Military News

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

490th Bomb Group remembered by Airmen, community

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 II.

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 Operations.

"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 Normandy.

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."

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