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77th Reconnaissance Group

77th Reconnaissance Group

77th Reconnaissance Group (USAAF)

History - Books - Aircraft - Time Line - Commanders - Main Bases - Component Units - Assigned To

History

The 77th Reconnaissance Group (USAAF) was a home based unit that mainly operated alongside army units undergoing training, but that also provided detachments for active service around the borders of the United States and in India.

The group was activated on 2 March 1942 as the 77th Observation Group. It was almost immediately called on to provide detachments for service around the American borders. In March 1942 the 113th Squadron began to fly antisubmarine patrols over the Gulf of Mexico, while the 120th Squadron operated along the Mexican border.

In June 1942 the 113rd was replaced by the 128th in the Gulf of Mexico. In July the 120th returned from the Mexican border.

Finally, between February and July 1943 a detachment from the group served in India.

The group's main role, which it carried out between these diversions, was to provide support for ground units undergoing training in the United States. In this role it played the role of fighters, bombers, artillery adjustment aircraft and reconnaissance aircraft.

The group was disbanded on 30 November 1943 and most of its squadrons moved on to other organisations.

Books

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Aircraft

Bell P-39 Airacobra, Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, Douglas A-20 Boston/ Havoc, North American B-25 Mitchell, North American O-47 , Curtiss O-52 Owl, Stinson L-5 Sentinel

Timeline

5 Feb 1942Constituted as 77th Observation Group
2 March 1942Activated
April 1943Redesignated 77th Reconnaissance Group
August 1943Redesignated 77th Tactical Reconnaissance Group
30 Nov 1943Disbanded

Commanders (with date of appointment)

Maj Harrison W Wellman:Mar 1942
Lt Col Christopher CScott: c. 3 Apr 1942
Col J C Kennedy:1942-unkn
Lt Col Joseph E Barzynski:c. 19 Apr 1~3-unkn

Main Bases

Salinas AAB, Calif: 2 Mar1942
Brownwood, Tex: c. 17 Mar 1942
DeRidder AAB, La: 25 Jul 1942
AlamoAirfield, Tex: 28 Sep 1942
AbileneAAFld, Tex: 6 Apr 1943
Esler Field, La:13 Sep 1943
Birmingham AAFld, Ala: 14-30 Nov 1943

Component Units

5th: 1942-43
27th: 1942-43
35th: 1943
113th: 1942-43
120th: 1942-43
125th: 1942-43
128th (late 840th Bombardment): 1942-43

Assigned To

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77th Air Base Wing

Established as 77th Observation Group on 5 Feb 1942. Activated on 2 Mar 1942. Redesignated: 77th Reconnaissance Group on 2 Apr 1943 77th Tactical Reconnaissance Group on 11 Aug 1943. Disestablished on 30 Nov 1943. Reestablished, and redesignated 77th Tactical Intelligence Wing, on 31 Jul 1985. Consolidated (16 Sep 1994) with 2852d Air Base Wing, which was established, and organized, on 1 Aug 1953. Redesignated: 2852d Air Base Group on 16 Oct 1964 652d Support Group on 1 Oct 1992 652d Air Base Group on 1 Oct 1993 77th Air Base Wing on 1 Oct 1994.

Air Force Combat Command, 2 Mar 1942 2d Air Support Command, 12 Mar 1942 III Ground Air Support Command, 24 May 1942 2d Air Force, 21 Aug 1942 II Ground Air Support Command, 7 Sep 1942 (attached to III Ground Air [later, III Air] Support Command, 7 Sep 1942?5 Aug 1943) III Air Support (later, III Reconnaissance) Command, 6 Aug?30 Nov 1943. Sacramento Air Materiel Area (later, Sacramento Air Logistics Center), 1 Aug 1953?.

Squadrons. 5th: 25 Jan?2 Apr 1943. 27th: 17 Jul 1942?30 Nov 1943. 35th Photo Reconnaissance: 11 Aug?30 Nov 1943 (detached 11 Aug?31 Oct 1943). 113th: 12 Mar 1942?30 Nov 1943. 120th: 12 Mar 1942?30 Nov 1943. 125th Observation (later, 125th Liaison): 12 Mar 1942?11 Aug 1943. 128th Observation (later, 21st Antisubmarine): 12 Mar 1942?8 Mar 1943 (detached 3 Jul?7 Sep 1942 and 15 Oct 1942?3 Mar 1943).

Flight. 330th Airlift: 31 May?1 Oct 1993.

Salinas AAB, CA, 2 Mar 1942 Brownwood, TX, c. 22 Mar 1942 DeRidder AAB, LA, 25 Jul 1942 Alamo Airfield, TX, 28 Sep 1942 Abilene AAFld, TX, 6 Apr 1943 Esler Field, LA, 13 Sep 1943 Birmingham AAFld, AL, 14?30 Nov 1943. McClellan AFB, CA, 1 Aug 1953?.

Maj Harrison W. Wellman, Mar 1942 Lt Col Christopher C. Scott, c. 3 Apr 1942 Col Jack C. Kennedy, c. Jun 1942 Lt Col Joseph E. Barzynski, c. 19 Apr?c. 30 Nov 1943. Col Russell G. Pankey, 1 Aug 1953 Col Johnnie R. Dyer, 2 Jun 1954 Lt Col Gervais G. Coyle, 4 Apr 1958 Col Sam M. Smith, 18 Aug 1958 Col Nicholas T. Perkins, 19 Sep 1960 Col Ralph Canter, 1 Jul 1961 Col Orin H. Rigley, Jr., 1 Sep 1961 Col Charles D. Birdsall, 20 Oct 1962 Col Richard J. White, 29 Sep 1966 Col Beverley E. Davis, Jr., 1 May 1970 Col Averill F. Holman, 1 Nov 1971 Col John J. Voll, 31 Oct 1973 Col Charles C. Heckel, 31 Jul 1974 Col Frederick C. Freeman, 27 Aug 1975 Col William Campfield, Jr., 20 Jul 1979 Col John K. Davidson, 1 Aug 1982 Col Arthur C. Weiner, 30 Aug 1982 Col John D. Wood, 29 Apr 1984 Col David S. Whitman, 4 Aug 1985 Col James F. Wilson, 31 Aug 1988 Col Christopher F. Russo, 25 Aug 1992?.

