The 866th Bombardment Group was the third of three B-24 Liberator squadrons formed to create the 494th Bombardment Group, the last Liberator group to leave the United States during the Second World War. The three new squadrons were joined by the 867th Bombardment Squadron, which under three different designations had taken part in the anti-submarine war since early in 1942, and after spending most of 1944 in training the new group left for Angaur at the end of September 1944.
The B-24s of the 866th Bombardment Squadron were left in their natural metal finish and could be distinguished by two vertical stripes painted in black on the tail.
The 866th Bombardment Squadron took part in the bombing campaign in the Palau Islands and in the campaign over the Philippines from its first base on Angaur. In June 1945 it moved to Okinawa, and on 5 July took part in the first B-24 Liberator raid on the Japanese home islands from Okinawa. For the last two months of the war the squadron took part in the attack on Japan as well as carrying out raids on targets in China and Korea. After the end of the war the squadron flew mercy missions to Allied prisoners of war held in Japan.
For more details see the 494th Bomb Group (H) Association website
Consolidated B-24 Liberator: 1944-1945
|14 September 1943||Constituted as 864th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy)|
|1 December 1943||Activated|
|7 January 1946||Inactivated|
Combat in Western and Southwest Pacific: 22 November 1944-12 August 1945
Air Offensive, Japan
Air Combat, Asiatic-Pacific Theater
Wendover Field, Utah: 1 December 1943
Mountain Home Army, Idaho: 14 April-1 June 1944
Barking Sands, Hawaii: 15 June 1944
Angaur: 30 September 1944
Yontan, Okinawa: 24 June-19 December 1945
Vancouver, Washington: 4-7 January 1946
494th Bombardment Group: 1 December 1943-4 January 1946