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357th Fighter Group

Constituted as 357th Fighter Group on Dec 1942 and activated the same day. Used P-39's in preparing for duty overseas. Moved to England in Nov 1943 and became part of Eighth AF. Trained with P-51's and began operations on 11 Feb 1944 by making a fighter sweep over Rouen. Served primarily as an escort organization, providing penetration, target, and withdrawal support for bombers that attacked strategic objectives on the Continent. Participated in the assault against the German Air Force and aircraft industry during Big Week, 20-25 Feb 1944. Received a DUC for two escort missions in which heavy opposition was encountered from enemy fighters: on 6 Mar 1944 provided target and withdrawal support during the first attack that heavy bombers of Eighth AF made on Berlin; on 29 Jun 1944 protected bombers that struck targets at Leipzig. Received second DUC for operations on 14 Jan 1945 when the group, covering bombers on a raid to Derben, broke up an attack by a large force of interceptors and in the ensuing aerial battle destroyed a number of the enemy planes. In addition to escort the group conducted counter-air patrols, made fighter sweeps, and flew strafing and dive-bombing missions in which it attacked airdromes, marshalling yards, locomotives, bridges, barges, tugboats, highways, vehicles, fuel dumps, and other targets. Participated in the invasion of Normandy in Jun 1944; the breakthrough at St Lo in Jul; the Battle of the Bulge, Dec 1944-Jan 1945; and the airborne assault across the Rhine in Mar 1945. Flew its last mission, an escort operation, on 25 Apr 1945. Moved to Germany in Jul and assigned to United States Air Forces in Europe for duty with the army of occupation. Inactivated in Germany on 20 Aug 1946.

Redesignated 121st Fighter Group. Allotted to ANG (Ohio) on 21 Aug 1946. Extended federal recognition on 26 Jun 1948. Redesignated 121st Fighter-Bomber Group on 16 Oct 1952.

Squadrons. 362d: 1942-1946. 363d 1942-1946. 364th (later 166th): 1942-1946.

Stations. Hamilton Field, Calif, 1 Dec 1942; Tonopah AAFld, Nev, 4 Mar 1943; Santa Rosa AAFld, Calif, 3 Jun 1943; Oroville AAFld, Calif, 18 Aug 1943; Casper AAFld, Wyo, 7 Oct-9 Nov 1943; Raydon, England, 30 Nov 1943; Leiston, England, 31 Jan 1944-8 Jul 1945; Neubiberg, Germany, 21 Jul 1945-20 Aug 1946.

Commanders. Lt Col Loring F Stetson Jr, 1 Dec 1942; Lt Col Edwin S Chickering, 7 Jul 1943; Col Henry R Spicer, 17 Feb 1944; Col Donald W Graham, 7 Mar 1944; Lt Col John D Landers, 11 Oct 1944; Col Irwin H Dregne, 2 Dec 1944; Lt Col Andrew J Evans Jr, 21 Jul 1945; Lt Col Wayne E Rhynard, c. 20 Nov 1945; Col Barton M Russell, Apr 1946-unkn.

Campaigns. Air Offensive, Europe; Normandy; Northern France; Rhineland; Ardennes-Alsace; Central Europe.

Decorations. Distinguished Unit Citations: Germany, 6 Mar and 29 Jun 1944; Derben, Germany, 14 Jan 1945. French Croix de Guerre with Palm: 11 Feb 1944-15 Jan 1945.

Insigne. Shield: Per fess nebuly azure and or, in chief a chaplet azure and argent winged or, in base a cubit arm in armor brandishing a sword proper hilted bronze. Motto: Semper Omnia - All Things at All Times. (Approved 27 May 1953.)

Data from Air Force Combat Units of World War II By Maurer, Maurer, Published 1986


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