344th Bomb Group 495th Bomb Squadron

                                                       344th BOMB GROUP

Group Tail Marking – White Triangle
494th Bomb Squadron – Sqd Code – K9
   495th Bomb Squadron – Sqd Code – Y5
   496th Bomb Squadron – Sqd Code – N3
497th Bomb Squadron – Sqd Code – 7I

“We Win or Die”

UNIT HISTORY – The 344th Bombardment Group (Medium) was a Army-Air Force medium bomber unit that took part in the tactical bombing of the European Theater during World War II.  The unit flew the Martin B-26 Marauder twin engine bomber.  The B-26 had a normal crew of six:  Pilot, Co-Pilot, Bombardier, Radio-Waist Gunner, Engineer-Top Turret Gunner, and Armorer-Tail Gunner.  Some lead crews carried a Navigator.

The 344th was activatated at MacDill Field, Florida, on 8 September 1942, transitioned to Drane Field in Lakeland, Florida, picked up their planes in Savannah, and departed from Morrision Field in West Palm Beach, Florida, and flew the initial planes to England via the southern route.  The 344th flew the Marauders in combat with the Ninth Air Force for fourteen months (6 March 1944 to VE Day).  The unit was originally stationed at Stanstead, England, and moved to Station A-59 Cormeilles-en Vexin, France on 30 September, 1944, and then on to Station A-78 Florennes/Juzaine in Belgium on 5 April, 1945.

The unit was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation for missions against troop concentrations, supply dumps, and bridges between 24 and 26 July 1944 in support of ground operations in the St. Lo area of Normandy.  It was also the first bomber unit to bomb Utah Beach on D-Day, 1944.  The 344th also bombed rail marshalling yards and Noball Targets (V-1 Rockets).  It also had several encounters late in the war with the German Jet, the Me 262.  Their last mission was on 25 April, 1945.  It moved to Schleissheim, Germany, during September, 1945, and began conversion to the A-26 Invader.  The 344th was formally deactivated in the US on 31 March, 1946.

Colonel Vance was commanding officer of the 344th BG  Sept 19, 1943 – Nov 6, 1944


Vance DFC to S-Sgt Paul Saffron radio-gun









The crew of “MaryJo” or Y5-S. The captain was the distinguished Lt. Colonel Norgaard

42-95967 ROSIE O’BRADY Y5-P and 43-34181 LAK-A-NOOKIE Y5-O

42-95858, coded Y5-R, 495th BS
Shot down by flak on the 28th May 1944 mission to bomb the Maisons Laffitte Railroad bridge, across the Seine River, France. MACR#5139. Pliot, Capt. J W Seale.


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