Unit Details

19th Bombardment Group, Medium

USAF Organizations in Korea 1950-1953 Judy G. Endicott http://www.afhra.af.mil/index.asp


19th Bombardment Group (Medium)
Based on Guam and relocated to Okinawa in July 1950 to conduct operations over Korea. Assets absorbed by the 19th Bombardment Wing, June 1953.

28th, 30th, and 93d Bombardment Squadrons (Medium) B-29


June 25, 1950

Immediately after the communist invasion of South Korea, the 19th BG moved from Guam to Okinawa.

June 28 1950

The first B-29 unit in the war, the group on June 28 attacked North Korean storage tanks, marshalling yards, and armor. In the first two months, it flew more than six hundred sorties, supporting UN ground forces by bombing enemy troops, vehicles, and such communications points as the Han River bridges.

 In the north, its targets included an oil refinery and port facilities at Wŏnsan, a railroad bridge at P'yonyang, and an airfield at Yŏnp'o.

After UN ground forces pushed the communists out of South Korea, the 19th BG turned to strategic objectives in North Korea, including industrial and hydroelectric facilities. It also continued to attack bridges, marshalling yards, supply centers, artillery and troop positions, barracks, port facilities, and airfields.

July 8, 1950

Initially under the operational control of Twentieth AF, after July 8, 1950, it was attached to FEAF Bomber Command (Provisional).

July 18,1950

The 19th BG modified some B-29s for the use of radio-guided bombs (razon) to enable them to bomb bridges more accurately.






 It inactivated on June 1, 1953.

Combat Components


  1. Andersen AFB, Guam, -July 5, 1950;

  2. Kadena AB, Okinawa, July 5, 1950-June 1, 1953.


  1. Colonel Theodore Q. Graff -September 26, 1950;

  2. Lt Colonel Payne Jennings, Jr. September 26, 1950;

  3. Col. Donald O. Tower, March 29, 1951;

  4. Col. Adam K. Breckenridge, July 26, 1951;

  5. Col. Julian M. Bleyer, February 6, 1952;

  6. Col. Willard W. Smith, July 8, 1952;

  7. Col. Harvey C. Dorney, December 24, 1952-June 1, 1953.

Campaign Streamers

  1. UN Defensive;

  2. UN Offensive;

  3. CCF Intervention;

  4. First UN Counteroffensive;

  5. CCF Spring Offensive;

  6. UN Summer-Fall Offensive;

  7. Second Korean Winter;

  8. Korea, Summer-Fall 1952;

  9. Third Korean Winter; Korea,

  10. Summer 1953.


Distinguished Unit Citation for actions June 28-September 15, 1950.
Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation for period July 7, 1950-[June 1,] 1953.


Azure, within the square of the constellation of Pegasus, a winged sword, point to base, all Or. Motto: IN ALIS VINCIMUS - On Wings We Conquer. Approved for the
19th Group on October 19, 1936 and for the 19th Wing on
May 9, 1952.

June 25, 1950

Vandenberg would remember that most of the discussion at the Sunday [6/25/50 EST] meeting was speculation about whether the Soviet Union or China might take a hand in the fighting. There was no argument or discussion about the difficulties that were going to be involved if the poorly prepared American armed forces were ordered into combat. However, one thing was certain: Vandenberg knew and frequently told listeners that the US Air Force was on trial in Korea. Based on his wartime experience as a foremost tactical air commander, Vandenberg had an interesting view of the unitary nature of air power. He had hoped to rid the Air Force of the arbitrary separation of combat units into "tactical" and "strategic" forces. In Korea, strategic B-29 bombers were going to deliver the heaviest blows against the Communist invaders.


At the outbreak of the war, General Headquarters (GHQ),


US Far East Command (FEC), in Tokyo had no combat mission relevant to the Republic of Korea.

Korean_War Korean_War Korean_War Korean_War

The Far East Air Forces (FEAF) was geared for air defense provided by the Fifth and Thirteenth Air Forces. FEAF had, however, managed to retain the Twentieth Air Force with one B-29 wing on Guam.

Korean_War Korean_War

This unit was the 19th Wing, and it was the only strategic wing not assigned to Strategic Air Command. In an expedited movement, the 19th Group's air echelon immediately moved to Kadena Air Base on Okinawa, from which location an Army staff group in GHQ undertook to direct its employment in support of friendly ground forces in Korea.

The effort to manage the B-29's from GHQ as somewhat successful. For an initial strike, aircraft were loaded with fragmentation bombs and directed to hit Red aircraft at Wŏnsan. The strike was diverted to attack Han River bridges at Sŏul, where the frags were virtually useless. In the days that followed, the B-29 crews were ordered to search out and bomb enemy tanks. Another mission was ordered out to destroy bridges at coordinates on a supposed east coast rail line. This task was difficult since the rail line, though shown on a map consulted, had never been built.

July 23, 1950

Sunday July 23 to Sunday August 20 Total 31 days.

July 23,24,25,26,27,28,29, 1- week 30,31,

August 01,02,03,04,05,...... 2-weeks

06,07,08,09,10,11,12,........ 3-weeks

13,14,15,16,17,18,19,........ 4-weeks

20 - the Navy sink the bridge

For most bridges, 500-pound bombs, well placed, eventually did the job, but 1,000-pound bombs were needed for larger steel spans. The toughest was the main multiple-span steel West Bridge (west railway bridge) over the Han at Sŏul. It resisted attack so stubbornly that the crews called it the elastic bridge.

Def Def

Only the 19th BG had its B-29s equipped with the racks for 2,000-pound bombs that seemed the only hope for destroying this bridge. Since late July the 19th BGs crews had repeatedly attacked it, and although it was clearly costing the Communists a tremendous effort to repair, it still stood. Stratemeyer promised a case of Scotch whisky to the crew that succeeded in taking it down.

August 19, 1950

On August 19, crews from the 19th BG had seriously weakened the structure and hoped to finish the job the next day. Later in the day, the carriers USS Valley Forge (CV-45) and USS Philippine Sea (CV-47) reported attacks by their dive-bombers and concluded that the spans, while still standing, were unusable. The next day, (August 20) the B-29s returned to Seoul and found two spans in the water, presumably having collapsed during the night. They dropped a third and flew home. MacArthur awarded a trophy to the 19th BG and to the Navy's Air Group 11, and Stratemeyer gave each group the case of whisky.

Aug. 19: US troops, aided by airstrikes, drove North Korean forces in the Yŏngsan-ni, bridgehead back across the Naktong River, ending the Battle of the Naktong Bulge. Sixty-three B-29s attacked the industrial and port area of Ch'ŏngjin in northeastern Korea. Nine Superfortresses of the 19th BG dropped 54 tons of 1,000-pound bombs on the west railway bridge at Sŏul, called the "elastic bridge" because repeated air attacks had failed to bring it down. Thirty-seven USN dive bombers from two aircraft carriers followed up the USAF attack. Aerial reconnaissance the next day revealed that two spans had collapsed.