Boeing B-29 Superfortress Units of the Korean War (1950-1953)

    The Far East Air Forces(FEAF) was the U.S. Air Force organization in charge of the air forces in the Pacific when the Korean War broke out on June 25, 1951. The Fifth Air Force in Japan, the Twentieth Air Force in Okinawa, and the Thirteenth Air Force in the Philippines were the main FEAF subordinate forces.

    However, the FEAF only had one B-29 bomber unit at its disposal: the 19th Bombardment Group in Guam. This unit was the only b-29 unit not under the control of the Strategic Air Command(SAC). The 92nd and 22nd Bomb Wings of Strategic Air Command were independently sent to Korea by General Hoyt S. Vandenberg, the commander of the US Air Force, on July 3.

    To coordinate the Bombardment Groups of FEAF and SAC, a provisional Far East Bomber Command was established on 8 July 1950. In addition, the 31st Strategic Squadron operating the RB-29 was also added. In the end, Bomber Command was mainly manned by SAC personnel.

    Because B-29s required large and well-equipped bases safe from enemy air and ground attack they were not based in Korea. As a result, the main base for B-29 operations was Kadena Air Force Base on the island of Okinawa.

    The order of battle for the FEAF Bomber Command Bombardment Groups was the following:

    Bombardment Groups

    Far East Air Forces (FEAF)

    FEAF Bomber Command

    • Twentieth Air Force, Kadena Air Base, Okinawa:
      • 19th Bombardment Group (Medium) June 27, 1950– May 18, 1954
        • 28th Bombardment Squadron (Medium)
        • 30th Bombardment Squadron (Medium)
        • 93rd Bombardment Squadron (Medium)

    Strategic Air Command

    FEAF Bomber Command

    • Kadena Air Force Base, on the island of Okinawa:
      • 22nd Bombardment Group (Medium) “Red Raiders’ (Circle E) July 9, 1950–October 28, 1950
        • 2nd Bombardment Squadron (Medium) (red)
        • 19th Bombardment Squadron (Medium) (blue)
        • 33rd Bombardment Squadron (Medium) (yellow)
      • 307th Bombardment Group (Square Y) August 1, 1950— August 15, 1954
        • 370th Bombardment Squadron (Medium) (red)
        • 371st Bombardment Squadron (Medium) (yellow)
        • 372nd Bombardment Squadron (Medium) (blue)
    • Yokota Air force Base, on the island of Honshu:
      • 92nd Bombardment Group (Medium) ‘Alley Oop’ July 9, 1950- October 29, 1950
        • 325th Bombardment Squadron (Medium) (red)
        • 326th Bombardment Squadron (Medium) (blue and white)
        • 327th Bombardment Squadron (Medium) (yellow)
      • 98th Bombardment Group (Medium) (Square H) August 5, 1950— July 25, 1954
        • 342nd Bombardment Squadron (Medium)
        • 343rd Bombardment Squadron (Medium) (red)
        • 344th Bombardment Squadron (Medium) (green)
        • 345th Bombardment Squadron (Medium) (white and red)
    b-29 superfortress air bases in korean war

    Other B-29 Groups/Squadrons in Korea

    • 3rd Radar Calibration Detachment
      Kadena Air Base, Okinawa
      January 1950 to June 1951
    • 10th Radar Calibration Detachment (later Squadron)
      Komaki and Yokota Air Bases, Japan
      January 1950 to July 1953 (moved from Komaki to Yokota and merged with 3rd Radar Calibration Det in June 1961)
    • 512th Weather Reconnaissance Squadron (Very Long Range) (RB-29, WB-29)
      Yokota and Misawa Air Bases, Japan
      June 1950 to February 1951
    • 56th Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron (Medium) (RB-29)
      Misawa Air Base, Japan
      February 1951 to July 1953
    • 514th Weather Reconnaissance Squadron (Very Long Range) (RB-29, WB-29)
      Andersen Air Force Base, Guam
      June 1950 to February 1951
    • 54th Weather Reconnaissance Squadron (RB-29, WB-29, WB-50)
      Andersen Air Force Base, Guam
      1947 to 1974
    • 2nd Air Rescue Squadron (D flight equipped with SB-29)
      Kadena Air Base, Okinawa
      circa 1951 to 1953
    • 34th Air Rescue Squadron (SB-29)
    • 37th Air Rescue Squadron (SB-29)
    • 43rd Air Refueling Squadron (KB-29P/M)
    • 91st Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron Circle X (RB-29, RB-50G)
      Yokota and Johnson Air Bases, Japan
      January 1950 to circa July 1963 (reinforced on 16 November 1950 when it absorbed the 31st SRS, and in August 1951 by Detachment 3 with RB-50Gs)
    • 581st Air Resupply and Communication Wing (B-29)
      Clark Field, the Philippines
      January 1953 to post-war