O?47, 1942?1943 O?38, 1942?1943 O?52, 1942?1943 L?5, 1942?1943 O?46, 1942 O?43, 1942 A?18, 1942 L?1, 1942?1943 L?4, 1942?1943 L?3, 1942?1943 L?6, 1942?1943 B?18, 1942?1943 O?49, 1942 P?39, 1942?1943 B?25, 1943 A?20, 1943.

Supported ground units in training by flying reconnaissance, artillery adjustment, fighter, and bomber missions, and in the process trained reconnaissance personnel who later served overseas. One squadron (113th) flew antisubmarine patrols over the Gulf of Mexico from Mar until Jun 1942 when it was relieved by another squadron (128th). Still another squadron (120th) patrolled the Mexican border, Mar?Jul 1942. A detachment of the 77th served in India from Feb until Jul 1943. Provided services and support for McClellan AFB with its satellite installations and the Sacramento Air Logistics Center with its tenant organizations, 1 Aug 1953?.

Service Streamers. World War II American Theater.

Armed Forces Expeditionary Streamers. None.

Decorations. Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards: 1 Jan 1969?31 Dec 1970 1 Jan 1973? 31 Dec 1974.

Or a hawk volant proper grasping in its beak seven radiating lightning flashes Gules above a mountain range issuant from base Azure garnished Celeste, all within a diminished bordure of the first. Motto: ALL SEEING. Approved on 28 Feb 1943 and slightly modified on 15 Jun 1994 (160547 AC) replaced emblem approved on 15 Jun 1955 (152927 AC).


Contents

During World War II the 77th supported ground units in training by flying reconnaissance, artillery adjustment, fighter, and bomber missions, and in the process trained reconnaissance personnel who later served overseas. The 113th Observation Squadron flew antisubmarine patrols over the Gulf of Mexico from March until June 1942 when it was relieved by another squadron (128th). Still another squadron (120th) patrolled the Mexican border from March–July 1942. A detachment of the 77th served in India from February until July 1943. The 77th was inactivated in 1943.

The 77th was redesignated in 1985, though this was a 'paper' change that effectively went no further than an Air Staff filing cabinet. It was then consolidated with the 2852nd Air Base Wing in 1994 to provide services and support for McClellan AFB with its satellite installations and the Sacramento Air Logistics Center with its tenant organizations (the 2852nd had been performing this duty since 1 August 1953) until the base was officially closed in 2001.

The 77th Aeronautical Systems Group moved from Brooks City-Base, San Antonio to Wright-Patterson AFB in mid-2009. [1]


World War II

The squadron was activated in January 1941 as a Northwest Air District medium bomber squadron, equipped with a mixture of B-18 Bolos, PT-17 Stearman trainers and early model B-26 Marauders. Upon completion of training, it was assigned to the new Elmendorf Field , near Anchorage, Alaska being one of the first Air Corps units assigned to the Alaska Territory . After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the squadron flew antisubmarine patrols over the Gulf of Alaska.

When the Japanese invaded the Aleutian Islands in June 1942, the squadron was reassigned to Fort Glenn Army Airfield on Adak Island and began combat missions over the captured islands of Kiska and Attu. Flew combat missions with B-26 Marauders and later B-25 Mitchell medium bombers during the Aleutian Campaign, remaining in Alaska until the end of World War II in 1945 when the squadron personnel were demobilized and the unit inactivated as a paper unit in early of November 1945.

Cold War

Reactivated as a Strategic Air Command B-29 Superfortress squadron in 1946, being trained in the midwest then reassigned to Alaska in late 1946. Mission changed from strategic bombardment training to strategic reconnaissance and mapping engaging in very long range reconnaissance missions in the Bering Straits North Pacific coast and Arctic Ocean coastline of the Soviet Union. Squadron performed charting and other mapping missions, most likely including ferret and ELINT missions, possibly overflying Soviet airspace.

Squadron returned to the Continental United States in 1947, being equipped with B-36 Peacemaker strategic bombers, both in the bomber and strategic reconnaissance versions. Undertook strategic bombardment training missions on a global scale, including strategic reconnaissance missions with the RB-36s until the phaseout of the B-36 from SAC in 1957.

Re-equipped with B-52D Stratofortresses and stood nuclear alert and conducted global strategic bombardment training missions until 1966. Began rotational deployments to Andersen AFB, Guam where squadron began flying conventional strategic bombardment Arc Light missions over Indochina (1966–1970). Converted to B-52G in 1971 and returned to nuclear alert status upgrading to B-52H in 1977. Received first production B-1B Lancers in 1985 and maintained nuclear alert until taken off alert after the end of the Cold War in 1991. Performed strategic bombardment training until inactivated in 1997 as part of the drawdown of the USAF.

Modern era

Organization reactivated activated as the USAF Weapons School B-1 Division on 28 August 1992 at Nellis AFB , Nevada. Re-designated as the 77th Weapons Squadron in 2003. It provides training to B-1 aircrews at Dyess.

