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68th Reconnaissance Group

Constituted as 68th Observation Group on 21 Aug 1941. Activated on 1 Sep 1941. Redesignated 68th Reconnaissance Group in May 1943, and 68th Tactical Reconnaissance Group in Nov 1943. Flew patrols over the Gulf of Mexico and along the Mexican border after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Began training in Feb 1942 for duty overseas. Moved to the Mediterranean theater, Oct-Nov 1942, and assigned to Twelfth AF. Shortly after the group began operations most of its squadrons were detached for separate duty in order to carry out diverse activities over a wide area. Operating from bases in North Africa until Nov 1943, the group, or elements of the group, engaged in patrolling the Mediterranean; strafing trucks, tanks, gun positions, and supply dumps to support ground troops in Tunisia; training fighter pilots and replacement crews; and flying photographic and visual reconnaissance missions in Tunisia, Sicily, and Italy to provide information needed to adjust artillery fire. Moved to Italy and assigned to Fifteenth AF, in Nov 1943. Continued visual and photographic reconnaissance and began flying weather reconnaissance missions in Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Hungary, and the Balkans. Also engaged in electronic-countermeasure activities, investigating radar equipment captured from the enemy, flying ferret missions along the coasts of Italy and southern France, and accompanying bomber formations to detect approaching enemy fighters. Used P-38, P-39, P-40, P-51, A-20, A-36, B-17, and B-24 aircraft for operations. Returned to North Africa in Apr 1944. Disbanded on 15 Jun 1944.

Reconstituted, redesignated 68th Reconnaissance Group, and allotted to the reserve, on 10 Mar 1947. Activated in the US on 9 Apr 1947. Inactivated on 27 Jun 1949.

Redesignated 68th Strategic Reconnaissance Group (Medium). Activated on 10 Oct 1951. Assigned to Strategic Air Command. Trained with B-29's. Inactivated on 16 Jun 1952.

Squadrons. 16th: 1942-1944. 24th: 1947-1949; 1951-1952. 51st: 1947-1949; 1951-1952. 52d: 1947-1949; 1951-1952. 111th: 1942-1944. 122d: 1941-1944. 125th: 1941-1942. 127th: 1941-1942. 154th: 1941-1944.

Stations. Brownwood, Tex, 1 Sep 1941; New Orleans AB, La, 17 Dec 1941; Daniel Field, Ga, 8 Feb 1942; Smith Reynolds Aprt, NC, 9 Jul 1942; Morris Field, NC, c. 17 Aug-18 Oct 1942; Casablanca, French Morocco, Nov 1942; Oujda, French Morocco, c. Nov 1942; Berrechid Airfield, French Morocco, 24 Mar 1943; Berteaux, Algeria, 5 Sep 1943; Massicault, Tunisia, Oct 1943; Manduria, Italy, Nov 1943; Blida, Algeria, c. Apr-15 Jun 1944. Hamilton Field, Calif, 9 Apr 1947-27 Jun 1949. Lake Charles AFB, La, 10 Oct 1951-16 Jun 1952.

Commanders. Unkn, Sep-Dec 1941; Lt Col Guy L McNeil, 15 Dec 1941; Maj John R Fordyce, 30 Jun 1942; Lt Col Eugene C Woltz, 13 Mar 1943; Col Charles D Jones, 8 Aug 1943-c. 15 Jan 1944; Capt Harper L McGrady, unkn; Col Smith, unkn; Col Monro MacCloskey, Marc. May 1944. Col Lowell G Sidling, 26 Oct 1951-c. 16 Jun 1952.

Campaigns. Antisubmarine, American Theater; Air Combat, EAME Theater; Algeria-French Morocco; Naples-Foggia; Rome-Arno.

Decorations. None.

Insigne. Shield: Azure, an eye of the first surmounting a tuft of six feathers, imposed on a tuft of eight feathers, between and at the base of two wings conjoined in the form of a "V" or. Motto: Victoria Per Observatiam - Victory through Observation. (Approved 17 Sep 1942. This insigne was replaced 3 Oct 1952.)

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


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