Ground personnel started showing up at Gowen Field, near Boise, Idaho in May, 1943, and with that the activation of the 445th Bombardment Group was officially announced by the War Department. Both Ground and Air Echelon met each other for the first time at Wendover Field, Utah, where they remained for thirty days completing ground training and learning the importance of team work between themselves.
With the forming of new squadrons, the individual commanding officers, Captain Irving H. Ward, 700th Sqdn; Lt. Howard E. Kreidler, 701st Sqdn; Captain James C. Evans, 702nd Sqdn; and Captain Willis S. Sawyer, 703rd Sqdn; with the able assistance of Captain William W. Jones, Group Operations Officer; directed the first phase of training as the unit got under way.
At the end of April, 1943, a portion of the Group was sent to the Army Air Force School of Applied Tactics (AAFSAT) at Orlando, FL for combat training. The instructors at this school were supposed to pass on to Group and Squadron men the latest information on aerial warfare. The course consisted of two weeks of classroom instruction and two weeks of living at satellite fields under battle conditions located around Orlando.
A total of 49 officers and 81 enlisted men of the Group were sent to AAFSAT as it was known. It wasn't long before the school became known by another name - SNAFU U. The men selected to attend this training consisted of both Group and Squadron Commanders; Group Adjutant; Group and Squadron Operations, Intelligence, Engineering, Armament, Ordnance, Engineering, Communications, Medical, Navigators, and Bombardiers. Enlisted personnel was made up of Intelligence and Operations Non-commissioned officers, aircraft maintenance personnel, and enlisted combat crew.
While this portion of the Group was undergoing training in Florida, the remainder at Boise, Idaho, was gaining further personnel and acquiring administrative experience under the Group and Squadron Executive Officers, the Group Sergeant Major and the Squadron First Sergeants. By the end of May, 1943, the Group strength at Boise alone was 225 men, representing over 12% of the Group's authorized personnel. The Group at that time had an authorized strength of 293 officers and 1,507 enlisted men, including personnel for 48 combat crews. There was an air of excitement as the Group prepared to relocate to the next training site - Wendover Field, Utah.
Photo courtesy of Idaho Military History Museum, Boise, ID