19th Tactical
Reconnaissance Squad
19th Squad

The 47th
47th Bombardment
Bombardment Wing
84th Bombardment Squadron (Light)
84th Bombardment 
  85th Bombardment Squadron
85th Bombardment
  86th Bombardment Squadron (Light)
86th Bombardment 

47th Bomb Wing

47th Bombardment Wing


(Provided by Malcolm Corum and others)

Since its pre-World War II activation on 15 January 1941, The 47th Bomb Wing has had an impressive and colorful record that is difficult for any Bomb Wing to match.

The 47th came into being at Mc Chord Field, Tacoma, Washington, with the original personnel and methods of operation from the 17th Bomb Group, ancestor of many other, similar groups during that period.

The first known Commanding Officer, Lt. Colonel Robbin A. Day, was succeeded by Lt. Colonel H.M. Whitkopt, who led the Wing in its first hectic days of attaining personnel and equipment.

Assigned to the 2nd Air Force, the 84th, 85th, 86th and 97th Squadrons flew B-18’s and B-23’s. In August, 1941, the Wing moved to Hammer Field, Fresno, California. At that time, each Squadron had Two B-18’s and two PT-19’s. When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, 7 December 1941, all B-18’s were assigned to the 85th Squadron. The 97th received B-24’s and LB-30s for submarine patrol on the Pacific Coast The 85th was moved to Mc Clellan Field to fly sub-chasing missions.

On 15 January 1942, the entire organization received Douglas A-20 Havocs, and Major Frederick R. Terrel assumed command of the Wing. The Wing moved to Will Rogers Field, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, in mid- February and began extensive low-level bombing and strafing exercises. From the unit a cadre for the 311th Bomb Group was formed.

On 15 July, the Wing moved to Greensboro, North Carolina to take part in maneuvers. Upon completion of the maneuvers, the Wing received new Douglas A-20 Havoc’s and B-20’s. An advance echelon was sent to England on 15 September, to a base near Bury St. Edmunds. On 2 November, the echelon was ordered to North Africa. Some members armed themselves with rifles and participated in the invasion of Port Lyauty. The remainder of the Wing was landed at Casablanca, to be joined by the advance echelon in establishing a base at Medina Air Field 15 miles South of Casablanca. The Wing was assigned to the Twelfth Air Force.

The 86th Squadron moved to Youks-les-Bains and flew its first combat mission on 16 December 1942. On 6 January 1943, the 85th and 97th Squadrons moved to Thelea, Tunisia and the 84th joined the 86th at Youks-les-Bains.

During the Last two days of the Kasserine Pass fighting (18/19 February 1943) the Wing flew a sortie every two minutes. For its efforts, the Wing received its first Distinguished Unit Citation for “tasks with such devastating effect that it turned the enemy back in full retreat”. The 85th and 97th pulled back to Canrobert Algeria, as the Germans advanced following Kasserine Pass. By 25 February, all Squadrons were assembled at Canrobert.

In April, they moved to Souk-el-Arba, and, for the first time, began flying mid-altitude missions. During the stay, Lt. Colonel Green, Jr. assumed command of the group.

On 4 June 1943, the group moved to Solom, East of Tunis, on the Cap Bon peninsula and began bombing the Italian possession of Lampadusa and the surrounding islands.

During the Sicilian invasion, aircraft operated out of Malta to aid the invasion, and, three days after the landings, moved to Sicily. From there, they helped cover the Salerno invasion. On 2 September, they moved to the Italian mainland near Torento, the first Allied Bomb Group to land 0n the European continent.

In late September, the group moved to Foggia. On 1 January 1944, they moved to Naples. The eruption of Mount Vesuvious later required a move to a field two miles North of Naples.

Bombing missions remained at medium altitude without trained Bombardiers, using an RAF Bombardier to train enlisted personnel in use of the Mark 8 BombSight. Commissioned Bombardiers began to arrive in the middle of 1944.

During a short stay at Grosetto, Italy, the unit began night-intruder operations, as well as day missions. Lieutenant H. J. Mc Gee of the 85th Squadron flew the first night-intruder mission. During early August, the group moved to Corsica.

