World War II
The group was constituted as 454th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 14 May 1943 and activated on 1 June at Davis–Monthan Field, near Tucson, Arizona. Training began immediately on Consolidated B-24 Liberators and the ground cadre was sent on 3 July to Army Air Force School of Applied Tactics at Orlando AAB, Florida.
On 15 July, planes were sent from Davis–Monthan to join them at Pinecastle AAF, Florida for practical field training.
From their bases in Florida, the ground echelon was transferred on 28 July 1943 to McCook AAF, Nebraska and, on 1 August, the air echelon joined them. This was the first operational unit to use the newly constructed McCook airfield. On 28 September the Group was reassigned to Charleston AAB, South Carolina
North American B-24J Liberator 42-78489 over a target. This aircraft was later lost on 20 March 1945
On 2 December 1943 the aircrews and some key ground personnel were sent to Mitchel Field, New York in preparation for deployment overseas. These personnel were subsequently transferred to Morrison Field, Florida and flew the southern route to North Africa.
After additional training in Tunisia, the air echelon joined the ground echelon, which had previously departed from Camp Patrick Henry by Liberty Ship, at San Giovanni Airfield, west of Cerignola, Italy, and was assigned to Fifteenth Air Force. Although the group flew some interdiction and support missions, it engaged primarily in long range strikes against oil refineries. aircraft and munitions factories and industrial areas, harbors, and airfields.
Flying from Italy, the group flew 243 missions on over 150 primary targets in Italy, Yugoslavia, Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary, Rumania, France, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Greece, and Poland. During this time, 13,389.19 tons of bombs were dropped during 7,091 sorties on enemy marshalling yards, oil refineries, bridges, installations, airdromes, rail lines, etc.
The 454th participated in the drive to Rome, the invasion of Southern France, and the defeat of Axis forces in northern Italy. The 454th was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation (DUC) for similar action on the high priority Messerschmitt Aircraft Factory at Bad Vöslau, Austria on 12 April 1944. It earned a second DUC for "outstanding performance of duty in armed conflict with the enemy" as a result of their mission against the Hermann Goering Steel Works in Linz, Austria on 25 July 1944.
After the German Capitulation in May 1945, the 454th redeployed to the United States on 8 July. Many personnel were demobilized upon arrival at the port of debarkation; a small cadre of key personnel was formed, and the group was then established at Sioux Falls Army Air Field South Dakota in July, and the unit was redesignated the 454th Bombardment Group, Very Heavy in July, and was equipped with B-29 Superfortresses, and programmed for deployment to the Pacific Theater.
The Japanese Capitulation in August made the group redundant to Air Force requirements and the unit was inactivated on 17 October 1945.
The group was allotted to the Air Force Reserve in April 1947, stationed at McChord Field, Washington, and equipped with B-29s removed from storage in the southwest. The group moved in July 1949 to Spokane AFB, Washington, where it served as a corollary unit for the 98th Bombardment Group, retaining only a single squadron.
The 454th was activated on 1 May 1951. Upon activation, the group's personnel and equipment were reassigned as replacements to the 98th Bombardment Wing, which deployed to Far East Air Forces at Yokota AB, Japan. The group was inactivated as a paper unit on 16 June.
Continental Air Command established the 454th Troop Carrier Wing at Portland International Airport, Oregon in June 1952 to replace the 922d Reserve Training Wing, which had taken over reserve activities at Portland following the mobilization of the 403d Troop Carrier Wing. Under the wing base organization (Hobson Plan), the group was redesignated the 454th Troop Carrier Group and assigned to the wing as its operational element. It was equipped with Curtiss C-46 Commandos. Its activation as a reserve transport unit was short, as it was inactivated and its mission, personnel and equipment transferred to the 403d Troop Carrier Wing when the 403d was released from active duty in January 1953.
In 1985, the United States Air Force returned the group to its original bombardment designation.