501st Bombardment Group

501st Bombardment Group

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501st Bombardment Group

History - Books - Aircraft - Time Line - Commanders - Main Bases - Component Units - Assigned To


The 501st Bombardment Group was a B-29 Group that entered the campaign against Japan late in the war and focused its efforts against the Japanese petrol industry.

The group was formed in the US in June 1944. It moved to Guam in March-April 1945, where it joined the Twentieth Air Force. Its first combat mission was a practice run against Japanese held Truk on 19 June 1945. This target was used as the Japanese defenders lacked the ability to hurt the high flying B-29s. The first attack against Japan came on 27 June 1945, and after that the group focuses its efforts against the Japanese petroleum industry on Honshu. It was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation for a series of attacks in July 1945 hitting the Maruzen oil refinery at Shimotsu, the Utsubo oil refinery at Yokkaichi and the petroleum industrial centre at Kawasaki.

After the end of the war the group was used to drop food and supplies to Allied POWs across Japan, China, Korea and Manchuria before being inactivated on Guam on 10 June 1946.



June 1944-June 1946: Boeing B-29 Superfortress


25 May 1944Constituted as 501st Bombardment Group (Very Heavy)
1 June 1944Activated
Mar-April 1945To Guam and Twentieth Air Force

Commanders (with date of appointment)

Capt Harry L Young: c.27 Jun 1944
Lt Col Arch G Campbell Jr: 6Jul 1944
Col Boyd Hubbard Jr: 11 Aug1944
Col Vincent M Miles Jr: 15 Apr-20May 1946.

Main Bases

Dalhart AAFld, Tex: 1 Jun1944
Harvard AAFld, Neb: 22 Aug 1944-7 Mar 1945
Northwest Field, Guam: 14Apr 1945-10 Jun 1946.

Component Units

21st Bombardment Squadron: 1944-1946
41st Bombardment Squadron: 1944-1946
485th Bombardment Squadron: 1944-1946

Assigned To

May 1944-April 1945: 315th Bombardment Wing; XXI Bomber Command; Second Air Force
April 1945-1946: 315th Bombardment Wing; XXI Bomber Command; Twentieth Air Force

Tag: 501st Bomb Squadron

There is a lot of useful information contained in the Unit Histories I received recently from AFHRA. My last two posts were based on documents found within those histories and now I am able to update my June 30, 2020 post that was titled A Bad Day in Saigon.

In that post, the mission report of the 499th Squadron had a map attached and the portrayal of their part of the raid on the Saigon River shipping is still valid. I had to rely on the text of the 501st mission report because there was no accompanying mission map, but now I can correct what I got wrong. This mission was highlighted in the April 1945 squadron history and included a mission map. The map shows the flight paths of the eight airplanes of the 501st, so they are included in the updated interactive map above. The map was spread over two pages and has been photoshopped together to get a full map.

The 501st Squadron mission map for the April 28, 1945 raid on Saigon River shipping. In the public domain, courtesy of AFHRA.

Among the features that required correction were the locations of the warehouses that airplane 199 strafed after bombing the largest freighter and the locations of the sailboat and freighter that airplane 572 destroyed near the mouth of the Saigon River. Most importantly, the location of the airplane 020 crash site is now more accurately located.

Some things that I did get right were the location of the SOCONY tank farm northeast of Saigon, the site of the 500 ton freighter destroyed by airplane 571 south of the SOCONY tank farm, the location of the main wharves where a 2,300 ton freighter transport was destroyed by 041 and a 2,000 gross ton freighter damaged by 571, and the location of the largest freighter bombed by airplane 199. Apparently, efforts to interpret the strike photos were worthwhile.

Grainy copies of several strike photos were included in the squadron history and while they are not as clear as those supplied by Everett Hatcher, they do add to the understanding of this raid and low level bombing tactics in general.

Strike photo 1.0.20, shown below, was taken from a camera in the tail end of Colonel Coltharp’s airplane 571 as it passed over the 500 ton freighter he destroyed south of the SOCONY tank farm. His bomb has already been dropped and has hit the target, but a delayed fuse allows the airplane to clear the target before exploding.

Airplane 571 clearing the 500 ton freighter targeted south of the SOCONY tank farm. Photo courtesy of AFHRA.

Lt. Blount’s airplane 199 took photo 3.0.60 after he had cleared the 5,800 ton freighter he destroyed east of Saigon. It shows the freighter with the bow pointed downstream, which helped decipher the description of his attack. The direction of flight indicated by the photo agrees with his flight path shown on the mission map.

Airplane 199 clearing the 5,800 ton freighter just prior to the bombs exploding. Photo courtesy of AFHRA.

Photo 3.0.64 from Lt. Blount’s airplane shows the early stages of bombs exploding near the freighter and on shore.

A strike photo from airplane 199 taken four frames after the previous photo and two frames before the next photo which shows the possible crash site of airplane 173. Photo courtesy of AFHRA.

Photo 3.0.66 taken from Lt. Blount’s airplane shows the same explosions progressing as well as the dust and smoke in the near treeline that is presumed to be the crash site of airplane 173.

A strike photo from airplane 199, used in the original post, showing bomb blasts and the possible crash site of airplane 173. Photo courtesy of Everett Hatcher.

These new photos allow for some interesting insights into low level bombing. There are several factors of which have become apparent during all this reading: 230 mph is a commonly stated airspeed for B-25’s attacking at low level after some initial catastrophes involving airplanes being damaged by their own bomb blasts, delayed fuses were introduced and strike photo cameras were switched on manually at some point during the approach and then took pictures automatically on a preset timer. It would be interesting to learn more about the strike photo camera system so that more information could be derived from the photos.

The 501st mission report does not provide details regarding the delay of their bomb fuses (the 499th was using 4 to 5 second delay bombs) or what the timer settings were on the strike photo camera but in the two photos of Col. Coltharp’s attack on the freighter south of the SOCONY tank farm, there are six frames between his passing over the target and an explosion next to the target. In the photos from Lt. Blount’s airplane, there are four frames between his passing over the target and the appearance of explosions. Two frames later, the explosions have progressed, and those on land in the foreground have obscured the freighter. All of Lt. Blount’s bombs landed in the water or on the freighter, while those of Lt. Towley were in the water near the riverbank and on land. This suggests that the attacks by both airplanes were nearly simultaneous and that six bomb blasts are shown in the photos.

On the interactive map, each flight is designated by a different color. The flight lead has the solid line and the wingman has the dashed line. Targets are designated with the red dots and each has an associated popup with identifying information.

The Earliest Missions of the 501st Bomb Squadron

Interactive map of the earliest missions of the 501st Bomb Squadron in New Guinea during 1943. White dots indicate locations in the mission area and orange dots indicate a supply drop. Popups provide additional information.

The historical documentation I have for the 501 st Bomb Squadron of the 345 th Bomb Group never seemed like it was complete, especially early during their time overseas and then again near the end of the war. In trying to reconcile the number of missions flown by one of their airplanes, I found that the fuselage scoreboard had more missions that I could account for.

In scanning through a recent acquisition of bomb squadron official histories, (microfilm reel A0625 from AFHRA, Maxwell AFB) I found a day by day summary of the activities of the 501 st Bomb Squadron during the May to December 1943 period. I knew that they were in New Guinea by mid-1943, but lacked a precise date, and this newfound history adds their first ten missions to their mission log, with their first mission being on June 21, 1943. After adjusting the lighting of the image in photoshop, a marginally readable document emerged.

A section of the Official History document containing the reference to the first mission. Courtesy of AFHRA, Maxwell AFB.

Nine of the missions were supply drops to Allied ground troops operating between Salamaua and Wau on the coast of New Guinea. The tenth was a convoy escort patrol, probably performed over the waters off Port Moresby. Finding the villages and locations where the supply drops were made taxed my map resources, but I was able to find all but one of these obscure places. The one I could not find on any map was apparently some sort of Post, but I have no idea if it was an official place or a just a trading hut along a footpath. That mission was incomplete due to weather.

A section of the Australian Army 4 Mile Strategical Series map (1942) showing the area of the first missions flown by the 501st Bomb Squadron, 345th Bomb Group. Courtesy of the Australian National University libraries.