Lineage

  • Constituted 77th Bombardment Squadron (Medium) on 20 November 1940
  • Re-designated 77th Bombardment Squadron (Very Heavy) on 15 July 1946
  • Activated on 1 April 1997
  • Re-designated 77 Weapons Squadron on 24 January 2003

Assignments

  • 42d Bombardment Group, 15 January 1941
  • 28 Composite (later, 28 Bombardment) Group, 2 January 1942
  • Eleventh Air Force, 20 October-5 November 1945
  • 28 Bombardment (later, 28 Strategic Reconnaissance) Group, 4 August 1946

Stations

  • Salt Lake City Army Air Base, Utah, 15 January 1941
  • Gowen Field, Utah, 4 June-14 December 1941
  • Elmendorf Field , Alaska Territory , 29 December 1941
  • Adak Army Airfield, Alaska Territory , 3 October 1942
  • Amchitka Army Airfield , Alaska Territory , 11 September 1943
  • Attu Airfield, Alaska Territory , 11 February 1944-19 October 1945
  • Fort Lawton, Washington , 29 October-5 November 1945
  • Grand Island Army Airfield, Nebraska, 4 August-6 October 1946
  • Elmendorf Field , Alaska Territory , 20 October 1946-24 April 1947
  • Rapid City AAFld (later, Rapid City AFB Ellsworth AFB), South Dakota, 17 April 1947 (air echelon), 3 May 1947 (ground echelon)-31 March 1995
  • Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota, 1 April 1997-19 September 2002
  • Dyess AFB, Texas, 3 February 2003–present

Aircraft

  • B-18 Bolo, 1941, 1942–1943
  • PT-17 Kaydet, 1941
  • B-26 Marauder, 1941–1943
  • B-25 Mitchell, 1942–1945
  • B/RB-29 Superfortress, 1946–1950
  • B/RB-36 Peacemaker, 1949–1950 1950–1957

Special Forces History

The 7th Special Forces Group was formed up in May 1960. The 77th Special Forces Group was reorganized and renamed as the 7th Special Forces Group. in May 1962, and element of 7th SFGA departd Fort Bragg for Panama to form up the 8th Special Forces Group. In the 1960s, responding to the increased demand of Special Forces mobile training teams throughout the world, the 7th SFGA provided the nucleus for the 3rd and 6th Special Forces Groups.

Basing. For many decades 7th SFGA was based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina - the home of the U.S. Army's Special Forces. When the 8th Special Forces Group in Panama was disbanded - it formed the nucleous of the 3rd Battalion 7th Special Forces Group. Later the 3rd Battalion would move to Fort Bragg its Charlie company going to Roosevelt Roads in Puerto Rico. Eventually C/3/7 would move to Fort Bragg. In 2011 7th Group would depart Fort Bragg for Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.

Regional Focus. In the 1960s and early 1970s the 7th SFGA had a worldwide focus - covering those parts of the world not covered by the 10th Special Forces Group and other SF units. In time, it would concentrate on Central and South America. 7th Group played key roles in the countries of El Salvador, Honduras, Panama, Colombia. It became involved in the counter narcotics fight in countries of the Andean Ridge region including Venezula, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, and Bolivia.

Laos. The 7th SFGA was involved in the Indochina War very early - deploying teams to Laos as part of Operation White Star.

Vietnam. Shortly after its involvement with sending training teams to Laos 7th SFGA sent teams to work in South Vietnam and Thailand.

Grenada. 7th SFGA participated in the invasion of Grenada in 1983 - Operation Urgent Fury.

El Salvador. 7th SFGA played a crucial role in adising the El Salvadorian military in its fight against insurgents in the 1980s. Read "7th SFG Stemmed the Tide, Guaranteed the Peace in El Salvador", Special Operations.com, January 21, 2019.

Panama. 7th SFGA was a key player in the invasion of Panama and overthrow of the Noriega regime. Operation Just Cause took place in December 1989 to January 1990. Operation Promote Liberty immediately followed Just Cause. Read more about Operation Just Cause and Operation Promote Liberty here.

Operation Safe Border. In early 1995, a long-standing border dispute between Peru and Ecuador resulted in armed conflict. A Military Observer Mission Ecuador / Peru (MOMEP) element was formed to provide a multinational peacekeeping force. 7th SFGA, along with SOCSOUTH, played a leading role in the resolution of this conflict.

Afghanistan. After 9/11 the 7th Special Forces Group became heavily engaged in the Afghan conflict. It's first unit to deploy was 2nd Battalion based in Kandahar in 2002 with some 7th Group staff officers and NCOs augmenting 20th Special Forces Group which had taken over command of the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force - Afghanistan (CJSOTF-A) located at Bagram Air Field (BAF). Within a year the 7th SFGA would be rotating its battalions and group hqs with the 3rd Special Forces Group. Many of the officers and NCOs of 7th SFGA would also participate in the advisory effort with specialized advisory teams working with the Afghan National Army Special Operations Command and also fill out staff positions with the Special Operations Joint Task Force - Afghanistan (SOJTF-A) based in Kabul. During the later part of the Afghan conflict the teams of 7th SFGA were advising the ANA Commandos, ANA Special Forces, and the Afghan Local Police (ALP). The ALP were an integral part of the USSF Village Stability Operations (VSO) program.

Operation Willing Spirit (2003-2008). 7th SFGA was a key player in the long operation to recover three U.S. Department of Defense contractors who were shot down in a reconnaissance aircraft over Colombia. They were captured by the FARC until rescued five years later.

Iraq War (2003-2011). A small number of 7th SFGA personnel also participated in selected advisory operations in the Iraq War - deploying with units of South American countries that provided troops to that conflict. For instance, SFODA 741 conducted a SFLE with the El Salvador Cuscatlan Battalion in Al Hillah, Babylon Province, Iraq circa 2004.

Other Facts and Trivia

Nickname. At some point in the 2000s the group started referring to itself as "The Red Empire".


