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Jack B - Malmstrom AFB Montana

Discussion in 'WW2 Forums/Forces Postal Service' started by Otto, Feb 24, 2020.

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  1. Otto

    Otto Rested & Resupplied with MREs. Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    Username: Jack B
    Postmark: 21 February 2020
    From: Malmstrom AFB, Montana, USA

    Jack B sends another card as he checks in from Malmstrom AFB with a scene from he old west. Malmstrom is home to the 341st Missile Wing, which operates and keeps combat ready a battery of Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles. I'm told there is a good museum there with a decent assortment of military vehicles.

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    Last edited: Feb 24, 2020
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  2. Jack B

    Jack B Active Member Patron  

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    Glad it arrived! :cool:-:thumbup:

    I always enjoy dropping into Malmstrom. Malmstrom AFB is a relevant WW2 base because it was purpose built and opened in 1942 for the war.

    It started life as Great Falls Army Air Base. The base was originally used, in conjunction with other airfields around Montana, as a B-17 training base. Specifically it was useful in training commanders and crew to set up formations at rally points from multiple airfields.

    Local rumor has it that Montana’s Winter conditions were not conducive to ongoing training and the training function ceased in 1943.


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    Afterwards, the base got used, in conjunction with the 7th Ferrying Group stationed at Gore Field across town, as a supply hub for the Lend-Lease program supplying the USSR with war materiel as part of the Northwest Staging Route.

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    Several different airframes were completed and painted (with USSR schemes) at the base before being flown off.


    The Museum has a fine example of a B-25J wearing 490th Bomb Squadron colors:

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    The 490th Bombardment Squadron was part of the 341st Bombardment Group that was stood up in 1942 and flew missions in the CBI. The 490th, flying B-25J’s, earned the nickname “Burma Bridge Busters” for it’s skill at destroying bridges.

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    “The 490th has a proud and distinguished history dating back to its beginning in India on 15 September 1942, when the 490th Bombardment, Squadron (Medium) was activated. The first combat mission was flown on 18 February 1943 in B-25 Mitchell bombers bearing the now famous "Skull and Wings" insignia, an adaptation of the personal insignia of the commanding officer at that time, Major James A. Philpott. The squadron's aircraft bombed bridges, locomotives, railroad yards, and other targets to delay the movement of supplies to the Japanese troops fighting in northern Burma. Many bridge-bombing missions were initially unsuccessful. High-level, low-level, dive bombing, and skip-bombing all proved ineffective against these difficult targets. The 490th changed all that on New Years Day, 1944, when Major Robert A. Erdin, squadron leader for the day, accidentally discovered a very effective method for destroying bridges. Once perfected, his hop-bombing technique became so successful that the 490th earned the nickname "Burma Bridge Busters" from the commanding general of the Tenth Air Force. “ — A Short History of the 490th


    Malmstrom AFB inherited the legacy of these units and now hosts the 341st Missile Wing, of which the 490th Missile Squadron is a part.
     
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