Many of the supply drops were made at the Guadagasal Gap. The Gap was a natural pass between two mountain ranges that were not quite connected. In the pre-war mining days, it had allowed a land route for supplies moving from the coastal town of Salamaua to the interior gold fields around Wau.

My thanks to the good people at AFHRA for taking the time to prepare and send these documents to me. There is so much information available, tucked away in obscure places, that finding it is often a matter of stumbling across it while searching for something else.


The wing's lineage and honors can be traced not just through its own history, but through the history of three earlier organizations:

  • The 501st Bombardment Group (501st BG) (1944–1946)
  • The 701st Tactical Missile Wing (701st TMW) (1956–1958)
  • The 501st Tactical Missile Wing (501st TMW) (1982–1991)

The 501st BG was a World War II United States Army Air Forces combat organization serving primarily in the Pacific Ocean theater of World War II. The 501st BG was part of Twentieth Air Force and engaged in very heavy bombardment B-29 Superfortress operations against Japan. It's aircraft were identified by a "Y" inside a diamond painted on the tail.

The 701st TMW served in West Germany during the Cold War in the 1950s. The 501st TMW operated Ground Launched Cruise Missiles (GLCM) at RAF Greenham Common, England during the Cold War in the 1980s.


  • Established as 501st Bombardment Group, Very Heavy, on 25 May 1944
  • Established as 701st Tactical Missile Wing, 3 Aug 1956
  • Redesignated 501st Tactical Missile Wing on 11 Jan 1982.
  • Redesignated 501st Combat Support Wing on 22 Mar 2005


    , 1 Jun 1944
    , 14 Apr 1945
    , 19 Jun 1945 , 15 May-10 Jun 1946 , 15 Sep 1956 , 1 Jan-18 Jun 1958 , 1 Jul 1982-31 May 1991 12 May 2005-Present


  • 585 Tactical Missile: 15 Sep 1956-18 Jun 1958
  • 586 Tactical Missile: 15 Sep 1956-18 Jun 1958
  • 587 Tactical Missile: 15 Sep 1956-18 Jun 1958
  • 11 Tactical Missile: 1 Oct 1982-31 May 1991
  • 21 Bombardment: 1 Jun 1944-10 Jun 1946 (not operational, c. 21 May-10 Jun 1946)
  • 41 Bombardment: 1 Jun 1944-10 Jun 1946 (not operational, c. 21 May-10 Jun 1946)
  • 485 Bombardment: 1 Jun 1944-10 Jun 1946 (not operational, c. 21 May-10 Jun 1946)


    , Texas, 1 Jun 1944 – 22 Aug 1944 , Nebraska, 22 Aug 1944 – 10 Mar 1945 , Washington, 10 – 17 Mar 1945 , Territory of Hawaii, 25 – 30 Mar 1945 , Guam, Mariana Islands, 14 Apr 1945 – 10 Jun 1946
    , West Germany, 15 Sep 1956 – 18 Jun 1958 , England, 1 Jul 1982 – 31 May 1991 , England, 12 May 2005 – 30 April 2007 , England, 1 May 2007 – Present

Aircraft and missiles


501st Bombardment Group

The 501st Bombardment Group was constituted on 25 May 1944 at Dalhart AAF, Texas, and activated on 1 June 1944. Operational squadrons of the group were the 21st, 41st, and 485th Bombardment Squadrons

Although designated as a Very Heavy (VH) group, as no B-29s were available, the group trained on B-17s. Following a period of organization, on 2 August 1944 the group was moved to Harvard AAF, Nebraska to begin working with the crews of the 505th Bomb Group, already training for combat operations. In November the 501st took sole control of the field, and in March 1945, the first of the group's aircraft arrived, the B-29B model.

The B-29B was a limited production aircraft, built solely by Bell-Atlanta. It had all but the tail defensive armament removed, since experience had shown that by 1944 the only significant Japanese fighter attacks were coming from the rear. The tail gun was aimed and fired automatically by the new AN/APG-15B radar fire control system that detected the approaching enemy plane and made all the necessary calculations. The elimination of the turrets and the associated General Electric computerized gun system increased the top speed of the Superfortress to 364 mph at 25,000 feet and made the B-29B suitable for fast, unescorted hit-and-run bombing raids and photographic missions.

Deployed in April 1945 to new airfields built on Guam. Assigned to 315th Bombardment Wing, Twentieth Air Force. As the crews arrived they commenced ground school and shakedown missions over Rota, Pajoros and Truk. Entered combat on 19 Jun 1945 when its B-29’s bombed Japanese fortifications in the Truk Islands. Flew its first mission against Japan on 27 Jun 1945, and afterward operated principally against the enemy’s petroleum industry on Honshu. Received a Distinguished Unit Citation for attacks on the Maruzen oil refinery at Shimotsu, the Utsubo oil refinery at Yokkaichi, and the petroleum center at Kawasaki.

All the Wing's missions were night attacks. This gave the crews the benefits of daylight take-offs and landings. No formation flying was employed by the Wing. The attacks were all by individual aircraft using what was called the compressability factor. Planes were staggered on their altitudes going to the target. The last ships, in what amounted to each element of three ships, were given the altitude with the most favorable wind. Then all flew according to the cruise control practices, they would reach the target area at approximately the same time, thus giving the effect of formation flying. This type of attack was extremely successful as attested to by the damage assessment reports and the lessened physical strain

501st BG crews flew 15 combat missions before the war ended, then flew numerous missions airdropping food and supplies for Allied prisoners in POW camps across Japan, Korea, Manchuria and China. In September 1945, several flights were made to Chitose Airfield in Hokkaido near Sapporo with gasoline for the first nonstop flight from Japan to the United States by Generals Giles and LeMay.

The Sunset Project gradually drained the group airfleet, in which B-29s were flown back to the states for mothballing. By Christmas, the group fleet was reduced to 30 or less planes and consolidation of the Groups became an impending probability. Merging of the various groups of the 315th BW began in February 1946, with the 16th, 331st and 502nd Groups merging into the 501st. The other groups were inactivated on 15 April 1946.

On 5 May, many of the remaining veterans signed for "any conditions of travel" to get home, arriving three weeks later in Oakland, where troop trains scattered them for points of discharge close to their homes.

The 501st Bombardment Group was formally inactivated on 10 June 1946.

701st Tactical Missile Wing

The 701st Tactical Missile Wing was established on 3 August 1956 and activated on 15 September 1956 at Hahn Air Base, West Germany. The first tactical missile wing in the U.S. Air Force when activated, it replaced the 738d Guided Missile Group (Tactical) and controlled three tactical missile groups.

  • 585th Tactical Missile Group (Bitburg AB)
  • 586th Tactical Missile Group (Hahn AB)
  • 587th Tactical Missile Group (Sembach AB)

Each of these groups were equipped with the Martin MGM-1 Matador. This was the first operational surface-to-surface cruise missile built by the United States, similar in concept to the German V-1 flying bomb.

The wing was inactivated on 18 June 1958 and replaced by 38th Tactical Missile Wing.

501st Tactical Missile Wing

The Soviet deployment of the SS-20 missile in 1975 caused major concern in the NATO alliance. The longer range, greater accuracy, mobility and striking power of the new missile was perceived to alter the security of Western Europe. In 1980 it was announced that the United States would deploy the General Dynamics BGM-109G Ground Launced Cruise Missile (GLCM) to Europe to counter this threat.

The wing was redesignated as the 501st Tactical Missile Wing on 11 January 1982, it was activated on 1 July 1982, at RAF Greenham Common, Britain, to operate GLCMs. The honors and history of the inactivated 701st TMW were consolidated into the reactivated 501st. The first squadron of the 501st Tactical Missile Wing received its weapons in November 1983 they were flown onto the base by C-5 Galaxys.

A series of meetings held during August and September 1986 culminated in a summit between United States President Ronald Reagan and the General Secretary of the CPSU Mikhail Gorbachev in Reykjavík, Iceland, on 11 October 1986. To the immense surprise of both men's advisers, the two agreed in principle to removing INF systems from Europe and to equal global limits of 100 INF missile warheads.

