9th BOMBARDMENT SQUADRON



Source:  7th Bomb Wing B-36 Association

(Excerpt includes information about the 9th Bomb Squadron through WWII)

The 9th Bombardment Squadron began as the 9th Aero Squadron at Camp Kelly, Texas on 14 June 1917.  World War I had begun in April of that year and the unit was targeted for overseas combat duty.  Their first European stop was Winchester, England in December 1917.  Following the holidays, the unit moved on to Grantham, England to train for combat flying the Sopwith Scout.  After eight months of intensive training, the unit moved to the front in August 1918.  While in Colombyles-Belles, France, the 9th was assigned to the 1st Army Observation Group.  Also, after arrival in France, the unit began flying a new aircraft; the French Brequet 14.  That aircraft would be used extensively to perform the unit's mission - night reconnaissance.  By specializing in night reconnaissance, the 9th gained the unique distinction of being the first in the American Air Service to do so.  However, their missions were not without danger.  In one case, two of the 9th aircraft were engaged by seven enemy Fokkers.  The 9th's aircraft not only shot down two German aircraft, but completed their photographic mission.

As the war progressed the unit participated in many night missions and battles.  Most famous of those battles were the Battle of Lorraine, Battle of St Michiel, and the Meuse-Argonne Offensive.  For those, the unit earned their first battle streamers.  After the war had drawn to a close, the unit was moved to Trier, Germany to serve as part of the occupation force under the Third Army on 5 December 1918.  In June 1919, the unit was ordered back to the States where they were stationed at Mitchell Field, New York; Park Field, Tennessee; and at March Field, California.  While at March, the 9th was assigned to the Western Department in July 1919 flying border and fire patrols.  On 29 June 1922, the unit was inactivated.  While inactivated, the 9th was redesignated twice.  First, as the 9th Observation Squadron on 25 January 1923 and secondly as the 9th Bombardment Squadron on 24 March 1923.

On 1 April 1931, the 9th was activated and assigned to the 7th Bombardment Group at March Field, California.  It was in 1932 that the unit had their now familiar squadron patch approved.  Designed in black and silver with three piles representing the three World War I battles the squadron took part in forming the Roman numeral IX.  While with the group, the 9th flew numerous training flights in a variety of airplanes.  In 1935 the unit participated in a mass bomber formation, cross-country flight from California to Florida.  In January 1941, the 9th moved along with the 7th Bombardment Group to Salt Lake City, Utah.  In October of that year the unit prepared to take part in an exercise with the group in the Pacific area.  With the ground echelon setting sail on 13 November 1941, the 9th made ready to fly into Hickam, Field, Hawaii the following month on 7 December 1941.  The B-17s of the squadron arrived at Hawaii in the midst of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.  Unarmed and unable to fight back, the 9th lost several aircraft to enemy and friendly fire.  Following the attack, the remaining aircraft returned to the States before moving on to Java.

The dawn of 13 January 1942 saw the 9th departing for Singosari, Java.  The unit arrived many hours later, safe but tired.  Major Conrad Necrason, commander of the 9th at this time, directed rest and repairs before the unit moved on to Jogjakari, Java.  Combat missions in Java were performed in the B-17, where the unit used its long combat range to destroy Japanese shipping around the Philippines and assisted in evacuating personnel in the face of a fast moving enemy.  On 8 March 1942, the unit moved to Karachi, India.  Karachi was located on the coast of the Arabian Sea and proved a welcome change from the humid jungles of Java.

While in Karachi, the 9th ferried troops to and evacuated casualties from the intense fighting in Burma.  The seacoast station was to be short lived and the unit was moved 1,300 miles inland to the town of Allahabad, India, located between the Vindhaya Mountain Range and the Himalayas.  The 9th continued to rain havoc upon the Japanese shipping lanes along the coast of Burma.  On 2 July 1942, the unit moved again, but to a different front and a new enemy.

Lydda, Palestine, an arid desert area was to be the 9th's new home, for a while at least.  From Palestine, their B-17's pounded German shipping and harbors.  That effective bombing helped to disrupt the offensive the German Army was attempting against the invading American forces.  The Japanese were not idle during that time however.  They had extended their reach into China, Siam, Andaman Islands and deeper into Burma.  The 9th returned to Karachi, India in October 1942 to assist with the bombing of those new Japanese targets.

The unit was now flying the B-24, a replacement for the older B-17.  The longer combat range and heavier bomb capabilities of the B-24 helped the 9th assist in dropping over 2,400,000 pounds of bombs on 123 targets.  From 1942 to early 1945, the unit, in addition to their bombing missions, transported fuel and supplies over the Himalaya Mountains.  In February 1945, the 9th supported the British Army in their drive against Mandalay.

World War II ended on 14 August 1945 with the Japanese surrender.  The 9th Bombardment Squadron's combat mission now complete, the unit returned to the States and were stationed at Camp Kilmer, New Jersey where the unit was inactivated on 6 January 1946.  Nine months after the 9th was inactivated following an illustrious World War II record, it was activated and assigned to the 7th Bombardment Group at Fort Worth Army Airfield, Texas on 1 October 1946.  Along with the 9th, the 436th and 492nd Bombardment Squadrons; the 25th Base Service Squadron; the 35 Air Engineering Squadron; and the 578th Air Material Squadron were assigned to the newly formed 7th Bomb Group.


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