The 346th Bombardment Group, USAAF, went through two incarnations during the Second World War, first as a US-based training unit and the second as part of the Eighth Air Force in the Far East.
The group was originally activated on 7 September 1942 and was allocated to the Second Air Force. It was equipped with the B-17 and the B-24 and at first served as an Operational Training Unit, helping build up the size of the USAAF. It later became a Replacement Training Unit, providing aircrews to replace losses in existing units. This first version of the unit was inactivated on 1 April 1944.
The group was reactivated as the 346th Bombardment Group (Very Heavy) on 18 August 1944. This time it prepared for combat as a B-29 group, allocated to the war against Japan. After the end of the war in Europe the powerful Eighth Air Force was moved to the Far East, although many of its units came directly from the USA, and the 346th was one of those units.
The first aircrews from the 346th began to reach Kadena on Okinawa on 7 August 1945, as part of the transfer of the Eighth Air Force from Europe to the Far East. The war ended before the group could enter combat against Japan. Instead it was used to ferry Allied POWs from Okinawa to the Philippines and for show-of-force flights over Japan. The group was inactivated on Okinawa on 30 June 1946.
1942-44: Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and Consolidated B-24 Liberator
1944-46: Boeing B-29 Superfortress
|3 September 1942||Constituted on 346th Bombardment Group (Heavy)|
|7 September 1942||Activated and assigned to Second Air Force|
|1 April 1944||Inactivated|
|Redesignated as 346th Bombardment Group (Very Heavy)|
|18 August 1944||Activated and assigned to Second Air Force|
|June-August 1945||To Pacific and Eighth Air Force|
|30 June 1946||Inactivated|
Col Budd J Peaslee: 6
Lt Col Samuel C Mitchell: 20 Dec 1942-1943
Lt Col John D Moorman: Mar 1943
Col Samuel C Gurney Jr: Oct 1943-1 Apr 1944
Maj James A Gibb Jr: 21 Aug 1944
Lt Col Charles E Dewey: 23 Aug 1944
Col William M Canterbury: 13 Sep 1944
Col Ben I Funk: 3 Jan 1945
Col Joseph F Carroll, 30 Nov 1945-30 1946.
Salt Lake City AAB, Utah:
7 Sep 1942
Smoky Hill AB, Kan: 3 Oct 1942
Dyersburg AAFld, Tenn: 26 Feb 1943-1 Apr 1944
Dalhart AAFld, Tex: 18 August 1944
Pratt AAFld, Kan: 18 Jan 1945-29 June 1945
Kadena, Okinawa: 7 August 1945-30 Jun 1946.
461st Bombardment Squadron: 1944-46
462nd Bombardment Squadron: 1944-46
463rd Bombardment Squadron: 1944-46
502nd Bombardment Squadron: 1942-44
503rd Bombardment Squadron: 1942-44
504th Bombardment Squadron: 1942-44
505th Bombardment Squadron: 1942-44
1942-44: Second Air Force
1944-45: 316th Bombardment Wing
1945-46: 316th Bombardment Wing; Eighth Air Force (Far East)