B-24 played a major part in the war in the Pacific, serving as the main heavy bomber for the USAAF in the Pacific from the start of the war until the late arrival of the B-29. The Pacific campaign was fought on a vast scale, over theatres as varied as the jungles of Burma and the icy Aleutian islands. Dorr splits this volume into five parts - one looking at the early period of the war, when small numbers of B-24s took part in desperate attempts to stop the Japanese advance, one chapter each for the Fifth, Seventh and Thirteenth Air Forces, and a final chapter for the combined Far East Air Force.|
Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress: 1942
Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and Consolidated LB-30 Liberator: March 1942
B-25 Mitchell: July 1942 (two squadrons)
Consolidated B-24 Liberator: Late 1942-end of war
|1923||redesignated 7th Bombardment Group|
|1 June 1928||Activated|
|1939||redesignated 7th Bombardment Group (Heavy)|
|December 1941||Transferred to Philippines|
|7 December 1941||Six of the group's B-17s present on Hawaii during Pearl Harbor attack|
|January-March 1942||Active from Java|
|March 1942-December 1945||Tenth Air Force, operating from India|
Major Stanley K. Robinson: to 29 January 1942 (Killed in action)
Major Austin A Staubel: 29 January-3 February 1942
Colonel Cecil E. Combs: 22 March 1942
Colonel Conrad F. Necrason: 1 July 1942
Colonel Aubrey K. Dodson: 27 March 1944
Colonel Harvey T. Alness: 6 November 1944
Colonel Howard F. Bronson Jr: 24 June 1945
Rockwell Field, California: 1 June 1928
March Field, California: 30 October 1931
Hamilton Field, California: 5 December 1934
Merced Field, California: 5 November 1935
Hamilton Field, California: 22 May 1937
Ft. Douglas, Utah: 7 September 1940-13 November 1941
Brisbane, Australia: 22 December 1942-February 1941 (Aircraft active in Java)
Jogjakarta: January 1942 (Air echelon)
Karachi, India: 12 March 1942
Dum-Dum, India: 30 May 1942
Karachi, India: 9 September 1942
Pandaveswar, India: 12 December 1942
Kurmitola, India: 17 January 1944
Pandaveswar, India: 6 October 1944
Tezpur, India: 7 June 1945
9th Bombardment Squadron: 1928-1946
11th Bombardment Squadron: to Autumn 1942
22nd Bombardment Squadron: 1939-Autumn 1942
436th Bombardment Squadron: 1939-1946
492nd Bombardment Squadron: Autumn 1942-1946
493td Bombardment Squadron: Autumn 1942-1946
V Bomber Command, Fifth Air Force: 1942
Tenth Air Force: March 1942-December 1945