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358th Fighter Group
358fightergroup-emblem.jpg
Emblem of the 358th Fighter Group
Active 1943-1945
Country United States
Branch United States Army Air Force
Type Fighter

The 358th Fighter Group is an inactive United States Army Air Force unit. Its last assignment was with the Second Air Force stationed at La Junta Army Air Field , Colorado. It was inactivated on 7 Nov 1945.

During World War II, the group was assigned to both Eighth and Ninth Air Forces in England, flying its first combat mission on 20 December 1943. It was one of the most honored Fighter Groups in the European Theater, earning three Distinguished Unit Citations for its actions in combat and also the French Croix de Guerre with Palm, for assisting in the liberation of France. It flew its last mission on 7 May 1945.

The 358th was redesignated as the 122d Fighter Group, and allotted to the Indiana Air National Guard on 24 May 1946.

Contents

History

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Lineage

  • Constituted as 358th Fighter Group on 20 Dec 1942
Activated on 1 Jan 1943
Inactivated on 7 Nov 1945

Assignments

Attached to: Philadelphia Fighter Wing, 28 Apr-Sep 1943
Attached to: VIII Fighter Command, 20 Oct 1943
Attached to: IX Tactical Air Command, 1 Aug 1944
Attached to: IX Tactical Air Command, 1 Oct 1944

Stations

Components

  • 365th Fighter Squadron: 1 Jan 1943-7 Nov 1945
  • 366th Fighter Squadron: 1 Jan 1943-7 Nov 1945
  • 367th Fighter Squadron: 1 Jan 1943-7 Nov 1945

Aircraft

Operations

Republic P-47D-30-RA Thunderbolt Serial No. 44-33240 of the 356th Fighter Squadron

Trained in the Mid-Atlantic United States with P-40 Warhawks, 1943. While in training also used for air defense of Philadelphia area. Moved to England during Sep-Oct 1943 Equipped with P-47 Thunderbolts. Began operations on 20 Dec 1943 and served in combat with Eighth and, later, Ninth Air Forces until V-E Day.

Attached to Eighth Air Force, engaged in escort work until Apr 1944 to cover the operations of bombers that the AAF sent against targets on the Continent. Dive-bombed marshalling yards and airfields during Apr to help prepare for the invasion of Normandy. Continued attacks on enemy communications and flew escort missions during May. Escorted troop carriers over the Cotentin Peninsula on 6 and 7 Jun, and attacked bridges, rail lines and trains, vehicles, and troop concentrations during the remainder of the month.

Moved to the Continent in Jul and took part in operations that resulted in the Allied breakthrough at St Lo. Continued to fly escort, interdictory, and close-support missions during the Allied drive across France and into Germany, earning four citations before the end of the war. Reassigned to Ninth Air Force in August.

Received first DUC for operations from 24 Dec 1944 to 2 Jan 1945 when the group not only supported Seventh Army by attacking rail lines and rolling stock, vehicles, buildings, and artillery, but also destroyed numerous fighter planes during a major assault by the German Air Force against Allied airfields. Received second DUC for 19-2o Mar 1945, a period in which the 358th destroyed and damaged large numbers of motor transports and thus hampered the evacuation of German forces that were withdrawing from the area west of the Rhine. Received third DUC for performance between 8 and 25 Apr 1945 when the group attacked enemy airfields in the region of Munich and Ingolstadt, engaged the enemy in aerial combat, and supported advancing ground forces by attacking such targets as motor transports, tanks, loco¬motives, guns, and buildings. Received fourth citation, the French Croix de Guerre with Palm, for assisting in the liberation of France.

Reassigned to Second Air Force in Jul 1945 and programmed for deployment to Okinawa to take part in planned invasion of Japan. Equipped with long-range P-47N Thunderbolt and began training until Atomic Bomb attacks ended the Pacific War.

Inactivated on 7 Nov 1945.

References

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

  • Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0892010924.
  • Johnson, David C. (1988), U.S. Army Air Forces Continental Airfields (ETO), D-Day to V-E Day; Research Division, USAF Historical Research Center, Maxwell AFB, Alabama.

External links


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