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Aircraft and Combat Crew Firsts
[from "Might in Flight" Copyright ©1997 Harry D. Gobrecht]


38th Reconnaissance Squadron
(Later designated as 303rd BG(H) 427th BS)

07 Dec 1941
  • First USAAF aircraft in combat against the enemy (Hickam Field, Hawaii) B-17s arrived during the Japanese attack


    Flights from the Molesworth, England Airfield
    with RAF 226 Squadron flying RAF Boston (A-20) aircraft

    29 June 1942

  • First U.S. crew to bomb occupied Europe - Molesworth based Captain Kegelman

    04 July 1942

  • First U.S. combat crew loss - Lt Loehrl and crew
  • First U.S. POW - Lt Marshall Draper

    11 July 1942

  • First 8th AF Distinguished Service Cross Award - Major Kegelman for his 4 April 1942 flight
  • First 8th AF Distinguished Flying Cross Awards - to three members of the Kegelman crew


    Crews and aircraft of the 303rd BG(H) that were
    transferred to the 97th BG(H) on May 18-20, 1942

    22 June 1942

  • First 8th AF B-17 rescued from a temporary runway to permit takeoff - B-17 #41-9129, 1stLt Schmoldt at Bathhurst, New Brunswick

    01 July 1942

  • First 8th AF B-17 to arrive in the United Kingdom - #41-9085 Jarrin Jenny, Lt Johnson

    17 Aug 1942

  • First 8th AF (VIII BC) combat mission - #41-9125 Prowler, Lt Blair, to Rouen/Scotteville, FR

    17 Sept 1942

  • First 8th AF B-17 to be salvaged as a result of combat mission damage - #41-9074 at Burtonwood

    Crews and aircraft of the 303rd BG(H) at Molesworth, England

    17 Nov 1942

  • 303rd BG(H) enters combat - One of the 8th AF's pioneer Bomb Groups

    27 Jan 1943

  • First 8th AF mission to bomb Germany - 303rd BG)(H) mission #12 to Wilhelmshaven. (Also 91st, 305th and 306th BG's) 303rd formations led by 306th BS Capt Lewis E. Lyle, Pilot, and Colonel Charles E. Marion, CoPilot.

    18 Mar 1943

  • First 8th AF Medal of Honor - earned by 1stLt Jack W. Mathis, 359th BS Bombardier flying in The Duchess on 303rd BG(H) mission No. 24 to Vegesak, Germany

    31 Mar 1943

  • First 8th AF fatal mid-air collision while forming for a mission - 303rd BG(H) mission No. 27 to Rotterdam, Holland. Involved #41-29573, Two Beauts, Lt James R. Dunn and #41-24599 Ooold Soljer, Lt Keith O. Bartlett

    14 May 1943

  • First 8th AF bomber to complete 25 combat missions - 358th BS #41-24577, Hell's Angels
  • First 8th AF mission on which over 200 bombers participated - to Kiel, Germany

    16 Nov 1943

  • First 8th AF heavy bomber to complete 50 combat missions - 359th BS Knockout Dropper on 303rd mission #82 to Knaban, Norway

    27 Mar 1944

  • First 8th AF heavy bomber to complete 75 combat missions 359th BS - Knockout Dropper on 303rd mission No. 129 to Chartes Airfield, France

    15 June 1944

  • First 8th AF Distinguished Service Cross Award for "Outstanding Leadership and Overall Superior Job" - To Lt.Col Lewis E. Lyle for 303rd BG(H) services from 17 Nov 1942 to 5 June 1944

    09 July 1944

  • First 8th AF Bomb Group to complete 200 missions - to Chatteaudon Airfield, France

    10 Jan 1945

  • First 8th AF Bomb Group to complete 300 missions from the U.K. - 303rd BG(H) mission #300 to Bonn/Hangelar Airfield, Cologne Brillion and Euskirchen. 1st Air Division commander was 358th BS Commander Major George T. Mackin

    25 April 1945

  • Final 8th AF combat mission - To Pilsen, Czechoslovakia.
    303rd BG(H) flew the most 8th AF combat missions from England -- 364
    303rd BG(H) had second highest 8th AF total sorties flown -- 10,721
    303rd BG(H) dropped second highest 8th AF tons of bombs -- 26,346