B-26 Marauder of the 386th Bombardment Group

B-26 Marauder of the 386th Bombardment Group

B-26 Marauder of the 386th Bombardment Group

This B-26 Marauder can be identified as an aircraft of the 55th Bombardment Squadron, 386th Bombardment Group because it is carrying the two letter identification code YA (just visible below the turret). RAF style identification codes were often carried by American squadrons opearting from Britain. This aircraft also carried invasion stripes, and is pictured somewhere over Normandy

386th Air Expeditionary Wing

Airmen from the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing proudly render a final salute to C-130 aircraft, tail number 63-7865, from Ramstein AB, Germany, at Ali Al Salem Air Base, Kuwait, in Southwest Asia. The aircraft had just flown its last combat mission and will be flown to Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz., where it will be laid to rest at the "boneyard." The C-130 became an honorary purple heart recipient in June 1972 for damages sustained from mortar fire in Vietnam.

The 386th Air Expeditionary Wing (386 AEW) is a provisional United States Air Force unit assigned to United States Air Forces Central. As a provisional unit, it may be activated or inactivated at any time. It is currently stationed at Ali Al Salem Air Base, Kuwait in Southwest Asia. During World War II, the group's predecessor unit, the 386th Bombardment Group (Medium) was a B-26 Marauder bombardment group assigned to the Eighth and later Ninth Air Force. During the Battle of Normandy, it supported Allied forces at Caen, and participated in the massive blows against the enemy at Saint-Lô on 25 July 1944. Knocked out targets to help clear the Falaise pocket of German forces in August 1944 and hit strong points at Brest during September.


The 386th Air Expeditionary Wing has a diverse mission which canvases the CENTCOM AOR. The 386th AEW is the primary aerial hub for Operation Iraqi Freedom and provides airlift support for Operation Enduring Freedom and the Horn of Africa. The wing comprises the 386th Expeditionary Maintenance, Mission Support, Medical and Operations Groups and the 586th Expeditionary Mission Support Group.

The 386th AEW is composed of Airmen from the National Guard, Air Force Reserve and active duty. They provide security at the largest Theater Internment Facility in Kuwait, security for convoys, and serve as drivers for convoys.

The wing is also home to one of two contingency aeromedical staging facilities (CASF) in the theater. The CASF serves as a gateway for patients airlifted to Germany or the United States for further medical treatment.

The following units are assigned:

  • 386th Expeditionary Maintenance Group [2]
  • 386th Expeditionary Mission Support Group [2]
  • 386th Expeditionary Medical Group [2] located at Abdullah Al-Mubarak Air Base (Cargo City) and Ali Al Salem Air Base[2] located at Ali Al Salem Air Base and Ahmad al-Jaber Air Base[2]
  • 386th Expeditionary Operations Group [citation needed]

The 586th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron was part of the wing's 586th AEG until it was inactivated in 2008.

World War II Edit

The unit was constituted as the 386th Bombardment Group (Medium) on 25 November 1942, and was activated on 1 December 1942 at MacDill Field, Florida. The group was equipped with the Martin B-26 Marauder medium bomber. Its operational squadrons were the 552d (RG), 553d (AN), 554th (RU) and 555th (YA)

After training at several airfields in the United States, the group was deployed to Europe in June 1943 and was assigned initially to the 3rd Bombardment Wing of the Eighth Air Force at RAF Snetterton Heath, England. The group remained at Snetterton Heath only a few days, being transferred to RAF Boxted in north Essex on 10 June 1943 where the Martin B-26 Marauder groups were being consolidated for operations and retrained in medium altitude bombing after low level tactics had produced disastrous losses. The group flew its first mission on 30 July, with operations concentrating on airfields but also attacked marshalling yards and gun positions along the channel coast.

The 386th was again transferred to RAF Great Dunmow on 24 September 1943. Missions of the 386th concentrated on airfields but also bombed marshalling yards and gun positions during the first months of combat. In common with all B-26 Marauder units of the Eighth Air Force, the 386th was transferred to Ninth Air Force on 16 October 1943.

Tactical operations were carried out against V-weapon sites along the coast of France in the winter of 1943–1944, and bombed airfields in the Netherlands and Belgium during Big Week, 20–25 February 1944.

Great Dunmow was the first airfield visited by General Eisenhower in his USAAF airfield tour on Tuesday, 11 April 1944, and he arrived in time to see thirty-nine Ninth Air Force Marauders take off at twenty second intervals for a mission to attack the marshalling yards in Charleroi Belgium.

The 386th hammered gun positions, and airfields preceding the invasion of Normandy and made numerous assaults on bridges of the Seinelate in May. Struck coastal batteries on D-Day and hit bridges, supply and fuel stores, gun positions, and defended areas during the remainder of the Battle of Normandy. Supported Allied forces at Caen, and participated in the massive blows against the enemy at Saint-Lô on 25 July 1944. Knocked out targets to help clear the Falaise pocket of German forces in August 1944 and hit strong points at Brest during September.