    Bombardment Group’s average numerical strength

    • 1950 – 87 B-29s and 81 crews
    • 1951 – 104 B-29s and 86 crews
    • 1952 – 118 B-29s and 112 crews
    • 1953 – 117 B-29s and 109 crews

    Bombardment Group Commanders and Plane Rosters

    19th Bombardment Group

    Commanders:

    • 19th Bombardment Group (Medium)
      • Col. Theodore Q. Graff -26 Sept. 1950
      • Col. Payne Jennings, Jr.26 Sept. 1950–29 Mar. 1951
      • Col. Donald O. Tower 29 Mar. 1951-26 July 1951
      • Col. Adam K. Breckenridge 26 July 1951-6 Feb. 1952
      • Col. Julian M. Bleyer 6 Feb. 1952-8 July 1952
      • Col. Willard W. Smith 8 July 1952-24 Dec. 1952
      • Col. Harvey C. Dorney 24 Dec. 1952-1 June 1953
    • 19th Bombardment Wing (Medium)
      • Col. Harvey C. Dorney 1 June 1953

    Plane rosters:

    42-63557 42-93971 44-61657 42-65272 42-94009 44-61669 42-65306 42-94043
    44-61693 42-65333 42-94099 44-61705 42-65352 44-27262 44-61718 42-65357
    44-27288 44-61749 42-65361 44-61535 44-61751 42-65369 44-61562 44-61790
    42-65370 44-61638 44-61815 42-93874 44-61642 44-61830 42-93903 44-61656
    44-61835 44-61897 44-61902 44-61932 44-61948 44-61957 44-61967 44-62002
    44-62008 44-62011 44-62025 44-62053 44-62063 44-62302 44-69866 44-62071
    44-62303 44-69959 44-62099 44-69672 44-69999 44-62110 44-69682 44-70007
    44-62152 44-69763 44-70012 44-62170 44-69771 44-70041 44-62183 44-69786
    44-70042 44-62201 44-69802 44-70077 44-62218 44-69817 44-70125 44-62224
    44-698184 4-70134 44-62253 44-69856 44-86254 44-86316 44-86414 44-86322
    44-86422 44-86328 44-86433 44-86330 44-86446 44-86331 44-87591 44-86335
    44-87596 44-86349 44-87597 44-86359 44-87618 44-86370 44-87657 44-86376
    44-87661 44-86387 44-87734 45-21716 45-21725 45-21743 45-21745 45-21746
    44-21749 42-65275 42-94038 44-27260 44-27263 44-27276 44-27277 44-27278
    44-61669 44-27292 44-61690 44-61661 44-61694

    The 19th Group and 19th Wing flew almost 650 combat missions during the war.
    There were at least 33 reported aircraft losses in the 19th BG.

    22nd Bombardment Group

    Commanders:

    Col. James V. Edmundson July 1950 Oct. 1950

    Plane rosters:

    44-61950 44-62196 44-69661 44-69898 44-61954 44-62199 44-69661 44-70042
    44-62060 44-62279 44-69746 44-86252 44-86366 44-86414 44-86441 44-21735
    45-21821

    During four months of combat, the 22d BG flew 335 sorties with only 14 aborts and dropped over 6,500 tons of bombs. One plane, 44-62279, was reported lost during operations from Okinawa.

    92nd Bombardment Group

    Commanders:

    Col. Claude E. Putnam, Jr. July 1950 Oct.

    Plane rosters:

    44-27330 44-27326 44-27332 44-61617 44-61618 44-61790 44-61802 44-61830
    44-61923 44-61925 44-61951 44-62010 44-62025 44-62082 44-62084 44-62100
    44-62102 44-62111 44-62114 44-62188 44-62208 44-62213 44-62218 44-62224
    44-69805 44-69980 44-70073 44-84032 44-84066 44-86284 44-86387 44-86433
    44-86438 44-87620 44-87760

    Five planes- 44-61617, 44-61923, 44-62084, 44-62211, and one serial number unknown – were lost during the deployment.

