UNITED STATES NAVAL TASK FORCE
SOUTHERN BOMBER COMMAND
IN AUSTRALIA DURING WW2

(EX 88TH RECONNAISANCE SQUADRON
7TH BOMB GROUP)

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On 17 February 1942, ten B-17 Flying Fortresses of a US Navy Task Force in "Southern Bomber Command" arrived at Archerfield airfield in Brisbane. These ten B-17's were part of a group of twelve B-17's that had flown from Hawaii via Plaine de Gaiacs, New Caledonia. They had spent a number of weeks in Hawaii prior to this long flight. On the final leg from Plaine de Gaiacs, two of the B-17's flew directly to Townsville in north Queensland through a tropical storm. This Naval Task Force was made up of twelve B-17's from a variety of Squadrons under the command of Captain R. Carmichael. Six of the Navy's ten B-17's that flew into Archerfield on 17 February 1942, were ex members of the 88th Reconnaissance Squadron of the 7th Bomb Group. The 88th Reconnaissance squadron had earlier flown from California to Hawaii arriving during the Japanese air raid on 7 December 1941.

 

B-17 damaged at Archerfield
enroute from Hawaii to Townsville
on 17 February 1942

 

On 14 March 1942, the Naval Task Force B-17E Flying Fortresses of "Southern Bomber Command" (ex 88th Reconnaissance Squadron of 7th Bomb Group), based in Townsville were transferred to the 40th Reconnaissance Squadron of the 19th Bombardment Group, USAAF under the command of Major W.C. Lewis.  It was three of these B-17's that were sent from Townsville to rescue General Douglas MacArthur from the Philippines. The 40th Reconnaissance Squadron was redesignated to become the 435th Squadron on 22 April 1942.

 

RESCUE OF GENERAL DOUGLAS MacARTHUR
BY EX NAVY AIRCRAFT FROM 88TH RECONNAISSANCE SQUADRON

 

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This page first produced 6 June 1999

This page last updated 15 October 2006