345th Bombardment Group

COLUMBIA's OWN

First used by observation air units, the role of the Columbia Army Air Base (CAAB) shifted to a B-25 medium bomber training site for replacement pilots. Many units honed their combat skills at CAAB including the Doolitte Raiders, but only one called the base home.

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Assigned to the Fifth Army Air Force, the 345th Bombardment Group activated at CAAB in the Fall of 1942. Known as the “Air Apaches”, the group flew practice missions over the small islands in Lake Murray. One such landmass was used so much it was dubbed "Bomb Island". Final training for the group was done in Walterboro and Greenville. The 498th, 499th, 500th, and 501st squadrons also received their nicknames "The Falcons", "The Bats Out of Hell", "The Rough Riders", and "The Black Panthers" respectively.

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