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8TH USAAF

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On 4 January 1944, the B-24s and B-17s based in England flew their last mission as a subordinate part of VIII Bomber Command. On 22 February 1944, a massive reorganization of American airpower took place in Europe. VIII Bomber Command and Ninth Air Force were brought under control of a centralized headquarters for command and control of the United States Army Air Forces in Europe, the United States Strategic Air Forces (USSTAF).

VIII Bomber Command was redesignated as Eighth Air Force, with VIII Fighter and VIII Air Support Commands being brought under the command of the redesignated Eighth Air Force. This is from where the present-day Eighth Air Force's history, lineage and honors derive.

General Carl Spaatz returned to England to command the USSTAF. Major General Jimmy Doolittle relinquished command of the Fifteenth Air Force to Major General Nathan F. Twining and took over command of the Eighth Air Force from Lieutenant General Ira C. Eaker at RAF High Wycombe. Doolittle of course was well known to American airmen as the famous "Tokyo Raider" and former air racer. His directive was simple: `Win the air war and isolate the battlefield'.

Spaatz and Doolittle's plan was to use the US Strategic Air Forces in a series of co-ordinated raids, code-named Operation 'Argument' and supported by RAF night bombing, on the German aircraft industry at the earliest possible date.

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