China Burma India Theater (CBI) (later IBT, or India-Burma theater) 1 China Burma India Theater (CBI) (later IBT, or India-Burma theater) 2 China Burma India Theater (CBI) (later IBT, or India-Burma theater) 3 China Burma India Theater (CBI) (later IBT, or India-Burma theater) 4 AIR-FIELDS IN MIDNAPORE World War II and now AIR-FIELDS IN WEST MIDNAPORE World War II and now AIR-FIELDS IN EAST MIDNAPORE World War II and now AIR-FIELDS IN MEDINIPUR World War II and now AIR-FIELDS IN MEDINIPORE World War II and now AIR-FIELDS IN MIDNAPUR World War II and now
7th Bombardment Group (1942–1945)  India (B-17, B-24).


462d Strategic Aerospace Wing

The 462d Strategic Aerospace Wing is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its last assignment was to Strategic Air Command, based at Larson Air Force Base, Washington.

The unit's origins begin with its predecessor, the World War II 462d Bombardment Group (462d BG) which served primarily in the Pacific Ocean theater and China Burma India Theater of World War II as part of Twentieth Air Force. The 462d BG's B-29 Superfortress aircraft engaged in very heavy bombardment operations against Japan. After its reassignment to the Mariana Islands in 1945, it's aircraft were identified by a "N" and a triangle painted on the tail. They were more commonly known as the "Hellbirds".

In 1962 the 462d Strategic Aerospace Wing was activated by Strategic Air Command to perpetuate the lineage of inactive bombardment units with illustrious World War II records. It conducted strategic bombardment training operations flying B-52D Stratofortresses and maintained ICBM readiness with LGM-25C Titan II missiles to meet SAC commitments. The wing served as a deterrent force and also supported SAC's global mission until inactivated in 1966 due to the closing of Larson AFB.


World War II

The 462d Bombardment Group, Very Heavy was constituted on May 15, 1943 as a B-29 Superfortress group and activated on July 1 at Smokey Hill AAF near Salinas, Kansas. It was assigned the 768th, 769th, 770th and 771st Bomb Squadrons. On July 28 it was reassigned to Walker AAF in Kansas where the group engaged in training on the new aircraft and its new mission. The 462d was assigned to the first Superfortress wing, the 58th Bombardment Wing.

In March 1944, the group left the United States and deployed to a former B-24 Liberator airfield at Piardoba India, arriving on April 7 In India, the group was assigned to the XX Bombardment Command of the new Twentieth Air Force. During the week of April 15–22, no less than five 58th Bomb Wing B-29s crashed near Karachi all from overheated engines. The entire Wing had to be grounded en route until the cause was found. The cause was traced to the fact that the B-29's R-3350 engine had not been designed to operate at ground temperatures higher than 115 degrees F, which were typically exceeded in India. Modifications had also to be made to the aircraft and after these modifications, B-29 flights to India were resumed.

From India, the 462d Bomb Group planned to fly missions against Japan from airfields in China. However, all the supplies of fuel, bombs, and spares needed to support the forward bases in China had to be flown in from India over "The Hump" (the name given by Allied pilots to the eastern end of the Himalayan Mountains), since Japanese control of the seas around the Chinese coast made seaborne supply of China impossible. Many of the supplies had to be delivered to China by the B-29s themselves. For this role, they were stripped of nearly all combat equipment and used as flying tankers and each carried seven tons of fuel. The Hump route was so dangerous and difficult that each time a B-29 flew from India to China it was counted as a combat mission,
The first combat mission by the group took place on June 5, 1944 when squadrons of the 462d took off from India to attack the Makasan railroad yards at Bangkok, Thailand. This involved a 2261-mile round trip, the longest bombing mission yet attempted during the war.

On June 15 the group participated in the first American Air Force attack on the Japanese Home Islands since the Doolittle raid in 1942 when it took part in the bombing of Yawata. Operating from bases in India, and at times staging through fields in India and China, the group struck transportation centers, naval installations, iron works, aircraft plants, and other targets in Japan, Thailand, Burma, China, Formosa, and Indonesia. From a staging base in Ceylon, the 462d mined the Moesi River on Sumatra in August 1944. Received a Distinguished Unit Citation for a nighttime attack on iron and steel works at Yawata, Japan, in August 1944.

The group was reassigned to Tinian, in the Marianas February–April 1945, for further operations against Japan with the XXI Bomb Command. It participated in mining operations, bombardment of strategic targets, and incendiary raids on urban areas. Bombed industrial areas in Tokyo and Yokohama in May 1945, being awarded a DUC for the action. Received another DUC for a daylight attack on an aircraft plant at Takarazuka on July 24, 1945.

