Established as the 11th Observation Group on 1 October 1933, it was redesignated 11th Bombardment Group (Medium) on 1 January, 1938. Activated on 1 February 1940 at Hickam Field, Hawaii and assigned to the 18th Bombardment Wing. The group, then composed of the 14th, 26th, 42nd Bomb Squadrons and 50th Recon Squadron conducted flying operation from Hawaii with the Douglas B-18 twin-engine bomber. Beginning in 1941, the group transitioned into the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress flying patrol and search missions off the Hawaiian Islands. Shortly before the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, the 14th squadron was reassigned and attached to the 19th BG in the Philippines. Following the attack, early 1942, the 98th squadron was activated and assigned to the 11BG and the 50th Recon squadron was redesignated the 431st bomb squadron. The 11th & 5th Bomb Group squadrons participated in the crucial Midway Battle(June 42) performing long range armed search missions and bombing attacks against the Japanese fleet. Shortly after Midway, the 11th Group was authorized as a mobile force by the JCS in order to respond to the Navy request(Adm. Nimitz) for armed search planes support for locating Japanese fleets and with firepower to withstand defending Japanese fighter attacks while tracking the fleet. As a mobile group, the 11th Group received authorization to leave Hawaii base to support Navy operations in the South Pacific during the Guadalcanal and N. Solomons Campaigns. The group moved to the New Hebrides on 22 July 1942 and temporarily becoming part of Thirteenth Air Force by year end 1942. They bombed airfields, supply dumps, ships, docks, troop positions, and other objectives in the South Pacific from July to November 1942, and received a Distinguished Unit Citation (DUC) for those operations. From September, 1942, the 72nd squadron and other resources from the 5th Bombardment Group were attached to the 11th under the 11th command of Col. Saunders. Continued operations during the Battle(Campaign) for Guadalcanal and the Northern Solomons Islands attacking Japanese airfields, installations, and shipping until late March 1943. The group returned to Hawaii on 8 April 1943 and was reassigned to Seventh Air Force. Following this, the group received the Consolidated B-24 Liberator bomber, which it flew until the end of the war. While in Hawaii, the group refitted and trained with the B-24, even flying combat missions against Wake Island and other central Pacific bases held by the Japanese. It deployed to Ellice Island on 9 November 1943 and resumed combat with the 26th, 42nd, 98th and 431st squadrons participating in the Allied offensive through the Gilbert, Marshall and Marianas Islands, while operating from Funafuti, Tarawa, and Kwajalein. Moved to Guam on 25 October 1944 and attacked shipping and airfields in the Volcano and Bonin Islands. Moved to Okinawa on 2 July 1945 to participate in the final phases of the air offensive against Japan, bombing railways, airfields, and harbor facilities on Kyushu and striking airfields in China. After the war ceased the group flew reconnaissance and surveillance missions to China and ferried liberated prisoners of war from Okinawa to Luzon, Philippines. Campaigns; Guadalcanal, Northern Solomons, Central Pacific, Eastern Mandates, China Offensive, Air Offensive Japan, Western Pacific, Ryukyus. Group Citation; Distinguished Unit Citation for outstanding performance of duty in action during the period July 31 to November 30, 1942. Presidential Unit Citation (Navy) for assistance given the Navy. Group Battle Honors; Central Pacific, Guadalcanal, Northern Solomons, Air Offensive Japan, Ryukyus, Western Pacific, Eastern Mandates.
For a list of 11th BGA presidents and reunion locations click here.