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353d Fighter Group

Constituted as 353d Fighter Group on 29 Sep 1942. Activated on 1 Oct 1942. Trained for duty overseas and at the same time served as an air defense organization. Moved to England, May-Jun 1943. Assigned to Eighth AF. Operated against the enemy in combat over Europe from Aug 1943 to Apr 1945, using P-47's until conversion to P-51 in Oct 1944. Regularly escorted bombers that attacked industrial establishments, marshalling yards, submarine installations, V-weapon sites, and other targets; frequently strafed and dive-bombed buildings, troops, flak batteries, barges and tug boats, locomotives and rail lines, vehicles, bridges, and airfields; also flew numerous counter-air missions. From Aug 1943 to Feb 1944, provided escort for bombers that attacked targets in western Europe, made counter-air sweeps over France and the Low Countries, and dive-bombed targets in France. Participated in the intensive campaign against the German Air Force and aircraft industry during Big Week, 20-25 Feb 1944. Increased its fighter-bomber activities. Mar-May 1944. Provided cover over the beachhead and close support for the Normandy invasion in Jun 1944. Supported the breakthrough at St Lo in Jul. Received a DUC for supporting the airborne attack on Holland, when the group contributed to the operation by protecting bombers and troop carriers and by strafing and dive-bombing ground targets during the period 17-23 Sep 1944. Continued its fighter-bomber, escort, and counter-air activities, participating in the Battle of the Bulge (Dec 1944-Jan 1945) and the airborne attack across the Rhine (Mar 1945). Remained in the theater until Oct. Inactivated in the US on 18 Oct 1945.

Redesignated 116th Fighter Group. Allotted to ANG (Ga) on 24 May 1946. Extended federal recognition on 9 Sep 1946. Ordered to active duty on 10 Oct 1950. Redesignated 116th Fighter-Bomber Group in Nov 1950. Assigned to Tactical Air Command. Trained with F-80's and converted to F-84 aircraft in the spring of 1951. Moved to Japan in Jul 1951 and attached to Far East Air Forces for operations in the Korean War. Flew interdictory and close-support missions, strafing and dive-bombing power plants, buildings, mine entrances, gun positions, bunkers, troops, rail lines, trains, bridges, and vehicles. During the same period, also provided air defense for Japan. Relieved from active duty, returned to control of ANG (Ga) without personnel and equipment, and redesignated 116th Fighter-Interceptor Group, on 10 Jul 1952. Redesignated 116th Fighter-Bomber Group in Dec 1952.

Squadrons. 196th: 1950-1952. 350th: 1942-1945. 351st (later 158th): 1942-1945; 1950-1952. 352d (later 159th): 1942-1945; 1950-1952.

Stations. Mitchel Field, NY, 1 Oct 1942; Richmond AAB, Va, c. 7 Oct 1942; Baltimore, Md, c. 26 Oct 1942-c. 27 May 1943; Goxhill, England, Jun 1943; Metfield, England, 3 Aug 1943; Raydon, England, Apr 1944-Oct 1945; Camp Kilmer, NJ, c. 16-18 Oct 1945. Dobbins AFB, Ga, 10 Oct 1950; George AFB, Calif, c. 25 Oct 1950-Jul 1951; Misawa, Japan, c. 25 Jul 1951-10 Jul 1952.

Commanders. Lt Col Joseph A Morris, c. 15 Oct 1942; Lt Col Loren G McCollom, 18 Aug 1943; Col Glenn E Duncan, 25 Nov 1943; Col Ben Rimerman, 7 Jul 1944; Col Glenn E Duncan, 22 Apr 1945; Lt Col William B Bailey, 9 Sep 1945; Lt Col Robert A Elder, 24 Sep 1945-unkn. Col Charles M Ford Jr, 10 Oct-1 Nov 1950; Lt Col Howard L Galbreath, 11 Nov 1950; Lt Col Ralph G Kuhn, 8 May 1951-unkn; Lt Col Daniel F Sharp, c. 31 Jan 1952-unkn.

Campaigns. World War II: Air Offensive, Europe; Normandy; Northern France; Rhineland; Ardennes-Alsace; Central Europe. Korean War: UN Summer-Fall Offensive; Second Korean Winter; Korea Summer-Fall, 1952.

Decorations. Distinguished Unit Citation: Holland, 17-23 Sep 1944.

Insigne. Shield: Per fess embattled debased azure and argent, three chevronels reversed of the second, the base chevronel fimbriated, forming a frazure at its apex over the embattlement azure; in chief four darts of the second in formation chevron-wise points downward, one in fess point, two in sinister, all within a diminutive border argent. Motto: Vincet Amor Patriae - Love of Country Shall Conquer. (Approved 6 Jun 1952.)

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


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