United States 7th Special Forces Group green beret, worn by SP/5C R.J. Schmidt in Vietnam in 1964.

The US Army Special Forces are commonly known as the Green Berets, from their distinctive headgear. They are comprised of small groups of highly trained officers and non-commissioned officers, whose mission is to conduct "behind-the-lines" operations in enemy territory, reconnaissance, target acquisition and damage assessment, and precision strikes on strategic targets. Special Forces units have another unique mission, which is to train and operate insurgency and counter-insurgency units in the field, a mission they performed admirably in Vietnam. They are very well-schooled in foreign languages and customs, and are the units of choice when a training mission is done in another nation.

The 7th Special Forces Group was first formed as the 1st Company, First Battalion, 1st Special Service Force in July 1942 at Camp William Harrison in Montana. They were disbanded after World War II but reactivated at Fort Bragg in 1953 as the 77th Special Forces Group. In 1960, the 77th Special Forces Group was designated as the 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), as they are still known today. Under President Kennedy the 7th served as the cadre and building block for the formation of other special forces units. In 1961 the 7th was sent to Vietnam to advise the South Vietnamese Army and was also involved in Laos and Thailand. The first Medal of Honor earned in Vietnam was awarded to Captain Roger Donlon, a member of the 7th.


History

During World War II the 77th supported ground units in training by flying reconnaissance, artillery adjustment, fighter, and bomber missions, and in the process trained reconnaissance personnel who later served overseas. The 113th Observation Squadron flew antisubmarine patrols over the Gulf of Mexico from March until June 1942 when it was relieved by another squadron (128th). Still another squadron (120th) patrolled the Mexican border from March–July 1942. A detachment of the 77th served in India from February until July 1943. The 77th was inactivated in 1943.

The 77th was redesignated in 1985, though this was a &apospaper&apos change that effectively went no further than an Air Staff filing cabinet. It was then consolidated with the 2852nd Air Base Wing in 1994 to provide services and support for McClellan AFB with its satellite installations and the Sacramento Air Logistics Center with its tenant organizations (the 2852nd had been performing this duty since 1 August 1953) until the base was officially closed in 2001.

The 77th Aeronautical Systems Group moved from Brooks City-Base, San Antonio to Wright-Patterson AFB in mid-2009. [1] It was inactivated on 30 June 2010 along with all aeronautical systems wings when the Aeronautical Systems Center was reorganized. [2]


77th Reconnaissance Group - History

U.S. Military Units That Served in WWII

Name Beginning With (7)

Updated 12 /01/10

For information on any of the names listed below, submit your request to [email protected]nter.org

For information about the World War II History Center Research Database, click here.

For information about the World War II History Center, click here.

7th Amphibious Force 293 345

7th Armored Division 37 44 87 107 193 197 230 351 358 382 437 464 470 482 557 664 831

7th Bomb Group 314 338 362 579 765

7th Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop 831

7th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Cavalry Brigade 528 831

7th Engineer Battalion, 5th Infantry Division 406

7th Infantry Division 42 44 145 150 156 188 280 287 302 374 403 437 447 754 785 831

7th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division 66 123 189 375 423 839 893

7th Marine Defense Battalion 753

7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division 145 156 287 381 584 632 753

7th Mechanized Division 375

7th Medical Battalion, 7th Infantry Division 447

7th Reconnaissance Troop, 7th Infantry Division 447

7th Scout Company, 7th Infantry Division 447

7th Squadron, 49th Fighter Group 116

70th Fighter Squadron, 347th Fighter Group 290 416 737 754

70th Infantry Division 147 183 201 223 267 375 831

70th Tank Battalion 197 239 284 457

71st Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop 831

71st Infantry Division 131 402 472 831

71st Reconnaissance Squadron, 71st Infantry Division 131

71st Squadron, 38th Bomb Group, Fifth Air Force 173 754

73rd Armored Field Artillery Battalion 557

73rd Fighter Squadron 754

75th Fighter Squadron, 23rd Fighter Group 33

75th Infantry Division 140 344 375 482 557

75th Troop Carrier Squadron 893

76th Field Artillery Brigade 437

76th Infantry Division 205 267 375 403 429

76th Troop Carrier Squadron 893

77th Bombardment Squadron 121 765

77th Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop 831

77th Infantry Division 42 82 145 181 188 237 244 280 287 301 302 317 437 452 759 831

77th Troop Carrier Squadron 893

78th Armored Field Artillery Battalion, 2nd Armored Division 727

78th Fighter Group 28 283 509 765

78th Infantry Division 89 129 165 193 375 382 482 493 557 831

78th Naval Construction Battalion 570

78th Troop Carrier Squadron 893

79th Fighter Group 57 443

79th Infantry Division 1 239 335 363 375 382 437 452 482 604 607 664 831 893


77th Reconnaissance Group - History

1st BATTALION 77th FIELD ARTILLERY
(AKA 634th Field Artillery Battalion and 77th Field Artillery Battalion)

HISTORICAL NARRATIVE 1943 to 1945

This is the historical journal of Lieutenant Colonel George R. Quarles, who commanded the 1/77th FA through WWII.

