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49th Operations Group
Emblem of the 49th Operations Group
Active 1942-1957; 1991-Present
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
World War II Victory Medal ribbon.svg Asiatic-Pacific Campaign ribbon.svg Army of Occupation ribbon.svg
KSMRib.svg Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary ribbon.svg Iraq Campaign ribbon.svg
  • World War II
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign (1942–1945)
  • Army of Occupation (Japan)
  • Korean Service (1950–1951)
  • Global War on Terrorism
Iraq Campaign (2003, TBD)
Lockheed Martin F-22A Block 30 Raptor 05-4084 of the 7th Fighter Squadron

The 49th Operations Group (49 OG) is the operational flying component of the United States Air Force 49th Fighter Wing. It is stationed at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, and is a part of Air Combat Command (ACC).

During World War II, the units predecessor unit, the 49th Fighter Group operated primarily in the Southwest Pacific Theater as part of Fifth Air Force. The group earned three Distinguished Unit Citations (DUC) for engaging the enemy in frequent and intense aerial combat in numerous campaigns between 1942 and 1945. During the Korean War, the unit initially covered the evacuation of civilian personnel from Kimpo and Suwon in 1950, later flying missions in support of United Nations ground forces, hitting gun positions, troop concentrations, and other objectives until the 1953 Armistice, remaining in South Korea for a time afterward.

During the modern era, 49th Operations group F-117A Stealth fighters were engaged in combat during Operation Desert Storm in 1991, and in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 1993.



The 49th Operations Group (Tail Code: HO) supports national security objectives, as directed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, by utilizing the Air Force's F-22A Raptor Stealth Fighter aircraft and in training U.S. Air Force and allied aircrews in F-22A and T-38 transition, instructor and fighter weapons instructor courses.

Squadrons assigned to the group are:

The 7th Fighter Squadron "Screamin' Demons" maintain combat readiness to deploy worldwide in accordance with Secretary of Defense taskings. Operating the F-22A Raptor, the squadron provides unsurpassed air dominance in the world's most dangerous threat arenas. Members of the 7th Fighter Squadron participated in the first 49th Fighter Group's air engagement, downing five enemy aircraft on 12 March 1942.
  • 49th Operations Support Squadron
The 49th Operations Support Squadron is made up of seven flights including Weather, Aircrew Flight Equipment, Airfield Operations, White Sands Radar, Intelligence, Current Operations and Weapons and Tactics. These flights support the wing, tenant units and Army's White Sands Missile Range. The Weather Flight provides operational observing, forecasting and staff weather support. They provide 26 specific types of weather warnings and advisories to 60 base agencies to ensure proper resource protection and flight safety of base assets worth over $7 billion.


For additional lineage and history, see 49th Fighter Wing


  • Established as 49 Pursuit Group (Interceptor) on 20 Nov 1940
Activated on 15 Jan 1941
Redesignated: 49 Fighter Group on 15 May 1942
Redesignated: 49 Fighter Group, Single Engine, on 20 Aug 1943
Redesignated: 49 Fighter Group on 6 Nov 1944
Redesignated: 49 Fighter-Bomber Group on 1 Feb 1950
Inactivated on 10 Dec 1957
  • Redesignated: 49 Tactical Fighter Group on 31 Jul 1985 (Remained Inactive)
  • Redesignated: 49 Operations Group on 1 Nov 1991
Activated on 15 Nov 1991.


Attached to III Interceptor Command, 9 Aug-1 Oct 1941
Attached to: 310th Bombardment Wing, 1 Feb 1944-
Remained attached to: 310th Bombardment Wing until 1 May 1944
Attached to: 86th Fighter Wing, 1 May 1944-
Remained attached to: 86th Fighter Wing entire time
Remained attached to: 86th Fighter Wing entire time
Remained attached to: 86th Fighter Wing entire time
Remained attached to: 86th Fighter Wing entire time
Remained attached to: 86th Fighter Wing until 9 Jan 1945
Attached to: 310th Bombardment Wing, 9 Jan-29 May
Attached to: 309th Bombardment Wing, 29 May-25 Sep 1945
Attached to: 310th Bombardment Wing, 25 Sep-10 Nov 1945
Attached to: 8th Fighter-Bomber Wing, 7 Aug-30 Sep 1950
Attached to: 6149 Tactical Support Wing, 1 Oct-30 Nov 1950
Attached to: 58th Fighter-Bomber Wing, 16-31 Mar 1953
Attached to: Japan Air Defense Force, 2 Nov 1953-31 Aug 1954
Attached to: Fifth Air Force, 1 Sep 1954-15 Apr 1957


