461st Bombardment Wing (M)

Blytheville Air Force Base, Arkansas




The mission of the 461st Bombardment Wing TAC, is stated as to "develop and maintain tactical bombardment combat effectiveness to include capabilities of all weather and night operations of assigned and attached tactical bombardment units and individuals."

Commander: Colonel Thomas R. Ford

On July 1, 1943 the 461st Bomb Group (Heavy) was activated at Wendover Air Force Base, Utah..  The 461st was equipped with B-24s and served outstandingly in Europe earning eight separate battle credits and two Distinguished Unit citations.  These actions included raids over Hungary in 1944 and Ploesti in 1945.  At the close of World War II, the 461st was returned to the Unites States and deactivated at Sioux Falls, South Dakota on August 28, 1945.

When Headquarters, United States Air Force began the buildup of the Tactical Air Command during the Korean conflict, the famous unit number of 461 was brought from the files and on December 26, 1953 the present Wing was activated at Hill Air Force Base, Utah.  Lt. Col. Gus Wiser was appointed the interim commander until the arrival of Colonel Thomas R. Ford, the permanent and present commander.  In the buildup of the Tactical Air Command certain war time air bases were reactivated.  One of these was Blytheville Air Force Base, Arkansas, the present home of the 461st Wing.  In July of 1955 the first elements of the 461st left Hill Air Force Base, Utah for the move to Blytheville.  As Facilities were completed at the new base more and more units were transferred with the last organization arriving in April 1956.

In the fall of 1955, the Tactical Air Command took part in the largest military exercise since World War II.  The 461st deployed combat elements to the then incomplete Blytheville Air Force Base and flew combat missions under field conditions from that base.  While stationed at Hill Air Force Base the Wing was equipped with the B-26 of the Korean War vintage.  With the delivery of the Martin B-57 bomber to the Air Force and to the 461st, a change over of types was begun.  This involved the complete retraining of conventional (propeller) pilots to jet type, with new and improved methods of bombing and navigation.

Today the 461st is fully jet equipped and capable of rapid deployment to any point in the world where Tactical Air Forces are needed.  This Wing can attack targets with either conventional or atomic weapons in daylight, darkness or in inclement weather.  In addition to its bombing capability, the aircraft of this wing can bring devastating firepower on ground targets with its .50 caliber machine guns, its 20mm cannon and rockets in sizes ranging from 2.75 inches to 5 inches.  One aircraft of the 461st today has more destructive firepower than all the aircraft in all the raids flown by the original group in World War II.

USA line

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