The 7th Operations Group is the operational flying component of the United States Air Force 7th Bomb Wing, stationed at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas. The 7th Operations Group currently flies the B-1 Lancer, the 7th Operations Group is a direct successor organization of the 7th Bombardment Group, one of the 15 original combat air groups formed by the United States Army before World War II. Activated in 1921, it inherited the lineage of the 1st Army Observation Group, the 7th Bombardment Group was deploying to the Philippines when the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service attacked Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941. Six of the groups B-17 Flying Fortress aircraft which had left Hamilton Field, California on 6 December 1941 reached Hawaii during the enemy attack, the unit later served in India during World War II. In the postwar era, the 7d Bombardment Group was one of the first USAAF units assigned to the Strategic Air Command on 1 October 1946, reactivated as the 7th Operations Group in 1991 when the 7th Bomb Wing adopted the USAF Objective organization plan. The groups emblem, approved in 1933, features three crosses symbolizing its squadrons battle honors, the diagonal stripe was taken from the coat of arms of Province of Lorraine which France took back from Germany in World War I. The group initially consisted of the 91st and 24th Aero Squadrons, on 22 September, the group changed stations, moving to Vavincourt Aerodrome. At Vavincourt, the 9th Aero Squadron was assigned to the unit, with the addition of the 9th, both day and night patrols were made over enemy territory, with intelligence being returned to First Army headquarters. The duties of the group consisted of long-distance patrols far into the rear areas. Special attention was paid to enemy movements on roads, canals, railway stations and marshalling yards were noted, along with supply depots, airfields and munition storage areas. Once located, they were kept under routine observation, also, the locations of enemy heavy artillery batteries were monitored and their movements recorded. The First Army OG flew no less than 521 successful missions, daily battles with enemy aircraft were engaged, with the group shooting down 50 aircraft in 111 aerial combats. With the Armistice with Germany being reached on 11 November 1918, the group ceased flying into enemy territory, after World War I, the Army Air Service was re-organized on a permanent basis. The 1st Army Observation Group was organized at Park Field, Memphis and it was transferred to Langley Field, Virginia and was assigned the 1st, 12th and 88th Aero Squadrons, equipped with surplus de Havilland DH-4s. On 14 March 1921, with the formation of the United States Army Air Service and it was inactivated due to funding issues on 30 August 1921. The group was re-formed at Rockwell Field, San Diego, California, the re-formed Group was assigned the 9th, 11th, 22d and 31st Bombardment Squadrons. The 9th, 11th and 31st squadrons lent their World War I lineage to the emblem as indicated by the three Maltese Crosses on the shield. While the group was assigned at Rockwell Field, the fledgling Air Force was testing new theories, in early 1931, the 7th began training aircrews in radio-controlled interception
Flyover of a 7th Operations Group B-1
Men of the 24th Aero Squadron pose in front of a Salmson 2.A2, Vavincourt Aerodrome, France, November 1918
Curtiss B-2 Condor formation flight over Atlantic City, N.J. S/N 28-399 is in the foreground (tail section only). Aircraft were assigned to 11th Bombardment Squadron, 7th Bombardment Group at Rockwell Field, California. This flight of 4 aircraft completed cross-country flight to Atlantic City, NJ.
A captured B-17E (AAF Ser. No. 41-2471) of the 7th Bomb Group in Japanese service, 1942. The aircraft crash landed on 8 February 1942 at Yogyakarta, Java and was abandoned. It was repaired by the Japanese and used for training to develop fighter tactics against the B-17. The eventual fate of this aircraft is unknown.