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21st Fighter Group

Constituted as 21st Fighter Group on 31 Mar 1944. Activated in Hawaii on 21 Apr 1944. Assigned to Seventh AF and served as part of the defense force for the Hawaiian Islands. Equipped first with P-39, later with P-38, and still later (Jan 1945) with P-51 aircraft. Moved to Iwo Jima, Feb-Mar 1945. Sustained some casualties when Japanese troops attacked the group's camp on the night of 26/27 Mar 1945, but flew first combat mission the following day, bombing and strafing airfields on Haha Jima. Flew its first mission to Japan on 7 Apr, being awarded a DUC for escorting B-29's that struck the heavily-defended Nakajima aircraft factory near Tokyo. Operations from Iwo Jima included attacking airfields that the enemy was using to launch suicide planes against the Allied forces on Okinawa; striking enemy barracks, airfields, and shipping in the Bonins and Japan; and escorting B-29's that bombed Japanese cities. Assigned to Twentieth AF during the summer of 1945. Trained, participated in aerial reviews, and served as a part of the defense force for Iwo Jima, Saipan, and Guam after the war. Re-equipped with P-47's during the summer of 1946. Inactivated on Guam on 10 Oct 1946.

Redesignated 21st Fighter-Bomber Group. Activated in the US on 1 Jan 1953. Assigned to Tactical Air Command. Equipped for a few months with F-51's, later with F-86's. Moved to France, Nov-Dec 1954, and assigned to United States Air Forces in Europe.

Squadrons. 46th: 1944-1946. 72d: 1944-1946; 1953-. 416th: 1953-. 531st: 1944-1946; 1953-.

Stations. Wheeler Field, TH, 21 Apr 1944; Mokuleia Field, TH, 13 Oct 1944-9 Feb 1945; Central Field, Iwo Jima, 26 Mar 1945; South Field, Iwo Jima, 16 Jul 1945; Isley Field, Saipan, Dec 1945; Northwest Field, Guam, 17 Apr-10 Oct 1946. George AFB, Calif, 1 Jan 1953-26 Nov 1954; Chambley AB, France, 13 Dec 1954-.

Commanders. Col Kenneth R Powell, 21 Apr 1944; Col Charles E Taylor, 14 Jun 1945; Lt Col Charles E Parsons, 15 Oct 1945; Col William Eades, 25 Nov 1945; Col Lester S Harris, Feb-10 Oct 1946. Col Paul P Douglas Jr, 1 Jan 1953; Col Verl D Luehring, 26 Apr 1954; Col R C Franklin Jr, 27 Apr 1955; Lt Col Ira M Sussky, 6 May 1955; Col R C Franklin Jr, 1 Aug 1955-.

Campaigns. Air Offensive, Japan.

Decorations. Distinguished Unit Citation: Japan, 7 Apr 1945.

Insigne. Shield: Azure, a broad sword argent, shaded silver, hilt and pommel or, shaded yellow, outlined of the field, between four red lightning streaks proper, two and two, bendwise. Motto: Fortitudo Et Preparatio - Strength and Preparedness. (Approved 23 Jul 1957.)

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


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