From Corsica, Lt. Mc Gee led the Group on a mission directed against the German Headquarters Installation of Southern France on D-Day. The attack, co-ordinated with paratroopers, has been credited with disrupting the entire German defense system in Southern France.

The 47th moved from Corsica to La Jassa and began supporting P-47 units with fuel and bombs.

In late September, the unit moved back to Grosetto, flying only night-intruder missions.

In January, 194S, new Douglas A-26 bombers (now known as B-26) replaced the battle-weary A-20’s. Throughout the Po Valley campaign, the unit flew around the clock missions in support of ground troops and to prevent organized German retreat from the battlefront. The group earned its second Unit Citation for action from 21 April through 25 April, in bad weather and cover rugged terrain in the Po Valley. At this time, Lt. Colonel Kenneth S. Wade assumed Command.

After two years, ten months of continuous combat duty, the Wing was rotated back to the Zone of the Interior to Seymour Johnson Field, Goldsboro, North Carolina on 26 June 1945. There they received the newer version of the A-26, to train for action in the Pacific Theater. V J Day precluded the transfer.

By August, 1945, the 47th had earned two Distinguished Unit Citations, one Campaign Streamer for Service in the American Theater and ten Streamers for service in the European-African-Middle East Theater.

A new Wing Commander, Colonel Marvin S. Zipp moved the group to Lake Charles, Louisiana. During the stay there, the 97th and 86th Squadrons were inactivated.

In early 1946, Colonel Robert J. Hughey assumed command and in October of 1946, Colonel Gerald E. Williams became commander.

In October, 1946, the Wing transferred to Biggs Field, El Paso, Texas. Until the 47th moved to Barksdale Air Base in November of 1948, there were three other temporary Commanders before Colonel Willis F. Chapman assumed command responsibilities.

In March 1949, the Wing received new North American B-45 Tornados to replace the B-26’s.

On 2 October 1949, the 47th Bomb Wing was inactivated under an austerity program. During this period, the 84th and 85th Squadron were retained 0n active duty and assigned to the 363rd Tactical Reconnaissance Wing at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, under the Command of Colonel Willis F. Chapman. He was later replaced by Colonel Charles D. Jones.

The 47th Bombardment Wing(Light) Was reactivated on 12 March, 1951, with two Squadrons, the 84th and 85th Bomb Squadrons, flying the North American B-45 Tornado. On 31 May 1952, the 47th Bomb Wing was assigned to USAFE, being based at RAF Station Sculthorp, Norfolk, England. During March, 1954, the third and final Squadron, the 86th, was formed and assigned to RAF Station Alconbury, Huntingdonshire, England. Colonel David M. – Jones was Commander.

The B-45’s carried Squadron markings consisting of a band painted across the vertical stabilizer in the appropriate Squadron color Red for the 84th; Yellow for the 85th and Blue for the 86th. This was later changed to a diagonal flash running across the stabilizer with the last two digits of the serial number repeated over the flash in large black numbers.

A thin stripe was also painted horizontally on the nose of the aircraft below the Bombardier’s canopy in the appropriate Squadron color. This was later replaced with three stripes, one ahead of the 47th Bomb Wing Badge and two stripes following the Badge, in the appropriate squadron color.

Another B-45 unit was the 19th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, which flew RB-45C Tornados. It was originally part of the 66th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing and was assigned to the 47th Bomb Wing from May, 1954, to December, 1958. When the 19th began to re-equip with RB-66’s during 1957, its RB-45’s were transferred to Squadrons of the 47th Bomb Wing.

The RB-45’s carried the same markings as the B-45, except for an added marking on the wingtip fuel tanks. This marking consisted of two stripes coming back off the top and bottom of the circular Squadron Badge in the appropriate Squadron color near the outside front center of the tank.

Douglas B-66 Destroyers replaced the B-45 Tornados during 1958. The first sixteen aircraft were delivered on 18/19 January, 1958, and assigned to the 84th Bomb Squadron. The 86th at Alconbury received Its aircraft during May, 1958, while the 85th did not complete the conversion until July, 1958.