  • 7 Pursuit (later, 7 Fighter; 7 Fighter-Bomber; 7 Fighter; 7 Combat Training; 7 Fighter): 16 Jan 1941-10 Dec 1957; 15 Nov 1991-Present
  • 8 Pursuit (later, 8 Fighter; 8 Fighter-Bomber; 8 Fighter): 16 Jan 1941-10 Dec 1957; 15 Nov 1991-2007
  • 9 Pursuit (later, 9 Fighter; 9 Fighter-Bomber; 9 Fighter): 16 Jan 1941-10 Dec 1957; 15 Nov 1991-2007
  • 20 Fighter: 1 Jul 1993-20 Dec 2004
  • 48 Rescue: 1 May 1993-1 Feb 1999
  • 415 Fighter: 8 Jul 1992-1 Jul 1993
  • 416 Fighter: 8 Jul 1992-1 Jul 1993
  • 417 Fighter: 8 Jul 1992-1 Dec 1993
  • 433 Fighter: 15 Nov 1991-8 Jul 1992
  • 435 Fighter: 12 May 1993-1 Apr 1997.



  • P-35, 1941
  • P-40, 1941-1944
  • P-47, 1943-1944
  • P-38, 1943, 1944-1946
  • P-51, 1946-1950
  • F-80, 1948-1951
  • F-84, 1951-1957
  • F-86, 1956-1957
  • F-100, 1957
  • F-15, 1991-1992
  • F-4, 1992-2004
  • F-117, 1992-2007
  • F-22, 2007-Present


World War II

P-40E of the 7th Fighter Squadron - 49th Fighter Group - Australia - March 1942

The 'Group has its origins at Selfridge Field, Michigan in June 1941 when the 49th Pursuit Group (Interceptor) was activated. The group trained with Seversky P-35s and consisted of three operational squadrons (7th, 8th, and 9th).

With the advent of World War II, the group moved to Australia and became part of Fifth Air Force in January 1942. It was redesignated as the 49th Fighter Group in May 1942. The unit received Curtiss P-40 Warhawks in Australia and, after training for a short time, provided air defense for the Northern Territory, being awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation for engaging the enemy in frequent and intense aerial combat while operating with limited materiel and facilities for the period March–August 1942.

The group moved to New Guinea in October 1942 to help stall the Japanese drive southward from Buna to Port Moresby. Engaged primarily in air defense of Port Moresby; also escorted bombers and transports, and attacked enemy installations, supply lines, and troop concentrations in support of Allied ground forces.

The 49th participated in the Allied offensive that pushed the Japanese back along the Buna trail, took part in the Battle of the Bismarck Sea in March 1943, fought for control of the approaches to Huon Gulf, and supported ground forces during the campaign in which the Allies eventually recovered New Guinea. It covered the landings on Noemfoor and had a part in. the conquest of Biak..

After having used Lockheed P-38 Lightnings, Curtiss P-40 Warhawks and Republic P-47 Thunderbolts, the 49th was equipped completely in September 1944 with P-38's, which were used to fly long-range escort and attack missions to Mindanao, Halmahera, Seram, and Borneo. The unit arrived in the Philippines in October 1944, shortly after the assault landings on Leyte and engaged enemy fighters, attacked shipping in Ormoc Bay, supported ground forces, and covered the Allied invasion of Luzon. For or intensive operations against the Japanese on Leyte, the group was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation.

Other missions from the Philippines included strikes against industry and transportation on Formosa and against shipping along the China coast. By the war's end, the group's pilots destroyed 668 enemy aircraft (there may be some disagreement here as the 49th group site lists 678 but most sources agree at 668) [1] [2], a record surpassing that of any other fighter group in the Pacific Theater. The group's World War II activities merited two Philippines Republic Presidential Unit Citations, three U.S. Distinguished Unit Citations, and 10 battle honors. Among the unit's 43 aces were Lt. Colonel Boyd D. "Buzz" Wagner, the first World War II ace in the Pacific Theater, and Major Richard I. Bong, whose 40 kills made him America's number one ace (a record that still stands). The 49th soon became endeared to the American people through the nickname, "Fighting 49ers."

The 49th moved to Okinawa in August 1945 and to Japan in September. As part of the Army of occupation in Japan, the 49th Fighter Group trained, took part in maneuvers, and flew surveillance patrols, as part of Far East Air Forces. The group was equipped with North American P-51 Mustangs in 1946, with Lockheed F-80 Shooting Stars being added in 1948.

Korean War

Lockheed F-80C-10-LO Shooting Star serial 49-689 of the 49th Fighter-Bomber Group at Taegu AB (K-9) South Korea, 1950
F-84G-25-RE Thunderjet serial 52-3249 of the 9th Fighter-Bomber Squadron being refuled over Korea, 1953

With the outbreak of the Korean War in June 1950, the 49th Fighter-Bomber Wing was one of the first USAF units dispatched to Korea from Japan, its tactical squadrons began operations with P-51D Mustangs. Initially under its parent wing, the 49th was reassigned to the 8th Fighter-Bomber Wing during July through September, and finally the 6149th Tactical Support Wing during October and November 1950. Korean War squadrons of the 49th were the 7th, 8th and 9th Fighter-Bomber Squadrons.

