Sub-fonds - 389th Bomb Group (Hethel)

Identity area

Reference code

Title

389th Bomb Group (Hethel)

Date(s)

  • 1941-2012 (Creation)

Level of description

Sub-fonds

Extent and medium

10 boxes; 3 photographic boxes; 5 audio recordings

Context area

Name of creator

(1942-1945)

Administrative history

Part of the United States Army Air Force 2nd Air Division, 8th Air Force.
Constituted as the 389th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 19 December 1942. Activated 24 December 1942 at Davis-Monthan Field, Arizona. Physically formed 1 February 1943 at Biggs Airbase, Texas and moved to England June-July 1943. Temporarily operated from Tunisia September-October 1943 and then returned to England. Last combat mission flown in April 1945. Returned to the United States between May and June 1945. Deactivated at Charleston Airfield, South Carolina on 13 September 1945.
Based at Hethel, Norfolk, 11 June 1943-30 May 1945.
Outline:
Constituted as the 389th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 19 December 1942 (hereafter 389th Bomb Group)and activated on 24 December 1942. The 389th Bomb Group was the third B-24 heavy bomber unit assigned to the Eighth Air Force (hereafter 8th Air Force). It was based at Hethel, Norfolk (Army Air Force Station no. 114), from 1943 to 1945. The Group flew 317 combat missions between July 1943-April 1945, mostly from Hethel. However, its first missions were flown from a temporary base near Benghazi, Libya, and additional missions were flown out of another temporary base, near Massicault, Tunis. The 564th Bomb Squadron was designated a Pathfinder Squadron in the Spring of 1944, providing Pathfinder crews and aircraft for the 2nd Bomb Division Groups. Casualties of the 389th Bomb Group, and its attached units, included 715 killed in action and in the line of duty, 447 prisoners of war, 110 internees and 58 who were shot down, evaded capture, and returned to England. Nearly 900 Purple Hearts were awarded. The Group was awarded the Distinguished Unit Citation for its role in bombing the oilfields at Ploesti, Romania, 1 August 1943. It flew its last combat mission late in April 1945 and returned to the United States, May 1945-June 1945. It was deactivated on 13 September 1945.
Key missions:
A detachment from the Group was sent to Libya, where it began operations on 9 July 1943. The detachment flew missions to Crete, Sicily, Italy, Austria, and oil fields at Ploesti, Romania, 1 August 1943. For his action during the Ploesti mission, 2nd Lt Lloyd H. Hughes, of this Group, was awarded the Medal of Honor. He refused to turn back although fuel was streaming from his flak-damaged aeroplane and flew at low altitude over the blazing target area, bombing the objective. The aeroplane crashed before Hughes could make the forced landing that he attempted after the bomb run. The detachment returned to England in August and the Group flew several missions against airfields in France and the Netherlands. Operating temporarily from Tunisia, September-October 1943, the 389th supported Allied operations at Salerno and hit targets in Corsica, Italy, and Austria. The Group resumed operations from England in October 1943 and, until April 1945, concentrated primarily on strategic objectives in France, the Low Countries, and Germany. Targets in Germany included shipbuilding yards at Vegesack, the industrial areas of Berlin, oil facilities at Merseburg, factories at Munster, railway yards at Sangerhausen, and V-weapon sites at Pas de Calais, France. The Group participated in the intensive air campaign against the German aircraft industry during the 'Big Week', 20 February 1944-25 February 1944. It also flew support and diversion missions on several occasions, bombing gun batteries and airfields in support of the Normandy invasion, in June 1944, striking enemy positions to aid the breakthrough at St Lo, France, in July 1944, hitting storage depots and communications centres during the Battle of the Bulge (December 1944-January 1945), and dropping food, ammunition, fuel, and other supplies to troops participating in the airborne assault across the Rhine in March 1945.
Bomb Squadrons:
564th Bomb Squadron: 1942-1945.
565th Bomb Squadron: 1942-1945.
566th Bomb Squadron: 1942-1945.
567th Bomb Squadron: 1942-1945.
Attached Units:
Attached units included the 18th Weather Squadron and the 463rd Sub Depot Class I. For a full list of attached units, see John Hane, 'Second Air Division Memorial: In memory of all those Americans who, flying from these bases and posts, gave their lives defending freedom, 1941-45' (Author, 1963). A reference copy is available in the Norfolk Record Office searchroom.
Stations:
Davis-Monthan Field, Arizona, 24 December 1942.
Biggs Field, Texas, 1 February 1943.
Lowry Field, Colorado, 19 April 1943-8 June 1943.
Hethel, England (AAF Station no. 114), 11 June 1943-30 May 1945.
Charleston AAFld, South Carolina, 12 June-13 September 1945.
Group Commanders:
Col David B. Lancaster, 24 December 1942.
Col Jack W. Wood, 16 May 1943.
Col Milton W. Arnold, 30 December 1943.
Col Robert B. Miller, 29 March 1944.
Col Ramsay D. Potts Jr, 17 August 1944.
Col John B. Herboth Jr, 4 December 1944.
Lt Col Jack G. Merrell, 14 April 1945-unknown.
Major awards:
Distinguished Unit Citation: Ploesti, Romania, 1 August 1943.
Other information:
There is no official emblem or nickname for the 389th Bomb Group, but they have been referred to as the 'Green Dragons' (reputedly after the public house of the same name in Wymondham, Norfolk) and 'The Sky Scorpions' (referring to their time stationed in North Africa).
Membership cards for the '300 Club' were awarded to personnel in service with the 389th Bomb Group when it flew its 300th mission and 'Lucky Bastard Club' certificates were unofficially awarded to Group members following the successful completion of a tour of 30 missions.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Content and structure area