February 8 to June 30, 1943

The First Battalion, Seventy-Seventh Field Artillery, sailed from the United States on 8 February 1943, on the U.S.A.T. "Uruguay". The "Uruguay" voyage was quite an experience. At 0132, (convoy time) on 12 February, 1943, the transport was rammed by a Navy tanker in the convoy and although neither vessel sank, they were so badly damaged that they had to turn back and head for Bermuda about 800 miles away. The "Uruguay" sustained a hole on the starboard side forward, which extended from "B" Deck nearly to the keel. Of the troops aboard, seven men were killed six were lost, and about twenty-one sustained major injuries. Of the battalion, Pfc. John M. Thompson of "B" Battery was killed in the crash and thus became the first member of the battalion to give his life while on foreign service in the present conflict. Another member of the unit, however, gained some distinction, and that was Sgt. Cecil H. Davis of "C" Battery who was in bed in the hospital at the point of collision and landed on the prow of the Navy tanker as it penetrated the "Uruguay". When the ships separated after the crash, Sgt. Davis found himself on the deck of the tanker, uninjured. (Later he rejoined his organization when the vessels reached port). The damage to the "Uruguay" necessitated an attempt to reach Bermuda 800 miles to the southwest, and after limping through a stormy sea for three anxious days, she made Bermuda on 15 February, 1943, to the intense relief of all members aboard. It should be said at this time that during this entire emergency, all troops aboard conducted themselves with the utmost fortitude and that this great courage on their part allowed those in charge to prevent a panic.

The arrival of the "Uruguay" presented a tremendous problem to the Bermuda Base Command since the 4500 troops aboard more than doubled the garrison. However, under the direction of Brigadier General A.G. Strong, the Base Commander, all troops were housed in barracks or pyramidal tents and well fed, a miraculous achievement considering the drain on the local facilities which the survivors constituted. The survivors were partially re-clothed and re-equipped and attempted to be of service to the Base Command by performing both specialized and unspecialized working details to aid local construction work. In this way, the "Uruguay" troops contributed thousands of man-hours of labor to the Bermuda Base Command during their visit.

On 6 March 1943, the "Uruguay" troops sailed from Bermuda in two more army Transports which had been sent from New York to pick them up. All members of the battalion were assigned to the U.S.A.T. "Santa Rosa". This time the voyage went without mishap, and on 18 March, 1943, Casablanca, French Morocco, North Africa, was reached, and all troops debarked. This battalion was now assigned to I Armored Corps.

At Casablanca, the battalion was partially re-equipped, having lost large amounts of individual and organizational property. (All officers had lost their footlockers and all enlisted men their "B" barracks bags through the hole in the side of the "Uruguay".) As equipment became available, training was undertaken but extensive details around the docks and supply installations of Casablanca made continuous training extremely difficult. A few service practices were about all that could be accomplished.

On 18 April 1943, the battalion moved to the Cork Forest near Rabat for more extensive training. Here, in an excellent bivouac area, the battalion worked hard to taper itself off for the many requirements of combat field problems, physical hardening service practice, and organized athletic programs combined to made the men more nearly ready for the test.

On 2 May 1943, the test seemed near at hand for on this date the unit was notified of its attachment to the Third Infantry Division and ordered to join the division at once in the vicinity of Constantine, Algeria, for duty on the Tunisian front. On 6 May 1943, the battalion began its march to the front under Lt. Col. von Kann, Commanding Officer. On successive days the organization bivouacked at Fez, Morocco Cuercif, Morocco Tlemcen, Algeria Fleurus, Algeria Orleansville, Algeria and l'Arba, Algeria, spending the night of 11 May 1943, at this last location. Here, Lt. Col. von Kann was notified by Allied Force Headquarters that the battalion was assigned to the VI Corps and to move to Chanzy, Algeria. This change of orders was due, of course, to the sudden conclusion of the Tunisian campaign. However, it was a severe blow to all members to learn that their introduction to battle was to be delayed once more.

On 12 May 1943, the battalion returned to Orleansville, Algeria, and the following day marched to Bedeau, Algeria, near which point they found an excellent bivouac area and settled down to see what would take place next. Again intensive training was undertaken and due to the excellent facilities available for service practice, the cannoneers were given plenty of opportunity to practice their calling under realistic conditions. Ample amounts of small arms ammunition were available and combat ranges and overhead fire courses were used to give the men and officers as much realistic training as possible.

On 19 May, 1943, the battalion was again assigned to the I Armored Corps, and on I June, 1943, was once more attached to the Third Infantry Division (Reinforced). On 6 June, 1943, the battalion departed to report to Major General Truscott near Bizerte, Tunisia under command of Major George R. Quarles, the new commanding officer. The organization bivouacked on successive nights at Orleansville, Algeria I'Arba, Algeria Setif, Algeria and SoukAhras, Algeria. On 10 June 1943, the unit moved into a bivouac area near El Alia, Tunisia -- not far from Bizerte.

Sensing that combat was not far off, all members pitched into the job of supplying the outfit and completing their training. Other tasks to be done included the planning of the combat loading of the unit sandbagging of vehicles waterproofing of vehicles and the briefing of key personnel on their assignments in the operation, which was being planned. Great ' secrecy about the location of the next operation was, of course, necessary but Major Quarles and a few key officers had been informed of necessity that the operation planned was the Sicilian invasion.

July 1st to July 6th, 1943

The plan for the initial assault was as follows: The battalion stripped, down to two howitzer batteries and a minimum of headquarters and service personnel would land on D Day to reinforce the fires of the Forty-First Field Artillery Battalion -a light battalion from the Third Infantry Division Artillery. The remainder of the battalion, less supply vehicles, would land in the first follow-up on D plus 4. Supply vehicles were to be landed D plus 8.

July 4th - The entire Battalion attended a formation at which Major General Truscott gave a stirring address and rallied his troops for the coming invasion of Axis soil.

July 5th & 6th - Final plans for the assault group of the battalion were completed. Major George R. Quarles would be in command with Capt. Paul J. Bidle commanding "A" Battery and Capt. Dale E. Hodgell commanding "C" Battery. They would be loaded on an LCT and would land at an early hour in order to perform the necessary reconnaissance. Other officers in the assault would be on an LST and they are: Capt. Al D. Sims, Capt. James W. Gibson, 1st Lt. Addison G. Wilson, 1st Lt. Kenneth T. Smith, 1st Lt. William F. Smalley, 1st Lt. Walter B. Stevens, 1st Lt. Wayne E. Lash, 2nd Lt. Richard J. Deegan, 2nd Lt. Arthur M. Dix, and 2nd Lt. Ferd H. Rees.