In July 1944, the 553d Bomb Squadron was selected to perform operational testing on the new Douglas A-26 Invader. A special squadron of A-26s was attached to the 386th Bombardment Group by order of "Special Operations Order #205, Project 3AF JY Class TM 0725", which created the "A-26 Combat Evaluation Project Squadron" - or simply, Project Squadron to the crews. This squadron conducted 8 combat missions with the 386th between the dates of 6 Sep 1944 and 19 Sep 1944. Having successfully completed their evaluation assignment the Project Squadron was detached from the 386th and transferred to the 416th Bombardment Group to train their pilots on converting over to the A-26.

On 2 October 1944, the 386th Bomb Group moved to Beaumont-sur-Oise (A-60) Airfield, in Normandy France. On the continent, the 386th BG used the following Advanced Landing Grounds:

While the unit was at Beaumont-sur-Oise they were fully converted from the B-26 Marauder to the A-26 Invader. By March, 1945 the 386th Bomb Group was flying Invaders in combat missions and the old B-26s had been retired stateside.

After V-E Day the group returned to the United States, first to Seymour-Johnson AFB, then to Westover AFB where the unit was disbanded and their aircraft was dispersed. The 386th Bomb Group was inactivated on 7 November 1945.

Cold War Edit

The 386th Troop Carrier Wing, Medium was established on 23 March 1953, but was never made active nor assigned any aircraft or mission.

The 386th Fighter-Bomber Group was activated on 8 April 1956 at Bunker Hill AFB, Indiana as part of the 323d Fighter-Bomber Wing. Assigned to the Tactical Air Command, the group had three squadrons, 552d, 553d and 554th. Initially training with North American F-86Fs, these were quickly upgraded to the North American F-86H Sabre and then to the North American F-100A to become proficient in tactical air operations.

The wing's aircraft wore a band on the tail, and around the nose edged with small black checkers.

In 1955, Strategic Air Command (SAC) began stationing units at the base, and the Eighth Air Force claimed jurisdiction of Bunker Hill AFB in September 1957. With the turnover of the base to SAC, the 323d was phased down and replaced by the SAC 401st Air Base Group on 1 September 1957.

Iraq War Edit

In 1998, in preparation for Operation Desert Fox, the 9th Air Expeditionary Group stood up and in 2001 was redesignated as the 386th Air Expeditionary Group. The 386th Air Expeditionary Wing was activated as part of the War on Terrorism at as a result of the inactivation of the 363d Air Expeditionary Wing.

This unit was literally at the forefront of Operation Southern Watch. For several years following the Persian Gulf War, the base was a sleepy radar site, manned by just a handful of Air Force people monitoring air traffic in the southern Iraq no-fly zone. The 74th Air Control Squadron deployed from August to November 1995 to set up and operate a radar site—the only source of a 24-hour air picture in-theater – as part of Operation Vigilant Sentinel. Exactly one year later, 74th ACS personnel deployed once again, this time for 120 days in support of Southern Watch and Operation Desert Strike.

After tensions in the region flared in late 1997, coalition forces started massing at the base. When the buildup renewed in November 1998, prior to Operation Desert Fox, the base doubled in size to a population of 1,500.

The 9th Air Expeditionary Group provided air surveillance and control through that same radar site, while a fleet of C-130 Hercules provide theater airlift and, if necessary, combat search and rescue and aeromedical evacuation for Operation Southern Watch forces. The 9th AEG brought all those functions under one umbrella. Life on The Rock was austere, even by the standards of Southwest Asia's deployed locations. Many Air Force people at other Southern Watch bases lived and worked in permanent buildings but The Rock was almost entirely a tent city, with very few actual buildings. Most "buildings" were Quonset-shaped, foldable general purpose structures.

During the summer of 2001, Airmen from all over the world were called to participate in Operation Southern Watch's AEF-6, also called the 386th Air Expeditionary Group. From the late spring to early fall, the active duty Airmen were joined by members of the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve. Although from different divisions of the same service, they personified the "seamless air force" concept.

Air Expeditionary Force Eight came to a hot start under the desert sun when members of the 729th Air Control Squadron from Hill AFB, Utah, arrived in August 2001. There was a two-thirds changeover of base personnel due to AEF Eight rotations. Approximately one-third of the members assigned to the 729th ACS deployed to here assuming duties as the 386th Expeditionary Air Control Squadron for the next 90 days.

The 386th EACS began focused preparations for the deployment about six months earlier. Their wartime mission was to deploy to potentially austere environments, so the base here was not much of a departure. The 386th EACS also conducted field training in the desert environment of Western Utah to practice chemical warfare, security and other combat skills.

