by Senior Airman Dawn M. Weber
48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
8/12/2015 - ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England --
After 71 years, Liberty Airmen gathered in Eye, England, along with
local citizens on Aug. 9, to commemorate the contributions of the 490th
Bombardment Group, who flew out of Royal Air Force Eye during World War
In October 1943 at Salt Lake City Army Air Base, Utah, the 490th BG was
activated. In April 1944, the group moved to RAF Eye, England, for
operations with VIII Bomber Command in the European Theater of
"It is my privilege to be a part of today's ceremony to commemorate the
contributions of the U.S. Air Force's, 490th BG, who flew out of our
airfield during WWII," said Maria Ford, Mayor of Eye.
In June 1944, the BG, utilizing the B-24 aircraft, began bombing
airfields and coastal defenses in France during the invasion of
During the ceremony, Ford spoke of the strategic placement that the
airfield had in conjunction with the other East Anglian bases.
After converting from the B-24s to B-17s in October 1944, operations
switched to primarily striking strategic targets until the end of
February 1945. The 940th BG participated in enemy combat in Berlin,
Hamburg, Merseburg, Munster and other European cities.
After the war, the 490th BG supported the rebuilding of Europe by
supplying food and other goods to various countries. American forces
officially began the movement from RAF Eye to Drew Field, Florida, June
6, 1945. A few months later, on Nov. 7, the 490th BG was inactivated.
Concluding the ceremony, Tech. Sgt. Jamie Sherwood and Staff Sgt. Scott
Weeks, 48th Component Maintenance Squadron aerospace propulsion
craftsmen, retired the U.S. flag flown during WWII at RAF Eye.
Weeks said it was a privilege performing honor guard duties as part of
the ceremony, and that retiring the flag was a way to give the fallen
Airmen rest for their sacrifices made during the war.
"The men who took off from [RAF] Eye airfield then," Ford said. "Now
stand as a shining beacon representing bravery beyond words,
self-sacrifice, fortitude and many other characteristics."