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52d Operations Group
52d Fighter Wing.png
Active 1940–1972; 1992–Present
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Part of 52d Fighter Wing
Garrison/HQ Spangdahlem Air Base
World War II Victory Medal ribbon.svg European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign ribbon.svg AFEMRib.svg
  • World War II
European Campaign (1942–1945)
  • Expeditionary Service
Operation Urgent Fury
Operation Just Cause
Operation Southern Watch
Operation Coronet Macaw
Operation Restore Hope
Operation Support Justice
Operation Uphold Democracy
General Dynamics F-16C Block 40B Fighting Falcon Serial 88-0416 of the 23d FS
Fairchild Republic A-10A Thunderbolt II Serial 81-0952 of the 81st FS

The 52d Operations Group (52 OG) is the flying component of the 52d Fighter Wing, assigned to the United States Air Forces in Europe. The group is stationed at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany.



The 52nd Operations Group maintains, deploys and employs F-16 Falcon; A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft and TPS-75 radar systems in support of NATO and the national defense directives. The 52 OG supports the Supreme Allied Commander Europe with mission-ready personnel and systems providing expeditionary air power for suppression of enemy air defenses, close air support, air interdiction, counterair, air strike control, strategic attack, combat search and rescue, and theater airspace control.

The group also supports contingencies and operations other than war as required.

Assigned Units

The 52 OG (Tail Code: SP) commands three flying squadrons, one air control and one support squadron

Activated on 22 December 1939, the 22 FG flies the F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft conducting air superiority missions.
Activated on 1 February 1940, the 23 FG flies the F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft conducting air superiority missions.
Activated on 15 January 1942, the 81 FG flies the A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft conducting close air support missions.
  • 52nd Operations Support Squadron
Responsible for all facets of airfield operations, or ops, air traffic control, weather, aircrew life support and training, intelligence analysis and support, weapons and tactics training, 52 FW battle staff operations, airspace scheduling, range ops and wing flying hour program.
  • 606 Air Control Squadron
The 606th ACS is a self-contained mobile combat unit including the TPS-75 Radar. The unit provides daily command and control to the 52 OG's three flying squadrons in addition to the occasional control of NATO AWACS from Gelsenkirchen AB and visiting aircraft from around the USAFE Theater.




  • Established as 52 Pursuit Group (Interceptor) on 20 Nov 1940
Activated on 16 Jan 1941
Redesignated 52 Fighter Group on 15 May 1942
Inactivated on 7 Nov 1945
  • Redesignated 52 Fighter Group (All Weather) on 18 Oct 1946
Activated on 9 Nov 1946
Redesignated: 52 Fighter Group, All Weather, on 10 May 1948
Redesignated: 52 Fighter-All Weather Group on 20 Jan 1950
Redesignated: 52 Fighter-Interceptor Group on 1 May 1951
Inactivated on 6 Feb 1952
  • Redesignated 52 Fighter Group (Air Defense) on 20 Jun 1955
Activated on 18 Aug 1955 by redesignation of 519th Air Defense Group
Discontinued, and inactivated, on 1 Jul 1963, components assigned to 52d Fighter Wing (Air Defense).
  • Activated on 30 Sep 1968
Inactivated on 31 Dec 1969
  • Redesignated 52 Tactical Fighter Group on 17 Feb 1970
Activated on 1 Apr 1971
Inactivated on 31 Jul 1972
  • Redesignated 52 Operations Group on 1 Mar 1992
Activated on 31 Mar 1992.

Note: The Air Defense Command 519th Air Base Group was activated on 6 February 1952, at Suffolk County AFB, New York. Redesignated 519th Air Defense Group on 16 Feb 1953, the unit was redesignated as the 52d Fighter Group (Air Defense) on 18 Aug 1955 as part of the ADC "Project Arrow", which redesignated notable World War II combat units.


Attached to Tunis Fighter Sector, c. 19 Jan 1943



Detachment operated at Atlantic City Airport, New Jersey, 30 Sep 1968 – 31 Dec 1969

Aircraft assigned

Operational History

World War II

The unit was constituted as 52nd Pursuit Group (Interceptor) on 20 November 1940 and was activated on 15 January 1941. It was redesignated to 52nd Fighter Group in May 1942 and trained with P-39 Airacobra and Curtiss P-40 aircraft, and the 52nd trained and participated in maneuvers with them from 1941–1942 till it moved to the United Kingdom, the air echelon arriving in July 1942 and the ground echelon in August.

