403d Bombardment Squadron

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403d Bombardment Squadron
Emblem of the 403d Bombardment Squadron
Active 1940-1961
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Role Bombardment
Part of Strategic Air Command
B-17F Fortress 41-24554 "Mustang", flew with the 403d Bombardment Squadron, 43rdd Bombardment Group in Australia and New Guinea. It completed 109 missions and claimed 17 Japanese aircraft before being returned to the United States as War-Weary in late 1943.
"Joltin' Janie" B-24D-30-CO Liberator 42-40065 Shown parked in a revetment at Dobodura Airfield on Papua,New Guinea on June 11, 1943. Aircraft was lost on December 9, 1943, when it crashed into the sea after take-off for a mission.

The 403d Bombardment Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. It was last assigned to the 43rd Bombardment Wing, based at Carswell AFB, Texas. It was inactivated on 1 January 1961.


World War II[edit]

Established in 1940 and activated in 1941 as a long range reconnaissance squadron, assigned to the GHQ Air Force Northeast Air District. Trained and was equipped with both early model B-17C/D Flying Fortress heavy bombers. along with and B-18 Bolo medium bombers and A-29 Hudsons at Langley Field. Primarily flew training missions over the Mid-Atlantic States. After the Pearl Harbor Attack, was deployed to New England and began flying antisubmarine missions from Bangor Airport over the Newfoundland Straits and performing aerial convoy patrols over the North Atlantic shipping lanes.

Deployed to Australia in February 1942, being assigned to the new Fifth Air Force being formed after the withdraw from the Philippines of remaining heavy bombers. The squadron reached Australia in March 1942 and was redesignated as a heavy bombardment squadron in April. Did not enter combat until September, when it finally had a reasonable complement of aircraft. From then until November 1944 the squadron operated in support of the campaign in Papua New Guinea, first from Australia, then from New Guinea and Owi Island, concentrated in particular in attacks on shipping. The unit experimented with low level skip bombing, using this tactic at the Battle of the Bismarck Sea, 2–4 March 1943 with some success.

Between May and September 1943 the squadron's B-17s were replaced with B-24 Liberators, believed to be more suited to the long ranges of many Pacific missions. In November 1944 the squadron moved to the Philippines, helping the ground campaign on Luzon as well as conducting long range strategic bombing missions against targets in China and Formosa. Finally in July 1945 it moved to Le Shima, from where it flew missions over Japan, still attacking shipping, as well as airfields and railways until the Japanese Capitulation in August. Squadron demobilized on Okinawa, aircraft being sent to the Philippines for reclamation. Inactivated as a paper unit in April 1946.

Strategic Air Command[edit]

From 1958, the Boeing B-47 Stratojet wings of Strategic Air Command (SAC) began to assume an alert posture at their home bases, reducing the amount of time spent on alert at overseas bases. The SAC alert cycle divided itself into four parts: planning, flying, alert and rest to meet General Thomas S. Power’s initial goal of maintaining one third of SAC’s planes on fifteen minute ground alert, fully fueled and ready for combat to reduce vulnerability to a Soviet missile strike.[1] To implement this new system B-47 wings reorganized from three to four squadrons.[1][2] The 403d was activated at Carswell Air Force Base as the fourth squadron of the 43d Bombardment Wing. The squadron was inactivated on 1 January 1961.


  • Constituted 13th Reconnaissance Squadron (Heavy) on 20 November 1940
Activated on 15 January 1941
Redesignated 403d Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) on 22 April 1942
Inactivated on 29 April 1946
  • Redesignated 403d Bombardment Squadron (Medium) on 20 August 1958
Activated on 1 December 1958
Discontinued on 15 March 1960
Organized on 15 May 1960
Discontinued, and inactivated, on 1 January 1961.


Associated with: 1st Photographic Group, 15 Jan 1941-22 Apr 1942 (Training)



See also[edit]


 This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website http://www.afhra.af.mil/.

  1. ^ a b Schake, p. 220 (note 43)
  2. ^ "Abstract (Unclassified), History of the Strategic Bomber since 1945 (Top Secret, downgraded to Secret)". Air Force History Index. 1 April 1975. Retrieved March 4, 2014. 

External links[edit]