358th Bombardment Squadron

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358th Bombardment Squadron
Shield Strategic Air Command.png
Lockheed B-47E-50-LM Stratojet 52-3363.jpg
Lockheed B-47E Stratojet 52-3363
Active 1942–1945; 1947–1948; 1951–1964
Country United States
Branch  United States Air Force
Role Bombardment
Part of Strategic Air Command
Engagements European Theater of Operations
Decorations Distinguished Unit Citation
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award
358th Bombardment Squadron emblem (Approved 7 June 1956[1] 358th Bombardment Squadron - SAC - Emblem.png
358th Bombardment Squadron emblem (World War II)[2] 358th Bombardment Squadron - Emblem.png
World War II tail and fuselage codes[2] Triangle C, VN

The 358th Bombardment Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. It was last assigned to the 303d Bombardment Wing at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, where it was inactivated on 15 June 1964.


World War II

Media related to 303d Bombardment Group (United States Army Air Forces) at Wikimedia Commons

The 358th Bombardment Squadron was established in February 1942 as a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bomber squadron at Pendleton Field, Oregon and assigned to the 303d Bombardment Group. It moved to Gowen Field, Idaho, where it trained under Second Air Force. The squadron deployed to Southern California to fly antisubmarine patrols over the Pacific. The 358th completed training in southwest by August 1942. The ground echelon departed Biggs Field, Texas in August 1942, arriving at Fort Dix on 24 August. It sailed aboard the RMS Queen Mary and arrived in Great Britain on 10 September. The air echelon flew through Kellogg Field, Michigan and Dow Field, Maine before ferrying its planes across the Atlantic.[3][4]

Combat in the European Theater

Unidentified 358th BS B-17G (VK) on a bomb run

Due to the haste to move heavy bombers to Europe, the squadron was insufficiently trained for combat[5] and it continued to train in England until it entered combat on 17 November 1942[4] in a strike against Saint-Nazaire, but returned without striking, having been unable to locate its target. It attacked Saint-Nazaire the following day, although its intended target was La Pallice.[6] Its initial raids were on airfields, railroads and submarine pens in France. As a unit of one of only four Flying Fortress groups in VIII Bomber Command during late 1942 and early 1943, the squadron participated in the development of the tactics that would be used throughout the air campaign against Germany.[7]

In 1943, the squadron began flying missions to Germany, participating in the first attack by American heavy bombers on a target in Germany, a raid on the submarine yards at Wilhelmshaven on 27 January 1943. From that time, it concentrated primarily on strategic bombardment of German industry, marshalling yards, and other strategic targets, including the ball bearing plants at Schweinfurt, shipyards at Bremen and an aircraft engine factory at Hamburg.[3]

On 20 December 1943 one of the squadron's planes, nicknamed the "Jersey Bounce" was hit by flak and lost two engines while attacking the target, causing the Fort to drop behind the formation. Two 20 millimeter cannon shells exploded in the radio compartment, injuring Technical Sergeant Forrest L. Vosler, the radio operator-gunner. The first injuring him in the legs and thighs and the second striking is chest and also nearly blinding him. Sergeant Vosler continued to fire his gun at attacking fighters. He began to lapse in and out of consciousness, but (working by feel) managed to repair the radio so that emergency transmissions could be made. When the B-17 ditched, he managed to climb on the wing unaided and assist the badly wounded tail gunner until he could be loaded into one of the plane's dinghies. Sergeant Vosler was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions.[3][8]

The 358th received a Distinguished Unit Citation when adverse weather on 11 January 1944 prevented its fighter cover from joining the group, exposing it to continuous attacks by Luftwaffe fighters. Despite this opposition, the unit successfully struck an aircraft assembly plant at Oschersleben.[3]

Although a strategic bombing unit, the squadron was diverted on occasion to close air support and interdiction for ground forces. It attacked gun emplacements and bridges in the Pas-de-Calais during Operation Overlord, the invasion of Normandy, in June 1944; bombed enemy troops during Operation Cobra, the breakout at Saint Lo, and during the Battle of the Bulge. It bombed military installations near Wesel during Operation Lumberjack, the Allied assault across the Rhine. Its last combat mission was an attack on 25 April 1945 against an armament factory at Pilsen (now Plzeň).[3]

Following VE Day in May 1945 the 303d Group was reassigned to the North African Division, Air Transport Command and moved to Casablanca Airfield, French Morocco to use its B-17 bombers as transports, ferrying personnel from France to Morocco. However, the two B-17 groups moved to Casablanca proved surplus to Air Transport Command's needs and the squadron was inactivated in late July 1945 and its planes ferried back to the United States.[3][4]

Strategic Air Command

Activated in the postwar Strategic Air Command in 1947 at Andrews Field, Maryland, but not equipped and inactivated in September 1948. Activated again at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona in September 1951 and equipped with Boeing B-29 Superfortress bombers.

