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59th Bombardment Squadron
59th Bombardment Squadron Douglas A-20A Havoc 40-0093.jpg
Douglas A-20A Havoc 40-0093, 59th Bombardment Squadron, 1943. This squadron never adopted a unit emblem
Active 1941–1951
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Role Bombardment

The 59th Bombardment Squadron is a United States Air Force unit. Its last assignment wa with the 319th Bombardment Group, based at Birmingham Airport, Birmingham, Alabama. It was inactivated on 22 March 1951.


World War II

Activated as the 59th Bombardment Squadron (Light) on 1 January 1941, and assigned to the Panama Canal Department Air Force the same day, the squadron was further assigned to the 19th Bombardment Wing on 2 January and then, on the 6th, attached to the new 9th Bombardment Group.

This unit was attached to the 9th Bomb Group specifically to support the Panama Mobile Force, and spent its first 10 months of existence at Rio Hato Army Air Base. It was assigned formally to the VI Bomber Command on 18 September 1941. The Squadron received new Douglas A-20A Havocs by May 1942. The unit moved from Rio Hato AAB to the new Howard Field on 28 October 1941 and, shortly after the Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbor, was dispersed to Aguadulce Army Airfield.

The 59th's mission included close-in anti-submarine "offensive" patrols, rapid reconnaissance of and offense against potential amphibious landings or advances of enemy ground forces which might eventuate, direct support of friendly ground forces and, in exactly these words, "use as attack aviation in combination with other Air Forces, Parachute Troops and Airborne Infantry in support of friendly Latin American governments" as needed.

On 15 January 1942, "B" and "C" Flights were detached from the Squadron and attached to the VI Interceptor Command at Hato Field, Curaçao and Dakota Field, Aruba, where they remained attached until finally actually assigned on 23 June. The main squadron remained at Aguadulce Field, Panama until it joined the Flights in the Antilles on 10 March. The arrival of the detachments in Aruba and Curaçao was timely as on 16 February 1942, one of the A-20A made the first Command attack on a German U-Boat when a sub was attacked eight miles off Willemstad. Over the next five days, not fewer than time attacks were made on submarines, following by 10 more through January 1943.

On 19 March 1943, the Squadron was assigned directly subordinate to the Antilles Air Task Force. However, in fact, the Squadron was attached to the 25th Bombardment Group and remained under its operational control as late as 26 April 1943. This attachment lasted until 19 July, when the unit was attached to the Trinidad Detachment, VI Fighter Command, Antilles Air Command. Meanwhile, the unit itself had been re¬designated, on 10 June 1943, as the 59th Bombardment Squadron (Medium).

By 12 July 1943, by now located at Edinburgh Field, Trinidad and two North American B-25D Mitchells and two B-250's had been received. By the end of 1943 the A-20s had been replaced by B-25G's and the Squadron was moved to Beane Field on St Lucia. With the United States Navy taking over responsibility for antisubmarine warfare during the summer of 1943, the need for the 59th was diminished. Personnel and aircraft were transferred to other units and the squadron was reassigned to the United States in March 1944 as an administrative organization.

Designation was reassigned to Second Air Force at squadron was assigned to Alamogordo Army Airfield, New Mexico. Was programmed for B-25 Mitchell replacement training but never was equipped. Inactivated and disbanded on 20 June 1944.

Air Force Reserve

Activated in the reserve at Reading Airport, Pennsylvania with A-26 Invaders in 1947. Remained at Reading until September 1949 when the unit was moved to Birmingham Airport, Alabama. The unit was ordered to active service in March 1951 due to the Korean War, with its aircraft and personnel used as fillers for active duty units. It was inactivated about about two weeks of active duty without personnel or equipment.


  • Constituted 59th Bombardment Squadron (Light) on 14 December 1940[1]
Activated 2 January 1941
Redesignated 59th Bombardment Squadron (Medium) on 10 June 1943
Disbanded on 20 June 1944
  • Reconstituted, and redesignated 59th Bombardment Squadron (Light), on 26 May 1947
Activated in the reserve on 9 July 1947
  • Inactivated on 2 September 1949
Activated in the reserve on 10 October 1949
Ordered to active service on 10 March 1951 due to Korean War
Inactivated on 22 March 1951.


Attached to 9th Bombardment Group, 6 January 1941-21 July 1942
Attached to Trinidad Detachment, VI Fighter Command, 21 July 1942-19 March 1943
Attached to 25th Bombardment Group but under operational control of a detachment of Antilles Air Task Force, 26 April 1943-1 August 1943


Detachment operated from: Hato Field, Curaçao, c. 13 January 1942
Detachment operated from: Dakota Field, Aruba, C. 14 January—c. 24 September 1942
  • Howard Field, Canal Zone, 19 February 1942
  • Hato Field, Curaçao, 10 March 1942
  • Edinburgh Field, Trinidad, 12 July 1943
  • Beane Field, St Lucia, 20 October 1943 – 24 March 1944
  • Alamogordo AAF, New Mexico, c. 7 April-20 June 1944
  • Mitchel Field, New York, 9 July 1947
  • Reading Municipal Airport, Pennsylvania, 27 June-2 September 1949
  • Birmingham Airport, Alabama, 10 October 1949 – 22 March 1951.



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

  1. Conaway, William. "59th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy)". VI Bomber Command In Defense Of The Panama Canal 1941 - 45. 
  2. Conaway, William. "VI Bombardment Command History". Planes and Pilots Of World War Two. 
  3. Conaway, William. "25th Bombardment Group (Medium))". VI Bomber Command In Defense Of The Panama Canal 1941 - 45. 
  • Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.
  • Hagdedorn, Dan (1995), Alae Supra Canalem: Wings Over the Canal, Turner Publishing, ISBN 1563111535

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