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Organization of the 6th Bomb Group

The 6th Bomb Group was part of the 313th Bombardment Wing of the 21st Bomber Command of the 20th Air Force. The 20th Air Force was the first Air Force not put under the command of a Theater Commander, such as Eisenhower, McArthur or Nimitz. Instead, General Curtis LeMay assumed direct command of the 20th Air Force. The mission of the 20th was to engage in the strategic destruction of Japan by air.

 

Colonel Kenneth H. Gibson, Commanding Officer (1944-1945)

Colonel Kenneth H. Gibson, Commanding Officer (1944-1945)

The 6th Bomb Group played a significant role in winning the war against Japan. This was due not only to the bravery of the air crews, but to the tireless efforts of the folks on the ground. It is significant that both of the Distinguished Unit Citations mention not only the risks involved in the missions, but the critical role played by the ground personnel. In the month of July, when all eyes were focused on the War in the Pacific, the 6th Bomb group led the Wing in hours flown and tonnage dropped, both in total and per aircraft. This kind of success required a constant, coordinated and dedicated effort by every member of the Group.

The 20th Air Force was originally intended to include several Bomber Commands, based in several locations: the 20th (based in India), the 21st (based in the Marianas), the 22nd (based in the Philippines or Formosa) and the 23rd (based in the Aleutians). 1 The Marianas proved to be the best location. The 22nd and 23rd Bomber Commands were never activated. The 20th Bomber Command was activated in 1943 and included the 58th Bombardment Wing. However, operations out of China proved impractical since all supply was from the air. The 20th Bomber Command was eventually deactivated and all Bombardment Wings were assigned to the 21st Bomber Command.

The 21st Bomber Command included the 58th, 73rd, 313th, 314th and 315th Bombardment Wings. (For a full listing, see the Table at the bottom of this page). The 313th Bombardment Wing included the 6th, 9th, 504th, 505th Bomb Groups and, later, the 313th Composite Squadron (the “Atom Bombers”). The 6th Bomb Group included the 24th, 39th and 40th Bombing Squadrons. The 313th Bombardment Wing also included several Service Groups (probably the 72nd, 77th, 358th and 359th Service Groups). The 6th Bomb Group also includes several Service Squadrons.

 


 

THE 72nd AIR SERVICE GROUP

 

Each Bomb Group was supported by an Air Service Group (ASG), which handled the big repair and maintenance jobs. Each ASG included a Headquarters and Base Services Unit (HQ), an Air Engineering Squadron (AE), and an Air Material Squadron (AM). The 6th Bomb Group was supported by the 72nd ASG, which included the 535th AE and the 579th AM. They were located on the northeast corner of North Field. Most of the personnel in the ASG were formerly members the 6th BG. They were assigned to the ASG in an effort to centralize the maintenance function. The 72nd ASG included the following units:

  • Headquarters and Base Services Unit
  • 535th Air Engineering Squadron
  • 579th Air Material Squadron
OTHER 20th AIR FORCE B-29 GROUPS & WINGS
Other B-29 Groups and Wings were located on Tinian, Saipan and Guam. They were all part of the 21st Bomber Command of the 20th Air Force. The 58th Bombardment Wing was originally part of the 20th Bomber Wing, which was deactivated in March 1945.

Bomb WingBomb GroupSquadronsStationed at:Tail Marking
58th40th25th, 44th, 45thTinian, West FieldTriangle S
444th676th, 677th, 678thTinian, West FieldTriangle N
462nd768th, 769th, 770thTinian, West FieldTriangle U
468th792nd, 793rd, 794thTinian, West FieldTriangle I
73rd497th869th, 870th, 871stSaipan, Isley FieldA Square
498th873rd, 874th, 875thSaipan, Isley FieldT Square
499th877th, 878th, 879thSaipan, Isley FieldV Square
500th881st, 882nd, 883rdSaipan, Isley FieldZ Square
313th6th24th, 39th, 40thTinian, North FieldCircle R
9th1st, 5th, 99thTinian, North FieldCircle X
504th398th, 421st, 680thTinian, North FieldCircle E
505th482nd, 483rd, 484thTinian, North FieldCircle W

509th393rdTinian, North FieldCircle Arrow
314th19th28th, 30th, 93rdGuam, North FieldSquare M
29th6th, 43rd, 52ndGuam, North FieldSquare O
39th60th, 61st, 62ndGuam, North FieldSquare P
330th457th, 458th, 459thGuam, North FieldSquare K
315th16th15th, 16th, 17thGuam, West FieldDiamond B
331st355th, 356th, 357thGuam, West FieldDiamond L
501st21st, 41st, 485thGuam, West FieldDiamond Y
502nd402nd, 411th, 430thGuam, West FieldDiamond H
Attached Units
3rd Photo Recon
4th Emergency Rescue
41st Photo Recon
55th Recon (LRW)

Additional Air Service Groups were assigned to the 21st Bomber Command of the 20th Air Force. They were located on Tinian, Saipan and Guam.