    98th Bombardment Group

    Commanders:

    • 98th Bombardment Group (Medium) and 98th Bombardment Wing (Medium) (Advon)
      • Col. Richard H. Carmichael -31 Mar. 1951
      • Col. David Wade 31 Mar. 1951-Sept. 1951
      • Col. Edwin F. Harding, Jr. Sept 1951-Nov. 1951
      • Col. Lewis A. Curtis Nov. 1951-May 1952
      • Col. Winton R. Close May 1952-16 June 1952
    • 98th Bombardment Wing (Medium)
      • Col. Winton R. Close 16 June 1952-26 Oct. 1952
      • Col. Charles B. Westover 26 Oct. 1952-17 June 1953
      • Col. Edgar S. Davis 17 June 1953–

    Plane rosters:

    42-24834 42-65352 42-65353 42-65357 42-93880 42-93896 42-93974 44-27288
    44-27326 44-27332 44-27341 44-61537 44-61562 44-61617 44-61657 44-61676
    44-61694 44-61721 44-61776 44-61809 44-61815 44-61830 44-61923 44-61925
    44-61951 44-62010 44-61874 44-61822 44-61878 44-61830 44-61894 44-61834
    44-61896 44-61872 44-61897 44-61923 44-61938 44-61925 44-61953 44-61927
    44-62009 44-61932 44-62010 44-61936 44-62041 44-62042 44-62076 44-62084
    44-62098 44-62102 44-62103 44-62186 44-62016 44-62207 44-62108 44-62211
    44-62141 44-62213 44-62166 44-62218 44-62167 44-62224 44-62173 44-62237
    44-62253 44-62261 44-62270 44-62279 44-62281 44-69656 44-69667 44-69668
    44-69812 44-83992 44-69727 44-69894 44-84080 44-69746 44-69909 44-86247
    44-69763 44-69944 44-86271 44-69771 44-69977 44-86272 44-69800 44-69998
    44-86273 44-69803 44-83934 44-87620 44-87760 44-86290 44-86295 44-86316
    44-86327 44-86330 44-86335 44-86339 44-86340 44-86346 44-86360 44-86361
    44-86371 44-86390 44-86392 44-86400 44-86415 44-86433 44-86436 44-86446
    44-87341 44-87621 44-87649 45-21721 45-21822 45-21834

    There were 34 known losses.

    307th Bombardment Group

    Commanders:

    • 307th Bombardment Group (Medium) and 307th Bombardment Wing (Medium) (Combat Echelon)
      • Col. John A. Hilger -15 Mar. 1951
      • Col. John M. Reynolds 15 Mar. 1951-20 Aug. 1951
      • Col. William H. Hanson 20 Aug. 1951-4 Feb. 1952
      • Col. John C. Jennison, Jr. 4 Feb. 1952–8 May 1952
      • Col. Raymond L. Winn 8 May 1952–16 June 1952
    • 307th Bombardment Wing (Medium)
      • Col. Raymond L. Winn 16 June 1952-Sept. 1952
      • Col. C. S. Overstreet, Jr. Sept. 1952–29 Dec. 1952
      • Col. Austin J. Russell 29 Dec. 1952–

    Plane rosters:

    42-65390 42-65392 42-93970 42-94031 42-94032 42-94045 42-94062 42-94072
    44-27287 44-27326 44-27347 44-61535 44-61623 44-61676 44-61683 44-61694
    44-61757 44-61802 44-61816 44-61824 44-61872 44-61908 44-61940 44-62073
    44-62083 44-62102 44-62166 44-62209 44-62252 44-62270 44-62287 44-69656
    44-69909 44-69977 44-70021 44-70151 44-83953 44-86268 44-86295 44-86318
    44-86339 44-86343 44-86357 44-86360 44-86387 44-86395 44-86422 44-86424
    44-86452 44-87760 45-21710 45-21814

    By the end of hostilities, the 307th BW and 307th BG combined had flown over 5,800 combat missions.

    Further reading

    Bibliography and source

    • B-29 Superfortress Units of the Korean War by Robert F. Dorr
    • The Last War of the Superfortresses: MiG-15 vs B-29 over Korea by Leonid Krylov and Yuriy Tepsurkaev
    • The B-29 Superfortress: A Comprehensive Registry of the Planes and Their Missions by Robert A. Mann
    • The United States Air Force In Korea 1950-1953 by Robert F. Futrell
    Javier is the editor @ Nuclear Companion and loves to investigate and write about the cold war. He lives in Montevideo, Uruguay.

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