459th Bombardment Group (H)

Constituted as 459th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 19 May 1943. Activated on 1 July 1943. Trained for combat with B-24's.

Moved to Italy, Jan-Feb 1944, and assigned to Fifteenth AF. Engaged primarily in strategic bombardment, Mar 1944 - Apr 1945, attacking such targets as oil refineries, munitions and aircraft factories, industrial areas, airfields, and communications centers in Italy, France, Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Austria, Rumania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, and Greece. Received a Distinguished Unit Citation (DUC) for leading the 304th Wing through enemy interceptors and intense flak to raid an airfield and aircraft assembly plant at Bad Voslau on 23 Apr 1944. During combat the group also flew some support and interdictory missions. Struck railroads in Mar 1944 to cut enemy supply lines leading to the Anzio beachhead. Participated in the pre-invasion bombing of southern France in Aug 1944. Hit railroad bridges, depots, and marshaling yards during Apr 1945 to assist Allied forces in northern Italy. Returned to the US in Aug. Inactivated on 18 Aug 1945.

Re-designated 459th Bombardment Group ( Very Heavy ). Allotted to the reserve. Activated on 19 Apr 1947. Re-designated 459th Bombardment Group ( Medium ) in June 1949. Ordered to active duty on 1 May 1951. Assigned to Strategic Air Command. In-activated on 16 June 1951. Reassigned 459th Troop Carrier Group( Medium )Allotted to the reserve. Activated on 26 Jan 1955. Reassigned 459th Air Lift Wing and served in First Gulf War. Reassigned in 2004 and current status- 459th Air Tanker Wing, based at Andrews AFB

Squadrons. 756th, 757th, 758th, 759th.

Stations. Alamogordo AAFld, NM, 1 Jul 1943; Kearns, Utah, c. 31 Aug 1943 Davis-Monthan Field, Ariz, c. 20 Sep 1943; Westover Field, Mass, c. 1 Nov 1943-2 Jan 1944; Giulia Airfield, Italy, Feb 1944-c. Jul 1945

Commanders. Col Marden M Munn, 2 Jul 1943; Col Henry K Mooney, 13 Aug 1944; Lt Col William R Boutz, 19 May 1945.

Campaigns. Air Combat, EAME Theater; Air Offensive, Europe; Rome-Arno; Normandy; Northern France; Southern France; North Apennines; Rhineland; Central Europe; Po Valley.

Decorations. Distinguished Unit Citation: Bad Voslau, Austria, 23 Apr 1944.

Insigna. Sheild: an American eagle propoer flying over clouds in the base argent between two parachutes, one in chief transporting an airman, one in base transporting supplies.

Get The AAC Museum

Make A Donation

Support the Army Air Corps Library and Museum

Secure Donation


Somewhere in Italy Book

Read the about the experiences of Reid Waltman, Navigator.


Military Cinema Presents
Combat film of the 459th BG in WWII on DVD.

Archival Combat Film Footage DVD of the 304th Bomb Wing includes the 459th BG.