After coverting to the B-66, the three squadrons retained the Original colors and markings, but deleted the nose markings. The 47th Wing Badge was carried low on the port side of the nose, just aft of the radome, with the Squadron Badge on the opposite side of the nose. The 86th Squadron carried an additional marking, an individual letter ahead of the tail guns on both sides of the rear fuselage.

During this time, the 86th Squadron returned to RAF Station Sculthorp from Alconbury to join its sister Squadrons.

The B-66 served with the 47th Bomb Wing until the unit was deactivated on 22 June 1962- A number of the aircraft were reassigned to the 42nd Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, 10th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing at Chelveston Air Force Base and modified with the Electronic Counter-Measures tail system in 1959.

During the time it served in USAFE, – the 47th Bomb Wing operated a variety of support aircraft, including C-119G’s, T-33A’s, L-20’s and C-47A’s.

On 1 September 1972, Air Training Command activated the 47th Flying Training Wing at Laughlin AFB, Texas. The wing took up the mission of the discontinued 3646th Pilot Training Wing, which had been the host unit at Laughlin since 1962. The 47th conducted undergraduate pilot training until 18 November 1993, when the wing implemented specialized undergraduate pilot training.



Constituted as 47th Bombardment Group (Light) on 2o Nov 194o. Activated on 15 Jan 1941. Patrolled the west coast for several weeks after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, then trained for duty overseas. Moved to North Africa, Oct-Nov 1942. Assigned to Twelfth AF. Served in the Mediterranean theater until the end of the war, using A-2o’s and (after Jan 1945) some A-26s for support and interdictory operations in which the group attacked such targets as tanks, convoys, bivouac areas, troop concentrations, supply dumps, roads, pontoon bridges, rail lines, and airfields. Also flew numerous night intruder missions after Jun 1944. Began operations by flying low-level missions against the enemy in North Africa during the period Dec 1942-May 1943. When Axis forces broke through at Kasserine Pass in Feb 1943, the 47th Group, though undermanned and undersupplied, flew eleven missions on 22Feb to attack the advancing armored columns and thus to help stop the enemy’s offensive-an action for which the group was awarded a DUC. Remained active in combat during Mar and Apr 1943 while training for medium-level bombardment. Participated in the reduction of Pantelleria and Lampedusa in Jun 1943 and the invasion of Sicily in Jul. Bombed German evacuation beaches near Messina in Aug. Supported British Eighth Army during the invasion of Italy In Sep. Assisted the Allied advance toward Rome, Sep 1943-Jun 1944. Supported the invasion of Southern France, Aug-Sep 1944. Attacked German communications in northern Italy, Sep 1944-Apr 1945. Received second DUC for performance from 21 to 24 Apr 1945 when, in bad weather and over rugged terrain, the group main- tained operations for 6o consecutive hours, destroying enemy transportation in the Po Valley to prevent the organized withdrawal of German forces. Returned to the US in July 1945. Trained and participated in maneuvers. Equipped with B-45’s in 1948. Inactivated on 2 Oct 1949.

Activated on 12 Mar 1951. Assigned to Tactical Air Command and equipped with

B-45’s. Moved to England, May-Jun 1952, and assigned to United States Air Forces in Europe. Inactivated on 8 Feb 1955.


84th: 1941-1949;1951-1955. 85th: 1941-1949; 1951-1955- 86th: 1941-1949; 1954-1955 97th: 1941-1946. 422d: 1953-1954.


