361st Fighter Group

374th Fighter Squadron - 375th Fighter Squadron - 376th Fighter Squadron

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World War II Unit History

Constituted as 361st Fighter Group on 28 Jan 1943. Activated on 10 Feb 1943. Joined Eighth AF in England in Nov 1943. Entered combat with P-47 aircraft on 21 Jan 1944 and converted to P-51's in May 1944. Operated from England during 1944 but sent a detachment to France for operations in the Battle of the Bulge (Dec 1944-Jan 1945), moved to Belgium in Feb 1945, and returned to England in Apr 1945. Served primarily as an escort organization, covering the penetration, attack, and withdrawal of bomber formations that the AAF sent against targets on the Continent. Also engaged in counter-air patrols, fighter sweeps, and strafing and dive-bombing missions. Attacked such targets as airdromes, marshalling yards, missile sites, industrial areas, ordnance depots, oil refineries, trains, and highways. During its operations, participated in the assault against the German Air Force and aircraft industry during Big Week, 20-25 Feb 1944; the Normandy invasion, Jun 1944; the St Lo breakthrough, Jul 1944; the airborne attack on Holland, Sep 1944; and the airborne assault across the Rhine, Mar 1945. Flew last combat mission on 20 Apr 1945. Returned to the US in Nov. Inactivated on 10 Nov 1945.

Redesignated 127th Fighter Group. Allotted to ANG (Mich) on 24 May 1946. Extended federal recognition on 29 Sep 1946. Ordered into active service on 1 Feb 1951. Assigned to Air Training Command. Redesignated 127th Pilot Training Group in Mar 1951. Used F-51, F-80, and F-84 aircraft while serving as a training organization. Relieved from active duty and returned to ANG (Mich), on 1 Nov 1952. Redesignated 127th Fighter-Bomber Group.

Squadrons. 107th: 1951-1952. 197th: 1951-1952. 374th (later 171st): 1943-1945; 1951-1952. 375th: 1943-1945. 376th: 1943-1945.

Stations. Richmond AAB, Va, 10 Feb 1943; Langley Field, Va, 26 May 1943; Millville AAFld, NJ, 20 Jul 1943; Camp Springs AAFd, Md, 28 Aug 1943; Richmond AAB, Va, 20 Sep-11 Nov 1943; Bottisham, England, 30 Nov 1943; Little Walden, England, 26 Sep 1944; Chievres, Belgium, 1 Feb-Apr 1945; Little Walden, England, 9 Apr-3 Nov 1945; Camp Kilmer, NJ, 9-10 Nov 1945. Detroit-Wayne Major Aprt, Mich, 1 Feb 1951; Luke AFB, Ariz, 23 Feb 1951-1 Nov 1952.

Commanders. Col Thomas J J Christian Jr, 10 Feb 1943; Col Ronald F Fallows, 14 Aug 1944; Lt Col Roy B Caviness, 31 Aug 1944; Lt Col Joseph J Kruzel, 20 Sep 1944; Lt Col Roy B Caviness, 3 Nov 1944; Col Junius W Dennison Jr, 2 Dec 1944; Lt Col Roy B Caviness, 15 Apr 1945; Col John D Landers, 29 Jun 1945-unkn. Col David T McKnight, 1951; Col Maurice L Martin, 6 Aug 1951-unkn.

Campaigns. Air Offensive, Europe; Normandy; Northern France; Rhineland; Ardennes-Alsace; Central Europe.

Decorations. None.

Insigne. Shield: Gules (scarlet) a bendlet divided per bend into five equal parts, the center azure, and the outer two or, and of the first (dark red), between in chief three fleur-de-lis in pale, of the third, and in base a giant (Saguaro) cactus footed to the sinister by an apple blossom stemmed both proper. Motto: Parati Stamus - We Stand Ready. (Approved 30 Jul 1954.)

Data from Air Force Combat Units of World War II By Maurer, Maurer, Published 1986


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