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From the Introduction

Before leaving Saipan a number of men with the 73rd Wing and its units expressed a hope that some sort of a history of our organization would be published and made available to all Wing personnel. The Wing historical officer seemed the logical person to do this since he had handled the official history of the Wing which is now on file in Washington. In response to this demand, as well as to other requests received since returning to the States, this volume is prepared. While material in the book is partly borrowed from the official history, it is mostly written and collected now after a few months in the States have mellowed our memories of the Marianas.

The 73rd Wing, as a whole, was a homogeneous, hard-working organization. Its personnel were cooperative with one another and did a tremendous piece of work on and from Saipan. The Wing was not only the first 20th Air Force organization to hit Tokyo but it also dropped the largest number of bombs on the Japanese Empire and flew the most missions of any of the 20th's five wings.

To the 15,000 men who went through the months on Saipan, those months were long and hard. While these men may not have actually been in the front lines, the Wing's casualty list of both men and airplanes show that we were a fighting organization. Also our living conditions were far from comfortable most of the time. Our food was sometimes inferior and our quarters were not too good. We were subject to Japanese raids during the early part of the period. Nevertheless, our memories of Saipan will always be close to us.

While this volume is written primarily from the point of view of the Wing Headquarters itself it should be of interest to all personnel of the Wing's organizations. After all, the Wing did operate as a single unit from Saipan and the groups never did operate independently. The statistics and figures included have to do with the Wing operation as a whole rather than any particular organization. This history will necessarily lack the personal touch that the story of a smaller unit might have. Personalities are pretty much lost in the over-all picture.

These 73rd Wing organizations included the four tactical groups-the 497th, the 498th, the 499th and the 500th Bombardment Groups. Also there were the four Air Service Groups -- the 65th, 91st, 303rd and 330th. Without these maintenance and engineering specialists and the Service Centers they manned, the Wing would surely have failed.

Publication Date



Newsfoto Pub. Co.


San Angelo, Texas


United States Air Force, World War 1939-1945, Regimental histories, 73rd Bomb Wing, 20th Air Force, 497th Bombardment Group, 498th Bombardment Group, 499th Bombardment Group, 500th Bombardment Group, 65th Air Service Group, 91st Air Service Group, 303rd Air Service Group, 330th Air Service Group


Military History

The story of the 73rd: the unofficial history of the 73rd Bomb Wing

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