VIII Air Support Command engaged in training, with one reconnaissance and one troop carrier group assigned, until July 1943. Afterward, carried out medium bombardment operations against the enemy on the Continent until October 1943 when all components and personnel were withdrawn from the command, with most transferred to Ninth Air Force, which transferred to England from Africa to become the primary tactical command for the invasion of Europe. The command was disbanded little more than a month later.
The 8th Ground Air Support Command was constituted on 28 April 1942 at Bolling Field, Washington, D.C. commanded by Col. Robert C. Candee and assigned to Eighth Air Force. Col. Candee was promoted to Brigadier General and deployed the command to England, but did not open its headquarters at RAF Membury in Berkshire until 17 August.
The mission of VIII Ground Air Support Command was initially training reconnaissance and troop transport units. In February 1943, the command's mission was expanded to carrying out medium bombardment operations against the enemy on the Continent.
In February 1941, the first Martin B-26 Marauder medium bombers were accepted by the Army Air Forces. It was to be in the European theater where the Marauder was to achieve its greatest success. In the United Kingdom, the Marauder formed the medium bomber forces of the VIII Air Support Command. The first B-26s arrived in the United Kingdom in February 1943. They were to be used in low-level missions against German military targets on the Continent.
On 16 October 1943, the B-26 Marauder units were reassigned to IX Bomber Command, leaving the command without operational units. Its command staff was reassigned to other units, and the command was disbanded on 1 December 1943.
Constituted as 8th Ground Air Support Command on 24 April 1942[note 2]
Activated on 28 April 1942
Redesignated VIII Air Support Command c. 18 September 1942
^Maurer indicates that the unit was constituted as the "VIII" Ground Air Support Command. However, the unit was constituted and activated with an arabic number in its name. The use of roman numerals to designate Army Air Forces combat commands did not begin until September 1942. "Air Force Historical Research Agency Organizational Reconds: Types of USAF Organizations". Air Force History Index. 9 January 2008. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
^Freeman indicates that the 60th Troop Carrier Group, then the 51st Troop Carrier Wing was assigned to the command. Freeman, p. 242. However, the Air Force Historical Research Agency history of the wing indicates the wing was assigned directly to Eighth Air Force. Robertson, Patsy (2 January 2008). "Factsheet 551 Electronic Systems Wing (AFMC)". Air Force Historical Research Agency. Retrieved 4 April 2014.. But compare Rumley, Christopher M. (25 January 2021). "Factsheet United States Air Forces in Europe (USAF)". Air Force Historical Research Agency. Retrieved 19 December 2021. (51st Wing not listed among components of Eighth Air Force in 1942).
Anderson, Capt. Barry (1985). Army Air Forces Stations: A Guide to the Stations Where U.S. Army Air Forces Personnel Served in the United Kingdom During World War II(PDF). Maxwell AFB, AL: Research Division, USAF Historical Research Center. Retrieved 1 March 2021.
Freeman, Roger A. (1970). The Mighty Eighth: Units, Men and Machines (A History of the US 8th Army Air Force). London, England, UK: Macdonald and Company. ISBN 978-0-87938-638-2.
Maurer, Maurer, ed. (1983) . Air Force Combat Units of World War II(PDF) (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-912799-02-1. LCCN61060979. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
Maurer, Maurer, ed. (1982) . Combat Squadrons of the Air Force, World War II(PDF) (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-405-12194-6. LCCN70605402. OCLC 72556. Retrieved 17 December 2016.