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362d Fighter Group

Constituted as 362d Fighter Group on 11 Feb 1943. Activated on 1 Mar 1943. Trained for combat with P-47's. Moved to England in Nov 1943. Assigned to Ninth AF. Flew first mission, escorting B-24's that attacked V-weapon launching sites near Pas de Calais, on 8 Feb 1944. Until Apr 1944, engaged chiefly in escorting bombers that struck factories, railroads, airfields, and other targets on the Continent. Repeatedly attacked communications in northern France and in Belgium during Apr and May, in preparation for the invasion of Normandy. Escorted C-47's that dropped paratroops over Normandy on 6 and 7 Jun. Afterward, engaged primarily in interdictory and close-support activities, flying strafing and dive-bombing missions designed to assist the operations of ground forces. Moved to the Continent early in Jul 1944 and bombed enemy troops to aid the Allied breakthrough at St Lo later that month. Supported the subsequent advance of ground forces toward the Rhine by attacking railroads, trucks, bridges, power stations, fuel dumps, and other facilities. Received a DUC for a mission against the harbor at Brest on 25 Aug 1944 when, in spite of heavy overcast and intense enemy fire, the group attacked at low altitude, hitting naval installations, cruisers, troop transports, merchant vessels, and other objectives. Bombed and strafed such targets as flak positions, armored vehicles, and troop concentrations during the Battle of the Bulge, Dec 1944-Jan 1945. Received second DUC for action over the Moselle-Rhine River triangle: despite the intense antiaircraft fire encountered while flying armed reconnaissance in close cooperation with infantry forces in that area on 16 Mar 1945, the group hit enemy forces, equipment, and facilities, its targets including motor transports, armored vehicles, railroads, railway cars, and gun emplacements. Continued operations until 1 May 1945. Returned to the US Aug-Sep 1945. Trained with P-51's. Inactivated on 1 Aug 1946.

Redesignated 128th Fighter Group. Allotted to ANG (Wis) on 2 Aug 1946. Extended federal recognition on 29 Jun 1948. Ordered to active duty on 1 Feb 1951. Assigned to Air Defense Command. Redesignated 128th Fighter-Interceptor Group. Inactivated on 6 Feb 1952. Relieved from active duty, returned to ANG (Wis), and activated, on 1 Nov 1952.

Squadrons. 126th: 1951-1952. 172d: 1951-1952. 176th: 1951-1952. 377th: 1943-1946. 378th: 1943-1946. 379th: 1943-1946.

Stations. Westover Field, Mass, 1 Mar 1943; Bradley Field, Conn, 22 Jun 1943; Groton Field, Conn, 2 Aug 1943; Mitchel Field, NY, 19 Oct-12 Nov 1943; Wormingford, England, 30 Nov 1943; Headcorn, England, 13 Apr 1944; Lignerolles, France, 2 Jul 1944; Rennes, France, 10 Aug 1944; Prosnes, France, 19 Sep 1944; Rouvre's, France, 5 Nov 1944; Frankfurt, Germany, 8 Apr 1945; Furth, Germany, 30 Apr 1945; Illesheim, Germany, 3 May 1945; Straubing, Germany, 12 May-Aug 1945; Seymour Johnson Field, NC, 5 Sep 1945; Biggs Field, Tex, 3 Dec 1945-1 Aug 1946. General Billy Mitchell Field, Wis, 1 Feb 1951; Truax Field, Wis, 16 Feb 1951-6 Feb 1952.

Commanders. Col Morton D Magoffin, 1 Mar 1943; Col Joseph L Laughlin, 10 Aug 1944-1 Aug 1946. Col Paul Fojtik, 1951-Feb 1952.

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

Decorations. Distinguished Unit Citations: Brest, France, 25 Aug 1944; Moselle-Rhine River Triangle, 16 Mar 1945.

Insigne. Shield: Azure, a bend or between in chief, two barbs (triple pronged) of the last and a cumulo nimbus cloud proper issuing from base. Over all from dexter base, two parallel piles point to sinister chief, gules, points, sable. Motto: Sursum Porsusque - Upward and Onward. (Approved 21 Apr 1954.)

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


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