381st Training Group
The United States Air Force 381st Training Group at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California provides training for the nation's space and intercontinental ballistic missile operations forces and missile maintenance forces. This Air Education and Training Command (AETC) organization is a tenant unit located on an 80-acre (32 ha) site at Vandenberg. The group was activated in the fall of 1994, when it replaced a provisional group as missile training activities at Vandenberg were transferred to AETC.
|381st Training Group|
|Active||1942–1945, 1962–1986, 1994–present|
|Branch||United States Air Force|
|Role||Intercontinental ballistic missile training|
|Part of||Air Education and Training Command|
|Garrison/HQ||Vandenberg AFB, California|
|Motto(s)||Triumphant We Fly (1942-1945) Peace, Power and Protection (1962-1986)|
|Engagements||European Theater of Operations|
|Decorations||Distinguished Unit Citation|
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award
|Col Merna Hsu|
|Joseph J. Nazzaro|
|381st Training Group emblem|
|Patch with 381st Strategic Missile Wing emblem (approved 19 September 1962)|
|381st Bombardment Group emblem|
During World War II, the group's first predecessor, the 381st Bombardment Group was an Eighth Air Force Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress unit, which flew strategic bombing missions from RAF Ridgewell. The group had the highest losses of all groups on first Schweinfurt–Regensburg mission on 17 August 1943. It flew 296 combat missions, earning two Distinguished Unit Citations. It flew its last mission on 25 April 1945 before returning to the United States, where it was inactivated. The group was activated in the reserve in 1947, but was not fully manned or equipped before inactivating in 1949.
The group's second predecessor is the 381st Strategic Missile Wing. During the Cold War, the wing maintained and operated LGM-25C Titan II missiles for the Strategic Air Command at sites near McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas. The wing and group were consolidated into a single unit in 1984. The consolidated unit was inactivated in 1986 as the Titan II was withdrawn from operational service.
World War IIEdit
Media related to 381st Bombardment Group at Wikimedia Commons
Constituted as the 381st Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 28 October 1942. Activated on 3 November 1942. Used B-17's in preparing for duty overseas. Moved to RAF Ridgewell England, May–June 1943, and assigned to Eighth Air Force. The 381st was assigned to the 1st Combat Bombardment Wing of the 1st Bombardment Division.
The 381st Bomb Group operated chiefly against strategic objectives on the Continent. Specific targets included an aircraft assembly plant at Vélizy-Villacoublay, an airdrome at Amiens, locks at St Nazaire, an aircraft engine factory at Le Mans, nitrate works in Norway, aircraft plants in Brussels, industrial areas of Münster, U-boat yards at Kiel, marshalling yards at Offenberg, aircraft factories at Kassel, aircraft assembly plants at Leipzig, oil refineries at Gelsenkirchen, and ball-bearing works at Schweinfurt.
The Group received a Distinguished Unit Citation for performance on 8 October 1943 when shipyards at Bremen were bombed accurately in spite of persistent enemy fighter attacks and heavy flak, and received a second DUC for similar action on 11 January 1944 during a mission against aircraft factories in central Germany.
Aircraft from the 381st participated in the intensive campaign of heavy bombers against enemy aircraft factories during Big Week, 20–25 February 1944, and the Group often supported ground troops and attacked targets of interdiction when not engaged in strategic bombardment.
The Group supported the Normandy invasion in June 1944 by bombing bridges and airfields near the beachhead. Attacked enemy positions in advance of ground forces at Saint-Lô in July 1944. Assisted the airborne assault on Holland in September. Struck airfields and communications near the battle zone during the Battle of the Bulge, December 1944 – January 1945. Supported the Allied crossing of the Rhine in March 1945 and then operated against communications and transportation in the final push through Germany.
Air Force ReserveEdit
On 24 July 1947, the group was reactivated at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska as a reserve unit. It was nominally a heavy bomber group, but does not appear to have been equipped with operational aircraft or fully manned before inactivating in July 1949.
