The 54th Bombardment Squadron was a component of the 23d Composite Group, which was stationed at Maxwell Field, Alabama prior to World War II.
Organized primarily from recruits in the Columbus, Ohio area, first formed in Columbus on Texas. After a month of indoctrination training at Kelly Field, was transferred to the Aviation Concentration Center Field #2 (Hazlehurst Field), Long Island, New york where it arrived on 21 September. There the squadron was outfitted for overseas duty, sailing on the Cunard Liner Panenia on 13 October with seven other squadrons. Arrived in Belfast, Ireland on the 28th. The following day the overseas voyage to England was completed, and the squadron disembarked at Liverpool. From there a train trip to Southampton was made overnight, and the squadron arrived at Le Havre, France on 1 November.
After some rest in Le Havre, the squadron then boarded a French train for the town of Issoudun in central France. Its mission was to assist in the construction of a large training aerodrome, designated the 3d Air Instructional Center. The squadron erected wooden barracks, dug ditches of all types both for water and sewer lines as well as electricity and telephones. Re-designated as the 466th Aero Squadron on 1 February 1918 when a new numbering system came into effect.
On 10 March 1918, with the work largely completed at Issodun, the squadron was moved to the Air Service Production Center #2 at Romorantin Aerodrome. There, the squadron assisted in the same type of construction it performed at Issodun.
By 1 April 1918, the facility was ready for use as an active Air Service training camp. As part of the permanent garrison at Romorantin, the squadron's mission was to assemble aircraft, work in the engineering department, maintain the facilitates of the base, operate the quartermaster's office and other administrative departments of the Production Center. It continued this work until the armistice in November 1918.
In late December 1918, the squadron was ordered demobilized by the Commanding General, Services of Supply. It moved to a staging area near Brest where it awaited transportation back to the United States. The squadron subsequently arrived at Garden City, New York, at the end of January 1919 where the men were demobilized and returned to Civilian life.main: 1st Proving Ground Group
General John W. Persons assumed command of the 54th in October 1939. The 23rd Composite Group moved to Orlando Army Air Base, Florida, and then to Eglin Field on 1 July 1941. At this time it comprised the 1st Pursuit Squadron, the 54th Bombardment Squadron (Medium), the 24th Bombardment Squadron (Light), the 54th School Squadron, the 61st Air Base Group, and the 3rd Gunnery and Bombing Range Detachment.
On 7 December 1941, the 54th Bombardment Squadron (Medium) was assigned at Eglin Field and was equipped with various aircraft types. The 23rd Composite Group was re-designated the Air Corps Proving Ground Detachment, Air Corps Proving Ground Group at Eglin.
The squadron's mission focused on developing and demonstrating tactics and doctrine. After moving to Eglin it also conducted testing of experimental weapons. B-26 Marauders were assigned to the 54th at the Air Proving Ground.Organized as 54th Aero Squadron on 8 Aug 1917
Re-designated 466th Aero Squadron
on 1 Feb 1918.
Demobilized on 10 Feb 1919.
Constituted as 54th School Squadron on 6 Feb 1923
Activated on 31 Ju1 1927.
Inactivated on 30 Apr 1931.
Activated on 15 Jul 1931.
Re-designated 54th Bombardment Squadron
on 1 Mar 1935.
Consolidated with 466th Aero Squadron (1936)
Inactivated on 1 Sep 1936.
Activated on 1 Oct 1939.
Re-designated 54th Bombardment Squadron (Medium)
on 6 Dec 1939
Disbanded on 1 May 1942
Post Headquarters, Kelly Field, 8 Aug-Nov 1917;
3d Air Instructional Center, Nov 1917
Air Service Production Center No. 2, Mar-Dec 1918
Commanding General, Services of Supply, AEF, Dec 1918-10 Feb 1919
13th School Group, 31 Jul 1927 – 30 Apr 1931
Air Corps Tactical School, 15 Jul 1931
2d Bombardment Group
Attached to Air Corps Tactical School, 1 Mar 1935 – 1 Sep 1936.
23d Composite Group (later Air Corps Proving Ground Detachment; Air Forces Proving Ground Group), 1 Oct 1939-1 May 1942
In addition to Douglas BT-2 apparently included Dayton-Wright DH-4 and Consolidated PT-3 during period 1927-1931
Apparently included Curtiss A-3 Falcon and Douglas O-25 during period 1931-1935
Included Keystone B-4 during period 1935-1936.
In addition to B-18 Bolo, B-23 Dragon, i940-1942
Included B-26, A-12, B-12, B-17, B-25, 0-38, OA-9, PB-2, PT-14, and PT-17, during period 1939-1942.