Army Air Forces in Europe

world war II

385th Bomber Group

8th Air Force 385th BG

Squadrons of the 385th BG

Van's Valiants

548th Bombardment Squadron - Heavy
549th Bombardment Squadron - Heavy
550th Bombardment Squadron - Heavy
551st Bombardment Squadron -Heavy

Assigned 8th AAF: June 1943

Wing/Command Assignment

VIII BC, 4 BW, 401 PCBW Jun 1943
VIII BC, 3 BD, 4 CBW 13 Sep 1943
3 BD, 4 CBW 8 Jan 1944
3 AD, 4 CBW 1 Jan 1945
3 AD, 93 CBW 1 Jan 1945

Combat Aircraft:



GREAT ASHFIELD 26 Jun 1943 to 4 Aug 1945

Group COs

Col. Elliot Vandevanter 3 Feb 1943 to 23 Aug 1944
Col. George Y. Jumper 24 Aug 1944 to 28 May 1945
Col. William H. Hanson 2 Jun 1945 to Jul 1945

First Mission: 17 July 1943
Last Mission: 20 Apr 1945
Missions: 296
Total Sorties: 8,264
Total Bomb Tonnage: 18,494 Tons
Aircraft MIA: 129

Major Awards:

Two Distinguished Unit Citations:
17 Aug 1943; Regensburg
12 May 1944 Zwickau

Claims to Fame

Led famous attack on Marienburg factory on the 9th October 1943
Last group to be shot at in May 1945 in Holland.

Early History:

Activated 1 December 1942 at Davis-Monthan Field in Arizona. Unit formed in February 1943 at Geiger Field in Washington. Trained for two months and then moved to Great Falls AAD, on the 11th April 1943. the unit completed training at the end of May 1943 with the aircraft moving to Kearney Field Nebraska prior to moving to England by the northern ferry route. Two aircraft were lost en route. The ground unit left Great Falls on the 8th June 1943. The 548th BS sailed on the Queen Mary on the 23rd June 1943 and the other squadrons on the Queen Elizabeth on the 1st July 1943.

Subsequent History:

Redeployed to the United States in June, and August of 1945. the aircraft left between 19 June, and 29 June 1945. the ground unit left on the 4th August 1945, and sailed on the Queen Elizabeth from Greenock on the 5th August 1945. They arrived in New York on the 11th August 1945. Group was then established at Sioux Falls, Army Air Field, SD and inactivated on the 28th August 1945.
The unit was reactivated as a Headquarters for missile, and tanker squadrons at Offutt AFB but was inactivated by 1966.

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