A B-24 Liberator (serial number 41-28904) of the 465th Bomb Group flies with A B-24 (serial number 42-52337) nicknamed "Cuddles"of the 460th Bomb Group, 15th Air Force fly as one of their comrades burns in mid air.
Foreground Left: B-24H-15-DT #41-28904 -
Top: B-24H-15-FO #42-52337 "Cuddles" Code: M - 763rd BS
The burning a/'s is unidentified, however it is known that it was being flown by the Frederick Smith Crew at the time it was set afire by enemy fighters on this mission of 16 June 1944. Only three crewmen survived.
Activated as a B-24 Liberator heavy bomber squadron in mid-1943, it was assigned to II Bomber Command. It was primarily trained in New Mexico and Utah. The unit received deployment orders for the Mediterranean Theater of Operations (MTO) in August 1943. It first moved to Georgia and Virginia, where the squadron flew coastal patrol missions over the southeast US, between October 1943 and January 1944 while its base in Italy was being constructed.
The squadron deployed to southern Italy and entered combat in January 1944, being assigned to the Fifteenth Air Force 55th Bombardment Wing. It was engaged in very long-range strategic bombing missions on enemy military, industrial and transportation targets in Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Romania and Yugoslavia. It bombed railroad marshalling yards, oil refineries, airdrome installations, heavy industry and other strategic objectives.
The squadron flew its last World War II combat mission on 26 April 1945. After V-E Day, it was assigned to the 'Green Project', the movement of troops from Europe to the United States via the South Atlantic transport route. B-24s were modified with sealed bomb bays, the removal of all defensive armament and the fuselage was equipped with seating to carry approximately 30 personnel. It was assigned to Air Transport Command at Waller Field, Trinidad and to Natal, Brazil. It moved personnel from Dakar in French West Africa, where personnel were conveyed across the South Atlantic to Brazil and eventually to Morrison Field, Florida via Trinidad. The squadron provided air transport until the end of September when it was inactivated.
The squadron was reactivated by a re-designation of the 4413th Air Refueling Squadron, Provisional, on 1 December 1988. Its mission was to provide combat refueling of Coalition aircraft assigned to United States Air Forces Central, primarily as part of Operation Southern Watch. It supported Operation Enduring Freedom beginning in 2002, and Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. Its host unit, the 363 AEOG, was inactivated on 26 August 2003 with the closing of United States facilities at Prince Sultan Air Base, Saudi Arabia.
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Constituted as 460th Bombardment Group (Heavy) in May 1943. Activated on 1 July 1943. Activated as a B-24 Liberator heavy bombardment unit; assigned to II Bomber Command for training. Primarily trained in New Mexico and Utah. Received deployment orders...
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