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 Home > History > USAF Historical Division's Brief History of the 43rd Bombardment Group, 1940-1952 > March 1945 - February 1951

From March through July 1945 the Group continued to hit targets on Formosa. The 63rd Squadron conducted night antishipping operations in the East and South China Seas, Tonkin Gulf, and along the China coast. Late in July the 43rd moved to Ie Shima from where it conducted operations against the Japanese home islands.

In the maximum effort which was conducted against Japan from Ie Shima during the period 24 July - 15 August 1945, the Group reported that it sank 25 Japanese vessels, including one aircraft carrier, for a total of 115,850 tons; another 42,050 tons were probably sunk or damaged. In addition, parked aircraft on four of the major Japanese airfields were destroyed or rendered unserviceable, railroad yards on Kyushu were hit repeatedly, and coastal shipping between Honshu, Kyushu, and Korea was virtually eliminated.

On 10 December 1945 the 43rd Bombardment Group moved to McKinley Field, Luzon, and approximately five months later, on 29 April 1946, the Group was inactivated.

Five months later, however, on 1 October, 1946, the 43rd was redesignated a heavy-bomber organization, assigned to Strategic Air Command, and activated at Davis-Montham Field (later Davis-Montham Air Force Base), Arizona. At the time of activation the Group was composed of the 63rd, 64th, and 65th Bombardment Squadrons.

From 1946 to 1951 the mission of the 43rd Group was to organize and train a force capable of conducting immediate and sustained, long-range, offensive operations in any part of the world. In performance of that duty the Group was to utilize the latest technical knowledge and advanced weapons for long-range offensive bombardment, reconnaissance, photographic mapping, sea search, and antisubmarine patrol, carried on either independently or in conjunction with land and naval forces.

With the exception of several temporary tours in England and Labrador, the Group carried out its routine training at Davis-Montham Air Force Base. In March 1948 the 43rd received its first B-50 aircraft, and in the space of a few months, all of the B-29's had been replaced. The B-50 was the first type of plane to be flown non-stop around the world. That feat, undertaken in March 1949, was accomplished in 94 hours and 1 minute by personnel of the 43rd Bombardment Group who manned the B-50 aircraft Lucky Lady. The plane carried a crew of 14 commanded by Captain James G. Gallagher.

On 10 February 1951, when Strategic Air Command was reorganized, the 43rd Group was reduced to Records-Unit status, with one officer and one airman assigned for historical purposes only. At the time of that action, the Group's tactical squadrons were assigned to the 43rd Wing for operational control. On 16 June 1952 the 43rd Bombardment Group was inactivated at Davis-Montham Air Force Base, Arizona.