The United States and the Soviet Union signed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty in 1987, which led to the removal of all nuclear missiles from the base.

The 501 TMW was inactivated on 31 May 1991 after ratification of the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty resulted in decommissioning of the BGM-109G.

The USAFs first GLCM wing when it stood up, it was the also the last GLCM wing to be inactivated.

501st Combat Support Wing

The unit was redesignated the 501st Combat Support Wing on 22 March 2005 and activated on 12 May 2005 at RAF Mildenhall, England

The wing's mission is to manage and support geographically separated USAF units, installations and activities in the United Kingdom not directly supporting operations at RAF Mildenhall or RAF Lakenheath.

Central to the success of Fifth Air Force during the war in the Southwest Pacific was commanding general George C. Kenney’s mastery of long-range bombing operations. Well before April 1945, the 345 th Bomb Group pushed their medium bombers to the limits of their range on minimum-altitude bombing operations, and great pride was taken by all squadrons at the destruction of distant Japanese bases. In April 1945, a number of exposed cargo ships were discovered to be at Saigon, in French Indochina. Medium bomber units from Thirteenth Air Force attempted strikes on the base but turned back before they could reach it, and Kenney, unhappy with the result, assigned the mission to a crack medium bomber group, the 345th, for April 28th.

The Air Apaches’ group commander at the time was Col. Chester Coltharp, who had a reputation for achieving the impossible. Coltharp was to lead the 501st and 499th Bomb Squadrons to bomb and strafe Japanese shipping targets just east of Saigon, about 30 miles up the Dong Nai River. Auxiliary fuel tanks were loaded aboard 15 B-25s at San Marcelino before they were taken south to a staging base at Puerto Princesa, 800 miles east of the Dong Nai. After an early morning departure, two 499 th (Bats Outta Hell) B-25s left the formation with mechanical problems, leaving 13 aircraft to finish the strike. Colonel Coltharp, in the 501st B-25 “MY DUCHESS,” led them to landfall at Phan Thiet, about 100 miles WNW of Saigon. The plan was to join up with a P-38 fighter escort, then approach the target from the north and egress downriver, skirting the heavy defenses that protected Saigon. But when Coltharp and the other B-25 pilots made landfall, the P-38s were nowhere to be found. The bombers would have to go in alone.

The primary objective of this anti-shipping strike was a 5800-ton freighter known to be anchored alongside a riverbank studded with flak guns. This ship was attacked by one of the youngest pilots in the 345 th Group, 20 year-old 1/Lt. Ralph E. “Peppy” Blount, Jr. who was leading the 501st’s third flight. Blount’s aircraft, B-25J-11 #43-36199, is seen in the foreground having released its 500-pound bombs, one hitting the vessel amidships, another hitting the well deck and detonating, and the third landing long, exploding against the riverbank. Following Blount was his wingman, 2/Lt. Vernon M. Townley, Jr. His aircraft was hit by flak and set afire while approaching the target, but he still managed to line up on the ship and release his ordinance, only to be hit by another flak burst, causing his B-25 to snap-roll over and dive into the ground, killing all aboard. Blount’s #199, also hit by flak, continued to attack target vessels downriver, next shooting up a large sailing vessel, which left a seven-foot long piece of its mast imbedded in the horizontal stabilizer. With substantial structural damage to his aircraft, Blount had to struggle for the next five hours to reach Palawan, 750 miles distant, which he did with only a few gallons of fuel left in the tanks. The 501st Bomb Squadron successfully attacked and destroyed the targets assigned to it but at a high price: three B-25s and their crews were lost on this mission. A Distinguished Unit Citation was awarded to the 501st for their bravery.

History [ edit | edit source ]

Clone Wars [ edit | edit source ]

Foundation and Geonosis [ edit | edit source ]

The 501st Legion served in the Battle of Geonosis, the first battle of the Clone Wars.

At the beginning of the pan-galactic Clone Wars ⎰] in 22 BBY, ⎸] the Galactic Republic mobilized an army of clone troopers to fight the armies of the Confederacy of Independent Systems, ending a millennium of peace. ⎰] These soldiers, who were cloned from the genetic source material of the human template Jango Fett, formed the backbone of the Grand Army of the Republic, ⏂] which was divided into various corps, battalions, regiments, platoons, and other units. ⎭]

One such unit within the Grand Army of the Republic was the ⎱] 501st Clone Battalion, ⎺] which began as an elite group of clone troopers and participated in the first action that sparked the Clone Wars, the First Battle of Geonosis. Although they were not yet assigned to the Jedi Anakin Skywalker, as he was in pursuit of Separatist Head of State Count Dooku, the 501st was brought from its homeworld of Kamino to Geonosis by Grand Master Yoda, and battled the Separatist forces. Despite being well trained in basic combat tactics, members of the 501st had no special training to combat Separatist forces, though fortunately for the Republic troops, the Separatists were fighting a rear-guard action in defense of their transports which were trying to escape into space. ⎱]

Command of the 501st was given to Jedi General Anakin Skywalker whose first officer was Clone Captain CT-7567 "Rex."

Despite the circumstances, 501st Clone Battalion troopers fought against the latest droid forces, included B2-series super battle droids that were so fresh from the production line that they were not painted. ⎱] Led by Clone Captain CT-7567 "Rex," he and his clone troopers fought well at Geonosis, which earned them veteran status within the Grand Army. ⏃] Veterans of the battle earned critical frontline experience, which were passed down to rookie troopers meant to replace the casualties incurred by the unit. Additionally in the aftermath, the 501st was reorganized ⎱] into the 501st Legion, founded by Supreme Chancellor Sheev Palpatine, ΐ] and placed under the command of Anakin Skywalker. ⎱]

With Skywalker's promotion to Jedi Knight and receiving the military rank of Jedi General, Skywalker led the legion Ζ] with Captain Rex serving as his first-in-command. Δ] The 501st Legion was deployed to numerous battlefronts as war swept across the galaxy, and more Jedi began serving the Republic Military. Ζ] During the war, Skywalker and the 501st attacked a number of droid factories. ⏄]

Early missions and Hisseen [ edit | edit source ]

One of the unit's earlier missions was the Battle of Arantara, during which 501st Clone Captain Rex was incapacitated. Once Rex had woken up, General Skywalker spoke to him and taught him that a true leader always led from the front. ⎲] Another early mission was a mission to Benglor in order to investigate Separatist activity on the planet. After discovering traces of Separatist battle droids, members of the 501st were attacked by an indigenous creature, resulting in the death of 501st clone trooper "Bellow." ⎳]

Captain Rex's 501st often served alongside Clone Commander CC-2224 "Cody" and the 212th Attack Battalion.

Subsequently, the 501st Legion participated in a siege of Hisseen alongside the 7th Sky Corps under the command of Jedi General Obi-Wan Kenobi and Clone Marshal Commander CC-2224 "Cody," and the 104th Battalion led by Jedi General Plo Koon and Clone Commander CC-3636 "Wolffe." After securing a foothold on the planet Hisseen, clone troopers from the three units protected the Hisseenians against waves of battle droids, until the three Jedi arrived and defeated the surviving droid forces. The Jedi were soon forced to leave their troops to defend the ground while they moved to engage Separatist leader Count Dooku and his apprentice Asajj Ventress. At that time, more droid forces bore down on the clone troopers, ⎳] and members of the 104th and 7th were dispatched to rescue members of the Hisseenian parliament while the 501st held the frontline. ⏅]

Shortly after rescuing the parliamentary members, the Captain Rex contacted Commander Cody requesting reinforcements, ⏆] as the droid attack intensified. As the 501st troopers sustained higher casualties and were being overrun, Commanders Cody and Wolffe returned with their units to support the troopers. ⏇] After several explosions, the clone units were disoriented and captured by the droid forces, who had overrun the Republic position, but were rescued when the Jedi Generals returned. With Separatist forces in retreat from Hisseen, Republic forces, including the 501st Legion, were recalled to the Republic capital world of Coruscant. ⏈]

Battle of Christophsis [ edit | edit source ]

The 501st reinforced the 212th during the Republic campaign on Christophsis.

