Hunter Army Airfield

Airfield

Object Number - UPL 39151 - Pre-assignment signatures from Lt. Frank Calicura and crew ( Cal's Rascals), in preparation for ETO.

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Detailed History

On 30 August 1940, the United States Army Air Corps received approval to build a base at Hunter Municipal Airfield. Official dedication of the airfield as Savannah Army Air Base took place 19 February 1941. The Army Air Corps assigned Savannah AAB initially to the Southeast Air District (later Third Air Force), III Air Support Command.[5]

The 27th Bombardment Group, equipped with Douglas B-18 Bolo medium bomber aircraft was the first assigned unit to the new airfield. The 27th was reassigned to the field from Barksdale Field, Louisiana. The group consisted of the 15th, 16th and 17th Bombardment Squadrons. In 1941, the group was reequipped with Douglas A-24 Banshee Dive Bombers, and on 21 October 1941 the group was ordered to the Philippine Islands in response to the growing crisis in the Pacific. The 27th returned to Hunter, without personnel or equipment on 4 May 1942 after being severely depleted in strength during the Battle of the Philippines (1942), and subsequent combat in the Dutch East Indies and New Guinea Campaigns (1942). The unit was reequipped with A-20 Havocs, remanned and retrained at Hunter. It was then deployed for combat with Twelfth Air Force in North Africa in July 1942.

During early 1942 after the Pearl Harbor Attack, Savannah AAB became a base for several Antisubmarine groups and squadrons of I Bomber Command and later Army Air Forces Antisubmarine Command with a mission to patrol the Atlantic coast, locate and attack German U-Boats.

Throughout 1942, light bomber and dive bomber groups received combat training at Savannah AAB before being deployed to the combat zones overseas. Units assigned were:
85th Bombardment Group (Light), 9 June – 15 August 1942
86th Bombardment Group (Light), 20 June – 7 August 1942
311th Bombardment Group (Light), 4 July – 22 October 1942
339th Bombardment Group (Dive), 10 August 1942 – 6 February 1943

With the U-Boat mission taken over by the Navy after mid-1943, Savannah AAB became a training base for B-26 Marauder medium bomber crews. Marauder groups which received final combat training were:
344th Bombardment Group (Medium), 19 December 1943 – 26 January 1944
397th Bombardment Group (Medium), 1 November 1943 – 13 March 1944

At the end of the war, Savannah AAB was used as a Separation Center for the discharge and furlough of service members returning from Europe. In June 1946, the airfield was returned to the City of Savannah.

From 1946 to 1949, many of its buildings were leased to industrial plants. Some of the buildings were used as apartment houses, and an orphanage was located in the former commanding officer’s quarters. The University of Georgia established an extension campus on part of the old base, as well.

People

  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 370th Fighter Group 401st Fighter Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 18051794
  • Highest Rank: First Lieutenant
  • Role/Job: fighter pilot
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 397th Bomb Group 596th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: O-741310
  • Highest Rank: Second Lieutenant
  • Role/Job: Bombardier
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 94th Bomb Group 332nd Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 12148350
  • Highest Rank: Technical Sergeant (2nd Grade)
  • Role/Job: Radio Operator/ Aerial Gunner/ Aerial Gunner Instructor

Aircraft

  • Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress
  • Unit: 41st Combat Bomb Wing 379th Bomb Group 526th Bomb Squadron
  • Aircraft Type: B-17 Flying Fortress
  • Nicknames: Jimbo's Circus
  • Unit: 94th Bomb Group 333rd Bomb Squadron

Revisions

Date6 Dec 2016 03:13:48
Contributor466thHistorian

Hunter Army Airfield: Gallery (1 items)