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168th Wings Over Chicago
The origins of the 168th Bomb Squadron stretch back to 1942, when, as the 437th Bomb Squadron (Medium), an element of the 319th Bomb Group, they flew Martin B-26’s throughout North Africa, Italy , France, and Germany. Capt. John Bornhoeft recalls the transition from Martin Maurauders to Douglas Invaders while at a temporary air field in Northern France. A place called Laon-Couveron. At the end of hostilities in Europe, the 319th was assigned to Okinawa and flew combat missions completing the Pacific campaign. The unit returned to the ZI and was deactivated. In May 1946 the 319th Bomb Group was assigned to the National Guard, and designated as the 126th Bomb Wing. It’s former squadrons, having being dispersed to several State’s National Guards, were placed under the command of the 126th Bomb Wing for administrative purposes. The 108th, the 115th, the 168th and the 180th had not seen the last of Europe, nor of each other.
‘B’ Flight, 168th Bomb Squadron of the 126th Bomb Wing, Illinois Air National Guard, spreads its wings over the city, one last time prior to turning on a heading leading them to Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, and eventual assignment to NATO Command, France
The 115th Bomb Squadron and the 566th Air Force Band were shortly separated from the Wing and joined other units. The 108th, 168th and 180th trained together at 2 annual summer encampments at Douglas AFB, Wisconsin, and participated in several weekend training assignments at other times during the year. It came as no surprise when, after the Republic of South Korea was invaded by the North Koreans in June of 1950, the Wing was informed they would be called to active duty with the United States Air Force. April 1st, 1951.
Lt. John D. Brady of Des Plaines, and Sgt. Donald C. Dinse of Palatine, check over the 50 cal. Machine guns in the Armaments Section, while Sgts. John Hansen, Joseph Tobiaski,. Albert Lang, and Corp. Arvad Johnson, all of Chicago, look over replacement engines for that long flight across the North Atlantic.