About the 489th Bomb Group
The 489th Bomb Group (489 BG) is a geographically separated unit with its headquarters, the 307th Bomb Wing, located at Barksdale AFB, Louisiana. The 489 BG operates in a classic association with the 7th Bomb Wing at Dyess AFB, Texas, flying the B-1B Lancer and overseeing three subordinate units: The 345th Bomb Squadron (345 BS), which operates in a classic association with the 9th Bomb Squadron, providing deployable combat aviators; the 489th Maintenance Squadron (489 MXS), which operates in a classic association with the 7th Maintenance Group, launching and sustaining the fleet; and the 489th Aerospace Medicine Flight (489 AMDF), which ensures the medical readiness of the bomb group.
Constituted as 489th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 14 September 1943 and activated on 1 October 1943 at Wendover Army Air Field, Utah, the group trained with B-24's. It completed unit formation and combat training and departed Wendover on 3 April 1944. The air echelon flew to the United Kingdom (UK) via the southern ferry route. The ground echelon sailed from Boston on USS Wakefield on 13 April 1944. Moved to Royal Air Force (RAF) Halesworth, England (Station #365), April–November 1944, and assigned to Eighth Air Force. The group was assigned to the 20th Combat Bombardment Wing and the group tail code was a "Circle-W".
The group entered combat on 30 May 1944, and during the next few days concentrated on targets in France in preparation for the Normandy invasion. In an attack against coastal defenses near Wimereaux France on 5 June 1944, the group's lead plane was seriously crippled by enemy fire, its pilot was killed, and the deputy group commander, Lt. Col. Leon R. Vance Jr., who was commanding the formation, was severely wounded; although his right foot was practically severed, Vance took control of the plane, led the group to a successful bombing of the target, and managed to fly the damaged aircraft to the coast of England, where he ordered the crew to bail out; believing a wounded man had been unable to jump, he ditched the plane in the English Channel and was rescued. For his action during this mission, Vance was awarded the Medal of Honor.
The group supported the landings in Normandy on 6 June 1944, and afterward bombed coastal defenses, airfields, bridges, railroads, and V-weapon sites in the campaign for France. The group began flying missions into Germany in July, and engaged primarily in bombing strategic targets such as factories, oil refineries and storage plants, marshalling yards, and airfields in Ludwigshafen, Magdeburg, Brunswick, Saarbrücken, and other cities until November 1944.
Other operations included participating in the saturation bombing of German lines just before the breakthrough at Saint-Lô France in July, dropping food to the liberated French and Allied forces in France during August and September, as well as carrying food and ammunition to the Netherlands later in September.
The group was selected for redeployment to the Pacific theatre and became non-operational on 14 November 1944. Relieved of assignment on 29 November 1944, and returned to the US. The aircraft were reassigned to depots or other units in the UK.
The 489th Bombardment Group and its associated 369th Air Service Group returned to Bradley Army Airfield Connecticut on the 12 December 1944, where all returning personnel were given 30 days leave for "rehabilitation, recuperation, and recovery" while the group redeployed on paper to Lincoln Army Airfield, Nebraska. When the group reported to the Second Air Force on 22 January 1945, they were informed that previous plans for refresher training had been cancelled and instead both groups were to be re-trained as B-29 Superfortress combat and support units. However Second Air Force did not receive redesignation orders for the group until 17 March, until which time they were compelled to maintain duplicate rosters and tables of organization, one for a heavy bombardment group of four squadrons, and one for a very heavy bombardment group of three squadrons. The readiness date for the group air echelon was set back from 1 March to 1 August 1945. The group moved to Great Bend Army Airfield, Kansas in mid-February to re-equip with the B-29, and was redesignated the 489th Bombardment Group (Very Heavy) in March.
The group was alerted for movement overseas in the summer of 1945, but with the cessation of hostilities with Japan, while the group was still at its port of embarkation, its’ movement was cancelled. The group was inactivated on 17 October 1945.
The 489th Bombardment Group was reactivated and redesignated the 489th Bomb Group at Dyess AFB, Texas on 17 October 2015 with the 345th Bomb Squadron, 489th Maintenance Squadron and the 489th Aerospace Medicine Flight.
In August and September 2016, the 489th Bomb Group supported and participated in Exercise AMPLE STRIKE, which was a NATO lead exercise that included multiple European countries. The exercise was under the auspices of Operation ATLANTIC RESOLVE which is the United States’ assurance and deterrence operation in the European Command.
In September 2016 the 489th Bomb Group also participated in a multi-national community event called NATO Days. This event provided a forum for outreach with civilian and military leadership from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and populations from surrounding nations.
The 489 BG participated in Operation Titan in March 2017. This operation was part of a Joint Interagency Task Force South drug interdiction mission flown out of Boca Chica NAS, Fla., to combat illegal drugs coming from Central America to Mexico. They covered 3.2 million square miles of ocean and confiscated 4,500 kgs of cocaine valued at $360 million.
From February – August 2017, the 489 BW provided Continuous Bomber Presence in the Pacific Theater with both operations and maintenance personnel.
(Current as of August 2017)