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406th Fighter Group

Constituted as 406th Bombardment Group (Dive) on 4 Feb 1943. Activated on 1 Mar 1943. Redesignated 406th Fighter-Bomber Group in Aug 1943, and 406th Fighter Group in May 1944. Trained with A-24, A-35, A-39, P-47, and other aircraft. Joined Ninth AF in England in Apr 1944 and entered combat with P-47's in May when the Allies were preparing for the invasion of the Continent. Provided area cover during the landings in Jun, and afterwards flew armed-reconnaissance and dive-bombing missions against the enemy, attacking such targets as motor transports, gun emplacements, ammunition dumps, rail lines, marshalling yards, and bridges during the campaign in Normandy. Helped prepare the way for the Allied breakthrough at St Lo on 25 Jul. Moved to the Continent early in Aug and continued to provide tactical air support for ground forces. Participated in the reduction of St Malo and Brest. Aided the Allied drive across France, receiving a DUC for operations on 7 Sep 1944 when the group destroyed a large column of armered vehicles and military transports that were attempting to escape from southeastern France through the Belfort Gap. Operated closely with ground forces and flew interdictory missions during the drive to the Moselle-Saar region. Shifted operations from the Saar basin to the Ardennes and assisted the beleaguered garrison at Bastogne after the Germans had launched the counteroffensive that precipitated the Battle of the Bulge. Operated almost exclusively within a ten-mile radius of Bastogne from 23-27 Dec 1944, a period for which the group received a second DUC for its attacks on tanks, vehicles, defended buildings, and gun positions. Flew escort, interdictory, and close-support missions in the Ruhr Valley early in 1945 and thus assisted Allied ground forces in their drive to and across the Rhine. Remained in Europe after V-E Day, being assigned to United States Air Forces in Europe for duty in Germany with the army of occupation. Inactivated on 20 Aug 1946.

Redesignated 406th Fighter-Bomber Group. Activated in England on 10 Jul 1952. Assigned to United States Air Forces in Europe. Equipped with F-84's; converted to F-86's late in 1953. Redesignated 406th Fighter-Interceptor Group in Apr 1954.

Squadrons. 512th (formerly 628th): 1943-1946; 1952-. 513th (formerly 629th): 1943-1946; 1952-. 514th (formerly 630th): 1943-1946; 1952-. 631st: 1943.

Stations. Key Field, Miss, 1 Mar 1943; Congaree AAFld, SC, c. 18 Sep 1943-13 Mar 1944; Ashford, England, 4 Apr 1944; Tour-en-Bassin, France, 5 Aug 1944; Cretteville, France, 17 Aug 1944; Le Mans, France, 4 Sep 1944; Mourmelon-le-Grand, France, 22 Sep 1944; Metz, France, 2 Feb 1945; Assche, Belgium, 8 Feb 1945; Handorf, Germany, 15 Apr 1945; Nordholz, Germany, 5 Jun 1945-20 Aug 1946. Manston, England, 10 Jul 1952-.

Commanders. Lt Col Bryan B Harper, Mar 1943; Col Anthony V Grossetta, c. 6 Nov 1943; Lt Col Converse B Kelly, c. Jun 1945; Lt Col Robert C Brown, 27 Sep 1945; Lt Col Arvis L Hilpert, 17 Jan 1946; Col Earl H Dunham, 6 Apr-Aug 1946. Lt Col Delynn E Anderson, Jul 1952; Lt Col Arthur F Jeffrey, 1952; Lt Col Harry G Sanders, c. Mar 1953; Col William S Harrell, c. Jun 1954-.

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

Decorations. Distinguished Unit Citations: France, 7 Sep 1944; Belgium, 23-27 Dec 1944.

Insigne. Shield: Azure, a bend gules fimbriated argent overall a dexter hand in spiked mail gauntlet palewise proper grasping a three-pronged lightning flash or and surmounted at the cuff by a chain of four links of the last. Motto: Ascende Et Defende - Rise and Defend (Approved 14 May 1953.)

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


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