Skywalker and Rex led the 501st's Torrent Company in the campaign to retake the planet of Christophsis. During the battle, the 501st was joined by Skywalker's new apprentice, Ahsoka Tano, who claimed the authority of Jedi Commander through her status as a Padawan in the Order. Upon defeating the Separatists with the help of the 212th Attack Battalion, the 501st was redirected to the planet Teth with orders to rescue Rotta, son of the Hutt crime lord Jabba Desilijic Tiure. They sustained heavy losses against the droid army but ultimately prevailed in the Battle of Teth with the support of General Obi-Wan Kenobi and the 212th. Ζ]

The 501st Legion participated in the Battle of Mimban alongside the 224th Division's Mud Jumpers. The 501st and 224th fought against a large force of Separatist droid forces, and following the death of Jedi General Laan Tik and receiving heavy fire, Captain Rex ordered the Republic forces to retreat to their military outpost. There, Captain Rex and his subordinates reviewed and discussed the situation, with Captain Rex deciding to pull his forces out while he destroyed the Separatist deflector shield generator alone. Junior Representative Jar Jar Binks, who accompanied Republic troops, used General Tik's lightsaber to aid Captain Rex after Rex was injured and defeated. The two then fought ahead to the shield generator. ⎲]

Rookies CT-1409 "Echo" and CT-5555 "Fives" transferred to the 501st.

Skywalker's legion continued to serve the Republic over the course of the war, completing a variety of assignments and gaining new troopers—such as CT-1409 "Echo" and CT-5555 "Fives"—deemed worthy of serving in the ranks of the elite 501st. ⏉]

As Skywalker often worked alongside his mentor Kenobi, the 501st also served with the 212th on several missions, including the voyage of Duchess Satine Kryze from Mandalore to Coruscant. ⏊] The Death Watch, a terrorist organization opposed to Kryze's government, ⏋] failed to assassinate the duchess before she could reach the galactic capital due to the combined efforts of the 501st and 212th. ⏊] Later, a detachment of the 501st was sent to Naboo along with a squad of clone ordnance specialists where they ultimately prevented Doctor Nuvo Vindi's plan to attack the population through biological warfare. ⎥] ⏌]

Following the theft of a holocron from the Jedi Temple on Coruscant, the 501st's Carnivore Battalion was sent on a mission to Devaron in order to retrieve the artifact from Cad Bane. ⎣] In the ensuing battle between the Republic and Separatist forces, the battalion manned the All Terrain Tactical Enforcer, designated 773, alongside two other brigades. The bounty hunter was presumed to have died in the battle, but in fact, survived by disguising himself with the clone armor of the 501st trooper "Denal." ⎽]

Battle of Kamino [ edit | edit source ]

The 501st defended the clone hatcheries in the Battle of Kamino.

When the Separatists plotted to deal the Republic a crippling blow by destroying the cloning facilities of Kamino, the 501st and 212th rushed to the defense of their homeworld. The Battle of Kamino was a hard-fought victory for the Republic, due in part to the actions of the 501st. In particular, the troopers Echo and Fives were recognized for their service by Captain Rex, as well as Commander Cody of the 212th, and were both promoted to the elite status of ARC trooper in the aftermath of the battle. ⎵] Afterward, Rex and the new ARC troopers of the 501st were sent with Skywalker and Kenobi to infiltrate the Citadel. ⏍] Though the Republic succeeded in reacquiring the information pertaining to the Nexus Route from General Even Piell and his captain, Wilhuff Tarkin, ⏎] the group lost Echo, who survived but was presumed dead, ⏏] in addition to several other casualties. ⏎]

Battles of Felucia and Horain [ edit | edit source ]

The 501st prevailed on Felucia, supporting the 104th Battalion against Separatist battle droids.

Following the Battle of Lola Sayu, the 501st Legion was dispatched to Felucia once again alongside the 104th Battalion and several clone tank divisions. ⏐] After this time, the implementation of Phase II clone trooper armor to replace the standard Phase I took place, with the 501st Legion adopting the armor throughout its ranks. The 501st's Torrent Company was then eventually dispatched to Horain to combat the Separatist garrison stationed there and participated in the Battle of Horain. During the battle, Captain Rex and members of Torrent Company encountered a group of Horian children in a crater, and after helping them escape, Rex became separated from the rest of his men, and was pinned down by a large contingent of Separatist forces. After attempting to contact General Skywalker, Captain Rex was saved by General Kenobi. In the following skirmish, Separatist droid B1-0516 received damage to its central processing unit and began aiding Rex and Kenobi. After the droid was captured, Rex and Kenobi rescued the droid from the Separatist headquarters, and manage to escape to the Republic Evacuation Point, where Skywalker and the rest of Torrent Company where. ⏑]

Battle of Umbara [ edit | edit source ]

The 501st mutinied against Jedi General Pong Krell during the Battle of Umbara.

The 501st was along with the battalions that the Republic deployed to reconquer Umbara from the Separatist Alliance. Δ] During the campaign, Skywalker was recalled to Coruscant by the Jedi High Council at the request of Chancellor Palpatine, leaving the 501st under the command of Jedi General Pong Krell. Δ] Although he was a recognized war hero with a distinguished record of service, ⏒] Krell became a Separatist spy after turning to the dark side of the Force. He deliberately sabotaged his own strategies to undermine the clones, whom he regarded with contempt and disgust. Ε]

Krell's betrayal was revealed after he tricked the 501st and the 212th into fighting each other, causing clones on both sides to kill each other by mistake. Under the leadership of Captain Rex, the battalions mutinied against Krell, but the fallen Jedi slaughtered many clones. However, he was ultimately captured while attempting to escape. In response to his actions, Krell was summarily executed by his most loyal soldier, CT-6922 "Dogma," who was subsequently taken into Republic custody for killing an officer, but Rex sent Dogma a reassuring nod when he was taken away. Afterward, Fives informed the Clone Captain that Umbara had finally been conquered, but Rex no longer knew what the point of the war was and wondered what would happen to them when it ended. Ε]

Conspiracy [ edit | edit source ]

Fives was killed while trying to expose a Sith conspiracy against the Jedi Order and the Galactic Republic.

During the Battle of Ringo Vinda, the 501st was forced to retreat from the Separatists due to an unexpected development: CT-5385 "Tup" killed Jedi General Tiplar. Suffering from a malfunction in his inhibitor chip, the trooper became hostile towards the Jedi, which in turn led to a premature execution of Order 66 ⏓] —a clone protocol designed to turn the clone army against their Jedi officers in the event of a Jedi rebellion. This turn of events led to an investigation on Kamino but later moved to Coruscant at Chancellor Palpatine's request. ⏔]

By then, ARC trooper Fives had partially uncovered the nature of the inhibitor chips and, believing they were a threat to the security of the Grand Army, requested their immediate removal from the brains of every clone trooper. However, the Chancellor revealed his knowledge of the chips and their true purpose to Fives, causing the clone to become a fugitive after attempting to assassinate Palpatine. The rogue clone made an effort to expose Palpatine's conspiracy to Rex and Skywalker, but Fives was killed by Commander CC-1010 "Fox" of the Coruscant Guard before he could prove his claims. He died in Rex's arms, telling his superior officer that he had only wanted to do his duty and that his nightmares were finally over. ⏕]

Final battles [ edit | edit source ]

The 501st Legion participated in the Outer Rim Sieges, including the Battle of Anaxes. ⏖] It also participated in the Battle of Yerbana, and split into two forces in order to participate in the Battle of Coruscant and the Siege of Mandalore. ⎛] Elements of the 501st Legion participated alongside the 41st Elite Corps and the Wookiee Army's Kachirho Wookiee Militia in the Battle of Kashyyyk in order to defend Kachirho City and prevent further landings by Separatist forces in their attempt to capture the vital trade and communications hub. ⎶]

Order 66 [ edit | edit source ]

A company of troopers' helmets were customized to resemble Ahsoka Tano's face.

