Distinguished Unit Citations

Distinguished Unit Citatation #1 - Buna, Gona

This Distinguished Unit Citation was awarded for the 38th Bomb Groups part in the battle for Buna-Gona Campaign which opened the north shore of New Guinea to occupation by the allied forces.

The Papuan Forces, United States Army, Southwest Pacific Area, are cited for outstanding performance of duty in action during the period July 23, 1942 to January 23, 1943. When a bold and aggresive enemy invaded Papua in strength, the combined action of ground and air units of these forces, in association with Allied units, checked the hostile advance, drove the enemy back to the seacoast and in a series of actions against the highly organized defensive zone, utterly destroyed him. Ground combat forces, operating over jungle-covered mountains and swamps, demonstrated their courage and resourcefulness in closing with the enemy who took every advantage of the nearly impossible terrain. Air forces, by repeatedly attacking the enemy ground forces and installations, by destroying his convoys attempting reinforcement and and supply, and by transporting ground forces and supplies  to areas for which land routes were non-existant and sea routes slow and hazardous, made possible the success of the ground operations. Service units, operating far forward of their normal positions and at times in advance of of ground combat elements, built landing fields in the jungle, established and operated supply points and provided for the hospitalization and evacuation of the wounded and sick. Th courage, spirit, and devotion to duty of all elements of the command made possible the complete victory attained.

WD GO 21, 1943

Distinguished Unit Citatation #2 Cape Gloucester

This Distinguished Unit Citation is the 2nd one received by the Sunsetters. The First Marine Division has stated that the Cape Gloucester Beachhead was the finest beachhead preparation that they experienced in all of WWII.

The 38th Bombrdment Group (M) is cited for outstanding performance of duty in action from 24 to 26 December 1943. In these 3 days The 38th Bombardment Group (M) aided materially in preparing the way for landings of American ground troops on the western tip of New Britian. Making their target runs at dangerouly low altitudes of 50 to 100 feet, the B-25s of this group accurately bombed and strafed the Cape Gloucester, New Britian, airdromes and enemy pillboxes, barges, supply dumps, and personnel areas from Dorf Point eastward to Cape Raoult. Over 81 tons of bombs were dropped and 110,000 rounds of ammunition expended. The successful establishment and extension of the American beachheads near Cape Gloucester on 26 December were to a great degree brought about by the terrific destruction inflicted by this group on Japanese troops, supplies, equipment, and defenses. American ground troops moving in to occupy the area found that over 1,000 of the enemy had been killed and most his equipment and supplies destroyed by the tree-top level bombing and strafing, which so effectively neutralized Japanese opposition that our own losses were negligible.  The occupation of the Cape Gloucester area by our forces was of the greatest strategic importance, as control of the Vitiaz straits between New Britian and New Guinea was essential to permit further operations along the New Guinea coast and in the Admiralty Islands. The skill of the 38th Bombardment Group (M) in planning and coordinating the attacks of its four squadrons enabled the air crews to inflict maximum damage and destruction without suffering a casuality, although they were repeatedly subject to enemy fighter interception and heavy anti-aircraft fire.  The heroism and combat skill of the air crews and the efficiency and devotion to duty displayed by the ground personnel  of The 38th Bombardment Group (M) have brought great honor to the armed forces of the United States.

                                                      WD GO 76, 1945

Distinguished Unit Citation #3 - Jefman-Samate-Sorong

The 38th Bombardment Group (M) had to travel a long distance for this one. Low level strafing and bombing had come a long ways since the Battle of the Bismarck Sea.{mospagebreak}


