Tinian Island - Marianas

The 73rd Bomb Wing had been operating from Saipan in the Marianas Islands since November 1944.  The 73rd had the "honor" of being the first planes to bomb Tokyo since the Doolittle raid.   Operating from Saipan allowed the 73rd to bomb Japan without the need for forward bases.  The 462nd was targeted to move to Tinian Island in the spring of 1945.

The SeaBees constructed the air strip and bases at West Field for the 58th Bomb Wing, and along with North Field, created the world's largest and certainly busiest airport.  In spring of 1945, the 462nd began their migration to Tinian from their base in Piardoba in three phases.

The first phase involved assigning several crews to temporary duty with the 9th Bomb Group of the 313th Bomb Wing, who were already operating out of Tinian.  The second phase put thousands of men onto a troopship and sent them from India to Tinian, via Australia.  The last phase moved the remaining 462nd crews and their planes from India to China to Tinian.  By May 1945, the 462nd was ready to go into action from their new home.

Tinian offered a different set of challenges from India and China.  The weather was much improved.  The accommodations and supply lines were superior.  Operationally, the logistical problems with the India/China bases due to supply issues changed to a problem of coordinating the efforts of the now five Bomb Wings situated on Guam, Tinian and Saipan.   The India/China missions could only muster dozens of planes at a time.  From Tinian, LeMay was able to put hundreds of planes over any target.  By the time the 462nd arrived in May 1945, LeMay had already implemented his fire-bombing strategy.  Those efforts, along with the intensive mining campaign, did the job. 

The 462nd received two Distinguished Unit Citations from their Tinian experience...one for the Tokyo/Yokohama raids, and the other for the mission over Takarazuka.