JULY 7th to AUGUST 19,1943

JULY 7th - Assault Battalion (Batteries A and C less rear echelon and detachment from Hq and Service Battery) departed from bivouac area and loaded on LST #388. The Battalion CO and BC's of A and C Battery loaded on LCT #29. LST and LCT left Bizerte at 1700 and rendezvoused for the night off shore.

JULY 8th - (Report of LCT #29 only) - Convoy put out to sea at 0430. Weather clear, sea calm. Passed Cape Bon at 1500 - off Pantellaria at 2000. During the night, LCT #29 lost position in convoy and did not regain it until the morning of the 9th of July.

JULY 9th - (LCT #29 only) Convoy headed generally northeast toward Sicily. Passed north of Malta - weather clear - 35 mile wind and sea very rough. LCT #29 took a terrific pounding and most of the men were seasick. Water was continually taken aboard. After dark LCT #29 again got separated from the convoy and did not regain position during the night.

JULY 10th - Anti-aircraft fire and Naval gun fire visible from LCT #29 due north at 0200. Sea still very rough. Came in sight of Sicily at Licata at 0300. About 3 miles off shore at 0400 came under fire of shore batteries and had star shells fired at us. Started inshore to land, and came under artillery fire. About 1 mile off shore, we were bracketed by HE - No hits scored. Hit shore 3 miles east of Licata at 0500 and landed in 2 feet of water. Beach under mortar fire and some sniping. All personnel and vehicles were safely ashore at 0515. Started forward to make reconnaissance of Battalion position. Road was closed and under fire due to enemy strong point at (00.5-34.8) not being taken. Moved on foot over hills to rear of strong point and made reconnaissance of position areas at (00.5-35.6). Completed at 0800. Strong point had fallen by now and road was available. Battalion CO went east on shore road to Blue Beach. Came under mortar fire enroute. LST #388 beached at 1015 and Assault Group went into position at 1115. Remained in position reinforcing 41st FA. No rounds fired. Attacked by 3 ME 109's at 1430 - no casualties. Again attacked by ME 109's at 1600. 2 bombs dropped. No casualties. Received orders to make reconnaissance to western part of Licata sector. Assault Group went into position reinforcing 10th FA at 2300. In position area (86.8-43.3). No rounds fired from this position.

JULY 11th - Ordered to make reconnaissance and go into position east of Palma (80.841.9) parties left position at 1100. Batteries were in position at 1400 still supporting 10th FA. Battery A registered BP (75.1-46.0) 6 rounds fired. No other firing from this position. One JU 87 and 3 ME 109's over area - no straffing or bombing.

JULY 12th - Hq Section moved to position 1000 yards east of batteries. No firing during day. 2 ME 109's over about 1500. 1 ME 109 over at 1700 - very low.

JULY 13th - Battery A moved west to position at (73.7-46.3) reinforcing fire of 10th FA at 0700. Returned to Battalion area at 2000. Fire supported reconnaissance of the 7th Infantry in vicinity of river at (68.2-52.4). Nothing else of note.

JULY 14th - 1st follow-up joined Assault Battalion at 2130. Received orders that the battalion would move into position (73.5-50.5). This position about 3000 yards in front of Infantry positions so no reconnaissance could be made prior to darkness, as road was under enemy observation and fire. Parties went forward at 2000. Batteries followed at 2100.

JULY 15th - Position occupied at 0500. OP opened fire at 0800. Majority of fire delivered on strong point on west bank of river. Received orders at 1600 to move out at 2100 to positions in the vicinity of Favara. Parties left area at 2030. Batteries at 2100 moved via Palma to Favara. Distance about 45 miles.

JULY 16th - In position at edge (south) of Favara (69.4-56.9) at 0200. Adjusted on BP (62.8-57.9) at 0730. Fired on strong point (63.0-58.1) 2-100 mm guns. At 1020 fired numerous concentrations on call from 3rd Division Artillery and 10th FA. At 1530 sighted enemy truck convoy (63.9-60.3) Battalion fired 5 rounds. After completion of concentration, observed 5 vehicles burning and 15 left on road. Troops were seen leaving trucks and fleeing over the hill. Moved at 2100 to position north of Favara (70.0-59.0) supporting the 15th Infantry. Did not fire from this position.

JULY 17th - No movement - Nothing to report.

JULY 18th - Joined 82nd Division (Air Borne) at 1200. Moved out at 2225 for new position.

JULY 19th - Went into position east of Siculiana (50.0-59.5) at 0100. No firing from this position.

JULY 20th - Parties went on reconnaissance at 0130 and met Maj. Gen. Ridgeway and Brig. Gen. Taylor at point east of Menfi. Ordered to make reconnaissance of position along river east of Menfi (125865). Reconnaissance held up for 2 hours Is Infantry had not entered Battalion area. Batteries arrived at position at 2300. No firing from this position. Battalion relieved from 82nd Air Borne Division at 2230.

JULY 21st - Lt. Col. Darby of the Rangers came to position at 0030 and Battalion CO went forward with him at 39th Infantry CP and called parties forward to make reconnaissance. Unable to get to assigned areas due to mines. So selected positions at (065895) east of Campobello. Battery B moved into position at 0500 and adjusted on Base Point. Battery B silenced enemy artillery holding up tank advance in vicinity of Castelventro at 0930. Parties left position at 0900 to reconnoiter new positions east of Castelventro. Batteries left for new position at 1030. Battalion bivouaced east of Castelventro (005915) at 1220. Capt. Garnett Liaison Officer entered Castelventro with Lt.'Col. Darby at 1300. First troops in town. Parties entered town at 1400 and made reconnaissance of positions 7 miles west of Castelventro close behind advance parties of the 4th Rangers. Battalion arrived in positions at 1910.

