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356th Fighter Group
Emblem of the 356th Fighter Group
Active 1942-1945
Country United States
Branch United States Army Air Force
Colonel Einar Axel Malmstrom 28 Nov 1943-24 Apr 1944
North American P-51K-5-NT Mustang Serial 44-11564 "Princess Jocelyn" of the 359th Fighter Squadron.
North American P-51s of the 360th Fighter Squadron in protective revetments at Martlesham Heath, 1944.

The 356th Fighter Group is an inactive United States Air Force organization. Its last assignment was with the Army Service Forces, being stationed at Camp Kilmer, New Jersey. It was inactivated on 10 November 1945.

During World War II the group was an Eighth Air Force fighter unit stationed in England. Assigned to RAF Martlesham Heath in 1943. Despite excellent leadership had highest ratio of losses to enemy aircraft claims of all Eighth Air Force fighter groups. It earned a Distinguished Unit Citation for actions on 17, 18 and 23 Sep 1944 for support of Operation Market-Garden airborne forces in the Netherlands.



See 118th Airlift Wing for additional lineage and history information


  • Constituted as 356th Fighter Group on 8 Dec 1942
Activated on 12 Dec 1942
Inactivated on 10 Nov 1945.
  • Redesignated 118th Fighter Group. Allotted to ANG (Temmessee) on 24 May 1946


Attached to: New York Fighter Wing 30 May-4 Jul 1943
Attached to: Boston Fighter Wing 4 Jul-15 Aug 1943
Attached to: 1st Bombardment (later Air) Division, 15 Sep 1944-2 Nov. 1945



Organized and trained in the Northeast United States by First Air Force. Deployed to England aboard the RMS Queen Elizabeth and served in combat as part of VIII Fighter Command from Oct 1943 to May 1945, participating in operations that prepared for the invasion of the Continent, and supporting the landings in Normandy and the subsequent Allied drive across France and Germany. The group flew P-47 Thunderbolts until they were replaced by P-51 Mustangs in November 1944. Aircraft of the 356th were identified by a magenta/blue diamond pattern around their cowling.

The group consisted of the following squadrons:

  • 359th Fighter Squadron (OC) 12 Dec 1942-10 Nov 1945
  • 360th Fighter Squadron (PI) 12 Dec 1942-10 Nov 1945
  • 361st Fighter Squadron (QI) 12 Dec 1942-10 Nov 1945

From October 1943 until January 1944, operated as escort for B-17 Flying Fortress/B-24 Liberator bombers that attacked such objectives as industrial areas, missile sites, airfields, and communications.

Fighters from the 356th engaged primarily in bombing and strafing missions after 3 January 1944, with its targets including U-boat installations, barges, shipyards, aerodromes, hangars, marshalling yards, locomotives, trucks, oil facilities, flak towers, and radar stations. Bombed and strafed in the Arnhem area on 17, 18, and 23 September 1944 to neutralize enemy gun emplacements, and received a Distinguished Unit Citation for this contribution to the airborne attack on Holland.

The group flew its last combat mission, escorting B-17's dropping propaganda leaflets, on 7 May 1945. It returned to Camp Kilmer New Jersey and was inactivated on 10 November 1945.

Redesignated 118th Fighter Group. Allotted to Tennessee Air National Guard on 24 May 1946


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

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