In April 1944 the 9th Bombardment Group, with the 1st, 5th, and 99th squadrons, was moved with some personnel from Orlando, Florida to Dalhart AAF, Texas and had the suffix (VH) for “very heavy,” for B-29, added to its title.
Colonel Donald W. Eisenhart was then designated the group commander. Most of the group and squadron headquarters key personnel arrived at Dalhart, after which they were transferred to McCook AAF, NE. They then traveled by train to the Army Air Forces School of Advanced Tactics at Orlando, Florida where they had a month of training in organizing and operating these units. Meanwhile at McCook, a steady buildup of personnel continued. The key personnel returned to McCook from Orlando in June.
At McCook there was an ongoing reception of new people, organization of crew and squadrons and intense training in flying and ground training. The first training airplanes used were B-17s. They practiced takeoff and landings, instruments, night, cross-country navigation, and formation flying. They also had bombing and gunnery practice. B29s began arriving on July 13th and by late November 1944 our group was trained and ready for deployment to Tinian. The “ground echelon,” consisting of most of the administration and support officers and enlisted men, went by train to Seattle and then by ship, to Tinian. This voyage took over a month. Meanwhile, the “air echelon” went to Herington, Kansas where they were processed and received equipment for deployment to the Pacific war zone. The new B-29s were acquired either at McCook or Herington. When the crews were fully processed they took off individually to fly to Tinian, via Sacramento, Hawaii, and Kwajalein Island.
Information taken from book, 9th Bomb Group History, excerpted from Henry Huglin's observations