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38th Bombardment Squadron
38th bomb squadron emblem.png
Emblem of the 38th Bombardment Squadron
Active 1940 – 1946
Disbanded March 20, 1946
Country  United States
Branch  United States Air Force
Role Bombardment
Aircraft flown
Bomber YB-17 Flying Fortress
B-18 Bolo
LB-30 Liberator
A-29 Hudson
B-25 Mitchell
B-24 Liberator

B-24 Liberators of the 27th BS and 38th BS at Kwajalein in June 1944

The 38th Bombardment Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its last assignment was with the 30th Bombardment Group, based at Kahuku Army Airfield, Hawaii Territory. It was inactivated on March 20, 1946.


Established as a Fourth Air Force bombardment squadron in November 1940 as part of the USAAC's buildup of forces after the outbreak of World War II in Europe; equipped with B-18 Bolos and early YB-17 Flying Fortress prototypes.

Deployed to Third Air Force after the Attack on Pearl Harbor, engaged in antisubmarine patrols over the southeast Atlantic coastline. Returned to California in late December flying anti-submarine warfare patrols and training replacement crews with Lockheed A-29 Hudsons. It continued to perform this duty until October 1943, when the squadron was moved to Hawaii to join the Seventh Air Force.

Trained with early LB-30 Liberators and B-25 Mitchells in Hawaii until November, then re-equipped with Very Long Range (VLR) B-24 Liberators and deployed to the Central Pacific in November 1943 to take part in the island hopping campaign. Moved to Funafuti Airfield, Nanumea in the Gilbert Islands. Mounted bombing raids against enemy installations on those islands. It also raided airfields in the Marshall Islands to help prevent the launching of Japanese planes against the amphibious assault on Tarawa.

Staging through the recently captured Tarawa and Makin Islands, the squadron attacked several atolls in the Marshalls, including Kwajalein. Between November 14, 1943 and April 1, 1944, the squadron carried out bombing missions over the Marshall Islands and participated in the actual invasion of Kwajalein in February 1944.

As the war moved closer to Japan, the squadron attacked Truk. The 38th also bombed Wake Island, Guam, Saipan, and harassed other islands in the Carolines and Marianas, bypassed by American amphibious forces.

In August 1944, the squadron moved to East Field, Saipan in the Mariana Islands. During the next six months, the 38th conducted intensive bombing strikes against airfields and shipping at Bonin and Volcano Islands, Iwo Jima, ChiChi Jima, and Yap. Its final bombing mission was at Iwo Jima on February 19, 1945, the same day three Marine divisions invaded the island.

In March 1945, the 38th returned to Hawaii on the popular but mistaken rumor that it was to be reequipped with B-32 Dominators. Instead, many of the crews and planes were reassigned to the 11th Bombardment Group and subsequently served with it. The remaining elements waited out the war conducting training sorties and routine patrols. Inactivated on 20 March 1946.


  • Constituted 38th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) on 20 November 1940
Activated on 15 January 1941.
Inactivated on 20 March 1946.



  • March Field, California, 15 January 1941
  • New Orleans Airport, Louisiana, 3 June 1941
Detachment operated from Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia, 8–14 December 1941

  • Funafuti Airfield, Nanumea, Gilbert Islands, 12 November 1943
Operated from Makin Airfield, Gilbert Islands, 26 February-22 March 1944



 This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website

  • Maurer, Maurer. (1969). Combat Squadrons of the Air Force, World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Air Force Historical Studies Office. ISBN 0-89201-097-5.


  • Maurer, Maurer. (1969). Combat Squadrons of the Air Force, World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Air Force Historical Studies Office. ISBN 0-89201-097-5.

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