Moved to the Southwest Pacific, via Capetown, Feb-Mar 1942. Became part of Fifth AF. Equipped first with B-17's, but converted to B-24's, May-Sep 1943. Operated from Australia, New Guinea, and Owi Island, Aug 1941-Nov 1944, making numerous attacks on Japanese shipping in the Netherlands East Indies and the Bismarck Archipelago. Experimented with skip bombing and used this method for some shipping strikes, including attacks on Japanese vessels during the Battle of the Bismarck Sea, 2-4 Mar 1943; received a DUC for participation in this latter action in which repeated air attacks destroyed a large enemy convoy carrying reinforcements to New Guinea. Other operations during this period included support for ground forces on New Guinea; attacks on airfields and installations in New Guinea, the Bismarck Archipelago, Celebes, Halmahera, Yap, Palau, and the southern Philippines; and long-range raids against oil refineries on Ceram and Borneo. Capt Jay Zeamer Jr, pilot, and 2nd Lt Joseph R Sarnoski, bombardier, each won the Medal of Honor for action during a photographic mapping mission over the Solomon Islands on 16 Jun 1943: when the mission was nearly completed, their aircraft was assaulted by about 20 interceptors; although painfully wounded, Lt Sarnoski remained at the nose guns and fired at the enemy until he died at his post; sustaining severe injuries, Capt Zeamer maneuvered the plane until the enemy had broken combat, then directed the flight to a base more than 500 miles away. After moving to the Philippines in Nov 1944, the group atttacked shipping along the Asiatic coast; struck industries, airfields, and installations in China and Formosa; and supported ground forces on Luzon. Moved to Ie Shima in Jul 1945 and conducted missions against airfields and railways in Japan and against shipping in the Inland Sea and the Sea of Japan. Returned to the Philippines in in Dec 1945. Inactivated on 29 Apr 1946.
Tags: af, bs, bg, sw, southwest