In 2000, the first hardened structures were built here. Hardened structures continue to be built on The Rock.

B-26 Marauder of the 386th Bombardment Group - History

Officers of the 386th Bombardment Group, 554th Bombardment Squadron, World War 2

Officers of the 386th Bombardment Group, 554th Bombardment Squadron, World War 2


The purpose of these pages is to share information relating to the B-26 in WWII. If you have any additions or corrections please E-mail me and I will make necessary changes.

These lists are arranged by either serial number or squadron code letter. A known mame or reference to nose art appears in italic.

Group Markings:
Yellow horizontal band on fin

552nd Bombardment Squadron

Squadron Markings:
RG Fuselage Codes

41-31617 Winnie RG-A Lt. Mahan
41-31637 THE DEACON RG-B Lt. Willnow
43-34329 RG-B
44-67323 RG-B
41-31644 Crescendo RG-C
41-31965 GLORIA RG-C
350 RG-C
41-31608 RG-D
41-34941 Slightly Dangerous RG-D
44-67843 RG-D
41-34958 Hazard RG-F
42-96112 RG-F
41-31842 Sixovus RG-F Lt. Duff
41-31639 GAMBLER&rsquoS LUCK RG-G Lt. Darst
41-31616 Mert and the Flying Circus RG-H
43-34302 RG-H
41-31630 Geronimo RG-J Capt.Marble
43-34374 RG-J
43-34610 RG-J
236 RG-J
41-34987 DannyBoy II RG-K
41-35019 Horizontal Helen RG-K
41-34970 Margie RG-L
42-96106 RG-L
485 RG-M
41-31738 Seductive Susie RG-O Capt. Slanker
43-34171 RG-O
41-31633 HOT PISTOL RG-P
43-32483 RG-P
44-67339 RG-P
41-31786 RG-Q Lt. Clever
41-34954 Dottie RG-Q
41-39566 RG-Q
42-96311 RG-Q
43-34318 RG-R
43-34608 RG-R
41-31850 THE DEACON RG-S Capt. Ritter
43-34202 RG-S
396 RG-S
43-34304 Buzz-N-Bitch III RG-T
41-31586 Shadrach RG-U
41-39410 RG-U
42-96321 True love RG-V
41-31945 RG-W
41-31709 RG-X Lt. Golladay
41-34962 RG-X
43-34209 Muriel RG-X
41-31737 Male Call RG-Y Lt. Wendel
41-34399 RG-Y
41-34962 RG-Y
345 RG-Y
41-35247 Carefree Carolyn RG-Z

Unknown Codes
41-31632 DannyBoy
41-34873 Umbriago
shot down by AAA over France Mar 5, 1944. MACR 2604

553rd Bombardment Squadron

Squadron Markings:
AN Fuselage Codes

42-96116 AN-A
43-34297 AN-A
42-96084 AN-C
41-31889 AN-D
41-31823 AN-D
41-31805 AN-D
43-34458 AN-D
41-31844 Touch O' Texas II AN-F Lt. Bledsoe
41-31821 AN-F
41-31827 AN-G
41-34949 AN-H
41-31656 SPARE PARTS AN-H Capt. Senter
41-31585 Blazing Heat AN-J
42-96298 AN-J
42-96316 AN-K
41-34962 AN-K
41-34888 Grit AN-L
41-31775 AN-N Pilot: Lt. Rutt
42-96128 AN-N
41-31610 AN-P
41-31650 Miss Mary AN-O
365 AN-O March 9, 1945
41-31610 HARD LUCK / Wabash Cannonball AN-P Capt. Robert Brockhouse
41-31608 Our Baby AN-Q Lt. Hickman
41-31848 AN-Q
42-96098 AN-Q
41-31902 Crime Doctor AN-R Lt Col 'Lee' Leroy C. Meyers
42-96209 AN-R
44-67916 AN-R
41-31606 Rat Poison AN-S Major Hoover
41-31602 Two Way Ticket AN-T
42-96275 AN-T
44-67808 AN-T
41-31600 The Mad Russian AN-U LT Charles A. Ritter, Eng., John B Humphrey, Lost March,'45
41-31597 The Wolf AN-V Lt. Quigley
42-96096 AN-V
43-34358 AN-V
43-34210 LA PALOMA AN-V
41-31587 Bomb Boogie AN-W
41-31583 La Golondrina AN-X Lt. Archbald
351 AN-X March 9, 1945
41-31577 Elmer AN-Y
41-34937 Star Dust YA-N
41-31576 Dinah Might AN-Z Capt. Robert T. Harris Lost 18/11/44. MACR 10462
43-34357 AN-Z
355 AN-B
251 AN-C
571 AN-F
343 AN-J
573 AN-L
258 AN-O
605 AN-O
413 AN-P
314 AN-Q
272 AN-V
41-31840 AN-Q
43-22368 AN-Z

