UNITED STATES ARMY AIR FORCES
 


 
DISTINGUISHING FLAGS & GUIDONS  •  NINTH AIR FORCE  •  WORLD WAR II
 

In June 1944 the Ninth Air Force was headquartered at Sunninghill Park, Berkshireshire, in the United Kingdom. Its commander was Lieutenant General Lewis H. Brerteon. The Ninth Air Force was administratively subordinated to Headquarters, US Strategic Air Force in Europe; tactically it was under the command of Headquarters, Advanced Allied Expeditionary Air Force, which included the British 2nd Tactical Air Force and was commanded by Air Marshal Sir Arthur Coningham of the RAF. The AAEAF's mission was tactical air support for Operation Overlord, including the planned airborne assault on Normandy that would precede the seaborne invasion. As soon as airfields became available, the AAEAF's combat aircraft would be transferred from the UK, the better to to support the ground battle. To that end, the AAEAF included engineer and antiaircraft units for base construction and defense.

The Ninth Air Force was organized with the IX Bomber Command (A-20 light and B-26 medium bombers), the IX Fighter Command (P-38, P-47 and P-51 fighters), the IX Troop Carrier Command (C-47 transports), the IX Air Defense Command (antiaircraft artillery and P-61 night fighters), the IX Engineer Command and the IX Service Command. Additionally, the 10th Photographic Group (Reconnaissance), the 28th and 29th Tow Target Squadrons, and the 47th Liaison Squadron reported directly to 9th Air Force Headquarters. The 10th Photographic Group was equipped with reconnaissance versions of the P-38 and P-51. It also had a squadron of A-20s, modified for the night fighter role, under command. The tow target squadrons were equipped with modified B-26 medium bombers and the liaison squadron with the L-5 "Flying Jeep." The three signal construction battalions were assigned in anticipation of the transfer of combat units to France after D-Day, requiring the rapid establishment of the necessary communications net. All units down to the group level had a headquarters squadron (HHS). Because of the highly technical nature of air operations there were many specialized service and support units difficult to categorize, e.g. the 4th Army Air Force Combat Camera Unit. Such units probably had the guidon shown below for "other aviation detachments": with the Air Corps branch insignia but no other markings. Also, many of the service and support units were split into detachments, e.g. the 21st Weather Squadron with 77 detachments throughout Ninth Air Force.

Units belonging to the US Army Air Corps had flags and guidons based on the colors ultramarine blue and golden orange, the Air Corps branch colors. These were used also for flags of United States Army Air Forces units, i.e. wings and above. Those units, mostly service and support, that did not belong to the Air Corps had flags and guidons of the designs authorized for their parent branches. In principle all USAAC groups were entitled to silk organizational colors but how many of these were actually issued during the enormous wartime expansion of the air forces is a doubtful question. According to Army regulations provisional units were not entitled to flags or guidons, though perhaps in some cases the unmarked Air Corps guidon was used.

USAAF distinguishing flags were made of wool bunting, 3 feet at the hoist by 4 feet on the fly. They were always carried or displayed with a National Standard, Service, made of wool bunting, 3 feet at the hoist by 4 feet on the fly plus 2 1/2-inch yellow silk fringe.

Credits: The drawings on this page are based on the specifications given in Army Regulation 260-10 dated 25 October 1944, a copy of which was kindly provided by FOTW Mailing List member Joseph McMillan. Order of battle information was culled from Dr. Leo Niehorster’s outstanding and essential website, World War II Armed Forces: Orders of Battle and Organizations.
 


 

NATIONAL STANDARD, SERVICE & DISTINGUISHING FLAGS

 

         

NINTH AIR FORCE

 

IX BOMBER COMMAND

 

IX FIGHTER COMMAND

 

IX TROOP CARRIER COMMAND

 

IX AIR DEFENSE COMMAND

 

IX AIR ENGINEER COMMAND

 

IX SERVICE COMMAND

 

HEADQUARTERS ELEMENT GUIDONS

 

HHS, NINTH AIR FORCE

 

HHS, IX BOMBER COMMAND

 

HHS, IX FIGHTER COMMAND

 

HHS, IX TROOP CARRIER COMMAND

 

HHS, IX AIR DEFENSE COMMAND

 

HHS, IX AIR ENGINEER COMMAND

 

HHS, IX SERVICE COMMAND

 

10th PHOTOGRAPHIC GROUP (RECONNAISSANCE)

 

28th TOW TARGET SQUADRON

 

29th TOW TARGET SQUADRON

 

47th LIAISON SQUADRON

 

SERVICE & SUPPORT UNIT GUIDONS

 

21st WEATHER SQUADRON

 

OTHER AVIATION SQUADRONS & DETACHMENTS

 

3rd SIGNAL BATTALION (RADIO) (AVIATION)

 

40th SIGNAL BATTALION (AVIATION)

 

432nd SIGNAL BATTALION
(HEAVY CONSTRUCTION) (AVIATION)

 

447th SIGNAL BATTALION
(HEAVY CONSTRUCTION) (AVIATION)

 

459th SIGNAL BATTALION
(HEAVY CONSTRUCTION) (AVIATION)

 

1058th MILITARY POLICE COMPANY (AVIATION)
 

 

1223rd MILITARY POLICE COMPANY (AVIATION)
 



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