Distinguished Unit Citations

Distinguished Unit Citation #3 - Jefman-Samate-Sorong

The 38th Bombardment Group (M) had to travel a long distance for this one. Low level strafing and bombing had come a long ways since the Battle of the Bismarck Sea.{mospagebreak}


The 38th Bombardment Group (M) is cited for outstanding performance of duty in action on 16 and 17 June 1944 in the the Jefman-Samate-Sorong area of Dutch New Guinea.  At that time, an estimated 90 percent of the Japanese aircraft in the New Guinea area were based on Jefman and Samati Airdromes, and Japanese warships and merchant vessels filled Sorong harbor. The most important targets in New Guinea, at the time, it was the only base in that area that had not been subjected to minimum altitude bombing and strafing attacks. On 16 June, twenty-two B-25 aircraft of The 38th Bombardment Group (M) set out on an 8-hour flight, involving a round-trip of 1,350 miles over enemy-occupied territory and treacherous mountain terrain, to strike at Jefman and Samate Airdromes. Twenty of the airplanes reached the target and attacking in a line abreast formation of four squadrons, completely covered the island with their bombs and machine gun fire. As they swept over the target through anti-aircraft fire from heavy and medium guns on the ground and from a cruiser offshore, they shot down 5 enemy fighters and a dive- bomber in aerial combat and probably destroyed one more fighter. The accurate fire of the gunners of The 38th Bombardment Group (M) prevented the enemy aircraft , which were dropping aerial burst bombs, from closing in on the attacking formation.  Dropping 214 one-hundred-pound parademolation bombs and showering the area with 39,000 rounds of machine gun ammunition, the group turned the area into a mass flames and wreckage. The following day, the group hit at the merchant ships and naval vessels which had been sighted in the harbor. Displaying great determination and courage, the crews of The 38th Bombardment Group (M) made daring low altitude bombing and strafing attacks on the enemy shipping. Dropping forty-four 300 pound delayed action bombs and expending over 24,000 rounds of ammunition, the group left the harbor filled with burning and sinking ships. Two 3,000 ton freighter-transports, three smaller cargo vessels, and six coastal craft were definately sunk, and two 1,500 ton freighter-transports were seriously damaged , to make a total of more than 8,000 tons of shipping sunk and 3,000 tons damaged. In these two days, The 38th Bombardment Group (M) destroyed or irreparably damaged a large part of the Japanese air and shipping strength which could have been used against Allied forces preparing to advance through the Netherland East Indies in the drive to the Philippines.  The gallantry and skill of the aircrews of The 38th Bombardment Group (M)  and the efficiency and devotion to duty of the ground personell  who prepared the aircraft  and crews for these raids reflect great credit on the Army Air Forces and the entire armed forces of the United States.

                                                        WD GO 13, 1946