In 19 BBY, ⎸] the 501st and 212th served in the Outer Rim Sieges, including the Battle of Yerbana. After this battle, Ahsoka Tano, ⎛] who had left the Jedi Order after being framed in a Bombing of the Jedi Temple hangar, ⏗] reunited with Skywalker and the legion, as she and Lady Bo-Katan Kryze of the Mandalore resistance had located the rogue Sith Lord Maul in the Mandalorian capital of Sundari. While Skywalker was ultimately willing to fulfill their wish for a joint Republic/resistance operation, he and General Kenobi learned that Separatist General Grievous had attacked Coruscant. Skywalker created a new division of the 501st, promoting Rex to be its commander, to be sent to Mandalore with Tano and the Mandalorians, while the rest of the legion would go with him and Kenobi to Coruscant. ⎛] The Battle of Coruscant proved to be a Republic victory, with Skywalker even killing Separatist Head of State Count]] Dooku, ⎷] and the Siege of Mandalore eventually resulted in the 501st and resistance's victory and Maul's capture. ⏘]

Unfortunately for the Republic, the conspiracy that Fives discovered ⏕] came to fruition with the mass execution of Order 66, forcing the Grand Army to betray their Jedi leaders across the galaxy. Palpatine, who had orchestrated the Clone Wars as Darth Sidious, Dark Lord of the Sith, utilized the clone army as the instrument of both the fall of the Jedi Order and the Sith's rise to absolute power. Aiding the Dark Lord in the initial phase of the Great Jedi Purge was Anakin Skywalker, now anointed in the dark side as the Sith Lord Darth Vader. ⎷] On the Venator-class Star Destroyer Tribunal, ⎖] Rex, his division of the 501st, and a force of Coruscant Guard clone shock troopers, received the order while traveling back to Coruscant with Maul in custody. While Tano was no longer part of the Jedi Order, she was targeted by the clones, but Rex managed to resist long enough to tell her to locate ARC trooper Fives. Rex then succumbed to his control chip and led the hunt for his friend. The Commander also ordered his troops to kill Maul, but Tano freed the rogue Sith to serve as a distraction. ⏙]

The newly anointed Sith Lord Darth Vader and the 501st Legion marched on the Jedi Grand Temple.

On Coruscant, Sidious' new apprentice was tasked with leading the 501st Legion in a direct siege of the Jedi Temple, resulting in the deaths of its inhabitants while thousands of Jedi were killed by their troops across the galaxy. The 501st served under CC-1119 "Appo," ⎷] who was originally a Clone Sergeant but was promoted on the issuing of Order 66, in addition to Vader. The commander was struck down by ⎱] Padawan Zett Jukassa before the latter was killed by a squad of 501st troopers, an incident witnessed by Senator Bail Organa of Alderaan. ⎷] Following their siege of the Jedi Temple, the 501st patrolled the grounds around the site. ⏚]

The 501st was directed by Darth Sidious to execute the former Jedi Ahsoka Tano as a target of Order 66.

Elsewhere while aboard the Tribunal, Tano looked into Fives and discovered the control chip conspiracy, so she and a team of astromech droids–R7-A7, RG-G1, and CH-33P–knocked out Rex, allowing them to bring him to a medical bay and remove his chip. With the Clone Commander freed from Order 66, Tano, the droids, and him made their way to the hangar to look for an escape ship, but the Star Destroyer was pulled out of hyperspace when Maul destroyed the hyperdrive, leading to the warship being caught in a moon's gravitational pull. When Rex, Tano, and the droids made it to bay 12, the clone troopers, now under the command of ARC Clone Lieutenant CT-5597 "Jesse," had predicted their action. Pretending to have captured Tano, Rex tried to reason with Jesse, stating that she was no longer part of the Jedi Order and thus not a target. When the lieutenant recounted Rex's earlier command, that they were under special order to kill Tano and all clones who refused to obey, Rex tried to get through to his friend one last time, but Jesse refused, instead stating Rex would be demoted and subject to execution with Tano. ⎞]

The clones who tried to terminate Tano were killed in the destruction of their Star Destroyer.

However, Rex had managed to stall Jesse and the troopers, as the astromech droids were able to secretly release the hangar elevators. However, while this managed to separate most of the clones, Maul arrived in the hangar and stole the available Nu-class transport, forcing Rex and Tano to look below decks, which was where the majority of the clones had been dropped. While their three astromech droid companions had been killed by the time they found a BTL-B Y-wing fighter-bomber, Tano and Rex escaped the doomed Star Destroyer aboard the bomber. Jesse, his 501st division, and any other clone troopers aboard the Venator were killed when it crashed into the moon, but Rex and Tano honored the Clone Lieutenant and other clones by burying them outside the ship's remains. ⎞]

On the eve of Chancellor Palpatine's proclamation to the Galactic Senate, the 501st was confronted by two Jedi Masters, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Grand Master Yoda, upon their brief return to Coruscant. Despite their efforts, the clones failed to eliminate the Jedi, both of whom killed many troopers during their infiltration of the fallen Jedi Temple. ⎷]

Imperial Era [ edit | edit source ]

Soldiers of the Empire [ edit | edit source ]

Acquiring the moniker "Vader's Fist," The 501st Legion remained active during the reign of the Galactic Empire.

With the fall of the Jedi Order, Darth Sidious consolidated his power by declaring himself Emperor of the Galactic Empire. ⎷] The clone troopers who survived the war were retained by the new regime, effectively becoming the first generation of Imperial stormtroopers at the start of the Emperor's reign. ⎿] During the occupation of Mon Cala in the first year of the Empire's reign, fugitive Jedi Padawan Ferren Barr showed a Coruscant Security Force hologram recording of Vader's 501st Legion marching on the Jedi Temple on Coruscant at the start of the Jedi Purge to his disciples after learning that Vader and his Inquisitors were present on Mon Cala. Barr stated to his disciples that after the Purge, he studied how the Jedi were massacred so quickly, and continued to speak on Vader before evacuating his cave refuge. ⏛]

Although the 501st continued to exist as a division of the Stormtrooper Corps, Ώ] it was the First Legion that became the personal stormtroopers of Darth Vader. Troopers of the First Legion were recruited from the ranks of the 501st, however. ⏄]

The 501st fought against the Alliance to Restore the Republic during the Galactic Civil War. By then it was reputedly led by the Emperor's apprentice, with Everi Chalis claiming that the 501st was Vader's personal legion. Ώ] Even the "Vader's Fist" moniker was applied to the 501st. Γ]

Raid on the Tantive IV [ edit | edit source ]

The 501st stormed the Tantive IV and captured Princess Leia of Alderaan.

In 0 BBY, ⎸] shortly before the Battle of Yavin, the Imperial I-class Star Destroyer Devastator followed the Alderaanian diplomatic cruiser Tantive IV to the desert planet Tatooine. ⏜] A contingent of the 501st Legion Γ] boarded the cruiser, engaging Rebel troopers while the princess downloaded the Death Star plans into the astromech droid R2-D2. Despite sustaining several casualties in the initial assault, the 501st defeated the Rebels and swarmed through the corridors, searching for Organa. ⏜]

With her secret mission compromised, Organa dispatched the R2 unit to Tatooine along with the protocol droid C-3PO via an escape pod. She remained on board her starship, hiding from the 501st until a squad of stormtroopers found her. Organa opened fire on the stormtroopers, ⏜] fatally shooting TK-9091 in the process, but was stunned by TK-4601 as she attempted to flee. Γ] The 501st escorted Organa to Darth Vader, but the princess refused to cooperate and objected to the attack on her ship, citing her status as a member of the Imperial Senate. ⏜]

Unleashing Task Force 99 [ edit | edit source ]

The Ghost Moon [ edit | edit source ]

The SCAR troopers of Task Force 99 comprised the special forces wing of the 501st.

