My old school buddy joined this unit of the USAF in 1952 and worked initially out of Langley in 1953 or so. Later, with this unit over in Southeast Asia, he flew the B-26 bombers. When he first told me this, I thought he was referring to the old B-26 Martin Marauders, but what he flew were the A-26 Douglas fighter-bombers with the by-then newer "B" designation. He retired from the AF in the early 70's, then became a career pilot with UAL. He now lives in total retirement in Dayton, UT. I have his email address.
Well...at least I had the 405th part right. Turns out he flew F-100's while he was based at Langley in the 405th, but didn't get into the A-26 when he began with them out of Hurlburt AFB in Florida some years later.
Sorry about that...
I have found info about this unit....the 405th was a B-25 Mitchell squadron for all of WWII. They were supplied with their first A-26 Invaders in January 1946. They flew from the following bases in WWII:
First overseas base--Breddan, Australia, August 1942...they had B-25Cs and -Ds, the first B-25s to be stationed overseas.
Some forward-staging took place, but next "permanent" base seems to have been Durand Airfield, near Port Moresby. They moved there in November 1942 and stayed there for about 15 months. Next move was in March 1944, to Nazdab Airfield New Guinea, and they stayed there until 1 October, 1944. During this time, they traded in their -C and -D model B-25s for new -J models. Nest stop was Pitoe Airfield, in Indonesia, where they stayed until late January 1945--at that time they moved to Lingayan Airfield, on Luzon. Half of the 38th BG's bombers and aircrew were sent forward to Puerta Princesa Airfield, Palawan, in June 1945 and attached to the 42nd BG, 13th AF. These planes and crews were later returned to Lingayan within a few weeks. I did not find info on the breakdown of the planes sent, so it is possible that 405th planes and crews were part of the mix. In mid-July the 38th made preparations to move to Yontan Airfield, Okinawa. This was the last base the 38th flew from during WWII.
The 405th was actually changed to a non-flying unit in 1946, and then reverted back to BS designation in 1947, supplied with B-26C Invaders and TB-25 Mitchells. The entire 38th BW was inactivated in 1949, and reactivated in January 1953, with the 405th having the same dates and events. In April 1955, they traded in the Invaders for B-57 Canberras.
The 5th Air Force was based in the Pacific and was not part of the European theater. My dad was in the 5th AF, on B-25's, New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Leyte Gulf, etc.
"Green Dragons" Nose art:
405th BS "Green Dragons" B-25J
In September 1946 the group moved to Itami, Japan. The 405th BS was reduced to a paper squadron without aircraft or personnel, then relocated at Itazuke between 1 January and 1 May 1947 to be a basic military training unit, after which it returned to Itami as a non-flying labor unit until the establishment of the USAF.
The 38th Tactical Bombing Wing (38th TBW) was reactivated as part of the USAF in Europe on January 1, 1953, being assigned toLaon-Couvron Air Base, France. Upon activation, the wing absorbed the assets of the Air National Guard 126th Bomb Wing, which was inactivated and returned to the control of theIllinois Air National Guard. The 38th's squadrons were designated the 71st, 405th, and 822nd Bomb Squadrons. The wing flew the B-26 Invader until 1955, when they were re-equipped with B-57s, and the B-26's were returned to CONUS (Continental United States).
In 1958, French President Charles De Gaulle announced that all NATO nuclear weapons and delivery aircraft had to be removed from French soil by July 1958. Since the parent wing was nuclear capable by NATO policy, it was ordered to depart France. The 38th BG was inactivated at Laon on 8 December 1957 and its three squadrons assigned directly to the wing while aircraft and personnel were transferred to other units. The wing then moved on 18 June 1958 to Hahn Air Base, Germany, where it was redesignated a tactical missile wing using theTM-61 Matador Missile...
This is the only picture of 405th BS B-26s I've been able to find after about a half-hour search...
Great find on the photo. Here is some more info. The dark tails with white letters might be from when the 38th Bomb Group, under the 38th Bomb Wing, was at Itami AB in Japan.
I believe that the 38th Bomb Group absorbed some of the personnel and all of the equipment of the 319th BG as both were at different airfields in Okinawa, when the 319th returned home in Nov, 45. The post war 38th BG had used similar markings to the 319th BG, blue tails with a white number for the 319th and a colored tails with a white letter for the 38th. Sources list the 71st, 495th and 89th (from the 3rd BG) Bomb Squadrons as being part of the 38th BG active at least from 47 to 49. But the USAF in post-war Japan was severely under-equippd and I would not be surprised if it really had only two active squadrons. The 3rd BG/BW was in the same boat and started the Korean War with only two squadrons.
Here is another photo of the 38th BW over Japan.
If you have the old Koku-Fan Illustrated #41, US Forces Japan & Fifth Air Force 1945-88, published in 1988, the above photo is on page 27 and another better shot of a tail is on page 24. But they are mislabeled as belonging to the 3rd BG. I had discussions with the author and the brother of the person who provided the photo on page 27 and they said that it was the 38th BW that painted the tails.
The 126th BW had colored tail bands. So I don't think that the dark tails are while active in USAFE. See link to wiki: