(From the Los Angeles Times)
Raiders of Pacific Give Japs Sky Jitters
WASHINGTON, April 15 (1945). (AP) Maybe you haven't heard of the Red Raiders. But thousands of Japanese have --all the way from Rabaul to Formosa. A lot of them looked up too late to see the bombs falling. Formally, the Red Raiders are the 22nd Bombardment Group of the US 5th Air Force. The long story of their operations in the Southwest Pacific, just released, contains a string of "firsts" as long as a Liberator's fuselage.
First to Hit Formosa
Latest on the list, the Red Raiders were the first land-based Army bombers to hit Formosa from the Pacific side. They left Heito Air Base in flames. That was the day after their leader, Col. Richard W. (Red) Robinson of Wilkinsburgh, Pa., was killed in a take-off crash at a Philippines base. It was from Robinson, a full colonel at 26, that the Red Raiders took their name, a tribute to his flaming red hair. Their insignia is a red-maned Viking warrior.
In 1940 the new 22nd took B-26 Marauders directly from the assembly lines and were the first unit equipped with them. On the day after Pearl Harbor they were on their way to Australia -- which they reached in January, 1942.
First to Span Pacific
The first fully armed bombardment unit to span the Pacific the 22nd sent some planes into the Battle of Midway. Four of their bombers were the first Army mediums to be used for torpedo bombing. They were the first medium bomber unit to hit Rabaul, New Britain, where they braved swarms of Jap Interceptors and the fire of 100 flak ships. They got a Presidential Citation about this time. They helped to wipe out that big Japanese convoy of 22 ships in the Bismarck Sea and worked their way up to the New Guinea coast over such historic targets as Buna, Lae, Salamaua, Finschaffen, Wewak, Wake.
Take Over Mitchells
The Marauders were replaced by the longer ranged Mitchell (B-25's) and the Red Raiders were the first group to fly that type of bomber in combat. They didn't lose a plane. Jumps between targets became even longer and the Red Raiders switched to Liberators (B-24s) and thus were the first outfit to have flown three types of bombers in combat. They were the first to hit Palau in daylight hours, first to hit the Philippines, and were the first B-24's in action against Clark Field, Manila and Corregidor in the Philippines. Meantime, they took part in a two-day strike which knocked out oil refineries at the "Ploesti of the Pacific" at Balikpapan, on Borneo.
Operating now from the Philippines, the Red Raiders are commanded by Maj. Leonard T. Nicholson, an original member of the squadron, from Prescott, Ariz. The ambition of the Red Raiders now, naturally, is to be the first Pacific-based Liberator flyers to hit Tokyo.
Note: Late in July 1945 the Red Raiders staged to Ie Shima, a 3 x 5 mile island off Okinawa. Planned was an attack on the remainder of the Japanese fleet. The scheduled strike was against battleships, air craft carriers and other ships at the Kure Naval Base on Honshu. It never materialized. Due to a typhoon, the mission was scratched.