Distinguished Unit Citations

Distinguished Unit Citatation #2 Cape Gloucester

This Distinguished Unit Citation is the 2nd one received by the Sunsetters. The First Marine Division has stated that the Cape Gloucester Beachhead was the finest beachhead preparation that they experienced in all of WWII.

The 38th Bombrdment Group (M) is cited for outstanding performance of duty in action from 24 to 26 December 1943. In these 3 days The 38th Bombardment Group (M) aided materially in preparing the way for landings of American ground troops on the western tip of New Britian. Making their target runs at dangerouly low altitudes of 50 to 100 feet, the B-25s of this group accurately bombed and strafed the Cape Gloucester, New Britian, airdromes and enemy pillboxes, barges, supply dumps, and personnel areas from Dorf Point eastward to Cape Raoult. Over 81 tons of bombs were dropped and 110,000 rounds of ammunition expended. The successful establishment and extension of the American beachheads near Cape Gloucester on 26 December were to a great degree brought about by the terrific destruction inflicted by this group on Japanese troops, supplies, equipment, and defenses. American ground troops moving in to occupy the area found that over 1,000 of the enemy had been killed and most his equipment and supplies destroyed by the tree-top level bombing and strafing, which so effectively neutralized Japanese opposition that our own losses were negligible.  The occupation of the Cape Gloucester area by our forces was of the greatest strategic importance, as control of the Vitiaz straits between New Britian and New Guinea was essential to permit further operations along the New Guinea coast and in the Admiralty Islands. The skill of the 38th Bombardment Group (M) in planning and coordinating the attacks of its four squadrons enabled the air crews to inflict maximum damage and destruction without suffering a casuality, although they were repeatedly subject to enemy fighter interception and heavy anti-aircraft fire.  The heroism and combat skill of the air crews and the efficiency and devotion to duty displayed by the ground personnel  of The 38th Bombardment Group (M) have brought great honor to the armed forces of the United States.

                                                      WD GO 76, 1945