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20th Fighter Group

Authorized on the inactive list as 20th Balloon Group on 18 Oct 1927. Redesignated 20th Pursuit Group in 1929. Activated on 15 Nov 1930. Redesignated 20th Pursuit Group (Fighter) in 1939, 20th Pursuit Group (Interceptor) in 1941, and 20th Fighter Group in 1942. Equipped successively with P-12, P-16, and P-36 aircraft prior to World War II; used P-39's and P-40's during the early part of the war; converted to P-38's in Jan 1943. Trained, participated in maneuvers and tactical exercises, and took part in aerial reviews and demonstrations during the period 1930-1939. Provided personnel for and helped to train new units during 1940-1941. Served as an air defense organization after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Began intensive training late in 1942 for combat duty overseas.

Moved to England in Aug 1943 and became part of Eighth AF. Entered combat with P-38's late in Dec 1943 and for several months was engaged primarily in escorting heavy and medium bombers to targets on the Continent. Frequently strafed targets of opportunity while on escort missions. Retained escort as its primary function until the end of the war, but in Mar 1944 began to fly fighter-bomber missions, which became almost as frequent as escort operations. Strafed and dive-bombed airfields, trains, vehicles, barges, tugs, bridges, flak positions, gun emplacements, barracks, radio stations, and other targets in France, Belgium, and Germany. Became known as the "Loco Group" because of its numerous and successful attacks on locomotives. Received a DUC for performance on 8 Apr 1944 when the group struck airfields in central Germany and then, after breaking up an attack by enemy interceptors, proceeded to hit railroad equipment, oil facilities, power plants, factories, and other targets. Flew patrols over the Channel during the invasion of Normandy in Jun 1944. Supported the invasion force later that month by escorting bombers that struck interdictory targets in France, Belgium, and Holland, and by attacking troops, transportation targets, and airfields. Converted to P-51's in Jul 1944 and continued to fly escort and fighter-bomber missions as the enemy retreated across France to the Siegfried Line. Participated in the airborne attack on Holland in Sep 1944. Escorted bombers to Germany and struck rail lines, trains, vehicles, barges, power stations, and other targets in and beyond the Siegfried Line during the period Oct-Dec 1944. Took part in the Battle of the Bulge, Dec 1944-Jan 1945, by escorting bombers to the battle area. Flew patrols to support the airborne attack across the Rhine, Mar 1945. Carried out escort and fighter-bomber missions as enemy resistance collapsed in Apr 1945. Returned to the US in Oct. Inactivated on 18 Oct 1945.

Activated on 29 Jul 1946. Equipped first with P-51's and later with F-84's. Redesignated 20th Fighter-Bomber Group in Jan 1950. Moved to England in 1952 and became part of the United States Air Forces in Europe. Inactivated in England on 8 Feb 1955.

Squadrons. 24th: 1930-1932. 55th: 1930-1931, 1932-1945; 1946-1955. 74th: 1932. 77th: 1930-1932, 1932-1945; 1946-1955. 78th: 1931-1932. 79th: 1933-1945; 1946-1955. 87th: 1935-1936.

Stations. Mather Field, Calif, 15 Nov 1930; Barksdale Field, La, Oct 1932; Moffett Field, Calif, Nov 1939; Hamilton Field, Calif, Sep 1940; Wilmington, NC, c. 2 Feb 1942; Morris Field, NC, Apr 1942; Paine Field, Wash, Sep 1942; March Field, Calif, Jan-c. 11 Aug 1943; Kings Cliffe, England, c. 26 Aug 1943-c. 11 Oct 1945; Camp Kilmer, NJ, c. 16-18 Oct 1945. Biggs Field, Tex, 29 Jul 1946; Shaw Field, SC, Oct 1946; Langley AFB, Va, Nov 1951-May 1952; Wethersfield, England, c. 1 Jun 1952-8 Feb 1955.

Commanders. Maj Clarence L Tinker, c. 15 Nov 1930; Capt Thomas Boland, c. 14 Oct 1932; Lt Col Millard F Harmon, c. 31 Oct 1932-unkn; Maj Armin F Herold, c. 7 Oct 1936-unkn; Lt Col Ross G Hoyt, 1937; Col Ira C Eaker, c. 16 Jan 1941; Maj Jesse Auton, c. 1 Sep 1941; Maj Homer A Boushey, Jan 1942; Lt Col Edward W Anderson, c. 9 Mar 1942; Lt Col Jesse Auton, Aug 1942-unkn; Col Barton M Russell, 1943; Lt Col Mark E Hubbard, 2 Mar 1944; Maj Herbert E Johnson Jr, 19 Mar 1944; Lt Col Harold Rau, 20 Mar 1944; Lt Col Cy Wilson, Jun 1944; Col Harold Rau, 27 Aug 1944; Col Robert P Montgomery, 18 Dec 1944; Maj Jack C Price, 3 Oct 1945-unkn. Col Joseph L Laughlin, 29 Jul 1946; Col Archie Knight, c. 24 Feb 1947; Col William Cummings, 31 Jul 1947; Col George R Bickell, Aug 1948-unkn; Col John A Dunning, 1949; Lt Col Jack R Brown, c. 22 Oct 1951; Col William D Ritchie, 29 Apr 1952-unkn.

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

Decorations. Distinguished Unit Citation: Central Germany, 8 Apr 1944.

Insigne. Shield: Per fess azure and gules, a fess nebule or. Crest: On a wreath of the colors (or and azure) a sun in splendor proper radiating from the center thereof thirteen darts gules. Motto: Victory By Valor. (Approved 18 Dec 1934.)

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


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