370th Bombardment Squadron (370th BS)
U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF), 307th Bombardment Group (307th BG)
On April 15, 1942 the 370th Bombardment Squadron (370th BS) was activated as a unit of the 307th Bombardment Group (307th BG) at Geiger Field in Washington State. On April 26, 1942 the initial cadre of twenty men arrived from Sheppard Field in Texas. On May 1, 1942 Captain Jervis became the first Commanding Officer (C. O.). On May 7, 1942 fifty-four men from the 301st Bomb Group, 352nd Bomb Squadron were transfered into the squadron. On May 25, 1942 Captain Green became Commanding Officer (C. O.).
On May 27, 1942 ninety men from the squadron moved to Ephrata in Washington State to establish a Ephrata Army Air Field (Ephrata AAF). On May 29, 1942 1st Lt. Edward A. Jurkens was assigned as Commanding Officer (C. O.) on June 8, 1942 the rest of the squadron arrived. On June 18, 1942 Captain Green returned and became Commanding Officer (C. O.) and by the end of the month the squadron had nine officers and 220 enlisted men assigned.
On July 11, 1942 Captain Edward A. Jurkens resumed as Commanding Officer (C. O.) and more pilots, co-pilots, navigators and bombardiers were assigned to the squadron and continued to conduct training exercises using the squadron's three B-24 Liberators that were flown day and night on navigational, night flying and bombing missions. Enlisted men attended courses on radio skills, gunnery and aircraft maintenance.
On August 25, 1942 the majority of the squadron departed by train to Sioux City, Iowa. On September 27, 1942 the air echelon flew the squadron's bombers to Sioux City Army Air Field (Sioux City AAF). By the end of September 1942 the squadron had 52 officers and 298 enlisted men. On October 21, 1942 the ground echelon departed by rail bound for Fort MacDowell, California were they boarded SS Torrens to Hawaii.
Territory of Hawaii
On October 20, 1952 new B-24D Liberators were assigned to the squadron as they prepared for combat deployment and at the end of the month flew to Hamilton Field. Between October 26-28, 1942 original contingent of B-24s assigned to the 370th BS took off Hamilton Field on a ferry flight to Kipapa Field on Oahu. During these ferry flights on October 27, 1942 lost was B-24D piloted by Guskey that likely went down in the Pacific Ocean without making a radio report or any distress signals and was the 370th first loss. On November 2, 1942 the ground echelon arrived at Kipapa Field on Oahu assigned to the 7th Air Force (7th AF) while the bombers flew patrols off Hawaii.
On December 21, 1942 at 4:30pm the 370th BS took off from Kipapa
Field (Kipapa Gulch Field) on Oahu on a flight to Midway Airfield arriving December 22, 1942 to stage for a bombing mission against Wake Island.
Wake Island Raid
On December 22, 1942 the 370th BS took off at 4:30pm from Midway Airfield led by Major Edward A. Jurkens with each bomber armed with five 500 pound bombs and climbed to 10,000' for a night bombing mission against Wake Island. Afterwards, returned to land on December 23, 1942 at 7:00am at Midway Airfield. In total, this mission spanned over 4,300 nautical miles and reported in the press as a "Christmas Eve" raid.
Afterwards, the bombers returned to Kipapa
Field (Kipapa Gulch Field) on Oahu,
In early February 1943 ordered to the South Pacific (SOPAC) and flown across the Pacific for assignment to the 13th Air Force (13th AF). On February 6, 1943
begin operating from the South Pacific (SOPAC) at Bomber 1 on Espiritu Santo. Within days, the 370th BS B-24s were flown to Henderson Field on Guadalcanal to begin bombing missions in the Solomon Islands.
On February 15, 1943 nine B-24D Liberators from the 370th BS and 424th BS took off individually between 5:55pm to 9:55pm including five from 370th Bombardment Squadron (370th BS) plus four from 424nd Bombardment Squadron (424th BS) to fly a northern route or southern route to arrive over the target area at different times and make individual harassing bombing runs against either Kahili Airfield or Ballale Airfield. Before take off one B-24 failed to take off due to mechanical issues and shortly after take off, B-24D #877 aborted the mission due to engine trouble. Returning on February 16, 1943 in bad weather two bombers were lost: B-24D "Bundles For Japan" 41-23969 pilot Captain Ulmer J. Newman (3 KIA, 6 survived) and B-24D "Queenie Take It Off" 41-23870 pilot Captain Laurence F. Krebs (1 MIA, 8 survived).