McChord Field, Wash, 15 Jan 1941; Fresno, Calif, 14 Aug 1941; Will Rogers Field, Okla, c. 16 Feb 1942; Greens- boro, NC, c. 16 Jul-18 Oct 1942; Mediouna, French Morocco, 18 Nov 1942; Youks-les-Bains, Algeria, 7 Jan 1943; Canrobert, Algeria, 6 Mar 1943; Thelpte, Tunisia, 30 Mar 1943; Souk-el-Arba, Tunisia, 13 Apr 1943; Soliman, Tunisia, c. 1 Jul 1943; Malta, 21 Jul 1943; Torrente Comunnelli, Sicily, 9 Aug 1943; Gerbini, Sicily, 20 Aug 1943; Grottagile, Italy, 24 Sep 1943; Vincenzo Airfield, Italy, 15 Oct 1943; Vesuvius Airfield, Italy, c. 10 Jan 1944; Capodichino, Italy, 22 Mar 1944; Vesuvius Airfield, Italy, 25 Apr 1944; Ponte Galeria, Italy, c. 10 Jun 1944; Ombrone Airfield, Italy, 27 Jun 1944; Corsica, 11 Jul 1944; Salon, France, 7 Sep 1944; Follonica, Italy, 18 Sep 1944; Rosignano Airfield, Italy, Oct 1944; Grosseto, Italy, 11 Dec 1944; Pisa, Italy, Jun-24 Jun 1945; Seymour Johnson Field, NC, 11 Jul 1945; Lake Charles AAFld, La, Sep 1945; Biggs Field, Tex, 20 Oct 1946; Barksdale AFB, La, 19 Nov 1948-2 Oct 1949. Langley AFB, Va, 12 Mar 1951-12 May 1952; Sculthorpe, England, 1 Jun 1952-8 Feb 1955.


Maj William A Schulgen, 15 Jan 1941; Lt Col Hilbert M Wittkop, unkn; Col Frederick R Terrell, Jan 1942; Col Malcolm Green Jr, 17 May 1943; Lt Col Kenneth S Wade, 1 Apr 1945; Col Marvin S Zipp, 28 Aug 1945;.Col Robert J Hughey, 23 Nov 1945; Lt Col Broadus B Taylor, 27 Aug 1946; Col Gerald E Williams, 3o Aug 1946; Lt Col Stebbins W Griffith, 5 Jun 1947; Lt Col Frederick E Price, Aug 1947; Col Willis F Chapman, 10 Oct 1947-2 Oct 1949. Col Benjamin C Willis, 12 Mar 1951; Co] David M Jones, Sep 1951; Col Galen B Price, 2o Feb 1952; Lt Col Hubert M Blair, unkn; Col Galen B Price, 1954-c. Feb x955.


American Theater; Algeria-French Morocco; Tunisia; Sicily; Naples-Foggia; Anzio; Rome-Arno; ,Southern France; North Apennines; Po Valley.


Distinguished Unit Citations: North Africa, 22 Feb 1943; PO Valley, 21-24 Apr 1945.


Shield: Or, in chief, a bomb sable, point downward, winged gules, surmounting an arc, reversed and couped, azure, all above a stylized cloud indication, of the second, emitting four lightning flashes gules toward base.(Approved 26 Oct 1951)



Established as 47th Bombardment Wing, Light, on 28 Jul 1947. Organized on 15 Aug 1947. Discontinued on 24 Aug 1948. Activated on 22 Aug 1948. Inactivated on 2 Oct 1949. Activated on 12 Mar 1951. Redesignated 47th Bombardment Wing, Tactical, on I Oct 1955. Discontinued, and inactivated, on 22 Jun 1962. Redesignated 47th Flying Training Wing on 22 Mar 1972. Activated on I Sep 1972.


Twelfth Air Force, 15 Aug 1947-24 Aug 1948. Twelfth Air Force, 22 Aug 1948-2 Oct 1949. Tactical Air Command, 12 Mar 1951 (attached to 49th Air Division, Operational, 12 Feb 1952- ); Third Air Force, 5 Jun 1952 (remained attached to 49th Air Division, Operational, to I Jul 1956); Seventeenth Air Force, I Jul 1961-22 Jun 1962. Air Training Command, I Sep 1972-.


