20th Air Force, 73rd Bomb Wing
John was in the 20th Air Force, 73rd Bomb Wing, 499th Bomb Group, 879th Bomb Squadron.
The 20th Air Force was brought into existence on April 4, 1944 specifically to perform strategic bombardment missions against Japan. This was done at the insistence of General Henry H. (Hap) Arnold, commander of the USAAF, mainly to avoid having the new B-29 Superfortress being diverted to tactical missions under pressure from the China Burma India Theatre commanders. The 20th Air Force was initially under the the command of General Hap Arnold, then later General Curtis LeMay and General Nathan Twining.
On November 20, 1943, the 73rd Bomb Wing was redesignated as a “Very Heavy” bombardment wing and assigned four newly organized groups (497th, 498th, 499th and 500th Bombardment Groups) which were training in New Mexico and Arizona on B-17’s and B-24’s due to a lack of B-29 aircraft. In April 1944, the groups were brought to several airfields in Kansas where they were equipped with new B-29’s manufactured by Boeing in Wichita, KS.
The 499th Bomb Group was constituted on September 19, 1943 and arrived in Saipan on September 18, 1944. The group began operations with attacks in the Truk Islands and Iwo Jima. John and his crew arrived in Saipan in early March 1945.