Between February 16, 1943 until February 28, 1943 B-24s from the 370th BS flew 23 sorties without loss against Kahili, Ballale, Shortland Harbor, Munda and Vila. During March 1943, a total of 23 sorties were flown against Japanese airfields in the Solomon Islands without losses or casaulties.
Meanwhile, the ground echelon of the 370th and 424th embarked aboard the SS President Tyler that departed Oahu on February 22, 1943 as part of a convoy bound for the South Pacific. On March 9, 1943 arrived at Espiritu Santo and six day later departed for Guadalcanal anchoring off Koli Point on March 18, 1943. Ashore, the squadron setup a new camp area along the Metapona River.
During May 1943 the squadron resumed flying daylight missions in the Solomon Islands in search of enemy shipping off Buka and Bougainville. On these missions, Captain Newman and Lt. Flood
sank three 125' to 150' coastal vessels. On one of these missions, B-24 piloted by Major Jurkens was jumped by seven Zeros without sustaining any damage. This was the first air combat with enemy fighters by any bomber of the 307th BG. Meanwhile, during May 1943 many of the squadron's B-24D Liberators were flown back to Hawaii for modification at the Hawaiian Air Depot (HAD) with installation of new engines, nose turrets and Sperry ball turrets and returned to Guadalcanal by June 1943.
On June 30, 1943 in the early morning B-24D 42-40254 pilot 2nd Lt. Nathaniel G. J. Guiberson (MIA) on "X-Ray" search mission an armed reconnaissance mission. In the morning, B-24s from 307th BG armed with 500 pound bombs with half fused instantaneous and half with delay fused to explode 6, 12 and 36 hours to neutralize the airfield in conjunction with the New Georgia landings attempted to bomb Kahili Airfield but abort due to bad weather.
370th Bombardment Squadron Known Aircraft
B-24D 41-23730 ultimate fate unknown
B-24D 41-23814 ultimate fate unknown
B-24D "Queenie Take It Off" 41-23870 pilot Krebs ditched February 16, 1943, 1 missing, 8 rescued
B-24D "Jeremiah" 41-23877 ultimate fate unknown
B-24D 41-23881 ultimate fate unknown
B-24D "The Bad Penny" 41-23899 pilot Surbaugh MIA May 1, 1944, 3 missing
B-24D "Tillie" 41-23915 written of accident November 5, 1944
B-24D "The Rattler" 41-23925 ultimate fate unknown
B-24D 41-23929 pilot Moznette crashed January 8, 1943, 5 missing
B-24D 41-23943 ultimate fate unknown
B-24D "Bundles For Japan" 42-23969 pilot Newman crashed February 16, 1943, 3 killed, 6 rescued
B-24D "Starlite" 41-23987 ultimate fate unknown
B-24D 41-24093 pilot Littlepage MIA July 6, 1943, 10 missing
B-24D 41-24182 ultimate fate unknown
B-24D 42-40254 pilot Guiberson MIA June 30, 1943, 10 missing
B-24D "Kia Ora" 42-40266 pilot Hale MIA Apr 6, 1944, 10 missing
B-24D "Dumbo" 42-41085 pilot Gregory ditched July 1, 1943 crew rescued
B-24J 42-73119 pilot Diederich crashed July 15, 1944
B-24J "Babes In Arms" 42-73263 ultimate fate unknown
370th Bombardment Squadron Commanding Officers (C. O.)
Captain Jervis (May 1, 1942–May 25, 1942)
Captain Green (May 25, 1942–May 29, 1942)
1st Lt. Edward A. Jurkens (May 29, 1942–June 18, 1942)
Captain Green (June 18, 1942–July 11, 1942)
Captain Edward A. Jurkens (July 11, 1942–?)
Captain Carpenter (?–April 8, 1943)
Captain Edward A. Jurkens (April 8, 1943–)
Air Force Historical Research Agency (AFHRA) Historical Data 370th Bombardment Squadron 1 July 1942 to 30 September 1942
CINCPAC "Action Report - Night Bombardment Raid, Wake Island 22-23 December 1942" December 26, 1942
Air Force Historical Research Agency (AFHRA) "1st Combat Reports Mission - Wake Dec. 22-23 1942 370th Bombardment Squadron
13th Bomber Command: The Bomber Command at Work January 1943–July 1944