JULY 22nd - No movement - no firing. Located German airport (abandoned) with large bomb dump 3 miles north of position.

JULY 23rd - Parties left to join remainder of Combat Team X (Command) near Marsala. Road assigned still in enemy hands so were forced to return to area and reconnoiter different route. Left for Mazara via back route to avoid traffic closely followed by remainder of Battalion. Arrived Mazara at 2000 and joined column behind Cannon Co of 29th Infantry. Road west of Mazara under fire from the north so were forced off road into bivouac area west of Mazara (720010) at 2115.

JULY 24th - Battalion CO and Staff with C Battery left for position at (692048) at 0500. Called remainder of Battalion forward at 0900. Rendezvoused Battalion less B Battery at Terrenove. Battery B in position at 665075. Battalion CO, S-3 and S-2 and Liaison Officer directed fire on enemy battery at (671113) at 1145. OP was under fire from this battery at this time. Excellent effect. Battery B got into action and delivered fire quicker than Infantry Cannon Co. Battalion CO left OP at 1400 and went forward through Marsala where he contacted Infantry Advance Detachment. Received verbal notice of relief from Combat Command X at 1655, and was ordered to proceed to Palermo to report to Prov. Corps by 1800. Remainder of Battalion to arrive at Palermo by 25, 1200. Left at once with Battery CO's for Palermo via Castelventro, Alcamo and Partinico. Arrived Alcamo at 2000. Found bridge out between Alcano and Partinico so was forced to take secondary roads along coast. Road very dangerous well trapped. Arrived at Partinico at 25,0200.

July 25th - Left Partinico at 0500. Arrived at Palermo at 0700. Reported to Commanding General Prov. Corps and was ordered to rejoin Regiment either at Alia or Roccapalumba. S-3 and Battery CO's remained in Palermo to rejoin Battalion. Battalion CO left Palermo at 0830 to find Regiment. Caught rear of Regimental column at Vicari at 0200 followed as far as Roccapalumba then returned west to meet Battalion. Placed Battalion in bivouac at Vicari (645105).

JULY 26th - Left Battalion with parties at 0805. Battalion left at 0845. Located Regimental area south of Petralia at 1200. Battalion in bivouac at 1400.

July 27th - Battalion in bivouac. Make reconnaissance to Gangi at 1430.

JULY 28th - Battalion in bivouac.

JULY 29th - Left bivouac area with parties at 0645 and made reconnaissance north of Sperlinga (317085). Battalion in position at 1740. No firing.

July 30th - Battalion in position north of Sperlinga. Battalion CO left with parties at 1820 and selected position north of Nicosia at 1820 (365085).

JULY 31st - Battalion moved into new position at 0315. A platoon of AA from Battery C 103rd CA (Sept) was attached this day. No firing from this position.

AUGUST 1st - Battalion, less-rear echelon had been in position during the night, 1 mile north of Nicosia. Orders were received to join the 1st Division and to move the battalion to position 2 miles northwest of Cerami. The Battalion, less rear echelon moved to the new position at 0515 and Liaison Q reported to the 1st Div. Arty, CP. A forward OP was established in the eastern edge of Cerami from which the valley east to Troina could be observed. Adjustment was completed and observation was continued up the valley all day. At.1130 the battalion was straffed by a low flying ME 109. The attached AA opened up and shot it down. No casualties or damage. At 1900 two ME 109's again were over the area and both were knocked down by the attached AA (1st Platoon, Battery "C", 103rd CA). During the day Division concentrations were fired and harassing missions were continued during the night. One Battalion concentration was fired on enemy positions on Hill 1040 from OP - effect excellent. One enemy gun position was fired upon using Infantry FO at (52501895). This gun was beyond Range Table range, however, by extra ramming and leaving the powder in the sun the position was reached and a direct hit was scored on one piece, the others were neutralized. The range on this 12,700 yds. thirteen (13) rounds were fired. A total of 163 rounds were fired during this 24-hour period.

AUGUST 2nd - Battalion was still in position northwest of Cerami. During the day fourteen (14) concentrations were fired. All except one were unobserved and effect was excellent testifying to the accuracy of maps and survey. A total of 442 rounds were fired. During the afternoon, a reconnaissance was made north of Capizzi for possible positions. The rear echelon was moved forward to positions north of Nicosia. One eighty-four (84) round concentration was placed on enemy strong point at (49550950). Interdiction fire was maintained during the night on the road net east and west of Troina. A 210 mm Rocket gun was silenced at (50650745).

AUGUST 3rd - Interdiction fire was continued during the early morning. Six (6) concentrations were fired during the day. All unobserved. A total of 264 rounds were fired on enemy troops in the vicinity of Troina between 1110 and 1410. Requested that the battalion be allowed to move to positions in the vicinity of Gagliano to support the flanking movement of the 18th Infantry Regt. moving on Troina from the south. At 1505 Battalion was ordered to move to Gagliano area via Nicosia-Agira. Battalion left Cerami area at 1600. The road as far as Nicosia was very good - between Nicosia and Agira the road was very bad. Five bridges in all these places had not been constructed by engineers, and it was necessary to move very cautiously across country. However the battalion got through without the loss of a single vehicle and arrived in position I mile southwest of Gagliano at 0545 Aug. 4th. The advance parties arrived in Gagliano at 1800 and halted at the edge of town as the road north of town was under enemy, observation and fire. The Battalion CO went forward to meet the CO of the 65th FA (Armored) and obtain information of the area. When returning, the road north of Gagliano, and the town, was fired on by a 210 Rocket gun. Some rounds landed about 100 yds. from a command car. No casualties or damage resulted. It was noted here that the Rocket gun seems to have a great deal of dispersion and can be easily identified by the scream of the shell. Blast effect seems to be very small.