Strategic Air Command missile operationsEdit
During the Cold War, the United States Air Force, via the Strategic Air Command (SAC), established the 381st Strategic Missile Wing, based at McConnell Air Force Base Kansas. The 381st maintained Titan II intercontinental ballistic missiles on alert from 1 March 1962 until being inactivated on 8 August 1986. The 381st placed its first Titan II missile on alert in the fall of 1963. It became the host wing for McConnell AFB on 1 July 1973.
The wing was composed of two Strategic Missile Squadrons (the 532nd and the 533rd). These squadrons were each composed of nine ballistic launch complexes, each housing a Titan II intercontinental ballistic missile. The Titan II being 105 feet long and 10 feet in diameter. The launch complex was about 150 feet deep and 50 feet in diameter including the 20-foot-diameter (6.1 m) launch tube which comprised its center.
The Titans were fully configured for immediate launch in a matter of two minutes. The launch sequence included a number of test and initiation functions as well as a 20-second door opening sequence. The silo closure door weighed 780 tons and was locked down with hydraulically operated locks, and raised on hydraulic jacks. The hydraulics also operated the radial motors that pulled the door open with 1.5-inch-diameter (38 mm) steel cables (four of them). Launch initiation was also accompanied with attenuation water which flowed 9000 gallons per minute for sound suppression and protection of the missile during the launch.
Launch crews were composed of four personnel. Two officers were responsible for launch initiation, while two enlisted crewmembers were responsible for equipment checkout, repair and readiness. All four crewmembers were together responsible for communications, and final responsibility for launch. With an average of eight alerts (duty shifts at the site) per month, a crewmember achieved 200 alerts in about two years.
On 24 August 1978, an accident involving an oxidizer leak at launch complex 533-7 killed two Air Force personnel, caused the temporary evacuation of local communities, and damaged the site. A more positive event occurred during the following month as First Lieutenant Patricia E. Dougherty became the first female officer to perform SAC Titan II alert.
On 2 October 1981, Deputy Secretary of Defense Frank Carlucci III ordered the inactivation of the Titan II weapon system. For McConnell, the end began on 2 July 1984, when Launch Complex 533-8 was removed from alert status. This silo would be placed in caretaker status on 31 August. The deactivation process received a setback on 2 November 1984, when fire broke out at Launch Complex 532-7 after liquid fuel had been unloaded from a deactivated Titan II. As a result of the ensuing investigation, Headquarters Strategic Air Command and the Ogden Air Logistics Center determined that the accident could have been prevented if different procedures were followed. With implementation of these procedures, Titan II deactivation continued.
On 8 August 1986, the 381st Strategic Missile Wing became the second Titan II wing to be inactivated. The 381st was inactivated after providing twenty-plus years of strategic deterrence and winning numerous awards, including the SAC missile combat competition Blanchard Trophy in 1972, 1975, 1980, and 1983.
On 1 April 1994, the 381st was reactivated and redesignated by Air Education and Training Command (AETC) as the 381st Training Group (Provisional) (381 TRG) under Second Air Force and located at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. A non-flying unit, the group, which was activated on 30 September 1994, is responsible for the consolidation of all space and missile training for Air Force Space Command (AFSPC) and Air Force Global Strike Command.
The 381st provides initial qualification training for ICBM, space surveillance, missile warning, spacelift, and satellite command and control operators. It also provides initial and advanced maintenance training on ALM and ICBM's. It conducts training in joint space fundamentals and associated computer maintenance. The group also conducts qualification and orientation training for AFSPC staff and senior-level personnel, as well as instructor enhancement in support of operational units.
In July 1993, responsibility for missile training was transferred from Air Combat Command to AETC. In September 1994, responsibility for space training was transferred from AFSPC to AETC and consolidated with the missile training units into the 381st Training Group. In October 1996, the space training squadrons moved from Colorado Springs to Vandenberg to further complete the unit's consolidation.
The group consists of three squadrons. The 381st Training Support Squadron provides faculty training, interactive courseware, registrar services, facility management, and resource management and procurement. The two other squadrons are dedicated to student training. The 532 TRS provides courses for ICBM Initial Qualification Training and ICBM, ALCM, and spacelift maintenance. The 533d Training Squadron conducts space surveillance and early warning training. All in all, the group has graduated more than 6000 students from more than 100 different courses.
