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- DescriptionThe 91st Bombardment Group, the forerunner of the 91st Strategic Reconnaissance Wing, arrived in England in September 1942 prepared for the initial bombing operations against Fortress Europe. Commander of the 305th Bomber Command, Curtis LeMay and Director of Operations, Joseph J. Preston, trained air crews in locating and identifying strategic targets in Nazi Germany. LeMay and Preston developed a dynamic working relationship and left a lasting legacy. News correspondents were trained as gunners in order to fly on the bombing missions and report the war first hand. Young college-aged crews rapidly became seasoned warriors and struggled to meet the 25-mission requirement before their return home. One of the most famous B-17s during World War II was the Memphis Belle which was featured in a movie Saga of the Memphis Belle. In February 20-25, 1944, kwn as Big Week , the VIII Bomber Command put up 1,000 heavy bombers that flew 3,800 sorties, destroyed 75 percent of buildings bombed in Germany and downed 600 Nazi fighters. The following month, 800 bombers struck Berlin targets during such bad weather that Luftwaffe fighters never became airborne. That offensive established aerial supremacy in Europe in preparation for General Dwight Eisenhower's command of the D-Day invasion on Nazi-occupied France. The 91st was again in the thick of world events when the Soviet-backed North Koreans pushed through the 38th Parallel into South Korea. Photographic reconnaissance and mapping of the uncharted Korean peninsula became a top priority. The nation's first jet-propelled bomber, the RB-45C, led the newly designated US Air Force assigned to a detachment bound for Japan. Capable of air refueling, the RB-45C detachment made an island-hopping flight, due to the time constraints, to become proficient in working with tanker refueling. The 91st SRW detachments continued to perform at Forward Operating Locations in Eielson AFB, Alaska, Thule AFB, Greenland, Turkey, Libya, Morocco, Spain, England and Japan, with the same skill and security.
- Author BiographyFrank T. Hayes is dedicated to preserving the history of SAC. He is a retired engineer with Fairchild Republic, Northrop Grumman and as consulting engineer at GASL. He is an advocate of advanced aerospace technology and education of engineers and scientists. A FAA Certified Flight Instructor, Frank has 2,646 accident-free hours in the cockpit and serves as a volunteer FAA Pilot Safety Counselor. James F. Bard, Jr. currently serves as Secretary of the 91st Strategic Reconnaissance Wing Association. From November 1954 to November 1957, Jim served the 91st SRW and continued to support SAC in a variety of tours where he was promoted to Senior Master Sergeant and subsequently received a commission in 1969. He retired as a Captain in October 1980. The lessons learned in his first assignment at the 91st SRW molded the remainder of his Air Force career. Linda Rios Bromley is the author of Freedom Flight, A True Story, which chronicles the experiences a Republic of China Air Force U-2 pilot. She has co-authored of Remembering the Dragon Lady, Memoirs of the Men Who Experienced the Legend of the U-2 Spy Plane, with Brig. Gen. (Retired) Gerald E. McIlmoyle. Linda is a former director of the Laughlin Heritage Foundation Museum in Del Rio, Texas. Visit her website at www.peoplestoriesunlimited.com.
- Author(s)Frank T. Hayes,James F. Bard,Linda Rios Bromley
- PublisherHelion & Company
- Date of Publication19/12/2013
- SubjectMilitary History
- Place of PublicationSolihull
- Country of PublicationUnited Kingdom
- ImprintHelion & Company
- Content Note105 bw photos, 1 map
- Weight522 g
- Width156 mm
- Height234 mm
- Spine23 mm
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