SGSorted by Bomb WingSorted by Bomb GroupSquadrons:
HQ = HQ and Base Services
AE = Air Engineering
AM = Air Material
Stationed at:
28th58th40thHQ, 39th AE, 585th AMTinian, West Field
25th58th444thHQ, 35th AE, 578th AMTinian, West Field
86th58th462ndHQ, 349th AE, 584th AMTinian, West Field
87th58th

468th

HQ, 355th AE, 589th AMTinian, West Field
31st73rd497thHQ, 5th AE, 574th AMSaipan, Isley Field
69th73rd498thHQ, 305th AE, 575th AMSaipan, Isley Field
89th73rd499thHQ, 502nd AE, 501st AMSaipan, Isley Field
90th73rd

500th

HQ, 508th AE, 507th AMSaipan, Isley Field
72nd313th6thHQ, 535th AE, 579th AMTinian, North Field
77th313th

9th

HQ, 534th AE, 576th AMTinian, North Field
358th313th

504th

HQ, 568th AE, 567th AMTinian, North Field
359th313th

505th

HQ, 570th AE, 569th AMTinian, North Field
390th313th509thHQ, 603rd AE, 1027th AMTinian, North Field
31st314th19thHQ, 56th AE, 574th AMGuam, North Field
69th314th29thHQ, 305th AE, 575th AMGuam, North Field
89th314th39thHQ, 502nd AE, 501st AMGuam, North Field
90th314th

330th

HQ, 508th AE, 507th AMGuam, North Field
24th315th16thHQ, 551st AE, 552nd AMGuam, West Field
73rd315th331stHQ, 586th AE, 580th AMGuam, West Field
75th315th501stHQ, 587th AE, 581st AMGuam, West Field
76th315th502ndHQ, 588th AE, 582nd AMGuam, West Field

A CHRONOLOGICAL HISTORY OF THE 6TH BG

1944 - The Group Prepares for War


04/01/44 | Activated as part of the 313th Bomb Wing of the XXI Bomber Command. The three squadrons were the 24th, 39th and 40th Bombing Squadrons (Heavy). Stationed at Dalhart, Texas. Flying B-17s.

05/23/44 | Moved to Grand Island, Nebraska.

06/03/44 | The first B-29 arrives.

07/01/44 | Extensive flight training begins.

1945 - The Group Goes to War


01/18/45 | The B-29s land in Tinian.
02/08/45 | First large scale Mission
03/09/45 | Beginning of the “March Blitz” which results in 1st Distinguished Unit Citation.
03/09/45 | Beginning of aerial mining missions which result in 2nd Distinguished Unit Citation.
08/14/45 | Last Mission of the War.

313th Bombardment Wing Headquarters on Tinian Island 1944-45

HEADQUARTERS STAFF

The Headquarters Staff was responsible for coordinating the completion of tasks necessary to accomplish the objectives assigned to the Group. This involved coordinating efforts both inside and outside the Group – cajoling, coercing, phoning, visiting, requisitioning and filling out endless reports and forms in triplicate.

LT COL THEODORE W. TUCKER

Deputy Commander


Lt Col Tucker was assigned to the, Sixth in July 1944, assuming command of the 40th Squadron. On 4 Mar 1945 he became Group Officer and on 25 May he was appointed Deputy Group Commander. He became Group Commander on 31 August and is serving in that today (1944). After two years at Ohio State he entered the Air Corps cadets and was commissioned a 2d Lt in the reserve 1 Feb 1939. A year later he was appointed to the regular Army. From 1940 to 1943 he served at various airfields in the U.S. and was director of training at Albuquerque AAB in August 1943 where he was promoted to his present rank. He is a graduate of the Command and General Staff school at Ft. Leavenworth and the AAF staff school in Washington. He is a rated B-29 aerial observer.

LT COL LOUIS M. SOWERS

24th Squadron Commander


Lt Col Sowers was the 24th Squadron Commander from March to June-1945 when he became Group Operations Officer.