- 381st Bombardment Group
- Constituted as the 381st Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 28 October 1942
- Activated on 3 November 1942
- Redesignated 381st Bombardment Group, Heavy on 20 August 1943
- Inactivated 28 August 1945
- Redesignated 381st Bombardment Group, Very Heavy
- Activated in the reserve on 24 July 1947
- Inactivated on 27 June 1949
- Consolidated with the 381st Strategic Missile Wing as the 381st Strategic Missile Wing on 31 January 1984
- 381st Training Group
- Established as the 381st Strategic Missile Wing (ICBM-Titan) on 29 November 1961 and activated (not organized)
- Organized on 1 March 1962
- Consolidated with the 381st Bombardment Group on 31 January 1984
- Inactivated on 8 August 1986
- Redesignated as 381st Training Group and reactivated on 1 April 1994
- II Bomber Command, 3 November 1942
- Eighth Air Force, 9 May 1943
- 1st Bombardment Wing (later 1st Combat Bombardment Wing), 30 June 1943 (attached to 101st Combat Bombardment Wing (Provisional))
- 1st Combat Bombardment Wing]], 13 September 1943
- Second Air Force, 24 June–28 August 1945
- Tenth Air Force, 24 July 1947
- 96th Bombardment Wing, 1 October 1947
- 73d Air Division, 4 June 1948 -27 June 1949
- Strategic Air Command, 29 November 1961 (not organized)
- 42d Air Division (later 42d Strategic Aerospace Division), 1 March 1962
- 17th Strategic Aerospace Division, 1 July 1963
- 12th Strategic Missile Division (later 12th Air Division, 30 June 1971
- 19th Air Division, 1 July 1973 – 8 August 1986
- Second Air Force, 1 April 1994 – present
- 381st Combat Support Group: 1 July 1972 – 8 August 1986
- 381st Communications Squadron: 15 June 1963 – 1 July 1972
- 381st Missile Maintenance Squadron, 15 June 1963 – 8 August 1986
- 381st Training Support Squadron: 30 September 1994 – present
- 392d Training Squadron, 30 September 1994 – c. 2 July 2012
- 532d Bombardment Squadron (Later 532d Strategic Missile Squadron, 532d Training Squadron), 3 November 1942 – 28 August 1945, 30 September 1947 – 27 June 1949, 1 March 1962 – 8 August 1986; 1 April 1994 – present
- 533d Bombardment Squadron (Later 533d Strategic Missile Squadron, 533d Training Squadron), 3 November 1942 – 28 August 1945; 1 March 1962 – 8 August 1986; 1 April 1994–present
- 534th Bombardment Squadron: 3 November 1942 – 28 August 1945, 30 September 1947 – 3 May 1948
- 535th Bombardment Squadron: 3 November 1942 – 28 August 1945, 15 September 1947 – 27 June 1949
- Gowen Field, Idaho, 3 November 1942
- Ephrata Army Air Field, Washington, c. 1 December 1942
- Pyote Army Air Field, Texas, c. 3 January 1943
- Pueblo Army Air Base, Colorado, c. 5 April – c. 9 May 1943
- RAF Ridgewell (USAAF Station 167), England, June 1943 – June 1945
- Sioux Falls Army Air Field, South Dakota, July – 28 August 1945
- Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, 24 July 1947 - 27 June 1949
- McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas, 1 March 1962 – 8 August 1985/
- Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, 1 April 1994 – present
Aircraft and missilesEdit
- Explanatory notes
- The aircraft in the foreground is Boeing B-17G-70-BO Flying Fortress, serial 42-31443 "Friday the 13th" of the 532d Bomb Squadron. This aircraft was lost on 22 February 1944 on a mission to Oschersleben, Germany.
- Aircraft is Boeing B-17G-55-BO Flying Fortress, serial 42-102664, "Happy Bottom" of the 532d Bomb Squadron. This aircraft ditched in the English Channel on 16 July 1944.
