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414th Fighter Group: Wikis


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414th Fighter Group
414th Fighter Group Insignia
Active 1944–1946;1955-1969
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Role Fighter
Part of Twentieth Air Force
Air Defense Command
Engagements World War II Victory Medal ribbon.svg Asiatic-Pacific Campaign ribbon.svg
  • World War II
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign (1944–1945)

The 414th Fighter Group (414th FG) is an inactive United States Air Force unit. It was last assigned to Air Defense Command, being inactivated at Oxnard Air Force Base, California on 31 December 1969.



The unit served primarily in the Pacific Ocean theater of World War II as part of Twentieth Air Force. The 414th Fighter Group's aircraft flew very long range (VLR) escort missions of B-29 Superfortress bombardment groups against Japan.

Air defense of Southern California, 1955-1969



  • Constituted as 414th Fighter Group on 5 Oct 1944
Activated on 15 Oct 1944
Inactivated on 30 Sep 1946
  • Reactivated as 533d Air Defense Group, 15 Feb 1953
  • Established as 414th Fighter Group (Air Defense) on 10 Jun 1955
Activated on 18 Aug 1955 by redesignation of 533d Air Defense Group
Inactivated on 31 Dec 1969


Operational units

Aircraft flown

  • P-47 Thunderbolt
  • F-94C, 1952-1956
  • F-89D/H/J, 1956-1960
  • F-101B, 1960-1968
  • F-106, 1968-1969


Operational history

Constituted as 414th Fighter Group on October 5, 1944 and activated on October 15. Equipped with P-47 Thunderbolts. Most of the pilots had been flying Curtiss P-40s at Harris Neck, GA. The Group consisted of three squadrons, the 413th, 437th and 456th.

In November 1944 the Group relocated to Selfridge Airfield, Mt. Clemens, Michigan where they transitioned into P-47N Thunderbolts. On March 19, 1945, the Group relocated to Bluethenthal Airfield, Wilmington, NC, in preparation for their departure to the Pacific war zone.

An advance echelon went on ahead by ship, in May 1945 and two shipments went on converted aircraft carriers carrying the P-47Ns (109 of them). The first carrier was the U.S.S. Esperance, with personnel and 49 planes aboard, which shipped over in early June. The 414th Group was assigned to the Twentieth Air Force VII Fighter Command, 301st Fighter Wing.

The second aircraft carrier, the C.V.E. Casablanca, with 49 planes on the flight deck and 11 on the hanger deck, and personnel, departed July 7, 1945 and arrived at Guam July 22, 1945. The earlier carrier group (BX Shipment), based temporarily on Guam, went on two missions to Truk, one of the Carolines, on July 13 and 22. They had had reports that the Japanese were hiding planes but there were none seen: one man was lost on one of the missions.

Those already on Iwo Jima began operations in late July with an attack against a radar station on Chichi Jima. Operations during August were directed primarily against enemy airfields in Japan but the group also strafed hangers, barracks, ordinance dumps, trains, marshalling yards and shipping. One such raid, on August 1, was to Okazaki but due to a heavy overcast the ground was not visible so a secondary target, Nagoya East, was approached. It was barren of both planes and personnel; some of the buildings were strafed. The line of retirement took the group over the primary target, Okazaki, and there were no aircraft visible there either.

Specially-assigned B-29 navigation "pathfinders" led the Thunderbolts to and from Japan; even so, not every fighter could rendezvous on time for the return journey. It was a daunting prospect for the pilot who had to find his own way back 600 miles to a small island in a vast ocean. On return from another of the Group's first operations over Kyūshū on August 8, in support of B-29s bombing Yawata, the fuel supplies of several Thunderbolts were exhausted, due to siphoning, and pilots had to bail out in the vicinity of US warships patrolling the mission flight lanes. Lt. Robert Dunnavant, piloting a 437th Fighter Squadron P-47N, spent the astonishing period of 8 hours and 45 minutes in the air. His aircraft's fuel tanks were so depleted when he eventually reached Iwo, that he dared not try to reach his base at North Field, landing instead at a small US Navy airstrip he located on the coast.

On August 12, 1945, the second carrier group took off from Guam for Iwo Jima with B-29s as navigational planes, but they ran into severe weather and had to abort to Tinian and Saipan. One pilot, Roy Abbott, spun out of the weather and crashed to the ocean in flames. Another, George W. Caka, continued on through the weather on his own and wound up over the 3rd Fleet, 300 miles N.E. of Iwo. He bailed out and was picked up out of the ocean unconscious; he too died, and was buried at sea. On August 16, the second carrier group again departed from Guam, where they had re-gathered, and flew the 720 miles to Iwo. Further missions to the Empire were planned but were called off shortly before their departure times.

One final mission was flown over Japan, on August 30, 1945, three days before the September 2 V-J day. The planes, B-29s and P-47s arrived at the same time the first wave was going into the mainland and the treaty was being finalized by MacArthur on the Missouri. As a show of force, a low, aggressive flyby over Tokyo and the surrounding area was undertaken. In total, the Group went on five missions to "the Empire" from Iwo (including this last one) and two to Chichi Jima.

The Group was reassigned to 13th Air Force at Clark Field in the Philippines in mid-December 1945. The relocation from Iwo was made with a brief stopover in Okinawa. The Group flew P-47Ns and P-51s in early 1946, and then a few P-80 Shooting Stars. In mid 1946 the Group relocated to Florida Blanca, in the Philippines (South of Clark Field) and was inactivated, and then redesignated the 18th Fighter Group under the command of Col. Bushey. There were 10 jets and 15 P-51s per squadron. The P-47s were flown back to Clark Field and demolished.

On September 30, 1946 the Group was inactivated.


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.

External links


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