Constituted as 27th Bombardment Group (Light) on 22 Dec 1939. Activated on 1 Feb 1940. Sailed for the Philippine Islands on 1 Nov 1941 and arrived at Manila on 20 Nov. The group's planes (A-24's), which had not arrived by 7 Dec, were diverted to Australia after the Japanese attack on the Philippines. The group's commander and 20 pilots who were flown from Luzon to Australia to get the aircraft did not return because of the deterioration of the situation in the Philippines; some of these pilots saw service in Java, Feb-May 1942, before they were assigned to another group. The men left on Luzon served as infantrymen in the battles of Bataan and Corregidor; though a few managed to escape, most were either killed or taken prisoners of war by the Japanese. The 27th group was transferred, without personnel and equipment, from Australia to the US in May 1942.
Remanned and equipped with A-20's. Trained in the US until Nov 1942. Moved to North Africa. Converted to A-36 aircraft. Began operations with Twelfth AF in Jun 1943 and served in the Mediterranean theater until the end of the war. Converted to P-40's in Jan 1944 and to P-47's in Jun 1944. Redesignated 27th Fighter-Bomber Group in Aug 1943, and 17th Fighter Group in May 1944. Participated in the reduction of Pantelleria and Lampedusa. Supported ground forces during the conquest of Sicily. Covered the landings at Salerno and received a DUC for preventing three German armored divisions from reaching the Salerno beachhead, 10 Sep 1943. Supported Fifth Army during the Allied drive toward Rome. Took part in the invasion Southern France and assisted Seventh Army's advance up the Rhone Valley, receiving a DUC for helping to disrupt the German retreat, 4 Sep 1944. Took part in the interdiction of the enemy's communications in northern Italy, and assisted in the Allied drive from France into Germany during the last months of the war. Returned to the US, Oct-Nov 1945. Inactivated on 7 Nov 1945.
Activated in Germany on 20 Aug 1946. Assigned to United States Air Forces in Europe and equipped with P-47's. Transferred, without personnel and equipment, to the US in Jun 1947. Assigned to Strategic Air Command. Equipped with P-51's in 1947, F-81's in 1948, and F-84's in 1950. Redesignated 27th Fighter-Escort Group in Feb 1950. Moved to the Far East late in 1950 for temporary duty with Far East Air Forces during the Korean War. Operated first from a base in Korea and later from Japan, supporting ground forces, escorting bombers, and flying armed reconnaissance missions and counter-air patrols. Returned to the US in Jul 1951. Inactivated on 16 Jun 1952.
Squadrons. 15th: 1940-1941. 465th: 1942. 522nd (formerly 16th): 1940-1945; 1946-1952. 523rd (formerly 17th): 1940-1945; 1946-1952. 524th (formerly 91st): 1941-1945; 1946-1952.
Stations. Barksdale Field, La, 1 Feb 1940; Hunter Field, Ga, 7 Oct 1940-21 Oct 1941; Philippine Islands, 20 Nov 1941; Batchelor, Australia, Mar-4 May 1942; Hunter Field, Ga, 4 May 1942; Key Field, Miss, Jul 1942; Hattiesburg, Miss, 15 Aug 1942; Harding Field, La, 25 Oct-21 Nov 1942; Ste-Barbe-du-Tlelat, Algeria, 26 Dec 1942; Nouvion, Algeria, Jan 1943; Ras el Ma, French Morocco, Apr 1943; Korba, Tunisia, Jun 1943; Sicily, Jul 1943; Italy, Sep 1943; Corsica, Jul 1944; Southern France, Aug 1944; Italy, c. Sep 1944; St-Dizier, France, 22 Feb 1945; Toul/Ochey, France, Mar 1945; Biblis, Germany, Apr 1945; Sandhofen, Germany, Jun 1945; Echterdingen, Germany, 15 Sep-20 Oct 1945; Camp Shanks, NY, Nov 1945. Fritzlar, Germany, 20 Aug 1946; Bad Kissingen, Germany, 25 Jun 1947; Andrews Field, Md, 25 Jun 1947; Kearney AAFld, Neb, 16 Jul 1947; Bergstrom AFB, Tex, 16 Mar 1949-16 Jun 1952.
Commanders. Col Clarence L Tinker, 1 Feb 1940; Lt Col W Wright, unkn; Col Guy L McNeil, Jul 1941; Col John H Davies, unkn-c. Apr 1942; Lt Col Harry F Van Leuven, 14 Jul 1942; Lt Col John D Stevenson, 11 Apr 1943; Col Dorr E Newton Jr, 6 Aug 1943; Col Stephen B Mack, 22 Apr 1944; Lt Col William R Nevitt, 10 Sep 1944-c. Nov 1945. Col Clarence T Edwinson, c. 20 Aug 1946; Col Robert P Montgomery, Nov 1946; Col Clarence T Edwinson, Feb 1947; Col Edwin A Doss, 15 Aug 1947; Col Ashley B Packard, 21 Jan 1948; Col Cy Wilson, c. Mar 1948; Col Donald M Blakeslee, 7 Dec 1950; Lt Col William E Bertram, 3 Mar 195 1-16 Jun 1952.
Campaigns. World War II: Philippine Islands; Air Combat, EAME Theater; Sicily; Naples-Foggia; Anzio; Rome-Arno; Northern France; Southern France; North Apennines; Rhineland; Central Europe. Korean War: CCF Intervention; 1st UN Counteroffensive; CCF Spring Offensive.
Decorations. Distinguished Unit Citations: Philippine Islands, 7 Dec 1941-10 May 1942; Philippine Islands, 8-22 Dec 1941; Philippine Islands, 6 Jan-8 Mar 1942; Italy, 10 Sep 1943; France, 4 Sep 1944; Korea, 26 Jan-11 Apr 1951. Philippine Presidential Unit Citation. Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation: [Dec] 1950-31 May 1951.
Insigne. Shield: Per bend azure and or, in sinister chief a right clenched fist couped at the wrist in dexter base a magnolia blossom leaved all argent, fimbriated sable. Motto: Intelligent Strength. (Approved 12 Sep 1940.)
Data from Air Force Combat Units of World War II By Maurer, Maurer, Published 1986
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