Scope and content

This section contains records relating to the personnel and activities of the 389th Bomb Group, its associated Bomb Squadrons and ground crew of the airbase at Hethel. They include both original records and copies including official orders, crew lists, mission lists and other flight records, mission diaries, memoirs, correspondence, photographs, published articles and news cuttings. Also contains objects including squadron patches and a large liberation banner. There are also some records which relate to the 463rd Sub Depot.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling

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Conditions governing access

Conditions governing reproduction

The Norfolk Record Office requires the permission of the 2nd Air Division Memorial Trust Librarian before we can supply copies of any documents in this archive, copyright permitting. Please contact the 2nd Air Division Memorial Trust Librarian: e-mail 2admemorial.lib@norfolk.gov.uk; telephone, +44 (0) 01603 774747 and postal address, The 2nd Air Division (USAAF) Memorial Library, The Forum, Millennium Plain, Norwich, Norfolk, NR2 1AW, England.
If you are interested in copies of sound recordings in this archive, copying restrictions may apply. Please contact Norfolk Sound Archive staff for details: e-mail norfrec@norfolk.gov.uk; telephone, + 44 (0) 01603 222599 and postal address, Norfolk Record Office, The Archive Centre, Martineau Lane, Norwich, NR1 2DQ.

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Finding aids

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

For other photgraphs relating to the 389th Bomb Group in this archive, see MC 371/908/49-50, 61-62.
For other records relating to the Ploesti mission and crews in North Africa, see MC 376/338.
For photographs showing General Spaatz and General Doolittle, with the 389th Bomb Group, at a ceremony to award the War Department citation for the Ploesti mission, see MC376/339.
For photographs of aeroplane nose art relating to this Group, see MC 376/352.
For photographs and correspondence featuring Benjamin Zesdorn, bombardier, see MC 376/578.
The 2nd Air Division Memorial Library holdings include:
1) Microfilm from Maxwell Airforce Base: for the 389th Bomb Group, see BO418-427; for the 564th Bomb Squadron of the 389th Bomb Group, see AO643; for the 565th, 566th, 567th Bomb Squadrons of the 389th Bomb Group, see AO644.
2) Video tapes relating to the 389th Bomb Group are located in the video collection.
3) Periodicals: '389th Bomb Group Newsletter', vol. 1 no. 1 (Fall 1988, onwards).

Related descriptions

Publication note

Select Bibliography:
Published Unit Histories: For a published history of the 389th Bomb Group, see MC 376/369. See also, Paul Wilson and Ron Mackay, 'The Sky Scorpions: The Story of the 389th Bomb Group in World War II (Atglen, Pennsylvania, Schiffer Publishing, 2006). A reference copy is available at the Norfolk Record Office and there are also copies in the 2nd Air Division Memorial Library's collection, available through the Norfolk Library Service.
Websites giving further information about the 389th Bomb Group and on which this administrative history of the Group is based [accessed 4 August 2010]:
389th Bomb Group homepage: <http://www.389thbg.net/>
389th Bomb Group: <www.389thbombgroup.com>.
389th Memorial Exhibition Museum Hethel: <www.hethel389.co.uk/>.
Eighth Air Force Historical Society </www.8thafhs.org/bomber/389bg.htm>
The Heritage League of the 2nd Air Division <http://heritageleague.org/groups/389bg.htm>.
Second Air Division Memorial Library: <www.2ndair.org.uk/Second_Air_Division/>
United States Air Force World War II Military Heritage Database: <www.8thairforce.com/>.

Notes area

Alternative identifier(s)

CALM RefNo

MC0371/3

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Description control area

Description identifier

2bb84780-2b99-4308-bad9-084c1ba2b5fd

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Rules and/or conventions used

Status

Catalogued

Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion

Created 26/07/2005 by Droip. Modified 03/01/2019 by Catherine.Collins.

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