The 462d Bomb Group returned to the United States, being assigned to MacDill Field, Florida in November 1945. It was assigned to the Third Air Force of Continental Air Forces. Continental Air Forces would later evolve into the Strategic Air Command on March 21, 1946. Demobilization, however, was in full swing and the group turned in its aircraft and was inactivated on March 31, 1946, never becoming an operational SAC unit. Many of the wing's personnel and aircraft were reassigned to the 307th Bombardment Wing, which was reactivated at MacDill on August 4, 1946 as part of the re-established Fifteenth Air Force.

Strategic Air Command

The origins of the 462d Strategic Aerospace Wing come from the establishment of the 4170th Strategic Wing at Larson AFB, Washington, on 1 July 1959. A Strategic Air Command, Fifteenth Air Force unit, it was equipped with B-52 Stratofortresses. Strategic Wings wings were established by SAC to disburse it's B-52 bombers over a larger number of bases, thus making it more difficult for the Soviet Union to knock out the entire fleet with a surprise first strike. A 4-Digit MAJCOM wing, it was considered a temporary, provisional unit.

In 1962, in order to retain the lineage of its MAJCOM 4-digit combat units and to perpetuate the lineage of many currently inactive bombardment units with illustrious World War II records, Headquarters SAC received authority from Headquarters USAF to discontinue its MAJCOM strategic wings that were equipped with combat aircraft and to activate AFCON units, most of which were inactive at the time which could carry a lineage and history.

The 4170th SW was redesignated as the 462d Strategic Aerospace Wing (462d SAW) on 1 February 1963. It was designated as a Strategic Aerospace Wing as the new organization controlled a combination of B-52D Stratofortress and LGM-25C Titan II ICBM squadrons. Its component units were also redesignated to historically-linked units of the newly-established wing. As under the Tri-Deputate organization, all flying components were directly assigned to the wing, no operational group element was activated. Therefore the history, lineage and honors of the 462d Bombardment Group were bestowed upon the newly established wing upon activation. The 327th Bomb Squadron was replaced by the 768th Bomb Squadron.

The 462d SAW conducted training in strategic bombardment and refueling operations with the KC-135 Stratotanker and maintain ICBM readiness to meet SAC commitments. Its 568th Strategic Missile Squadron served as a deterrent force. The 462d Strategic Aerospace Wing was inactivated on June 25, 1966 with the closing of Larson AFB.


  • Constituted as 462d Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 19 May 1943
Activated on 1 July 1943 Redesignated 462d Bombardment Group (Very Heavy) in November 1943 Inactivated on 31 March 1946.
  • Established as 462d Strategic Aerospace Wing on 15 November 1962

Activated on on 15 November 1962. Scheduled to replace the 4170th Strategic Wing on 1 February 1963 Organized on 1 February 1963 assuming the resources (Manpower, Aircraft, Equipment, Weapons, & Facilities) of the 4170th Strategic Wing Discontinued, and inactivated, on 25 June 1966.


  • 58th Bombardment Wing, 1 July 1943-12 October 1944
  • XX Bomber Command, 13 October 1944-7 February 1945
  • 58th Bombardment Wing, 8 February-5 November 1945
  • Continental Air Forces, 6 November 1945
  • Strategic Air Command, 21–31 March 1946 (not operational); 15 November 1962
  • 18th Strategic Aerospace Division, 1 February 1963-25 June 1966.


  • 345th Bombardment Squadron 1945–1946
  • 768th Bombardment Squadron 1943–1946, 1963–1966
  • 769th Bombardment Squadron 1943–1946
  • 770th Bombardment Squadron 1943–1946
  • 771st Bombardment Squadron 1943–1944


  • Smoky Hill AAF, Kansas July 1–28, 1943
  • Walker AAF, Kansas July 28, 1943 – March 12, 1944
  • Piardoba Airfield, India April 7, 1944 – February 26, 1945
  • Kuinglai (Linqiong) Airfield (A-4), China designated as forward staging base.
  • West Field, Tinian, Mariana Islands April 4 – November 5, 1945
  • MacDill Field, Florida, November 1945 – March 31, 1946
  • Larson AFB, Washington, February 1, 1963 – June 25, 1966
Hellbird Herald

33d Fighter Group (1944–1945)

Share |
Suggestions - Legacy of East & West Medinipore District .


Best viewed with 1024x768 resolution and IE4.0 & Above || Copyright ©, All rights reserved.
This site is owned, designed and maintained by Arindam Bhowmik.