The 303rd Bombardment Group (H) was constituted on 28 January 1942 at Savannah, GA, wasactivated at Pendleton Field, Pendleton, OR, on 3 February 1942, and received its initialstaff and training at Gowen Field, Boise, ID, on 13 February 1942. Training for its combatmissions took place at Alamogordo Air Base, NM, and Biggs Field, TX. On 23 August the groundechelon moved to Fort Dix, NJ, to board the Queen Mary for overseas deployment. They arrivedat Molesworth, England, on 9 September 1942. The air echelon arrived in late October and thestage was set for entrance into combat.
T/Sgt Eddie Deerfield, 303 Bomb Group radio operator/gunner, preparesfor take-off in the B-17 on August 17, 1943, for the first 8thAir Force mission against the ball-bearing works at Schweinfurt, Germany.
In tribute to one of the most famous Flying Fortresses of World War II, Hell's Angels (#41-24577), the 303rd Bombardment Group took its name, Hell's Angels. In the inventory since theGroup's beginning, this aircraft was the first heavy bomber in the 8th Air Force to complete25 missions.
The success of the 303rd Bombardment Group (H) was not the result of any one person,aircraft, or unit. It was and is the story of many individuals taking pride in theirassigned duties and contributing the most they could to the mission. Ground crews oftenworked on their "birds" with little or no sleep to repair enemy damage and keep theircharges armed and ready for the next combat mission. The 303rd BG(H) effective intelligencestaff was possibly unique among 8th Air Force groups in that several of its membersvolunteered to fly combat missions in order to gain first-hand experience and to providemore precise briefings for the combat crews. The supplies - everything from aircraft partsand ammunition to food and PX items - were available. thanks to the effort of supportelements. This was not an easy task in the early days, but the 303rd "conveyor belt"never failed.