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353d Fighter Group: Wikis


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353d Fighter Group
Emblem of the 353d Fighter Group
Active 1942 - 1945
Country United States
Branch United States Army Air Forces
Role Fighter
Part of VIII Fighter Command
Garrison/HQ European Theatre of World War II
North American P-51D-10-NA Mustang Serial 44-14593 (VJ-V) "Kitten", flown by Lt. John C Jr. "Jack" Gaglan of the 351st Fighter Squadron.
Republic P-47D-25-RE Thunderbolt 42-26422 (LH-E) of the 350th Fighter Squadron

The 353d Fighter Group is an inactive United States Army Air Force organization. Its last assignment was with the Army Service Forces, being stationed at Camp Kilmer, New Jersey. It was inactivated on 18 October 1945.

During World War II the group was an Eighth Air Force fighter unit stationed in England. It pioneered the P-47 dive-bombing and ground attack technique adopted by both Eighth and Ninth Air Forces, flying 447 combat missions. It claimed 330 air and 414 ground aircraft destroyed. The grop flew its last combat mission on 3 May 1945.



See 116th Air Control Wing for additional lineage and history information


  • Constituted as 353d Fighter Group on 29 Sep 1942
Activated on 1 Oct 1942
Inactivated on 18 Oct 1945
  • Redesignated 116th Fighter Group. Allotted to ANG (Ga) on 24 May 1946


Attached to: Philadelphia Fighter Wing, C. 26 Oct 1942—c. 27 May 1943
Attached to: 3d Bombardment (later Air) Division, 15 Sep 1943-10 Oct 1945

Operational Units

  • 350th Fighter Squadron (LH) 1 Oct 1942-18 Oct 1945
  • 351st Fighter Squadron (YJ) 1 Oct 1942-18 Oct 1945
  • 352d Fighter Squadron (SX) 1 Oct 1942-18 Oct 1945




Organized and trained in the Mid-Atlantic states during 1942-1943. Moved to England in January 1944, being assigned to VIII Fighter Command. The 353d FG was assigned to the 66th Fighter Wing, at Sawston Hall, Cambridge. Group markings were black, yellow, black, yellow spinners, with a 48-inch black and yellow check band around the cowling to the end of the exhaust stubs.

Equipped with P-47D Thunderbolts, operations commenced on 12 August 1943. It was the fourth P-47 unit to join the Eighth Air Force. From Metfield the 353d flew numerous counter-air missions and 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.

During the Battle of Normandy, the 353d supported the breakthrough at Saint-Lô in July and received the Distinguished Unit Citation 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 September 1944.

In October 1944, the group converted to the P-51 "Mustang". About this time Raydon was known colloquially as "Bomb Alley" due to the number of German V-1 "Doodlebug" flying bombs which flew directly overhead on their way to London. One V-1 blew up as it went over and the engine narrowly missed the bomb dump in Raydon Great Wood.

The group continued its fighter-bomber, escort, and counter-air activities, participating in the Battle of the Bulge (December 1944-January 1945) and the airborne attack across the Rhine (March 1945).

The 353d flew combat missions until the end of April 1945. After the end of hostilities, the group trained and prepared for transfer to the Pacific Theater. With the end of World War II in September, the group left Raydon and transferred back to Camp Kilmer, New Jersey where it was deactivated on 18 October 1945.

Redesignated 116th Fighter Group. Allotted to Georgia Air National Guard on 24 May 1946


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

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