Following an assault on Sunspot Prison, the 501st's Task Force 99 were dispatched to investigate the prison and search for Kolar Ludd, an imprisoned member of Imperial Special Forces. After a brief search, Task Force 99 was given new orders ⏝] to capture Rebel Alliance Admiral Verette, who was on his way to board the hijacked Imperial-class Star Destroyer Harbinger which was to be deployed against Imperial forces at the siege on Tureen VII. ⏞] Task Force 99 intercepted the admiral's Taylander shuttle, which crashed onto the Ghost Moon. There in the abandoned city, Rebel forces managed to escape the shuttle and hide in a skyscraper, though they were eventually found by Task Force 99. After engaging Rebel forces and bringing the building down, Task Force 99 continued to engage the Rebels among the wreckage, and following a brief speeder chase, were forced into the sewers to avoid a Rebel-controlled modified Armored Assault Tank Mk I. Using explosives, Task Force 99 destroyed the road, causing the tank to fall into the sewer, where Admiral Verette was then captured. ⎮]

Following the skirmish on the Ghost Moon, General Crix Madine forwarded an official document to General Pitt Onoran about the 501st's Task Force 99. In the communique, General Madine stated that he believed that the extermination of Rebel troopers were conducted by Imperial SCAR troopers, and attached a document detailing elite stormtrooper squads, and further information regarding the SCAR program and how Task Force 99 was attached to an elite legion who answered to the highest levels of Imperial High Command. The documents additionally recorded an analysis of the Primtara incident perpetrated by Task Force 99, as well as documents of its members. These documents were included in the rebel depository The Rebel Files. ⎩]

The Harbinger [ edit | edit source ]

Armed with a lightsaber, Sergeant Kreel fought against the Jedi apprentice Luke Skywalker.

Several days after the Ghost Moon skirmish, Task Force 99 used the Taylander shuttle, with Verette's corpse tied to the front if its hull, as a distraction to gain entry into the ISD Harbinger. ⏟] After entering the Harbinger, Task Force 99 sabotaged several systems, and jettisoned the bodies of a rebel maintenance crew after defeating them. Task Force 99 then split into three groups, with a three members neutralizing the bridge, another group of three, including Sergeant Kreel, securing the hallways to maintenance, and a lone member securing the engine room, where the Rebel droids R2-D2 and C-3PO were located. However, rebel forces fought back Task Force 99 at all locations, with Sergeant Kreel engaging Luke Skywalker in a lightsaber duel, while Princess Leia Organa and Captain Han Solo maintained control of the helm and Chewbacca aided the rebel droids. ⏠]

Within the hour, the Harbinger arrived on Tureen VII and attacked the Imperial blockade, which was caught by surprise. During the duel with Skywalker, Kreel remarked that Task Force 99 would have destroyed the Harbinger if ordered to do so, but Darth Vader had other plans for the special forces group. With the battle intensifying, Vader arrived in his TIE Advanced x1. ⏠] At that time, Task Force 99's members began losing control of the situation aboard the Star Destroyer, and were each summarily defeated. Kreel was then incapacitated by Skywalker while dueling and additionally reporting to Vader. With the Rebels destroying Imperial forces in orbit and on the surface, Task Force 99 proceeded to destroy the Harbinger as the Rebels escaped. Despite the failure of their mission, Task Force 99 managed to capture C-3PO, revealing it to Darth Vader who chastised them for their defeat. ⏡]

Battles of Hoth and Endor [ edit | edit source ]

Vader led the 501st against the Rebel Alliance in the Battle of Hoth.

The 501st Legion fought against the Alliance at the Battle of Hoth Ώ] in 3 ABY, ⎸] three years after the destruction of the first Death Star at Yavin. ⏜] When Vader's starfleet, the Imperial force known as Death Squadron, first arrived, they came out of hyperspace too close to Hoth to surprise the rebels. Afterwards, Vader sent General Maximilian Veers to lead ⏢] the 501st ⎗] All Terrain Armored Transport group Blizzard Force for a ground assault. Veers led the AT-ATs to destroy the rebel power generator, and the walkers decimated their lines of infantry. As he approached the generator, Veers ordered his troops to debark for ground assault. The generator was soon destroyed, and Vader and ⏢] the 501st ⎗] cold weather assault stormtroopers made their way into Echo Base. The remaining rebel personnel rushed to evacuate and abandoned Echo Base, officially making the battle an Imperial tactical victory. ⏢]

Hours before the Battle of Endor, Darth Vader informed the Emperor that his son Luke Skywalker had descended to the surface of Endor. Forbidding him from openly seeking out Skywalker, the Emperor instead sent Vader to the Imperial base in charge of guarding the Death Star's shield generator, where his master predicted that his son would seek him out. Vader grew increasingly impatient as he waited at the base, and openly considered the idea of ordering the 501st Legion to lay waste to the forest in order to find his son. ⏣] The 501st Legion then subsequently participated in the Battle of Endor, although the legion died there along with Emperor Palpatine, Darth Vader, and the second Death Star. ΐ]

About the Author: Vic Maslen

Vic married his wife Maureen in 1949 and became interested in a local WWII airbase near their home in Corby.   The airbase at Deenethorpe was the home of the 401st Bomb Group.   His subsequent commitment to the 401st Bomb Group's history was most remarkable.

Vic and Maureen visited the USA in 1977 and met General Hal Bowman, (the 401st's first air base commander).   During their visit they stayed at the Bowman's home.   Vic and Hal discussed the group's history.   These discussions were the spark that led Hal to obtain microfilms of the 401st Bomb Group's history and provide them to Vic.

Vic was in touch with many veterans and gained more information.   He decided to translate all of this information into readable squadron histories, including the 'Control Tower Log' from day one until the end of the war.   This was a mammoth undertaking and took years to complete. Vic and Maureen attended several reunions in the USA, and Vic was one of the prime instigators who arranged for the 401st Bomb Group memorials which were dedicated in 1989.

Sadly, Vic was diagnosed with a brain tumor and died in 1991.   A service was held in Weldon church, and it was filled to capacity.   Many tributes were received and beautiful wreaths decorated the 401st Bomb Group memorial at Deenethorpe in Vic's honor.


World War II and Occupation of Germany

The earliest predecessor of the 501st Combat Support Group was the 501st Base Headquarters and Air Base Squadron, which was organized in 1943 as the headquarters for Great Bend Army Air Field, Kansas, a World War II very heavy bombardment training base. Great Bend was one of the original bases where Boeing B-29 Superfortress units received their training [2] before deploying to the China Burma India Theater. However, the Army Air Forces (AAF) found that standard military units, based on relatively inflexible tables of organization were proving themselves less well adapted to the training mission. Accordingly, a more functional system was adopted in which each base was organized into a separate numbered unit. [3] This resulted in the 501st, along with other units at Great Bend, being disbanded and its personnel, equipment and functions transferred to the 243d AAF Base Unit (Operational Training Unit, Very Heavy). [4]

The 501st Air Service Group was established toward the end of World War II to provide support for flying units in Germany and Austria from 1945 to 1948 as part of a reorganization of AAF support groups in which the AAF replaced service groups that included personnel from other branches of the Army and supported two combat groups with air service groups including only Air Corps units. It was designed to support a single combat group. [5] Its 919th Air Engineering Squadron provided maintenance that was beyond the capability of the combat group, its 743rd Air Materiel Squadron handled all supply matters, and its Headquarters & Base Services Squadron provided other support. [5] The group moved to Wiesbaden Air Base, Germany, where it replaced the 97th Airdrome Squadron as the primary support unit for the airfield. [6] It briefly supported the Berlin Airlift before inactivation in 1948. [7] It was replaced by elements of the 7150th AF Composite Wing in the Air Force wing base reorganization in 1948. [8] which was adopted to unify control at air bases [9] The group was disbanded later in 1948. [10]

Air Defense of the United States

During the Cold War, the group was reconstituted, redesignated as the 501st Air Defense Group, and activated by Air Defense Command (ADC) at O&aposHare International Airport on 16 February 1953 [11] with responsibility for air defense in the Great Lakes area. It was assigned the 62d Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, which was already stationed at O&aposHare, flying North American F-86 Sabres [12] as its operational component. [13] The 62d had been assigned directly to the 4706th Defense Wing prior to the activation og the 501st Group . [13] The group replaced the 83rd Air Base Squadron as USAF active duty host organization at O&aposHare. It was assigned three squadrons to perform its support responsibilities. [14]

The group added a second operational unit, the 42d Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, which was activated at O&aposHare eight days after the group headquarters, [15] and also Flew F-86s. [16] In March 1953, the 62d Squadron converted to newer radar equipped and Mighty Mouse rocket armed F-86Ds. [16] The group was inactivated [11] and replaced by the 56th Fighter Group in 1955 [17] [18] as part of ADC&aposs Project Arrow, which was designed to bring back on the active list the fighter units which had compiled memorable records in the two world wars. [19]