Unknown Codes

554th Bombardment Squadron

Squadron Markings:
RU Fuselage Codes

41-31658 Privy Donna RU-A Capt. Olson
563 RU-A
43-34421 RU-A
326 RU-B
43-34422 RU-B
41-39577 RU-C
41-31646 LETHAL LADY RU-C Lt. Lee
42-96048 RU-C
41-31622 Litljo RU-D Capt. Schuler
43-34413 MARIE RU-D
43-22386 RU-E
43-22386 RU-E
41-31755 Ye Olde Crocke RU-F
44-67809 RU-F
41-31631 Boomerang RU-G
41-31635 (?) Question Mark RU-H
41-31984 Good Buddie RU-H
41-31812 RU-I
41-31586 Shadrack RU-J Lt. Mallinoff
41-34947 LADY LUCK RU-K
42-107605 4Q RU-K
43-34420 RU-K
43-34211 RU-K
41-31628 The Bad Penny RU-L
43-34214 ELENOR RU-L
43-34152 RU-L
358 RU-L
41-18284 Texas Tarantula RU-M Lt. Horn
41-31667 Smokey RU-N Lt. Messerau
43-22369 Stinky RU-N
511 RU-N
42-107605 '4' RU-N
41-31763 Cloud Hopper 2nd RU-O Lt. Ainslie
42-96184 RU-O
43-34190 RU-O
43-34164 RU-O
41-31621 THUMBS UP RU-P
41-317621 Cloud Hopper II RU-P
42-96021 RU-P
357 RU-P
375 RU-P March 9, 1945
41-34971 PAY OFF RU-Q Lt. McMullen
42-96216 RU-Q
41-31771 4 F RU-R 1st Lt. Joseph S. Benjamin
417 RU-R
312 RU-S
41-31743 BARBARA/Dorothy RU-S
41-31621 RU-S
42-96083 RU-T
41-31790 RU-T
43-34149 GINNY RU-U
41-31877 Bar Fly RU-V Capt. McDaniel
43-34350 RU-V

Unknown Codes
42-96194 BARBARA ANN
41-31611 SWEATIN' 2ND
Good Buddy


555th Bombardment Squadron

Squadron Markings:
YA Fuselage Codes

41-31789 Hell's Belle II YA-A Lt. Thompson
41-31743 BUTCH YA-B
41-31852 Man-O-War JNR YA-B
42-96126 YA-B
41-31644 Crescendo YA-C
43-34198 FLYING 69TH YA-C
337 YA-C
41-31794 SPARTA YA-D
41-31947 Yankee Doodle Dandy YA-D
41-31805 YA-D
41-31970 Spam-Burger YA-F Lt. Peebles
41-31970 Spam Burger 2nd YA-F Lt Taylor Quince
41-31987 HELL&rsquoS-A-POPPIN II YA-G
41-31615 HELL&rsquoS ANGELS YA-G
41-31827 T.S. TICKET YA-G
42-96215 DINK'S DANDY YA-H
43-34344 YA-H
41-31685 LADY FROM HADES YA-J Lt. Beggs
41-31619 Man-O-War YA-J
43-34230 L-LOCO-LOBO YA-J
415 YA-J
41-34948 Miss Muriel YA-K Capt. Bartolain
41-31792 WE'LL BE THERE YA-K Lt. Morgan
43-34315 YA-K
41-34946 The Yankee Guerilla YA-L
43-34306 Guerilla's Mate YA-L
41-34944 NEMO YA-M
42-96286 FOUR ROSES YA-M
41-34937 STAR DUST YA-N
42-96120 YA-N
42-96087 YA-O
41-31627 Perkatory YA-Q
42-96220 Man-O-War- IV YA-Q Lt. James T. Marrin, Jr
43-34310 Three-Ten YA-Q Lt. Smith
41-31625 Hell 's Fury YA-R
41-35009 YA-R
41-31634 Loretta young YA-S Lt. Maxwell
42-96273 S FOR SUGAR YA-S
42-107839 YA-S
43-34353 YA-S
41-31623 Hell's Belle YA-T
583 YA-T
43-34354 DAISY MAE YA-T / Z
41-35011 YA-T
41-31619 MAN-O-WAR YA-U
376 YA-U
41-35358 Sexy Betsy YA-V
268 YA-V
41-31615 Hell's Angel YA-W Philip Tener
43-34243 YA-W
43-22467 YA-W
42-96324 MISS X YA-X
41-31614 HELL&rsquoS-A-POPPIN YA-X
41-31613 Son-of-Satan YA-Y Capt. Owen
43-34356 My Shacking Cousin YA-Z Lt. Ford
41-31612 Mr Five by Five YA-Z Captain Bob Sands
342 YA-Z