AUGUST 4th - A forward OP was established at (47300580) at 0700 and the battalion was registered on BP (507059). Fourteen (14) concentrations were fired during the day and a total of 591 rounds expended. All. except five (5) concentrations being fired by FO. Two Rocket guns were fired upon and destroyed. Two other enemy batteries and an Infantry concentration were also taken under fire. A company of the 18th Infantry Regt. were observed under fire from enemy infantry at (504061) and the enemy was taken tinder fire. It was noted that the positions reported as occupied by friendly troops was often erroneous as troops could be plainly seen from OP which were identified as those of the enemy. This was especially true of Hill 1040 which was continuously occupied by enemy troops upon which we were refused permission to fire as friendly troops were supposed to be there. However, these enemy positions were taken under fire without authority. The rear echelon was moved to positions in the valley about 2 miles north of Agira. Enemy strong points were fired on at (544070, 531085, and 526078). A Battalion concentration of 4 rounds per minute for 5 minutes was placed on Troina at 1633. A total of 210 rounds were expended in this concentration. There was no firing during the-night.

AUGUST 5th - The Regimental Hqs and 2nd Battalion moved into position to the west of us today, and took over most of the firing. Three problems were fired during the day and a total of 35 rounds expended. One enemy battery was fired upon but due to the extreme time required to get approval through channels, the fire was ineffective as the battery had moved when fire was finally delivered.

AUGUST 6th - No firing during the 24 hour period.

AUGUST 7th - Still in position - no firing.

AUGUST 8th - Battalion moved into rendezvous area 1 mile northwest of Troina (51710).

AUGUST 9th - In rendezvous west of Troina.

AUGUST 10th - AUGUST 19t1i - Same as August 9th.

AUGUST 19th - Battalion left Troina area for bivouac area east of Termini Immerse. Sicilian campaign over. A total of 91 missions and 2345 rounds expended during the campaign.


Lineage

  • Established as 77 Observation Group on 5 Feb 1942
  • Reestablished, and redesignated 77 Tactical Intelligence Wing, on 31 Jul 1985 (remained inactive)
  • Consolidated (16 Sep 1994) with 2852 Air Base Wing, which was established, and organized, on 1 Aug 1953.
  • Consolidated (23 June 2006) with Agile Combat Support Systems Wing, which was established on 23 Nov 2004

Assignments

  • Air Force Combat Command, 2 Mar 1942 , 12 Mar 1942 , 24 May 1942 , 21 Aug 1942 , 7 Sep 1942
    , 6 Aug-30 Nov 1943
  • Sacramento Air Materiel Area (later, Sacramento Air Logistics Center), 1 Aug 1953-13 Jul 2001 , 18 Jan 2005-Present

Components

  • 5 Observation: 25 Jan-2 Apr 1943
  • 27 Observation (later, 27 Reconnaissance 27 Tactical Reconnaissance): 17 Jul 1942-30 Nov 1943
  • 35 Photographic Reconnaissance: 11 Aug-30 Nov 1943 (detached 11 Aug-31 Oct 1943). 113 Observation (later, 113 Reconnaissance 113 Tactical Reconnaissance): 12 Mar 1942-30 Nov 1943
  • 120 Observation (later, 120 Reconnaissance 120 Tactical Reconnaissance): 12 Mar 1942-30 Nov 1943
  • 125 Observation (later, 125 Liaison): 12 Mar 1942-11 Aug 1943
  • 128 Observation (later, 21 Antisubmarine): 12 Mar 1942-8 Mar 1943 (detached 3 Jul-7 Sep 1942 and 15 Oct 1942-3 Mar 1943).

Stations

    , California, 2 Mar 1942 , Texas, c. 22 Mar 1942 , Louisiana, 25 Jul 1942 , Texas, 28 Sep 1942 , Texas, 6 Apr 1943
    , Louisiana, 13 Sep 1943 , Alabama, 14-30 Nov 1943 , California, 1 Aug 1953-13 Jul 2001 , Ohio, 18 Jan 2005-Present

Aircraft

    (1942 – 1943) (1942 – 1943) (1942 – 1943) (1942 – 1943) (1942) (1942)
  • A-18 (1942) (1942 – 1943)
  • L-4 (1942 – 1943)
  • L-3 (1942 – 1943)
  • L-6 (1942 – 1943) (1942 – 1943) (1942) (1942 – 1943) (1943) (1943)

Operations

During World War II the 77th supported ground units in training by flying reconnaissance, artillery adjustment, fighter, and bomber missions, and in the process trained reconnaissance personnel who later served overseas. One squadron (113th) flew antisubmarine patrols over the Gulf of Mexico from March until June 1942 when it was relieved by another squadron (128th). Still another squadron (120th) patrolled the Mexican border from March–July 1942. A detachment of the 77th served in India from February until July 1943. The 77th was deactivated in 1943.

The 77th was reactivated in 1985 and consolidated with the 2852nd Air Base Wing in 1994 to provide services and support for McClellan AFB with its satellite installations and the Sacramento Air Logistics Center with its tenant organizations (the 2852nd had been performing this duty since 1 August 1953 until the base was officially closed in 2001.

The 77th Aeronautical Systems Group moved from Brooks City-Base, San Antonio to Wright-Patterson AFB in mid 2009. [ 1 ]