Ground Launched Cruise Missile Support

In the early 1980s USAF began deploying Ground Launched Cruise Missiles in the European theater. The 501st Tactical Missile Wing was organized at RAF Greenham Common as the first USAF wing equipped with the BGM-109 Tomahawk missile. [20] The 501st group was redesignated the 501st Combat Support Group and activated as the headquarters for organizations supporting the wing and hosted all USAF organizations at Greenham Common. As the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty was implemented, the USAF withdrew its missiles from Europe and the wing and group were inactivated. [20]

Notable members [ edit | edit source ]

A number of troopers fought in the 501st over the years. Originally an ordinary unit, the 501st, under the direction of Chancellor Palpatine, developed into an elite squad. Following the rise of the Empire, the unit became Darth Vader's personal legion, receiving the nickname "Vader's Fist". The members of the legion gained a reputation for being ruthless and efficient. Ώ] Following the Battle of Endor, non-Humans were eventually integrated into the legion, and a number of reforms took place. ⎞]

CT-7567 [ edit | edit source ]

Main article: CT-7567

CT-7567, nicknamed Rex, was the gruff, no-nonsense leader of the 501st Legion ⏉] and Torrent Company during the early stages of the Clone Wars. ⎘] His abilities of leadership and confidence were spotted early by the Kaminoan cloners, and he went through additional rigorous training ⏊] in a variety of tactics and fighting styles ⏉] to enhance his abilities, ⏊] emerging to eventually hold the reputation as one of the toughest clones in the galaxy. ⏉] Having displayed himself in battle, he wore honorific Mandalorian Jaig eyes on his helmet with his customized armor. ⏊] Serving directly under Anakin Skywalker, ⎠] he adopted the Jedi's tendencies for unorthodox combat strategies and tactics. ⏉] He led the 501st in many battles, including ones at Christophsis, Teth, ⎘] Bothawui, ⎣] JanFathal, ⎧] Quell, ⎮] and Kothlis. ⎨] Rex cared greatly for his men, and was always on the look for clones that showed grit under fire for consideration as potential 501st recruits. ⏊]

Coric [ edit | edit source ]

Main article: Coric

Coric was a clone trooper trained in both combat and the medical field. Serving in the 501st Legion's Torrent Company, he used his talents to treat injured troops during the Battle of Christophsis, manning the Republic's temporary medical station in Crystal City. The sergeant led a squad at the following Battle of Teth, which saw him emerge as one of the few Torrent Company survivors alongside Captain Rex and five other clones. ⎘] Coric once again served with Rex on JanFathal, flying the shuttle that the Republic task force used to extract Intelligence Agent Hallena Devis from the world and escape to Captain Gilad Pellaeon's Leveler. During the flight back, the sergeant employed his medical skills to help the injured Ince, but the trooper died shortly after returning to Leveler. ⎧] Coric expressed a dry humor, even in the direst situations, much like Rex himself. ⎘]

CC-1119 [ edit | edit source ]

Main article: CC-1119

CC-1119, or Appo, was in command of the 501st by 19 BBY. ⎸] He had trained under the Alpha-class Advanced Recon Commando Alpha-17. ⏋] Before rising to the rank of Commander of the 501st Legion, Appo served as a Sergeant in the ranks of the 501st during the Republic campaign on Umbara. ⎴] When Order 66 was put into effect in 19 BBY, Appo participated with the rest of the 501st in Operation: Knightfall—the utter destruction of the Jedi Temple and the massacre of its occupants. During this mission, he led the legion under the command of the newly-anointed Sith Lord Darth Vader. While the operation was still being carried out, Appo was injured by the Padawan Zett Jukassa, who attacked a group of clones, including Appo, as they barred Senator Bail Prestor Organa from entering. However, Jukassa was killed by Fox, and Appo survived to continue leading the 501st under the orders of Vader. ⎸] Appo and his men later helped Vader defeat several Jedi at the Kessel conclave, ⎻] and would follow Vader to Murkhana. Following a confrontation with several rebellious clones there, Appo and his men accompanied Vader to Alderaan in hopes of arresting Senator Fang Zar for treason. On Alderaan, Vader was able to fatally injure Zar as he tried to flee, and the Dark Lord then led his men to Kashyyyk. Appo was killed by Roan Shryne on Kashyyyk, although Vader then finished off the Jedi while the forests of Kashyyyk burned from Imperial bombardment. Β]

CT-0000/1010 [ edit | edit source ]

Main article: CT-0000/1010

CT-0000/1010, also known as Fox, was a sergeant by the time of Order 66. Stationed on Coruscant, he helped establish patrols in the Coruscant underworld to locate terrorists. Fox also knew of the Mandalorian Journeyman Protectors on Concord Dawn, and wished to become one at some point. In 19 BBY, Fox was a member of the squad that stormed the Jedi Temple under the command of Lord Vader, and helped guard the the Council Towers' hangar complex. When Senator Organa arrived during this incident, asking to speak to the Jedi Council and demanding to know what had happened, Appo insisted he leave. When the Padawan Zett Jukassa suddenly attacked the clones, Fox shot and killed him. He then ordered his men to let Organa leave unharmed as the senator fled away in his airspeeder. ⎸] ⎙] Ε]

Retired clone trooper [ edit | edit source ]

Main article: Retired clone trooper

This veteran trooper composed a journal of his thoughts during some of the most well-known battles he had fought during his long service in the Clone Army and later the Imperial Military. A clone of Jango Fett, he was a member of the 501st from its formation, and took part in the Clone Wars and the Galactic Civil War. This trooper recorded entries on the battles of Mygeeto, Felucia, Coruscant, Kashyyyk, Utapau, Naboo, Mustafar, Kamino, Polis Massa, the Death Star, Tantive IV, Yavin, and Hoth. Ώ]

Daine Jir [ edit | edit source ]

Main article: Daine Jir

Daine Jir was a member of the 501st by 0 BBY. Jir was known as a dedicated, competent officer who was unafraid to speak his mind, even to Darth Vader, a man who normally tolerated no dissent among his soldiers. However, it was said that the Dark Lord appreciated Jir's honesty and even respected Jir. ⏌] In 0 BBY, Jir helped lead the attack on the Tantive IV above Tatooine. There, the 501st was able to capture Leia Organa, and turn her over to Vader for questioning. Jir warned Vader that holding Organa could be dangerous if the Senate learned that the Empire had taken one of its own into custody, it could create controversy and even support for the Alliance. However, Vader was unconcerned and ordered Jir to destroy the Tantive IV and then send a distress signal claiming the ship had been hit by meteorites. ⏂]

Su-mil [ edit | edit source ]

Main article: Su-mil

Su-mil was an Eickarie member of the 501st from Kariek. Originally a freedom fighter on his planet, he participated in the Battle of Kariek in 22 ABY, in an effort to liberate his planet from the control of The Warlord. Fighting alongside the 501st, the Eickaries were able to defeat the Warlord. Impressed with the efforts of Su-mil, the trooper Jorm Whistler Mackenni offered him a position in the squad. Su-mil accepted, and took the name Grappler. ⏆] A member of Unit Aurek-Seven following Mackenni's retirement, he participated in the Battle of the Redoubt against the Vagaari. ⎞]

Oron Jaeger [ edit | edit source ]

Main article: Oron Jaeger

Oron Jaeger was the commander of the 501st in 137 ABY. Jaeger was injured during the Battle of Corulag, and was fitted with cybernetic implants during his surgery. The implants made him a cyborg and allowed him to perform various complex tasks at once, such as monitoring communications. ⏍] Jaeger remained loyal to Emperor Roan Fel after he was overthrown by the One Sith in 130 ABY, although he did not rebel against Darth Krayt's new government, feigning loyalty until Fel arrived on Bastion and succeeded in taking the planet back from Krayt's supporters. When Lieutenant Kiefer—who was loyal to Krayt—attempted to kill Fel, Jaeger shot and killed him. Α]

501st Bombardment Group - History

Aircraft History
Built by North American Aviation (NAA). Constructors Number 87-8834. Delivered to the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-25D-20 Mitchell serial number 41-30669. Ferried overseas via Hickam Field then across the Pacific to Australia. Converted into a B-25D-1 strafer variant by the 4th Air Depot at Garbutt Field in Townsville.