Unknown Codes
41-34965 Mary Marauder
41-34968 WHAT'S COOKIN
41-34989 ROCKS OFF
42-107605 4

41-31576 (386th BG) lost 18/11/44. MACR 10462
41-31585 (553rd BS) crashlanded at base 22/6/44
41-31587 (553rd BS) shot down
41-31597 (553rd BS) shot down, North Sea by Fw 190s 30/7/43. MACR 212
41-31602 (553rd BS) crashed on takeoff at Colchester30/7/43
41-31609 (553rd BS) crashlanded at Lympne 26/11/43
41-31613 (555th BS) shot down by AAA over Germany 18/11/44. MACR 10466
41-31614 (555th BS) crashlanded 3/10/42
41-31615 (555th BS) crashlanded 18/11/44
41-31618 (555th BS) shot down by Fw 190 into North Sea 23/1/44. MACR 2077
41-31619 (555th BS) shot down 25/4/44
41-31620 (555th BS) crashlanded 25/3/44
41-31622 (554th BS) crashlanded 23/9/44
41-31623 (555th BS) crashed in UK 26/1/44
41-31624 (386th BG, 555th BS) crashed on takeoff 20/5/44
41-31625 (555th BS) shot down near Schiphol 13/12/43. MACR 1413
41-31627 (555th BS) destroyed when Ju 88 crashed on it 22/3/44
41-31628 (554th BS) crashlanded 28/6/44
41-31632 (552nd BS) crashed on take-off 23/6/43
41-31633 (552nd BS) crashlanded 12/8/44
41-31634 (555th BS) misidentified in clouds, shot down by Spitfire 9/8/43. MACR 164
41-31635 (554th BS) crashed on landing 4/1/44.
41-31637 (552nd BS) destroyed in crash at Manston 8/3/44
41-31638 (552nd BS) crashlanded at Manston 14/1/44
41-31644 (555th BS) in midair collision with 41-31685, Holland 22/2/4. MACR 2322
41-31646 (554th BS) crashlanded Apr 30/4/44
41-31658 (554th BS) bellylanded Jul 23/7/44
41-31667 (554th BS) abandoned Feb 10/2/45
41-31743 (555th BS) crashed on takeoff 10/6/944
41-31755 (554th BS) crashlanded in France 7/10/44
41-31763 (554th BS) hit by bomb, crew abandoned over France 31/5/44 MACR 5120
41-31768 (555th BS) crashlanded May 29, 1944
41-31771 (554th BS) shot down by AAA over Germany 16/2/45. MACR 12435.
41-31775 (553rd BS) damaged by fighters, ditched in Channel 25/3/44. MACR 4029
41-31786 (552nd BS) crashlanded 22/6/44
41-31789 (555th BS) shot down by AAA 18/11/44
41-31790 (554th BS) crashlanded at Manston 10/11/43
41-31794 (555th BS) shot down by AAA, bellylanded France 12/7/44 MACR 2045
41-31796 (555th BS) destroyed in wheels-up landing 24/4/44
41-31805 (553rd BS) in midair collision with Fw 190 over France 28/7/44. MACR 7016
41-31842 (552nd BS) crashed in France when ran out of fuel 12/12/44
41-31827 (555th BS) shot down by AAA 30/4/44. MACR 4212
41-31832 (554th BS) crashed at base
41-31848 (553rd BS) damaged by AAA, ditched in English Channel 29/5/44.MACR 5126
41-31850 (552nd BS) crashed on landing 21/9/43
41-31852 (555th BS) shot down by AAA in France 25/4/44. MACR 4133
41-31877 (554th BS) crashed on takeoff 1/1/45
41-31902 (553rd BS) crashlanded 28/7/44