The 38th Bombardment Group (M) is cited for outstanding performance of duty in action on 16 and 17 June 1944 in the the Jefman-Samate-Sorong area of Dutch New Guinea.  At that time, an estimated 90 percent of the Japanese aircraft in the New Guinea area were based on Jefman and Samati Airdromes, and Japanese warships and merchant vessels filled Sorong harbor. The most important targets in New Guinea, at the time, it was the only base in that area that had not been subjected to minimum altitude bombing and strafing attacks. On 16 June, twenty-two B-25 aircraft of The 38th Bombardment Group (M) set out on an 8-hour flight, involving a round-trip of 1,350 miles over enemy-occupied territory and treacherous mountain terrain, to strike at Jefman and Samate Airdromes. Twenty of the airplanes reached the target and attacking in a line abreast formation of four squadrons, completely covered the island with their bombs and machine gun fire. As they swept over the target through anti-aircraft fire from heavy and medium guns on the ground and from a cruiser offshore, they shot down 5 enemy fighters and a dive- bomber in aerial combat and probably destroyed one more fighter. The accurate fire of the gunners of The 38th Bombardment Group (M) prevented the enemy aircraft , which were dropping aerial burst bombs, from closing in on the attacking formation.  Dropping 214 one-hundred-pound parademolation bombs and showering the area with 39,000 rounds of machine gun ammunition, the group turned the area into a mass flames and wreckage. The following day, the group hit at the merchant ships and naval vessels which had been sighted in the harbor. Displaying great determination and courage, the crews of The 38th Bombardment Group (M) made daring low altitude bombing and strafing attacks on the enemy shipping. Dropping forty-four 300 pound delayed action bombs and expending over 24,000 rounds of ammunition, the group left the harbor filled with burning and sinking ships. Two 3,000 ton freighter-transports, three smaller cargo vessels, and six coastal craft were definately sunk, and two 1,500 ton freighter-transports were seriously damaged , to make a total of more than 8,000 tons of shipping sunk and 3,000 tons damaged. In these two days, The 38th Bombardment Group (M) destroyed or irreparably damaged a large part of the Japanese air and shipping strength which could have been used against Allied forces preparing to advance through the Netherland East Indies in the drive to the Philippines.  The gallantry and skill of the aircrews of The 38th Bombardment Group (M)  and the efficiency and devotion to duty of the ground personell  who prepared the aircraft  and crews for these raids reflect great credit on the Army Air Forces and the entire armed forces of the United States.

                                                        WD GO 13, 1946

Distinguished Unit Citation #4 Ormoc Bay

A large Japanese convoy with replacement troops and supplies was spotted headed for the Ormoc Bay and the 38th was alerted to make a maximum effort to halt the convoy. The battle was to cause the greatest loss of life that the 38th suffered in any one day of combat. The 822nd was decimated and only the 71st came through without losing a plane.


The 38th Bombardment Group (M) is cited for outstanding performance of duty in action on 10 November 1944. On 9 November 1944 a large enemy convoy was reported proceding to Leyte, Philippine Islands to reinforce the Japanese army which was being rapidly reduced by our ground forces.  To The 38th Bombardment Group (M) was assigned the mission of attacking the enemy naval forces to prevent the landing of troops and supplies. As the successful defense of the Philippines depended on holding Leyte, it was of vital importance to the Japanese to land these reinforcements. After the ground element of the group working with tireless efficiency, had readied the aircraft for this strike, thirty B-25s took off for Ormoc bay,Leyte, where the convoy had assembled. Reaching the target late in the morning of 10 November, the crews of The 38th Bombardment Group (M) discovered one of the largest and most strongly defended convoys ever to be attacked by a single group in the southwest pacific area. It consisted of 21 to 30 vessels, including 13 to 17 warships. Splitting into two aircraft elements and flying in the face of murdrerous anti-aircraft fire from the freighters, as well as the destroyers, the B-25s attacked at masthead level. Dropping ninty-one 500 pound demolition bombs and expending 41,000 rounds of 50 caliber machine gun ammunition, the airplanes of The 38th Bombardment Group (M) sank 3 destroyers, 1 destoyer escort, and at least 5 freighter-transports, totaling 48,000 to 50,000 tons of shipping, and seriously damaged 3 transports and 1 destroyer, aggregating 22,000 to 25,000 tons. Fierce anti-aircraft fire knocked down 5 of the B-25s and forced two to crash land on the sea.  The aggresiveness and gallantry of the crews of The 38th Bombardment Group (M) in pressing home the attack through the concentrated fire of the entire enemy armada not only crushed the Japanese attempt to send more ground forces against our ground forces, but also inflicted a severe loss on enemy shipping. The exceptional devotion to duty demonstrated by all personnel of The 38th Bombardment Group (M) upholds the highest traditions of the armed forces of the United States.

                                                            WD GO 76, 1945