Reactivated in 1951 as a Boeing B-47 Stratojet medium bomber squadron; aircraft not received until April 1953 when squadron received first production block of B-47Es. Conducted routine deployments and training during the 1950s and early 1960s. Inactivated in 1964 with the phaseout of the B-47.


  • Constituted as the 358th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) on 28 January 1942
Activated on 3 February 1942
  • Redesignated 358th Bombardment Squadron, Heavy on 20 August 1943[9]
Inactivated on 25 July 1945
  • Redesignated 358th Bombardment Squadron, Very Heavy on 11 June 1947
Activated on 1 July 1947
Inactivated on 6 September 1948
  • Re-designated 358th Bombardment Squadron, Medium on 27 August 1951
Activated on 4 September 1951
Inactivated on 15 June 1964


  • 303d Bombardment Group, 3 February 1942 – 25 July 1945
  • 303d Bombardment Group, 1 July 1947 – 6 September 1948
  • 303d Bombardment Group, 4 September 1951
  • 303d Bombardment Wing, 16 June 1952 – 15 June 1964


  • Pendleton Field, Oregon, 3 February 1942
  • Gowen Field, Idaho, 13 March 1942
Operated from Muroc Army Air Field, California, 28 May – c. 14 June 1942)


  • Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, 1942–1945
  • Boeing B-29 Superfortress, 1951–1953
  • Boeing B-47 Stratojet, 1953–1964[1]

Awards and campaigns

Award streamer Award Dates Notes
Streamer PUC Army.PNG Distinguished Unit Citation 11 January 1944 Germany [1]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 January 1961–31 March 1962 [1]
Campaign Streamer Campaign Dates Notes
American Campaign Streamer.png Antisubmarine 3 February 1942 – June 142 [1]
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal streamer.png Air Offensive, Europe 12 September 1942 – 5 June 1944 [1]
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal streamer.png Normandy 6 June 1944 – 24 July 1944 [1]
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal streamer.png Northern France 25 July 1944 – 14 September 1944 [1]
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal streamer.png Rhineland 15 September 1944 – 21 March 1945 [1]
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal streamer.png Ardennes-Alsace 16 December 1944 – 25 January 1945 [1]
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal streamer.png Central Europe 22 March 1944 – 21 May 1945 [1]
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal streamer.png Air Combat, EAME Theater 12 September 1942 – 11 May 1945 [1]

See also



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Maurer, Combat Squadrons, pp. 447–448
  2. ^ a b Watkins, pp. 52–53
  3. ^ a b c d e f Maurer, Combat Units, pp. 175–176
  4. ^ a b c Freeman, p. 247
  5. ^ Freeman, p. 19
  6. ^ Freeman, p. 20
  7. ^ See generally Freeman, Chapter 3, "The Pioneers", pp. 21–32 (describing development of formations, bombing techniques, etc. during this period).
  8. ^ Freeman, p. 102
  9. ^ See Robertson, Patsy (2 May 2011). "Factsheet 303 Air Expeditionary Group (USAFE)". Air Force Historical Research Agency. Retrieved 30 November 2015.(group redesignated)
  10. ^ Station number in Anderson


 This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website http://www.afhra.af.mil/.

  • Anderson, Capt. Barry (1985). Army Air Forces Stations: A Guide to the Stations Where U.S. Army Air Forces Personnel Served in the United Kingdom During World War II (PDF). Maxwell AFB, AL: Research Division, USAF Historical Research Center. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 7 July 2012.
  • Freeman, Roger A. (1970). The Mighty Eighth: Units, Men and Machines (A History of the US 8th Army Air Force). London, England: Macdonald and Company. ISBN 978-0-87938-638-2.
  • Maurer, Maurer, ed. (1983) [1961]. Air Force Combat Units of World War II (PDF) (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-912799-02-1. LCCN 61060979.
  • Maurer, Maurer, ed. (1982) [1969]. Combat Squadrons of the Air Force, World War II (PDF) (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-405-12194-6. LCCN 70605402. OCLC 72556.
  • Watkins, Robert (2008). Battle Colors: Insignia and Markings of the Eighth Air Force In World War II. Vol I (VIII) Bomber Command. Atglen, PA: Shiffer Publishing Ltd. ISBN 0-7643-1987-6.
Further reading
  • Warnock, A. Timothy (1994). The Battle Against the U-Boat in the American Theater (PDF). Bolling AFB, DC: Air Force History Support Office. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
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