41-31889 (553rd BS) shot down by AAA over France 5/11/43. MACR 1047
41-31947 (555th BS) shot down by AAA over St. Pol, France 5/2/44. MACR 2232
41-31953 (552nd BS) crashlanded 18/8/44
41-31965 (552nd BS) crashlanded 4/6/44.
41-31970 (555th BS) shot down by AAA over Germany 7/10/4. MACR 9221
41-34821 (553rd BS) crashlanded
42-34821 (553rd BS) crashlanded
42- 96083 (554th BS) shot down by AAA over France 31/7/44. MACR 7661
42-96084 (553rd BS) crashlanded at Manston
42-96087 (555th BS) shot down by AAA 22/6/44. MACR 6383
42-96100 (555th BS) shot down by AAA over France 27/5/44. MACR 5123
42-96116 (553rd BS) shot down by AAA over France 11/6/44. MACR 5713
42-96184 (554th BS) crashlanded in France 6/8/44. MACR 7875
42-96209 (553rd BS) crashlanded in France 31/7/44
42-96215 (555th BS) crashlanded
42-96220 (555th BS) shot down by AAA over Germany 7/10/44. MACR 9272
42-96273 (555th BS) in belly landing
42-96275 (553rd BS) exploded in midair over Germany 15/12/44. MACR 11484
42-96284 (552nd BS) shot down by AAA over France 16/8/44. MACR 7647
42-96286 (555th BS) crashlanded
42-96324 (555th BS) shot down by AAA over France 18/7/44. MACR 7048
42-107839 (555th BS) crashlanded
43-34888 (553rd BS) crashlanded
43-34944 (555th BS) damaged by AAA and abandoned by crew 6/3/44
43-34946 (555th BS) crashed into house at Compeigne 5/10/4
43-34947 (554th BS) wing blown off by AAA over France10/2/4. MACR 2082.
43-34948 (555th BS) destroyed in wheels-up landing 3/10/44
43-34949 (553rd BS) bellylanded at Boxted
43-34954 (552nd BS) crashlanded 26/11/43
43-34958 (552nd BS) shot down by AAA 9/9/43
43-34961 (552nd BS) crashlanded at Manston 8/4/44
43-34970 (552nd BS) ditched in English Channel 8/9/43
43-34971 (554th BS) shot down by Fw 190 22/8/43 over France. MACR 375
43-34987 (552nd BS) ditched in English Channel 27/9/43. MACR 755
43-34989 (555th BS) shot down by AAA over France 12/6/44. MACR 5651
43-35019 (552nd BS) crashlanded 16/8/44
43-34211 (554th BS) shot down by AAA over France 18/8/44. MACR 7787
43-34214 (554th BS) damaged by AAA, crew abandoned, France 11/8/44. MACR 7793
43-34297 (553rd BS) damaged by AAA and crew bailed out 28/11/944
43-34318 (552nd BS) crashed on takeoff 25/12/44
43-34353 (555th BS) shot down by AAA, France 18/11/44. MACR 10467
43-34354 (555th BS) shot down by AAA 13/10/44. MACR 9816
43-34356 (555th BS) crashed on takeoff 26/12/44
43-34364 (554th BS) crashed Netherlands 24/9/44. MACR 9220
43-34370 (553rd BS) exploded in midair 11/11/44
43-34436 (555th BS) crashlanded
44-67827 (553rd BS) crashed on returning to base 29/12/44

B-26 Marauder of the 386th Bombardment Group - History

The men who flew the B-26 Marauders and the men who kept them flying were organized into Bombardment Groups. Each bomb group usually was composed of a headquarters squadron and three bombardment squadrons. Bombardment groups were distinct units, each with their own history.

Click the links below to access each bomb group&rsquos basic history including bomb squadrons, stations, commanders, campaigns, and decorations. The bomb groups include the following:


University Libraries, Archival Services
Polsky Building LL10
225 South Main St.
Akron, Ohio 44325

© 2021 by The University of Akron • The University of Akron is an Equal Education and Employment Institution.

University Libraries, Archival Services

© 2021 by The University of Akron • The University of Akron is an Equal Education and Employment Institution.

553rd Bomb Squadron

A bomber crew of the 553rd Bomb Squadron, 386th Bomb Group with their B-26 Marauder nicknamed "Molly". Handwritten caption on reverse: '386 BG/ 553 BS.' Shot down in 1943. The Sgt in the middle was my friends uncle, Paul Bragg from Ohio. The Zimmerman crew: First Lieutenant G.F. Zimmerman. Second Lieutenants R.S. Molnar, S.D. McCollum, and C.S. Eaton, Jr. Staff Sergeants Y.P. Young, Jr., P.V. Bragg, and J.F. Cuthbertson. It was later learned that the Lieutenant G.E. Zimmerman crew had been shot down by a FW-190 pilot - Feldwebel Karl Willus. The enemy pilot filed a combat report stating he shot down a Boston type aircraft, (Douglas A-20) at 0705 hours, July 30, 1943. Location given was Northwest of Antwerp. He had mistakenly identified the plane because he had never seen a Martin B-26 up to that point. At the time he was assigned to the 2./ JG 26 on the Channel Front. It was his 34th victory. August 4, 1944 he was killed during an air battle with an American fighter pilot flying a P-47 over Holland just after Karl Willus had shot down his 50th plane - a B-24 Liberator. His FW-190 was seen to spin down, crash into the ground, and explode!

USAAF 43-43210 'AN-V' B-26G Marauder assigned to the 553rd Bombardment Squadron of the 386th Bomb Group

USAAF 41-31275 'AN-T' B-26 Marauder assigned to the 553rd Bombardment Squadron of the 386th Bomb Group

Pilots of 553rd Squadron, 386th Bombardment Group, 1944. Beaumont-sur-Oise, France. Left to right, Lt. Robert Saltsman, Capt. Lee Meyers, Capt. Robert Brockhouse, Lt. Roger Winberg, Lt. Larue C. Bentz

"A Douglas A-26 Invader touches down after a mission over Germany. With its tricycle landing gear down, the Douglas A-26 comes in at 135 miles per hour, touches down at 110 to 115." - A-26C 41-39199 553BS, 386BG, 9AF.

