39th Bomb Group (VH)

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Distinguished Unit Citation


arpuc.jpg [Army Presidental Unit Citation] Distinguished Unit Citation
Otake Oil Refinery and Storage area 10 May 1945

APO 234, c/o Postmaster
San Francisco California

10 December 1945
NO . . . . 124 )  
   Section V

File AG200.6, subject: "Distinguished Unit Badge," dated 11 October 1945, the following units are cited for outstanding performance of duty in action against the enemy:

     The 39th Bomb Group (VH) is cited for outstanding performance of duty in armed conflict with the enemy. In preparation for a maximum effort-bombing mission against the highly important Otake oil refinery and storage area on the Japanese home island of Honshu, the ground personnel worked with untiring vigor and exceptional technical ability to bring their B-29 aircraft to peak operating efficiency. On 10 May 1945 twenty-nine very heavy bombers of the 39th Bomb Group (VH), were assigned to lead the entire wing on this vital strike, took off from their base on Guam. Over more than 1500 miles of open sea, undaunted by the dangers of the flight and the attack against a heavily defended priority target in the heart of the enemy mainland, they pressed on to the initial point. On the bombing run, approximately forty-three aggressive fighter attacks were made on the bombers, which were flying without benefit of fighter escort. Gallantly fighting off this fierce resistance, the gunners destroyed or damaged ten of the attacking planes. Hostile ground installations hurled intense and accurate heavy caliber anti-aircraft fire at the B-29's throughout the bomb run and well into the breakaway. Fifty vessels of the Japanese fleet, anchored in the Inland Sea near the target added to a shattering concentration of flak to the savage fire of ground batteries. Despite this fanatical defense, which crippled aircraft throughout the formation, the determined crews of the 39th Bombardment Group (VH) pressed on unswervingly to the objective. From an average altitude of 15,400 feet, they cascaded high explosives on the oil refinery with extreme accuracy. Every squadron hammered the target with direct hits, achieving devastating results. On this bombardment, one of the most successful precision attacks of the Pacific air war, a vital source of high-octane gasoline for the Japanese war machine was rendered completely inoperative. The exceptional resolution and courage, exhibited by the combat crews on this highly important strike against the enemy and the technical skill and devotion to duty of the ground crew combined to form a brilliant chapter in the history of the armed services of the United States. Their actions reflect highest credit on the 39th Bombardment Group (VH) and the Army Air Forces.

Otake Mission 10 May 1945
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Source: "History of the 39th Bomb Group" by Robert Laird, (crew 5) and David Smith (crew 31)
This page created on 9 May 2001
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