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50th Fighter Group

Constituted as 50th Pursuit Group (Interceptor) on 20 Nov 1940. Activated on 15 Jan 1941. Redesignated 50th Fighter Group in May 1942. Functioned as part of the Fighter Command School, testing equipment and conducting training in air defense operations; also trained pilots and furnished cadres to night fighter units. Later operated with AAF School of Applied Tactics, training personnel in fighter tactics under simulated combat conditions. Used P-40's and P-47's, plus some DB-7's, P-51's, and P-70's.

Moved to England, Mar-Apr 1944. Assigned to Ninth AF and, using P-47's, began operations by making a fighter sweep over France on 1 May. Engaged primarily in escort and dive-bombing missions for the next month. Covered the beach during the invasion of Normandy on 6 and 7 Jun, and moved to the Continent late that month. Attacked bridges, roads, vehicles, railways, trains, gun emplacements, and marshalling yards during the Normandy campaign. Bombed targets in the St Lo region in Jul and supported the subsequent drive across France. Assisted in stemming the German offensive in the Saar-Hardt area early in Jan 1945, engaged in the offensive that reduced the Colmar bridgehead in Jan and Feb 1945, and supported the drive that breached the Siegfried Line and resulted in the movement of Allied forces into southern Germany in Mar and Apr 1945. Received a DUC for close cooperation with Seventh Army in Mar during the assault on the Siegfried Line; in spite of the hazards of enemy opposition and difficult weather conditions, the group struck enemy defenses and isolated battle areas by destroying bridges, communications, supply areas, and ammunition dumps. Received second DUC for a mission on 25 Apr 1945 when, despite intense antiaircraft fire, the group destroyed or damaged many enemy aircraft on an airfield southeast of Munich. Ended operations in May 1945. Returned to the US in Aug. Inactivated on 7 Nov 1945.

Allotted to the reserve. Activated on 1 Jun 1949. Redesignated 50th Fighter-Interceptor Group in Mar 1950. Ordered into active service on 1 Jun 1951. Inactivated on 2 Jun 1951.

Redesignated 50th Fighter-Bomber Group. Activated on 1 Jan 1953. Assigned to Tactical Air Command. Equipped with F-51's; converted to F-86's early in 1953. Moved to Germany, Jul-Aug 1953, and assigned to United States Air Forces in Europe.

Squadrons. 10th: 1941-1945; 1953-. 11th: 1941-1942. 12th: 1941-1942. 81st: 1942-1945; 1949-1951; 1953-. 313th: 1942-1945. 417th: 1953-. 445th: 1943-1944.

Stations. Selfridge Field, Mich, 15 Jan 1941; Key Field, Miss, 3 Oct 1941; Orlando AB, Fla, 22 Mar 1943; Alachua AAFld, Fla, 20 Nov 1943; Orlando AB, Fla, 1 Feb-13 Mar 1944; Lymington, England, 5 Apr 1944; Carentan, France, 25 Jun 1944; Meautis, France, 16 Aug 1944; Orly, France, 4 Sep 1944; Laon, France, 15 Sep 1944; Lyons/Bron, France, 28 Sep 1944; Toul/Ochey, France, 3 Nov 1944; Giebelstadt, Germany, 20 Apr 1945; Mannheim, Germany, 21 May-c. Jun 1945; La Junta AAFld, Colo, Aug-7 Nov 1945. Otis AFB, Mass, 1 Jun 1949-2 Jun 1951. Clovis AFB, NM, 1 Jan-22 Jul 1953; Hahn AB, Germany, 10 Aug 1953-.

Commanders. Capt George McCoy Jr, 16 Jan 1941; Col Allen R Springer, 1 May 1941; Lt Col John C Crosthwaite, 1 Apr 1942; Lt Col Murray C Woodbury, 15 May 1942; Lt Col T Alan Bennett, 23 Jul 1942; Lt Col Walter B Putnam, 29 Jan 1943; Lt Col Robert S Quinn, 9 Nov 1943; Col William D Greenfield, 1 Dec 1943; Col Harvey L Case Jr, Nov 1944-1945. Col Gerald Dix, 1 Jan 1953; Col Albert W Schinz, 1 Jun 1953; Lt Col Edward A McGough III, 2 Apr 1954; Col James F Hackler Jr, 23 Apr 1954; Lt Col Chester L VanEtten, May 1955-.

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

Decorations. Distinguished Unit Citations: ETO, 13-20 Mar 1945; Germany, 25 Apr 1945. Cited in the Order of the Day, Belgian Army: 6 Jun-30 Sep 1944.

Insigne. Shield: Azure, an Opinicus passant argent. Motto: Master Of The Sky. (Approved 9 Jan 1942. This insigne was replaced 23 Aug 1956.)

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


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