4th Reconnaissance Group

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The 4th Reconnaissance Group was the only reconnaissance unit to serve with the Thirteenth Air Force and took part in the advance across the southern Pacific, moving from its early bases on New Caledonia to Morotai in the Moluccas Islands, an advance of around 3,000 miles.

The group performed a wide range of reconnaissance duties. It was used on standard reconnaissance duties over Japanese held territory, searching for targets and producing post-bombing damage assessment, but was also used as a mapping unit, both over Japanese and Allied held territory and to produce navigation charts for the often poorly mapped waterways in the area.

The group was based on New Caledonia from November 1942 until January 1943, before moving north to Espiritu Santo in the New Hebrides, where it remained until May 1944. At this stage in the war its targets were mainly in the Solomon Islands (including Guadalcanal) and New Guinea.

The group moved onto Guadalcanal in May 1944 and was based there until December 1944. This allowed it to extend its range to the west, ranging across the Bismarck Archipelago (north-west of the Solomon Islands) and further west along New Guinea.

The final wartime move came in December 1944 when the group moved west to Morotai in the northern Moluccas Islands. This allowed it to extend its operations into the Western Pacific. In the last three months of the war it also operated over Mindanao and Borneo, supporting some of the final battles on those islands.

The group moved to Leyte in September 1945 and was inactivated there on 15 January 1945.




1942 onwards: Lockheed F-4 Lightning


14 July 1942 Constituted as 4th Photographic Group
Late 1942 To South Pacific
Jan 1943 To Thirteenth Air Force
May 1943 Redesignated 4th Photographic and Mapping Group
Nov 1943 Redesignated 4th Photographic Group (Reconnaissance)
May 1945 Redesignated 4th Reconnaissance Group

Commanders (with date of appointment)

2nd Lt Everett E Shaw: 23 Jul 1942
Lt Col Francis L Rivard: 10 Aug 1942
Lt Col Charles P Hollstein: 3 Sep 1942
Col Paul C Schauer: 18 Jul 1943
Lt Col Hillford R Wallace: 7 Jun 1944
Maj Sidney L Hardin: 4 Aug 1944
Lt Col Hershell E Parsons: 20 Jan 1945-unkn.

Main Bases

Colorado Springs, Colo: 23 Jul-24 Oct 1942
New Caledonia: 22 Nov 1942
Espiritu Santo: 22 Jan 1943
Guadalcanal: 6 May 1944
Morotai: 12 Dec 1944
Leyte: Sep 1945-15 Jan 1946

Component Units

17th Reconnaissance Squadron: 1942-1946
18th Reconnaissance Squadron: 1942-1944
19th Reconnaissance Squadron: 1942-1943
20th Reconnaissance Squadron: 1942-1943
38th Reconnaissance Squadron: 1945-1946

Assigned To

Jan 1943 onwards: Thirteenth Air Force

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (12 November 2014), 4th Reconnaissance Group , http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/USAAF/4th_Reconnaissance_Group.html

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