The 49th's first task in South Korea was to cover the evacuation of civilians from Kimpo and Suwon. Next, it flew close air support missions to help slow the advancing North Korean armies. Later, it turned to the interdiction of enemy troops, supplies and communications.

Phasing out its F-51s for Lockheed F-80C Shooting Stars jets, the 49th FBW moved to Taegu AB (K-9) on October 1, 1950, becoming the first jet fighter outfit to operate from bases in South Korea. It received a Distinguished Unit Citation for its combat operations during the first five months of the war.

When the Chinese Communist Forces (CCF) Intervention Campaign gained momentum in 1950–1951, the group again concentrated on ground support missions. It converted to Republic F-84G Thunderjets, June–September 1951, one squadron at a time, while the others continued combat operations. The 49th FBG earned another DUC for its contribution to the success of the 1st UN Counteroffensive Campaign (1951). Afterwards, it engaged primarily in air interdiction operations against the main enemy channel of transportation, the roads and railroads between Pyongyang and Sinuiju. Also, it flew close air support missions for the ground forces and attacked high value targets, including the Sui-ho hydroelectric plants in June 1952 and the Kumgang Political School in October 1952.

On July 27, 1953, the 49th FBG joined the 58th FBG to bomb Sunan Airfield for the final action of F-84 fighter-bombers during the Korean War. The unit was one of the most decorated Air Force units in the Korean conflict, having earned two Republic of Korea Presidential Unit citations and another eight battle honors. Such accomplishments earned the wing a niche in United States Air Force history.

The wing remained in Korea for a time after the armistice. It was reassigned to Misawa AB, Japan on November 2, 1953 and provided air defense for Japan through 1957. Made non-operational due to budget restrictions 10 Apr 1957, reassigned as a paper unit to France when it's controlling 388th Fighter-Bomber Wing was redesignated as 49th Fighter-Bomber Wing but not made operational, 1Inactivated on 10 Dec 1957.

Modern era

Lockheed F-117A of the 49th Operations Groupgoo

In 1991, resumed operations after 49th Fighter Wing implemented Objective Organization and assigned all flying units to the redesignated 49th Operations Group. It deployed aircraft and crews to Southwest Asia for combat air patrol around Kuwait. In Mar 1992, also began basic fighter training for USAF crews. Under the 49 Fighter Wing, the group managed the only stealth fighter squadrons in the Air Force. Personnel and aircraft deployed periodically to Southwest Asia to enforce no-fly zones over Iraq, take part in shows of force, and support United Nations weapons inspectors. One of the group's squadrons flew HH-60 helicopters for search and rescue missions from 1993 to 1999.

Trained German Air Force pilots in the F-4, 1992-2004, and Taiwanese Air Force fighter pilots in the AT-38, 1993-1997. During the winter and spring of 1999, the group deployed stealth fighters and their crews to Europe for stealth fighter air strikes against Serbia.

People, airplanes, and equipment of the 49th Operations Group a key role in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. The wing's F-117s played a major role, dropping the first bombs against an Iraqi leadership target in Baghdad on March 19, 2003. In all, F-117 pilots flew more than 80 missions and dropped nearly 100 enhanced guided bomb units against key targets. Approximately 300 people deployed with the air package and provided direct support to the F-117 mission. Additionally, hundreds of other 49ers such as explosive ordinance disposal teams of the 49th Civil Engineer Squadron served on the front line of the war against Iraq providing freedom for the people of Iraq and security for the people of the world.

See also


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

  1. ^ Protect & Avenge S. W. Ferguson and William K. Pascalis
  2. ^ 49th Fighter Group Aces in the Pacific Osprey Books
  • 49th Operations Group Factsheet
  • Ferguson, Steve W. and William K. Pascalis. Protect & Avenge: The 49th Fighter Group in World War II. Atglen, Pennsylvania: Schiffer Publishing, 1995. ISBN 0-88740-750-1.
  • Hess, William N. 49th Fighter Group: Aces of the Pacific. Botley, Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing Ltd., 2004. ISBN 1-84176-785-7.
  • McAuliffe, Jerome J. US Air Force in France 1950-1967. San Diego, California: Milspec Press, Chapter 11, Etain-Rouvres Air Base, 2005. ISBN 0-9770371-1-8.
  • McDowell, Ernest R. 49th Fighter Group. Carrollton, Texas: Squadron/Signal, Inc., 1989. ISBN 0-89747-221-7.
  • Maurer, Maurer. Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama: Office of Air Force History, 1983. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.
  • Thompson, Warren. F-84 Thunderjet Units Over Korea. Botley, Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing. 2000. ISBN 1-84176-022-6.
  • Thompson, Warren. F-80 Shooting Star Units over Korea. Botley, Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing, 2001. ISBN 1-84176-225-3.
  • [1] USAAS-USAAC-USAAF-USAF Aircraft Serial Numbers—1908 to present
  • Holloman AFB Home Page

External links


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