Wartime History
On August 23, 1943 assigned to the 345th Bombardment Group (345th BG) "Air Apaches", 500th Bombardment Squadron (500th BS) "Rough Raiders" as an early replacement aircraft. Assigned to pilot 1st Lt. Ralph G. Wallace with crew chief was SSgt Allen R. Puckett.

Nicknamed "Tondelayo" on both sides of the nose with the nose art of a reclining female figure depicting Hollywood actress Hedy Lamarr's character "Tondelayo" in the Hollywood film White Cargo (1942). This bomber had red rings around each engine cowling plus a white fuselage stripe. On the left side of the nose was a scoreboard with two rows of five Japanese rising sun flags indicating enemy aircraft claimed by gunners. The first was claimed on October 12, 1943. The other nine represent the claims on October 18, 1943, plus the silhouette of a ship silhouette claimed that same mission.

The regular crew was 1st Lt. Ralph G. Wallace, co-pilot 2nd Lt. Edward J. Hick, engineer SSgt Weldon Isler, radio SSgt Burton E. Eaton and turret gunner SSgt John A. Murphy.

This B-25 flew combat missions over New Guinea and New Britain. Known missions include

On September 27, 1943 took off piloted by Wallace on a low level strike against Wewak.

On October 12, 1943 took off piloted by Wallace on a low level strike over Wewak and claimed one Zero [likely a Ki-43 Oscar].

On October 18, 1943 took off from Dobodura piloted by 1st Lt. Ralph G. Wallace on a bombing mission over Rabaul without fighter escort. Inbound to the target, Japanese spotters observed the B-25 formation and at Rabaul over a hundred Japanese fighters took off to intercept area airfields including A6M Zeros from the 201 Kokutai, 204 Kokutai and 253 Kokutai and orbited St. Georges Channel and Blanche Bay at 5,000' altitude expecting to face escorting fighters. When they realized the formation was only B-25s, they dove down to intercept as they were starting their attack runs. Over the target, this B-25 with B-25D "Sorry Satchul" 41-30056 and B-25D "SNAFU" 41-30054 attacked a 6,000 ton ship in Blanche Bay off Vunapope. While lining up on the target, this B-25 was hit by anti-aircraft fire in the right engine that caused a hole in the cowling and left an exposed engine piston. Immediately, the right engine was feathered and continued the bomb run while intercepted by three Japanese fighters as they released their bombs on the ship scoring near misses and claimed the vessel as badly damaged and probably sunk but was not reported as sunk or damage by the Japanese.

Returning from the mission, roughly fifty Japanese fighters intercepted the B-25s in a running air battle that lasted seventy-five minutes and resulted in the loss of B-25D "SNAFU" 41-30054 (ditched, MIA/KIA one rescued) and B-25D "Sorry Satchul" 41-30056 (MIA).

Both of the wing men in the flight were shot down. During the escape, turret gunner Murphy was credited with five victories, plus four others credited that crashed into the sea, attempting to attack the bomber skimming the surface of the ocean, and misjudging their attacks. It successfully returned to base with heavy damage.

Afterwards, the 500th Bombardment Squadron (500th BS) received a Distinguished Unit Citation (DUC) for this mission. For the important role in this mission, this B-25 became the most famous bomber in the entire 345th Bombardment Group (345th BG) and there was talk about using it on a war bond tour but was too damaged to fly back to the United States.

The extensive damage sustained require the wing and both engines to be replaced and the repairs took six months.

In the middle of May 1944, rejoined the 500th Bombardment Squadron (500th BS) and continued to fly combat missions. Assigned to pilot 1st Lt. Frederick W. Dick and crew chief T/Sgt Walter W. Sabo and Puckett.

On July 30, 1944 took off piloted by 1st Lt. Frederick W. Dick on a strike mission against Halmahera.

On August 9, 1944 took off piloted by Bagshaw against Wasile Bay at the southern end of Celebes (Sulawesi).

On September 16, 1944 took off piloted by 1st Lt. Frederick W. Dick on a low level strike against a Japanese supply base at Gorontalo on northern Celebes (Sulawesi).

During late 1944, when the squadron was equipped with new B-25J Mitchells, this bomber was retired from flying combat missions and regulated to non-combat missions and stripped to bare metal finish with the original nose art and markings stripped off an all armament removed.

In November 1944, assigned to the 501st Bombardment Squadron (501st BS) "Black Panthers", but served as a hack for the entire 345th Bombardment Group (345th BG). Assigned to crew chief TSgt Adolph K. Singerman.

Nicknamed "Chow Hound" with the Walt Disney cartoon dog Pluto holding in the mouth a picnic basket overflowing with food including links of sausage stretched out the side dragging on the ground, a dead chicken and a bottle of liquor walking on a street with a fire hydrant. The nose art was painted inside a cloud shape with a dark border edge the with the forward portion the nickname. The outer side of both the left and right tail had the Air Apaches motif of an Apaches Indian wearing a headdress inside a circle with a border, the motif of the 345th Bombardment Group and "669" (last three digits of the serial number) above in large block numbers with outline.

This aircraft flew "fat cat" missions from Biak to Australia where the 345th Bombardment Group (345th BG) was based.

Mission History
On March 30, 1945 took off from Biak piloted by 1st Lt. Robert K. Cavins on a "fat cat" non-combat flight transporting cargo and two passengers bound for San Marcelino on Luzon in the Philippines. The crew included: pilot 1st Lt. Robert K. Cavins, radio operator Sgt Albert J. Mazerolle, passenger Captain Edward F. Egan and passenger Sgt Russell E. Peters. Two hours into the flight, the aircraft encountered bad weather and was blown of course and had a radio malfunction. Out of fuel, this B-25 force landed in the sea off Catanduanes Island and skidded across the beach until it impacted a small hill on the island. Aboard, everyone aboard sustained injuries during the landing except for Mazerolle.

During the landing, Peters was severely injured and was trapped inside the wreckage. The others used the plane's fire ax to cut a hole in the metal skin to free him and other trapped inside.

Fates of the Crew
The crew were found by Filipino guerrillas who took them to Tilod where they were fed and given medical treatment. Cavins stayed with severely injured Peters in Tilod.

On March 31, 1945 Egan and Mazerolle were taken by canoe to a nearby town where they attended a parade and party and afterwards were taken by the guerrillas on a sailboat canoe bound for Leyte. While at sea, the sailboat was located by a U.S. Navy (USN) destroyer and were picked up.

Meanwhile, Cavins and Peters remained at Tilod. After the other two were rescued, a Catalina was dispatched to rescue them both and flew them to San Marcelino Airfield. While landing, the nose wheel of the Catalina failed to extend and resulted in a force landing without injury to those aboard.

Afterwards, another B-25D-20 Mitchell was selected as a fat cat and nicknamed "Chow Hound Junior" after the loss of this aircraft.

B-25J Mitchell 44-28932 owned by the Collins Foundation is painted in the markings of this aircraft.

USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-25D-20 Mitchell 41-30669
Warpath Across The Pacific (1996) pages 46 (Fat Cat missions), 55 (October 12, 1943), 66 (October 18, 1943 hit by AA attacks ship), 68-72 (October 18, 1943 epic of Tondelayo), 164 (photo Tondelayo), 188 (September 16, 1944), 189 (photo taken from Tondelayo), 194 (Caption for Painting), 195 (Painting "The Epic of Tondelayo" by Jack Fellows of October 18, 1943 mission), 207 (reference to Chow Hound), 218 (Artwork Profile #23 Tondelayo), 243 (photos December 1944), 289 (March 30, 1945), 392 (Appendix II, 345th BG Planes, Pilots and Crew Chiefs: 500th BS), 400 (Appendix II, 345th BG Planes, Pilots and Crew Chiefs: 501st BS), 421 (Dick later assigned Tondelayo), 423 (Profile #23 Tondelayo June 1944 photo), 439 (index Chow Hound), 447 (index Tondelayo)

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