6th Bomb Group Logo


A coat of arms was first designed and approved for the Sixth in 1924. The insignia of the pirate's head crest, a shield of a schooner and an observation plane, and the motto, "Parati Defendere", ("Always Ready to Defend"), was used by the 6th Composite Group, The Panama Group), and reassigned to the Sixth Bombardment Group on 4 February 1943 at APO 825, c/o Postmaster, New Orleans, La. 1 November 1944. The coat of arms was refixed for the Sixth Bombardment Group (Very Heavy), at Grand Island Army Air Field in Nebraska.

On 24 May 1945 the Sixth Bomb Group was alerted for a maximum effort incendiary attack for take off thirty-six hours after return of its Superfortresses from a mission on which a large number of aircraft were damaged. Tireless and efficient work by the maintenance crews readied twenty-seven B-29's by take off time. The target was Tokyo's last strategically important industrial section. The Sixth's ships went in first, leading the raiders on a low-level run through heavy anti-aircraft fire and effective searchlights. Forty-one fighters and fifty suicide planes attacked the formation while over the Empire. The Group lost three aircraft and had fourteen heavily damaged by night fighters and anti-aircraft fire while shooting down eight enemy planes and destroying the target area. Indomitable courage, skill and devotion to duty shown by the combat crews and the determination and technical mastery of the ground personnel earned the Distinguished Unit Citation.

Mining Shimonoeski Straits 9-19 July 1945

Charged with the strategic blockading of Japanese home waters, the Group along with the other groups in the Wing, laid mines with telling effect to help materially in the final destruction of the enemy's ship-borne lines of communication. The location of all mines had to be pin-pointed with extreme accuracy to obtain immediate results on Jap shipping and for the eventual mine-sweeping operations by our own naval forces. Missions were flown every other night at levels of about 7500 feet over heavily defended enemy territory; the mines dropped by radar. Thirty-one aircraft laid mines in the Shimonoseki Straits with the loss of only one plane on 9 July. Two nights later, one of the longest missions of the war was flown to mine Korea's harbors of Rashin and Fusan. The combined efforts of all personnel of the Sixth were vital factors contributing to the ultimate success of the aerial mining of the Jap home waters.

Organized as 3d Observation Group in the Panama Canal Zone on 3 Sep 1919. Redesignated 6th Group (Observation) in 1921, 6th Group (Composite) in 1922, 6th Bombardment Group in 1937, 6th Bombardment Group (Medium) in 1939, and 6th Bombardment Group (Heavy) in 1940. Operations, which were concerned chiefly with defense of the canal, included training, participating in maneuvers, flying patrol missions, photographing the canal area, staging aerial reviews, making good-will flights to Central and South American countries, and flying mercy missions in Jan 1939 to earthquake victims at Santiago, Chile. Equipped with R-4's and DH-4's in 1919; used SE-5A, MB-3A, and P-12B aircraft in the period 1922-1929; received B-10's in 1936 and B-18's in 1939; used B-17, B-18, B-24, LB-30, and L-4E aircraft after the US entered World War II. Disbanded in the Canal Zone on 1 Nov 1943.

Reconstituted on 29 Jun 1944 and consolidated with 6th Bombardment Group (Very Heavy), which had been constituted on 28 Mar 1944 and activated in the US on 19 Apr 1944. Equipped first with B-17's; later trained for combat with B-29's. Moved to Tinian, Nov 1944 - Feb 1945. Assigned to Twentieth AF. Commenced operations by attacking Iwo Jima and the Truk Islands in Feb 1945. Afterward, struck industrial targets in Japan, flying in daylight and at high altitude to carry out these missions. Began incendiary raids on area targets in Japan in Mar 1945 and was, awarded a DUC for action on 25 May when the group flew at night and at low altitude through alerted enemy defenses to drop incendiaries on Tokyo. Participated in mining operations in the Shimonoseki Strait and received second DUC for contributing to the blockade of the Japanese Empire by mining harbors in Japan and Korea in Jul 1945. Assisted the invasion of Okinawa in Apr 1945 with strikes on Kyushu, hitting airfields that were used by kamikaze pilots. After the war, dropped food and supplies to Allied prisoners and took part in show-of-force flights over Japan. Moved to the Philippines in Jan 1946 and to the Ryukyus in Jun 1947. Inactivated on Okinawa on 18 Oct 1948.

Redesignated 6th Bombardment Group (Medium). Activated in the US on 2 Jan 1951. Assigned to Strategic Air Command and equipped with . Inactivated on 16 Jun 1952.

SQUADRONS. 3d: 1940-1942. 24th: 1922-1929; 1944-1948; 1951-1952 25th: 1922-1943 29th: 1943 39th: 1944-1948; 1951-1952 40th: 1944-1948; 1951-1952. 44th: 1930-1937 74th: 1940-1942, 1943 395th: 1942-1943 397th (formerly 7th): 1919-1940, 1942-1943.

STATIONS. France Field, CZ, 30 Sep 1919; Rio Hato, Panama, 9 Dec 1941 Albrook Field, CZ, 14 Jan 1943; Howard Field, CZ, Oct-1 Nov 1943. Dalhart AAFId, Tex, 19 Apr 1944; Grand Island AAFld, Neb, 19 May-18 Nov 1944; North Field, Tinian, 28 Dec 1944; Clark Field, Luzon, 28 Jan 1946, Kadena, Okinawa, 1 Jun 1947-18 Oct 1948. Walker AFB, NM, 2 Jan 1951-16 Jun 1952.

COMMANDERS. Unkn, 1919-1923; Maj Follett Bradley, 1923-1926; Lt Col Lewis H Brereton Aug 1931-c. Jun 1935; Lt Col William 0 Butler, c. Jan. 1937-Jul 1939; Lt Col Edwin J House, 1939-1940; Mai Samuel M Connell, c. Sep 1940-Feb 1941; Col Henry K Mooney, 15 Sep 1941-20 Jan 1943; unkn, 20 Jan-1 Nov 1943. Maj William E Taylor, 19 Apr 1944; Lt Col Howard D Kenzie, 28 Apr 1944; Col Kenneth H Gibson, 17 Jun 1944; Lt Col Theodore W Tucker, 31 Aug 1945; Col John P Kenny, 29 Aug 1946; Col Frank P Sturdivant, 4 Dec 1946-unkn. Col William K Martin, 15 Jan 1951-16 Jun 1952.

CAMPAIGNS: Antisubmarine, American Theater; Air Offensive, Japan; Eastern Mandartes; Wedtern Pacific.

DECORATIONS. Distinguished Unit Citations: Tokyo, Japan, 25 May 1945; Japanese Empire, 9-19 Jul 1945

INSIGNE. Shield: Per fess debased or an azure issuant against the rays of the setting sun a full rigged ship (black hull and white sails), in the gaillard cut (light and dark green), in chief a biplane (black) (diving bend sinister-wise all proper. Crest: On a wreath of the colors (or and azure) a pirate's head and shoulders tattooed on the chest with skull and bones proper, garbed and coifed or and sable.

MOTTO: Parati Defendere - Ready to Defend (Approved 22 Jan 1924.)

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