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355th Fighter Group

Constituted as 355th Fighter Group on 12 Nov 1942 and activated the same day. Prepared for combat with P-47's. Moved to England in Jul 1943 and assigned to Eighth AF. Flew its first combat mission, a fighter sweep over Belgium, on 14 Sep 1943 and afterward served primarily as escort for bombers that attacked industrial areas of Berlin, marshalling yards at Karlsruhe, an airfield at Neuberg, oil refineries at Misburg, synthetic oil plants at Gelsenkirchen, locks at Minden, and other objectives. Also flew fighter sweeps, area patrols, and bombing missions, striking such targets as air parks, locomotives, bridges, radio stations, and armored cars. On 5 Apr 1944, shortly after converting from P-47's to P-51's, the group successfully bombed and strafed German airdomes during a snow squall, a mission for which the group was awarded a DUC. Provided fighter cover for Allied forces landing in Normandy on 6 Jun 1944, and afterward hit transportation facilities to cut enemy supply lines. Hit fuel dumps, locomotives, and other targets in support of ground forces during the breakthrough at St Lo in Jul. Continued operations until 25 Apr 1945 and remained in the theater after the war for duty with United States Air Forces in Europe. Moved to Germany in Jul 1945 as part of the army of occupation. Transferred, without personnel and equipment, to the US on 1 Aug 1946. Inactivated on 20 Nov 1946.

Redesignated 355th Fighter Group (Air Defense). Activated on 18 Aug 1955. Assigned to Air Defense Command and equipped with F-86 aircraft.

Squadrons. 354th: 1942-1946; 1955-. 357th: 1942-1946. 358th (later 56th): 1942-1946. 469th: 1955-.

Stations. Orlando AB, Fla, 12 Nov 1942; Richmond AAB, Va, 17 Feb 1943; Philadelphia Mun Aprt, Pa, 4 Mar-16 Jun 1943; Steeple Morden, England, 9 Jul 1943; Gablingen, Germany, 3 Jul 1945; Schweinfurt, Germany, 15 Apr 1946; Mitchel Field, NY, 1 Aug-20 Nov 1946. McGhee-Tyson Aprt, Tenn, 18 Aug 1955-.

Commanders. Col William J Cummings Jr, 12 Nov 1942; Lt Col Everett W Stewart, 4 Nov 1944; Lt Col Claiborne H Kinnard Jr, 21 Feb 1945; Lt Col William D Gilchrist, 7 Jun 1945; Lt Col John L Elder, Oct 1945; Col Carroll W McColpin, 14 Mar 1946-unkn. Col William A Lanford, 18 Aug 1955-.

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

Decorations. Distinguished Unit Citation: Germany, 5 Apr 1944.

Insigne. Shield: Azure on a pile issuant from sinister throughout or, flames of fire proper charged with a dagger fesswise point to dexter of the second. Motto: Our Might Always. (Approved 16 Mar 1943.)

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


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