"A Douglas A-26 Invader, Returning From A Combat Mission Over Western Europe, Rolls To A Stop Near The End Of The Runway. Because It Rolls Extremely Fast With The Little Deceleration When On The Ground After Landing, The Douglas A-26 Has A Tendency To Require more runway without excessive use of brakes. FRANCE." - A-26B serial 41-39208 of the 553rd Bomb Sq, 386th BG.

"Capt William E Smith (now Maj.), right and his crew chief, Sgt Herman T Levy, 828 McBride St., Syracuse, N.Y., examine the bombs load of 'Rat Poison' just before the Martin B-26 Marauder takes off on its 164th mission. FRANCE." - B-26B 41-31606 'Rat Poison' 553BS, 386BG, 9AF.

"Col. Thomas G. Corbin, left, group commander and pilot of "Rat Poison" and Capt. William E. Smith (now Maj.) crouch in the bomb bay to discuss the Martin B-26 Marauder's 164th mission, just before the take-off. FRANCE." - B-26B 41-31606 'Rat Poison' 553BS, 386BG, 9AF.

A-26B-20-DL #41-39207 Code: AN-V attached to the 416th BG for conversion training. Originally part of the A-26 Combat Eval. Project Squadron

USAAF 43-34210 B-26G Marauder AN-V 'La Polma' assigned to the 553rd Bombardment Squadron of the 386th Bomb Group

Airfield History

Construction of the airfield started in 1941, with the removal of fruit orchards. The 386th Bomb Group arrived in June 1943. The group was assigned to the US 9th Tactical Air Force and flew the Martin B26 Marauder. The group’s role was to destroy strategic targets such as airfields, convoys, tanks, trains etc.

The first mission from Boxted was to bomb Woensdrecht airfield in Holland, one Marauder was lost but the mission was successful. The 386th only stayed at Boxted for 3 months before being transferred to Dunmow in September 1943.

The 354th Fighter Group came to Boxted in November 1943. This group flew the new Merlin engined P51b Mustang. Their primary role was to escort the bombers on their missions over the continent and eventually all the way to Germany.

After their first commanding officer, Kenneth Martin, was shot down and captured James Howard was put in charge. Jim was the perfect choice, he had seen combat with the flying Tigers in China. On 11th January 1944, Lt Col James Howard C.O. of the 356th FS, flying a bomber support mission, came upon a formation of thirty seven enemy fighters attacking B17s of the 401st Bomb Group over Oschersleben, Germany. Finding himself temporarily alone and without any thought for his own safety he attacked the enemy formation. He pressed home his attacks claiming three destroyed and several others damaged. For his action that day he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honour, the highest award for bravery to go to a fighter pilot in the European Theatre of Operations.

The 354th proved that the Mustang was a viable aircraft in combat and the group laid the foundations in tactics that would be followed by the other Mustang groups. The 354th left Boxted in March 1944 and moved to an advanced landing ground at Lashenden in Kent to prepare for D-Day.

The 56th are generally acknowledged as the top scoring US fighter group of World War Two. The group arrived at Boxted on 19th April 1944. They had already experienced combat at their previous bases in England.

They were led by the inspirational Hubert Zemke a great tactician, a man who would not accept second best.

The 56th took part in all the major air battles during their stay at Boxted including D-Day and the battle of the Bulge. They gained the nickname Wolfpack because of the number of high scoring pilots in the unit. With 31 kills Francis Gabreski was the top scoring American pilot in Europe. Bob Johnson, another member of the Wolfpack, was number 2. Throughout their time in combat the group flew the P47 Thunderbolt, the heaviest fighter in WW2. The role of the group was escorting the bombers over enemy territory, later with additional fuel tanks fitted the 56th could escort all the way to Germany. As the war in Europe was coming to an end and the Luftwaffe were virtually defeated the Wolfpack would attack ground targets.

The 56th stayed at Boxted until the end of the war in Europe, finally returning home by the end of October 1945.

The Airfield was now handed to the RAF who used it for temporary operations of several different Squadrons. The aircraft included, Night Fighter Mosquitoes, Spitfires, Meteors, Vampires. The airfield finally closed in late 1947.

