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373d Fighter Group

Constituted as 373d Fighter Group on May 1943. Activated on 15 Aug 1943. Trained for combat with P-47's. Moved to England, Mar-Apr 1944. Assigned to Ninth AF. Flew first combat mission, a fighter sweep over Normandy, on 8 May 1944, and then took part in preinvasion activities by escorting B-26's to attack airdromes, bridges, and railroads in France. Patrolled the air over the beachhead when the Allies launched the Normandy invasion on 6 Jun 1944, and hit troops, tanks, roads, fuel depots, and other targets in the assault area until the end of the month. Moved to the Continent in Jul 1944; struck railroads, hangars, boxcars, warehouses, and other objectives to prevent enemy reinforcements from reaching the front at St Lo, where the Allies broke through on 25 Jul 1944. Bombed such targets as troops, gun emplacements, and armored vehicles to aid ground troops in the Falaise-Argentan area in Aug 1944. During the Battle of the Bulge, Dec 1944-Jan 1945, concentrated on the destruction of bridges, marshalling yards, and highways. Flew armed reconnaissance missions to support ground operations in the Rhine Valley in Mar 1945, hitting airfields, motor transports, and other objectives. Received a DUC for a mission, 20 Mar 1945, that greatly facilitated the crossing of the Rhine by Allied ground forces: without losing any planes, the group repeatedly dived through barrages of antiaircraft fire to bomb vital airfields east of the river; also attacked rail lines and highways leading to the Rhine, hitting rolling stock, motor transports, and other objectives. Continued tactical air operations until 4 May 1945. Returned to the US, Jul-Aug 1945. Inactivated on 7 Nov 1945.

Redesignated 146th Fighter Group. Allotted to ANG (Calif) on 24 May 1946. Extended federal recognition on 14 Sep 1946. Redesignated 146th Composite Group in Nov 1950, and 146th Fighter Group in Feb 1951. Ordered into active service on 1 Apr 1951 and assigned to Strategic Air Command. Redesignated 146th Fighter-Bomber Group in Jun 1951. Assigned to Tactical Air Command in Nov 1951. Trained with F-51's. Relieved from active duty on 1 Jan 1953 and returned, without personnel and equipment, to ANG (Calif).

Squadrons. 178th: 1951-1953. 186th: 1951-1953. 190th: 1951-1953. 410th: 1943-1945. 411th: 1943-1945. 412th: 1943-1945.

Stations. Westover Field, Mass, 15 Aug 1943; Norfolk, Va, 23 Oct 1943; Richmond AAB, Va, 15 Feb-15 Mar 1944; Woodchurch, England, 4 Apr-4 Jul 1944; Tour-en-Bassin, France, 19 Jul 1944; St-James, France, 19 Aug 1944; Reims, France, 19 Sep 1944; Le Culot, Belgium, 22 Oct 1944; Venlo, Holland, 11 Mar 1945; Lippstadt, Germany, 20 Apr 1945; Illesheim, Germany, 20 May-Jul 1945; Sioux Falls AAFld, SD, 4 Aug 1945; Seymour Johnson Field, NC, 20 Aug 1945; Mitchel Field, NY, 28 Sep-7 Nov 1945. Lockheed Air Terminal, Calif, 1 Apr 1951; Moody AFB, Ga, 10 May 1951; George AFB, Calif, 25 Oct 1951-1 Jan 1953.

Commanders. Maj Ansel J Wheeler, 23 Aug 1943; Col William H Schwartz Jr, 25 Aug 1943; Col James C McGehee, 17 Nov 1944; Lt Col James F McCarthy, May 1945-unkn. Lt Col Jack D Blanchard, 1 Apr 1951; Col Cecil EWest, Jun 1951; Col Earl H Dunham, 22 Jun 1951; Lt Col Jack D Blanahard, 7 Jan 1952; Col Amos F Riha, 4 Apr 1952; Col Paul P Douglas, 27 Oct 1952-1 Jan 1953.

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

Decorations. Distinguished Unit Citation: Rhine River, 20 Mar 1945. French Croix de Guerre with Palm: Aug 1944. Cited in the Order of the Day, Belgian Army: 1 Oct 1944-; 18 Dec 1944-15 Jan 1945. Belgian Fourragere.

Insigne. Shield: Azure (light blue), on a pale or, a futuristic interceptor aircraft sable, highlighted white, overall in saltire a sword piercing a vultures wing both argent, detailed and outlined of the third. (Approved 21 Jun 1957.)

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


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