"The 456th Bomb Group:
1943 - Steed's Flying Colts - 1945"
The squadrons were not manned until 14 July 1943 after movement to Gowen Field, Boise, Idaho. The next day they were moved to Orlando, Fla. where they underwent a month's intensive training at The Army Air Forces School of Applied Tactics, Florida
The Air Echelon was re-united with the Group echelon at Bruning Army Air Field. The men from the Group Echelon had moved on to Bruning Army Field in August.
According to Bill Clark of Midway, Kentucky, a tail gunner of the 746th Squadron there were 4 model crews given special training at Bruning Army Air Field. These model squadrons were the 744th, 745th, 746th, and the 747th. They had but one B-24D for each squadron.
The four B-24Ds of the 4 squadrons flew over BAAF at the dedication of the field on August 28, 1943. In the dedication program besides the four B24D, There were B17s, L-3C, C-47, a glider and "such other planes that could be obtained" for the dedication fly over. We are searching for more information regarding these planes and their crews.
The commander of the 456th at Bruning was Col. Thomas Webster Steed. When he took command of the 456th at Gowen Field, Boise, Idaho, on July 14, 1943 it had an original cadre of 66 officers, 237 enlisted men and no aircraft. In August 1942 they were then stationed at the Bruning Army Air Field and received four B-24s, one for each squadron. Col. Steed lived in Hebron, NE during his stay at Bruning. The 456th wer called Steed's Colts. Col Steed's men earned one distinguised flying cross, 19 silver stars, 217 Distinguished Flying Crosses, and over 2000Air medals.
Col. Stead's Flying Colts were awarded two Distinguished Unit citations. A Mimeographed 3 sheet (6 page) paper called BOMB NEWS of the 456th Bombardment Group printed 4 September 1943 has been donated to the Thayer County Museum in Belvidere, Nebraska. In this paper the "Son of Alabama", Lt. Col. Lamprey who was a West Point graduate and the holder of the air medal for flying the longest over water flight attempted (from the U.S. to Hawaii) at that time was made the dupty commander head of the 456th.
Bill Clark stated that the air echelon flew out of Bruning on October 8, 1943. The ground echelon left after November 27th as they ate Thanksgiving dinner at Burning as mentioned in a mimeographed paper about the 456th entitled THE LIBERATOR
The model squadrons were sent to Murdoc Army Air Base in California where they became full fledged squadrons.
The men of the Air Echelon departed in their B-24s on Dec. 3rd 1943 enroute for overseas. They were equipped for overseas duty at Hamilton Field , San Francisco, the first leg for their journey to Italy. From there they went to Morrison Field, West Palm Beach Florida and flew the South Atlantic via Tunisia, Puerto Rico, Trinidad, Belem, Natal Brazil, Dakar, French West Africa, Oran and Algeria.