552nd Bomb Squadron

"The crew of the Martin B-26 'Carefree Carolyn' stands beside their plane which made a belly landing at its base in Great Dunmow, Essex, England after completing its 100th mission on 15 June 1944." From Left: Pilot 1Lt Earl J Slanker, Copilot 1Lt Don B Wright, Nav 1Lt Solon Humle, Gunner S/Sgt Ned Gorin (on top), Gunner S/Sgt. James A Rowe. - Note the trail of Foamite either side of the fuselage, used to suppress any fire from the radial engines. Lt Solon Humle slipped on the foamite covered wing exiting the A/C and damaged his elbow. Missing from the picture is T/Sgt Burton L Vreeland wounded by flak in the hand and on the way to see the medics. Pilot Lt Earl Slanker had greased her on, but the bottom of 'Carefree Carolyn' had been peeled away as she slowed to a halt and she was written off.

"Fire-fighters of the 386th Bomb Group used foamite to extinguish the blaze on a Martin B-26 Marauder which crash-landed at its base in Great Dunmow, Essex, England on 15 June 1944."

"The Martin B-26 'Carefree Carolyn' of the 386th Bomb Group makes a belly landing at its base in Great Dunmow, Essex, England after it had completed its 100th mission on 15 June 1944."

"Formation of Martin B-26 Marauders of the 386th Bomb Group drone steadily towards their target - an enemy installation somewhere in Europe on 1 June 1945."

Bombardier Lt Peter 'Pete' Denisevich Jr poses in front of the nose of as yet unidentified 552BS, 386BG, 9AF B-26 Marauder.

The nose art of a B-26 Marauder nicknamed "Horizontal Helen" of the 552nd Bomb Squadron, 386th Bomb Group, 1947. Handwritten caption on reverse: 'Horizontal Helen, B-26 wreck Gt. Dunmow a/f 1947 grave yard.'

The wreck of a B-26 Marauder nicknamed "Horizontal Helen" of the 552nd Bomb Squadron, 386th Bomb Group after crash landing 16 August 1944. Official caption on image: "(GAD-102-2-386)(16 Aug 44)(A/C 019 Landing Crash)." Handwritten caption on reverse: '386th Bomb Group (M), 552nd Bomb Sqdn. Name of Plane - Horizontal Helen. Crew: Fred O. Eiler - Pilot. Neil Avrett - Co-Pilot. Wesley Yandell - Bomb/Nav. Eugene F. Flynn - Radio Op/Gunner (Waist). William Feraco - Eng/Gunner (Top Turret). Russel Poet - Arm/Gunner (Tail).' On reverse: Eugene F. Flynn [Stamp].

B-26 Marauder of the 386th Bombardment Group - History

Museum reopens 27th June 2021.

10th Anniversary year.

New for 2021


(World War Two aircraft simulator) preservation project in its own display building. (come and see the progress).


Tribute to local lady's long service



No Need to book. We have 3 buildings so if there is a queue it should be minimal.

Conditions of entry

Max of 6 visitors in any one building at any one time.

Visitors to socially distance 1m+ and wear a face covering.

(We do not supply face coverings).

Visitors to support NHS Track & Trace by giving name and contact details-either mobile or home phone, or email address - record will be destroyed after 21 days and not used for any other purpose.

Card or contactless payments only.

Follow one way system in each building

Respect & follow instructions of stewards.

Use hand saniti z er on entering any building.

Please take your litter home

Discover How a WW2 airfield and 3000 military personnel affected a small village

Museum contact 07503952354

Uniforms Collection

Jack Norton was a Signals Officer with the 354th Fighter Group and who landed on Omaha beach on D-Day. 6 of the uniforms relate to personnel of the US 9th Air Force and two relate to British military women. They include a Lt Col Grau, Corporal Marty Thibo, a military policeman Sergeant Darwin Morse 2nd Lt E.J.Seagars, a pilot 2nd Lt. Harry Taylor, a B 26 Marauder pilot and Tech Sgt. Eddie Kovalchik, a radio operator/turret gunner on Marauders .

Come and r ead the stories behind these uniforms.

The display features information on all these individuals. For example, we have the uniform and documents relating to Marty Thibo, who was initially in the armament section of the 556BS and later became a military policeman.One of the British women was Private Christine Warren of the ATS, an AA command plotter at Blake Hall, who married Private Murriel Turner of the US 9th Air Force on 13 September 1944. Her uniform and wedding photos feature in the display.

Exciting new exhibitions in recently opened large display hall, details below.

Recreation of a B26 Marauder aircraft cockpit incorporating artifacts from our collection and loaned items from Marauder enthusiasts. Large section of Marauder fuselage including tail gunner's position on loan from Marks Hall. This Marauder, "Mr Shorty" flew out of Earls Colne. Boxted and many bases in Essex had these aircraft and hundreds would have been in the skies over Essex, "Mr Shorty" is the only example in the UK. This aircraft has quite a story of survival.

Richard Turner (chairman) with Henry Farwell 386th Bomb Group veteran at the museum opening in May 2011.

"Mr Shorty" marauder fuselage and largest collection of Marauder artefacts in the UK are exhibited inside.