Ardmore Air Force Base - History - World War II - Heavy Bomber Training

Heavy Bomber Training

With the departure of the 394th to Michigan, on 20 August 1943 jurisdiction of Ardmore AAF was transferred to II Bomber Command, Second Air Force. In September 1943, the 46th Bombardment Operational Training Wing, arrived from Dalhart Army Airfield, Texas.

Shortly after the arrival of the 46th BOTW, the 395th Bombardment Group was moved to Ardmore from Epharta Army Air Base, Washington. The 395th's mission was to be a combat aircrew replacement unit for B-17 Flying Fortress aircrews. The group consisted of the 588th, 589th 590th and 591st Bombardment Squadron.

Ardmore Army Air Field became a receiving facility for new pilots, navigators, gunners, bombardiers, radio operators and flight engineers as they completed their specialty training elsewhere. While serving here, they were conformed through a 24-hour, grueling schedule into highly proficient B-17 combat crews. This was accomplished through a rigorous training program in the classroom and sky. The combat crews were only at the base for five months or less, usually three, before shipping overseas. Reports indicate that combat crew training was coordinated to allow trained crews to finish their three-month training on a five-week graduation schedule. Orders supplied by a former waist gunner stationed at Ardmore, included 55 B-17 crews, transported by rail from the base to Grand Island, Nebraska. Most of the B-17 crews went directly from the Ardmore field to Grand Island, then to European commands to contribute significantly to ending the war.

On March 25, 1944, the 395th designation was changed to the 222nd Combat Crew Training School by Second Air Force, General Order No. 35. The 395th was inactivated, April 1, 1944. It was replaced by the 418th Army Air Force Base Unit, the squadrons being re-designated as "Squadron A", "Squadron B", "Squadron C" and "Squadron D"

A WAC contingency of one was assigned to the base, June 5, 1944. Other WACs from Oglethorpe, Georgia and Colorado Springs arrived June 23 and June 28. They performed various duties on the base including control tower operation. According to newspaper accounts, the Ardmore base was selected in September 1942 as one of nine southwestern camps to train WAACs. Later, the Corps of Engineers, Denison, Texas, under command of Colonel W. W. Wanamaker, approved a $50,000 to $100,000 building fund for WAAC quarters. Contract for the WAAC barracks was let to Builder's Construction Company, Oklahoma City, April 17, 1943, for an amount under $50,000. Unknown as to whether this unit was part of the original plans for training WAACs. Women's Army Auxiliary Corps became the Women's Army Corps in 1944 granting them the same benefits as soldiers. Another group of young women who played an important part in WWII and probably brought aircraft to AAAFld on occasion were the WASP, Women Airforce Service Pilots

With the mission of Second Air Force becoming B-29 Superfortress Training, jurisdiction of Ardmore AAF was transferred to III Bomber Command, Third Air Force on 16 June 1945. III Bomber Command re-designated the 418th AAFBU with the 332nd Combat Crew Training School.

Read more about this topic:  Ardmore Air Force Base, History, World War II

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