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390th Memorial Museum
In February of 1943 the 390th Bomb Group (H) had its inception at Blythe Army Air Base in California, with an original complement of 40 officers and 83 enlisted men; most of them had been attached to the 34th Bomb Group which operated B-17 aircraft at Blythe and at Geiger Field in Spokane, Washington. The cadre was promptly sent to the School of Applied Tactics in Orlando, Florida, for thirty days of special training. Thereafter air crews and ground personnel were assembled and trained at bases in Montana. In July of 1943 the air echelon of the Group was assigned to the 8th Air Force and dispatched to Station 153 located at Parham in Suffolk, England. The ground echelon with support equipment arrived later in July after an Atlantic crossing by ship. The Group's first mission to the continent was flown on August 12, 1943 and its last mission in May of 1945. In a ferocious air battle during mission #22 to Munster on October 10, 1943, eighteen 390th Bomb Group B-17s shot down 62 German fighter aircraft for a record in the 8th Air Force. The 390th participated in 301 operational missions, dropping over 19,000 tons of bombs. 179 of its aircraft were lost, with 147 missing in action and 32 due to other causes. The Group's accomplishments show a total of 378 enemy aircraft destroyed, 78 probably destroyed, and 97 damaged. The Group was awarded two Presidential Unit Citations, six Battle Streamers and many commendations. During its combat history the Group's bombing accuracy was reported as the best in the 8th Air Force and its aircraft losses were the lowest per mission flown/bombs dropped.