500th Air Craft animated GIF

Updated 7 July, 2002


The 500th Bomb Squadron ("Rough Raiders") -- one of four squadrons of the 345th Bomb Group (M) -- was activated at Columbia Army Air Base, South Carolina on 11 November, 1942.  After training in the United States and Australia, combat operations of the 500th Bomb Squadron began in New Guinea in June 1943.  Shortly after flying a few combat missions against the Japanese at medium altitudes, the squadron's B-25 "Mitchell" bombers were converted to strafers and, for the remainder of its existence, the squadron flew low-level strafer-bombing missions.  From New Guinea, the squadron continued its combat operations "island hopping" northward, winding up against the Japanese homeland itself in early August 1945.

The 500th Squadron used the following major bases (not including staging bases) in its move northward: Port Moresby, New Guinea; Dobodura, New Guinea; Nadzab, New Guinea; Biak, N.E.I.; Tacloban, Leyte. P.I.; San Marcelino, Luzon, P.I.; Clark Field, Luzon, P.I.; Ie Shima, Ryukyus Islands.  The 500th was deactivated at Ie Shima on 11 November, 1945.

During  the three years of its existence in World War II, the 500th contributed well to the following overall combat record of the 345th Bomb Group:

       10,609   Sorties
      58,562   Combat flying hours
       6,340   Tons of bombs dropped
  12,586,000   Rounds of ammunition expended
         177   Planes lost
         588   Personnel lost on flights
         260   Japanese vessels destroyed
         275   Japanese vessels damaged
         260   Japanese planes destroyed on the ground
         107   Japanese planes destroyed in the air

POST WAR NOTE: The 500th Bomb Squadron was reactivated on 19 July, 1954 at Langley AF Base, Virginia.  Reactivation was as the 500th Bomb Squadron (Tactical) of the 345th Bomb Group (Tactical).  Types of aircraft flown by the reactivated 500th were:  B-26 (Douglas) from 1954-1955 and B-57 (Canberra) flown from 1955-1959.  The post-war 500th was deactivated  on 25 June, 1959 at Langley AFB, Virginia.


Charles M. Hagest    11 Nov 1942  to  29 Mar 1944
Keith E. Dougherty   29 Mar 1944  to  28 Aug 1944
Max H. Mortensen     28 Aug 1944  to  21 Feb 1945
Thomas R. Bazzel     21 Feb 1945  to   5 May 1945
Robert B. Canning     5 May 1945  to  11 Jul 1945
Robert F. Todd       11 Jul 1945  to  25 Oct 1945
William G. Paukovich 25 Oct 1945  to  11 Nov 1945

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