Receiving his wings and commission in May 1941, he joined the 11th Bomb Group and served with this group in Hawaii and the Southwest Pacific where he flew forty-six combat missions. He returned to the U.S. in Feb 1943; joined the Sixth in April 1944.

 

LT COL JOHN W. OSBORN

39th Squadron Commander


Lt Col Osborn assumed command of the 39th Squadron in May 1944 and served in that capacity until after V-J Day.

He joined the Air Corps cadets in 1937 and was commissioned a year later. From 1941 to 1943 he was a B-17 pilot in West Coast anti-sub patrol. Following that he was assigned to the B-17 training program.

 

LT COL ELMER A. DIXON

40th Squadron Commander


Lt Col Dixon, the only ranking officer of the Sixth lost in action, was missing after the 9 July mining mission.

He was commissioned in the Regular Army after entering the cadets in 1937. He had served in the Caribbean Area before joining the Sixth as 40th Squadron Operations Officer. He became Squadron Commander on 4 March; was promoted to Lt Col 14 May 1945.

 

LT COL H D. KENZIE

Deputy Commander


Lt Col Kenzie was graduated from West Point in 1938 and won his wings at Kelly Field a year later.

 For over a year he was director of training at Lubbock AAB. Lt Col. Kenzie became 313th Wing Intelligence Officer 25 May 1945 after serving as deputy commander of the Sixth for thirteen months.

 

LT COL R. K. ORT

Group Operations


Lt Col Ort, Group Operations Officer from July 1944 to March 1945, entered the Air Corps cadets in June 1938 and was commissioned a year later, serving pursuit pilot.

Before entering the Army he attended Hardin-Simmons University in Texas, his home state. He had been a squadron commander and an engineering officer prior to his joining the Sixth.

 

LT COL C. L. CONE

Group Executive


Lt Col Cone joined the Sixth as Group Executive Officer while the Group was at Dalhart and served in that capacity until March 1945.

He enlisted in the Army in 1935 and was commissioned in the reserve corps in 1939. He bad a record of four years as an administrative officer prior to joining the Group.

 

MAJOR R. P. TATUM

Group Adjutant Major


Tatum joined the Sixth at Dalhart in April 1944 as 40th Squadron Executive Officer and was appointed Group Adjutant in July.

In civilian life, Major Tatum was a lawyer and held a commission in the officers’ reserve corps. He became Group Executive Officer 12 March 1945. Since his return to the U.S. he has been promoted to Lt Col.

 

 

MAJOR F. W. SPEERS

Group Intelligence


Major Speers served as Group Intelligence Officer from April 1944 to September 1945.

The Major was a newspaper editor at North Platte, Nebraska in civilian life, and entered the Army in 1942. For his work during the war he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal. He was Group Executive Officer in October and November 1945, returning to the U.S. in December 1945.

 

CAPT F. M. DETERDING

Group Maintenance Control


Capt Deterding was assigned to the 40th Squadron as an aircraft engineering officer at Grand Island in September 1944.

In May 1945 he was appointed Group Maintenance Control Officer and held that position until the end of the war. His services in coordinating B-29 maintenance earned him the Bronze Star Medal, awarded in September 1945.

 

The 22nd Photo Lab

 

PHOTO: PFC Eugene A. Lenschmidt is in the middle of the back row, arms behind his back. The Commanding Officer, Second Lt George J. Ginosvky, is in the middle of the first row. Service personnel were apparently assigned to different squadrons. The 22nd Photo Lab was attached to the 6th Bomb Group and are responsible for many of the original photos on this website.

NAMES OF THE AIR CREW FOR THE 22nd PHOTO LAB:

Bernardo, Celestine Sgt – Douglas, Vincent R. Cpl – Dysart, Lewis H. T/Sgt – Ermlich, Gustav L. Cpl – Exell, Edward E. Sgt – Fitzmorris, L. R. S/Sgt – Fordham, Elwood J. Sgt – Giaponni, Reno Pfc – Ginovsky, George J. 2/Lt – Lenschmidt, Eugene A. Pfc – Merrill, Elrod F. Sgt – Morgan, John O. Pfc – Nobil, Jerry Pfc – Ryan, John J. S/Sgt – Sanford, James K. Sgt – Schmidt, Rudolph C. Sgt – Simpson, Norman F. Cpl – Toner, Thomas J. Cpl – Valluzzi, Joseph J. Pfc – Vieregg, Edwin R. Cpl

PHOTO: Provided by 6th Bomb Group. All Rights Reserved.