Base, Station or City
Mediouna Airfield, French Morocco
47th Bombardment Group Light-Night Attack Details
About one year before the Pearl Harbor attack, the 47th was constituted as the 47th Bombardment Group (Light) on November 20, 1940. On January 15, 1941 the Group was activated and cadres for Headquarters and three tactical squadrons, the 84th, the 85th and the 86th, were manned by experienced personnel at McChord Field, Washington out of the 17th Bombardment Group. Likewise the 20th Reconnaissance Squadron, later to become the 97th Bombardment Squadron, was manned at the same place out of the 89th Reconnaissance Squadron. In the spring of 1941 the 47th Group, with all squadrons was designated for station at Fresno, California as soon as buildings were available at the new Hammer Field east of that city.
Within hours of the attack a 47th Group task force flying a newly augmented strength of B-18 aircraft deployed into Hamilton Field above San Francisco. We loaded our own bombs long into the night. By dawn of the next day we were 300 miles out over the ocean to sweep the near Pacific waters for Japanese naval vessels. This task force, the first to perform ocean reconnaissance in the war from the U.S. consisted of all the B-18's from west of the Mississippi, all sixteen of them. These ocean patrols continued till the end of December. The 85th Squadron took over the job from Sacramento Airport. Bombs were in such short supply in those days that we landed back at home base with our live bombs. Long into the month the 85th was still carrying the same bomb loads originally hoisted-up that first night at Hamilton Field.
About the 11th of December the 97th Squadron started receiving a few four-engine aircraft from several corners of the world; six or eight planes in all. These were modified B-24's and LB-30's, British sea reconnaissance version of the Consolidated Aircraft Company's B-24. These fine aircraft were dispatched on long range missions, some more than halfway to Hawaii and return to Fresno.
Served in the 47th Bomb Group in North Africa, Sicily and Italy before coming home. He was overseas Nov 1942 through Nov 1943.
Notes: All A20's in the Squadron. 12th Air Force in North Africa. Kegelman's Squadron was the first U.S. bomb group to attack Europe. 51 out of 56 planes into 3 day battle at Kassarine Pass. 8 planes flying after the battle.