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344th Bomb Squadron

Established as a B-24 Liberator heavy bomb squadron and trained by Third Air Force. Deployed to Egypt in June 1942 over South Atlantic Transport Route transiting from Morrison Field, Florida though the Caribbean to Brazil; performed trans-Atlantic crossing from Brazil to Liberia, then transited east across central Africa to Sudan. Lastly the group reformed with the ground echelon which traveled by ship around the Cape of Good Hope, joining with air echelon in British Palestine.

Assigned to the newly formed IX Bomber Command, the squadron operated from airfields in Egypt; Libya and Tunisia supporting the British Eighth Army in the Western Desert Campaign. Also staged long-range strategic bombardment of enemy maritime shipping targets in the Mediterranean Sea and Italian ports, also military and industrial targets in Sicily, Italy, and the Southern Balkans, including attacking the Nazi-controlled oil refineries at Ploesti, Romania.

Reassigned to Fifteenth Air Force in southern Italy; continuing strategic bombardment raids on Occupied France; Southern Germany; Austria and targets in the Balkans. In the summer of 1944, the squadron participated in the invasion of southern France, assisted in the Soviet advance into the Balkans, and supported the partisans and guerrillas in Yugoslavia and neighboring countries.

The squadron returned to the United States in May 1945 where it was redesignated as a Boeing B-29 Superfortress very heavy bombardment squadron and began training for deployment to the Central Pacific Area. Training continued until November when the unit was transferred to Merced Army Air Field, California and reassigned to the 444th Bombardment Group,[3] where it replaced the 678th Bombardment Squadron, which was converted into a reconnaissance unit.[4] The squadron was inactivated at what was now Castle Field in March 1946.[3]

Commanding officers
  • John Kane

    Military | Colonel | B-24 Command Pilot - 98th Bomb Group Commander | 98th Bomb Group
    John Riley Kane (January 5, 1907 – May 29, 1996) was a colonel in the United States Army Air Corps and later the United States Air Force. He received the U.S. military's highest decoration, the Congressional Medal of Honor, in World War II, for his...

Structure

Part of
  • 98th Bomb Group

    98th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 98th trained for bombardment missions with B-24 Liberators during the first half of 1942. ...

Encompassing
Not yet known
Previously was
Not yet known
Became
Not yet known

Connections

People

  • Jerome Casper

    Military | Captain | 98th Bomb Group

  • Robert Gott

    Military | Second Lieutenant | 98th Bomb Group
    Received the DFC on 15 July 1943 per General Order 1847

  • Alvin Hinkle

    Military | Technical Sergeant (2nd Grade) | 98th Bomb Group
    Received DFC on 15 July 1942 per General Order 1847

  • John Kane

    Military | Colonel | B-24 Command Pilot - 98th Bomb Group Commander | 98th Bomb Group
    John Riley Kane (January 5, 1907 – May 29, 1996) was a colonel in the United States Army Air Corps and later the United States Air Force. He received the U.S. military's highest decoration, the Congressional Medal of Honor, in World War II, for his...

  • Harold Korger

    Military | Colonel | Bombardier | 98th Bomb Group
    Lt. Harold Korger was a bombardier in the 344th Bombardment Squadron, 98th Bomb Group, 9th AF on Capt. John Young's crew in a B-24 named 'Kickapoo'. He flew on the famous mission, Operation Tidal Wave, to knock out the oil refineries at Ploesti,...

  • Edward Kutzera

    Military | Technical Sergeant (2nd Grade) | 98th Bomb Group
    Received DFC on 15 July 1942 per General Order 1847

  • Erhardt Penderson

    Military | Second Lieutenant | 98th Bomb Group
    Received DFC on 15 July 1942 per General Order 1847

  • Edward Porter

    Military | Technical Sergeant (2nd Grade) | 98th Bomb Group
    Received DFC on 15 July 1942 per General Order 1847

  • Shuman Shaw

    Military | Staff Sergeant (3rd Grade) | 98th Bomb Group
    Received DFC on 15 July 1944 per General Order 1847

  • Robert Sternfels

    Military | Major | B-24 Command Bomber Pilot | 98th Bomb Group
    Lt. Robert Sternfels was a B-24D command bomber pilot in WWII who flew the famous B-24D bomber, 'The Sandman' on the mission Operation Tidal Wave to bomb the oil refineries at Ploesti, Romania, August 1, 1943. After enlisting as an Air Force pilot in...

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Aircraft

  • 41-11825 'Hail Columbia' 'Grumpy' 'Little Chief Big Dog'

    B-24 Liberator
    This aircraft originally served in the 344th BS as 'HAIL COLUMBIA'. It was 344th CO Col. John R. Kane's personal aircraft until Kane became 98th BG CO and turned it over to Herman "Big-Dog" Lewis. Lewis changed the right side nose art to 'LITTLE-CHIEF...

  • 41-24026 'Baby'

    B-24 Liberator
    Flew on 1st Aug 43 Ploesti oil refinery raid piloted by Francis E Weisler, aborting before the target. ...

  • 41-11768 Kickapoo

    B-24 Liberator
    B-24 liberator #41-11768, 'Kickapoo', of the 344th Bombing Squadron, 98th Bomb Group, 9th Air Force. This was Lt. John S. Young's second regular aircraft after he lost his first B-24 in theater, which was shot down earlier in 1943 in an air fight near...

  • 41-23656 Rowdy Ann

    B-24 Liberator
    B-24 Liberator #41-23656 'Rowdy Ann' 344th BS, 98th BG, 9th AF. Flew on 1st Aug 43 Ploesti oil refinery raid, aborting before the target, pilot Allen B Gaston. A/C Renamed from 'Rowdy II' - Transferred to 376th BG / 512th BS. Returned to the States on...

  • 41-23795 'Miss Julie' 'Sneezy'

    B-24 Liberator
    Equipped with radar and was used in a sea search role early in its career and may have been operated by other than the 343rd BS. ...

Citations

None

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
28 February 2019 23:54:34 Kickapoo Changes to person associations and commanding officers associations
Sources

Black Sunday ~ Michael Hill

Date Contributor Update
09 August 2018 11:18:49 Kickapoo Changes to person associations
Sources

Black Sunday - Michael hill

Date Contributor Update
12 March 2018 11:29:13 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Burning Hitler's Black Gold by Robert Sternfels

Date Contributor Update
12 March 2018 11:25:20 Kickapoo Changes to description and aircraft associations
Sources

Burning Hitler's Black Gold by Robert Sternfels

Date Contributor Update
10 March 2018 08:32:21 Kickapoo Changes to nicknames
Sources

Burning Hitler's Black Gold by Robt. Sternfels

Date Contributor Update
01 November 2016 02:46:47 466thHistorian Created entry with type, name, motto, description, air forces, aircraft types, unit encompassing associations and media associations
Sources

12th & 15th Air Forces - Gerard Paloque
page 94

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