44th Bomb Wing
When the Korean War began in 1950 a cadre was formed to reactivate the 44th Bombardment Wing at March Air Force Base, Calif. In July 1951 the cadre moved to Lake Charles Air Force Base, La., where the wing became operational. The wing initially trained B-29 crews for combat duty in Korea. After the Korean War the organization was converted from B-29 aircraft to the B-47 strategic bomber. By 1954 the 44th Bombardment Wing at Lake Charles AFB (subsequently renamed Chennault AFB) was flying the B-47 jet bomber.
"Flying 8-Balls" was the WWII nickname for the 44th Bombardment Group, 2nd Air Division, 8th U. S. Army Air Force, during the unit's service in Shipdham, England and North Africa during World War II. 860 men from the 44th lost their lives flying from Shipdham and from North Africa during raids, many of them daylight, over occupied Europe. The 44th Bombardment Group underwent many changes after WWII, and eventually evolved into the 44th Missile Wing, headquartered at Ellsworth AFB, Rapid City, South Dakota. On July 4th, 1994, the 44th was inactivated.
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