It trained with the Royal Air Force as part of Eighth Air Force and flew missions from England to France during August and September of that year. Group pilots flew Spitfires from Gibraltar to Algeria during the invasion of North Africa on 8 November 1942. The remainder of the group arrived by ship after the campaign had ended. The group then operated as part of Twelfth Air Force through April 1944, thereafter becoming a part of Fifteenth Air Force, serving in combat in the Mediterranean until the end of the war. It flew escort, patrol, strafing, and reconnaissance missions to help defeat Axis forces in Tunisia. In Sicily, it attacked railroads, highways, bridges, coastal shipping and other targets to support the Allied operations. Having converted to P-51s in April and May 1944, the group escorted bombers that attacked objectives in Italy, France, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Hungary, Romania, and Yugoslavia. It received a Distinguished Unit Citation (DUC) for a mission on 9 June 1944 when the group protected bombers that struck aircraft factories, communications centers, and supply lines in Germany. The 52d flew one of the first shuttle missions to Russia from August 4–6, 1944, and received a second DUC for strafing attacks on a landing field in Romania on 31 August 1944, destroying a large number of enemy fighter and transport planes. On 24 March 1945, the group's aircraft flew the longest escort mission ever flown in Europe—1600 miles round-trip to Berlin. The 52nd returned to the US in August 1945 and was inactivated on 7 November 1945.[1]

Cold War

The 52nd was reactivated in Germany on 9 November 1946 and was assigned to United States Air Forces in Europe as an occupation unit. From 1946 to 1947, the 52d served as fighter group in Germany and in November 1947 it was transferred, without personnel and equipment, to the United States in June 1947 an redesignated 52d Fighter Group (All Weather) in May 1948, and thereafter 52nd Fighter-Interceptor Group in May 1951 flying P-61 Black Widows and later F-82 Twin Mustangs, later with Lockheed F-94 Starfires jet interceptors beginning 1950. The 52nd was inactivated on 6 February 1952.[2]

The 52nd was reactivated on 18 August 1955 and designated 52nd Fighter Group (Air Defense). It was assigned to Air Defense Command and equipped with F-86D Sabre aircraft. It served as an air defense unit in the New York/New Jersey area of the United States until being inactivated at the end of 1969.

With the deactivation of the 86th Air Division in 1970, the 52d Fighter Group was activated at Erding AB, West Germany under Seventeenth Air Force in 1971. The group took over the function of the 86th AD at Erding and performed a F-102 Delta Dagger NATO air defense mission. In 1972 the F-102s were withdrawn from Europe and the 52d FG was deactivated.

Modern Era

On 31 March 1992, the 52d Operations Group was activated as a result of the 52d Fighter Wing implementing the USAF objective wing organization. Upon activation, the 52d OG was bestowed the lineage and history of the 52d Fighter Group and assumed responsibility of the 52 Fighter Wing's operational squadrons.

During the 1990s, the wing supported no-fly zone operations over Bosnia and northern Iraq and combat operations against Serbia during Operation Allied Force in 1999. After terrorist attacks on the United States in 2001, the wing supported Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, deploying combat and support elements in support of US and NATO missions.


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

  1. ^ Maurer 1983, pp. 113–114.
  2. ^ Maurer 1983, p. 114.
  • Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0892010924.
  • Ravenstein, Charles A. (1984). Air Force Combat Wings Lineage and Honors Histories 1947–1977. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0912799129.
  • USAF 33d Fighter Group Factsheet
  • Rust, Kenn C. Fifteenth Air Force Story...In World War II. Temple City, California: Historical Aviation Album, 1976. ISBN 0-911852-79-4.
  • 52nd Fighter Group. History of the 52nd Fighter Group. Suffolk County Air Force Base, New York: 52nd Fighter Group, 1958.
  • Ivie, Tom and Paul Ludwig. Spitfires and Yellow Tail Mustangs: The 52nd Fighter Group in World War 2. Crowborough, East Sussex, UK: Hikoki Publications, 2005. ISBN 1-90210-943-0.

External links


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