- Watkins, pp. 66-67
- Ravenstein, pp. 206-207
- Maurer, Combat Units, pp. 268-269
- Department of the Air Force/MPM Letter 539q, 31 January 1984, Subject: Consolidation of Units
- Lineage, including missiles, through 1977 in Ravenstein, pp. 206-207
- Freeman, p. 253
- "Factsheet 96 Air Division, Bombardment". Air Force Historical Research Agency. 5 October 2007. Archived from the original on 28 September 2012. Retrieved 1 April 2014.
- "Factsheet 73 Air Division". Air Force Historical Research Agency. 5 October 2007. Archived from the original on 8 October 2012. Retrieved 1 April 2014.
- Assignments and stations from 1961 through 1977 in Ravenstein, pp. 206-207
- Haulman, Daniel L. (25 August 2017). "Factsheet Second Air Force (AETC)". Air Force Historical Research Agency. Retrieved 13 July 2019.
- See Mueller, p. 409 (dates at McConnell.)
- See Mueller, p. 409 (dates at McConnell, reassigned to 381st Combat Support Group from 1972 to 1976.)
- See Mueller, p. 409 (dates at McConnell, Mueller erroneously lists activation date, not organization date.)
- Picariello, SSG Erica (13 July 2012). "Historic training squadrons merge, missions continue at Vandenberg". 30th Space Wing Public Affairs. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
- Assignments through March 1963 in Maurer, Combat Squadrons, p. 639
- Assignments through March 1963 in Maurer, Combat Squadrons, p. 640
- Maurer, Combat Squadrons, p. 641
- Maurer, Combat Squadrons, p. 642
- Stations through 1949 in Maurer, Combat Units, pp. 268-269
- Freeman, Roger A. (1970). The Mighty Eighth: Units, Men and Machines (A History of the US 8th Army Air Force). London, England, UK: Macdonald and Company. ISBN 978-0-87938-638-2.
- Maurer, Maurer, ed. (1983) . Air Force Combat Units of World War II (PDF) (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-912799-02-1. LCCN 61060979.
- Maurer, Maurer, ed. (1982) . Combat Squadrons of the Air Force, World War II (PDF) (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-405-12194-6. LCCN 70605402. OCLC 72556.
- Mueller, Robert (1989). Air Force Bases, Vol. I, Active Air Force Bases Within the United States of America on 17 September 1982 (PDF). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-912799-53-6. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
- Ravenstein, Charles A. (1984). Air Force Combat Wings, Lineage & Honors Histories 1947-1977 (PDF). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-912799-12-9.
- Watkins, Robert (2008). Battle Colors: Insignia and Markings of the Eighth Air Force In World War II. Vol II (VIII) Fighter Command. Atglen, PA: Shiffer Publishing Ltd. ISBN 0-7643-2535-3.
- Further reading
- Brown James G. The Mighty Men of the 381st, Heroes All: A Chaplain's Inside Story of the Men of the 381st Bomber Group. Salt Lake City, Utah: Publishers Press, 1994.
- Comer, John. Combat Crew: The true story of one man's part in World War II's allied bomber offensive.. Time Warner Paperbacks, 2003. ISBN 0-7515-0796-2
- Freeman, Roger A. Airfields of the Eighth: Then and Now. After the Battle, 1978. ISBN 0-900913-09-6.
- Freeman, Roger A. The Mighty Eighth: The Colour Record. Cassell & Co., 1991. ISBN 0-304-35708-1.
- MacKay, Ron. Ridgewell's Flying Fortresses: The 381st Bombardment Group (H) in World War II. Atglen, Pennsylvania: Schiffer Publishing, 2000. ISBN 0-7643-1063-1.
- MacKay, Ron. 381st Bomber Group. Carrollton, Texas: Squadron/Signal Publications, Inc., 1994. ISBN 0-89747-314-0.
- Rogers, Brian. United States Air Force Unit Designations Since 1978. Hinkley, England: Midland Publications, 2005. ISBN 1-85780-197-0.
- Stone, Ken. Triumphant We Fly: A 381st Bomb Group Anthology 1943–1945. Paducah, Kentucky: Turner Publishing Company, 1994 (2nd edition 1997). ISBN 1-56311-126-8.
- Uncredited. 381st Bombardment Group, 432nd Air Service Group. Westminister, England: Vacher and Sons, 1945.