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359th Fighter Group: Wikis


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359th Fighter Group
Emblem of the 359th Fighter Group
Active 1943 - 1945
Country United States
Branch United States Army Air Forces
Role Fighter
Part of Eighth Air Force
Garrison/HQ European Theatre of World War II
Republic P-47D-5-RE Thunderbolts of the 359th Fighter Group. Foreground is Serial 42-8596 (CV-P) "Marryin' Sam" of the 368th Fighter Squadron. Flown by Lt William R. Simmons, the aircraft was named from the Al Capp cartoon strip.
North American P-51D-5-NA Mustang Serial 44-13404 (CV-Z) of the 368th Fighter Squadron painted in D-Day Invasion markings, June 1944. The pilot of this aircraft, Lt. Louis E. Barnett was killed on 12 September 1944.

The 359th 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 10 November 1945.

During World War II the group was an Eighth Air Force fighter unit stationed in England. Assigned to RAF East Wretham in 1943. It flew 346 combat missions and claimed 253 air and 98 ground aircraft destroyed. It flew its last mission on 20 April 1945.



See 123d Airlift Wing for additional lineage and history information


  • Constituted as 359th Fighter Group on 20 December 1942
Activated on 5 January 1943
Inactivated on 10 November 1945
Redesignated 123d Fighter Group. Allocated to ANG (Ky) on 24 May 1946


Attached to: New York Fighter Wing, 11 July-23 August 1943
Attached to: Boston Fighter Wing, 23 August-2 October 1943
Attached to: 1st Bombardment (later Air) Division, 15 September 1944- 2 November 1945

Operational Units

  • 368th Fighter Squadron (CV) 15 January 1943-10 November 1945
  • 369th Fighter Squadron (IV) 15 January 1943-10 November 1945
  • 370th Fighter Squadron (CS) 15 January 1943-10 November 1945


Aircraft Flown


Organized and trained in New England during 1943. Moved to England in January 1944, being assigned to VIII Fighter Command.

The 359th FG entered combat in mid-December 1943 after some of the pilots had already flown combat missions with another fighter group. Began operations with P-47s, later converting to P-51s in April 1944. In combat the group flew escort, patrol, strafing, dive-bombing, and weather-reconnaissance missions. At first, engaged primarily in escort activities to cover B-17/B-24 bombers that attacked airfields in France, and later expanded their area of operations to provide escort for bombers that struck rail centers in Germany and oil targets in Poland.

The group supported the invasion of Normandy during June 1944 by patrolling the English Channel, escorting bombardment formations to the French coast, and dive-bombing and strafing bridges, locomotives, and rail lines near the battle area.

During the period July 1944 - February 1945, the group engaged chiefly in escorting bombers to oil refineries, marshalling yards, and other targets in such cities as Ludwigshafen, Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Berlin, Merseburg, and Brux. The 359th FG received a Distinguished Unit Citation for operations over Germany on 11 September 1944 when the group protected a formation of heavy bombers against large numbers of enemy fighters.

In addition to its escort duties, the 359th supported campaigns in France during July and August 1944, bombed enemy positions to support the airborne invasion of Holland in September, and participated in the Battle of the Bulge (December 1944-January 1945). The group flew missions to support the assault across the Rhine in March 1945, and escorted medium bombers that attacked various communications targets, February-April 1945.

The 359th Bomb Group returned to Camp Kilmer, New Jersey and was inactivated on 10 November 1945.

Redesignated 123d Fighter Group. Allotted to Kentucky Air National Guard on 24 May 1946.




  • Freeman, Roger A. Airfields of the Eighth: Then and Now. After the Battle, 1978. ISBN 0-90091-309-6.
  • Freeman, Roger A. The Mighty Eighth: The Colour Record. Cassell & Company, 1991. ISBN 0-304-35708-1.
  • Maurer, Maurer, Air Force Combat Units of World War II, Office of Air Force history (1961). ISBN 0-40512-194-6
  • Maurer, Maurer, Combat Squadrons of the Air Force, World War II, Office of Air Force history (1982). ISBN 0-8317-1501-4
  • Miller, Kent D. Jigger, Tinplate and Redcross: the 359th Fighter Group in World War II. Fort Wayne, Indiana: Academy Publishing Corporation, 1987.
  • Smith, Jack H. Mustangs and Unicorns: A History of the 359th Fighter Group. Missoula, MT: Pictorial Histories Publishing, 1997. ISBN 1-57510-029-0.
  • Smith, Jack H. 359th Fighter Group. Oxford: Osprey, 2002. ISBN 978-1-84176-440-5.
  • 359th Fighter Group
  • 359th Fighter Group
  • USAF Aircraft Serial Number Search

External links


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