Wing. 392d: attached 27 Jun-2 Oct 1949. Groups. 47th: 15 Aug 1947-24 Aug 1948; 22 Aug 1948-2 Oct 1949; 12 Mar 1951-8 Feb 1955 (not operational, 17 Nov 1952-8 Feb 1955). 4400th Combat Crew Training: attached 12 Mar 1951-12 Feb 1952. Squadrons. 19th Tactical Reconnaissance: attached 7 May 1954-1 Dec 1956. 84th: attached 17 Nov 1952-7 Feb 1955, assigned 8 Feb 1955-22 Jun 1962. 85th: attached 17 Nov 1952-7 Feb 1955, assigned 8 Feb 1955-22 Jun 1962; assigned I Sep 1972. 86th: attached 23 Mar 1954-7 Feb 1955, assigned 8 Feb 1955-22 Jun 1962; assigned I Sep 1972-. 422d: attached 20 Dec 1953-23 Mar 1954. 420th Air Refueling: attached 15 Mar 1960-7 Nov 1961, assigned 8 Nov 1961-22 Jun 1962.


Biggs Field (later, AFB), Texas, 15 Aug 1947-24 Aug 1948. Biggs AFB, Texas, 22 Aug 1948; Barksdale AFB, La, 19 Nov 1948-2 Oct 1949. Langley AFB, Va, 12 Mar 1951-21 May 1952; Sculthorpe RAF Station (later, RAF Sculthorpe), England, I Jun 1952-22 Jun 1962. Laughlin AFB, Texas, I Sep 1972-.


Col William M. Prince, 15 Aug 1947; Col Newton Long- fellow, Sep 1947-24 Aug 1948. Col Newton Longfellow, 22 Aug 1948; Col Willis F. Chapman, 19 Nov 1948-2 Oct 1949. Col Willis R Chapman, 12 Mar 1951; Col Charles D. Jones, I Aug 1951; Col David M. Jones, 12 Feb 1952; Col John G. Glover, 16 Jun 1955; Brig Gen Joseph R. Holzapple, 30 Jun 1955; Col John G. Glover, Oct 1956; Col Reginald J. Clizbe, 29 Jun 1958; Col Kenneth C. Dempster, 19 Jun 1959; Col George H. Kneen, Jr., I Dec 1961-22 Jun 1962. Col Charles E. Woods, I Sep 1972; Col Harry Falls, Jr., 8 Jun 1973; Col Lawrence D. Garrison, 8 Jul 1975; Col Ralf M. Miller, 16 Aug 1977.


A (later, B)-26,1947-1948. B-26, 1948-1949; B-45, 1949. B-45, 1951-1958; B-26, 1951-1952; RB-45, 1954-1956; B–66,1958-1962; KB-50, 1960-1962. T-41, 1972-1973; T-37, 1972-; T-38, 1972-.


Trained in night tactical operations, conducted firepower demonstrations, and participated in tactical exercises, 1947-1948 and 1948-1949. Trained in light bombardment operations, becoming proficient with nuclear weapons, 1951-1952. Provided combat crew training m B-26 aircraft and operated USAF Air Crew School (Light Bombardment and Tactical Reconnaissance, Night Photographic), May 1951-Feb 1952. Moved to England in mid-1952, and, for the next decade, performed tactical training operations, including participation in exercises and firepower demonstrations in support of NATO. Converted from B-45 to B–66 aircraft in 1958. Also performed air re- fueling with KB-50s, 1960-1962. Re- placed, and absorbed resources of, the 3646th Pilot Training Wing at Laughlin AFB, Texas, on I Sep 1972 and con- ducted undergraduate pilot training for USAF, Air Force Reserve, and friendly foreign nation air forces.

Service Streamers


Campaign Streamers



Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards: I Jul 1958-30 Jun 1960; 1 Jan-31 Dec 1973; 1 Jan 1976-28 Feb 1977.


Shield: Or, in chief, a bomb sable, point downward, winged gules, surmounting an arc, reversed and couped, azure, all above a stylized cloud indication, of the second, emitting four lightning flashes gules toward base.(Approved 26 Oct 1951)

Emblem (47th TRAINING WING).

Per bend azure and light blue, a lightning bolt bendwise throughout argent between in sinister chief a stylized wing or and in dexter base on olive branch vert, within a diminished bordure of the fourth. (Approved on 2 Jan 1973.)