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475th Fighter Group

Activated in Australia on 14 May 194 by special authority granted to Fifth AF prior to constitution as 475th Fighter Group on 15 May 1943. Equipped with P-38's and trained to provide long-range escort for bombers during daylight raids on Japanese airfields and strongholds in the Netherlands Indies and the Bismarck Archipelago. Moved to New Guinea and began operations in Aug 1943. Received a DUC for missions in Aug 1943 when the group not only protected B-15's that were engaged in strafing attacks on airdromes at Wewak but also destroyed a number of the enemy fighter planes that attacked the formation. Received second DUC for intercepting and destroying many of the planes the Japanese sent against American shipping in Oro Bay on 15 and 17 Oct 1943. Covered landings in New Guinea, New Britain, and the Schouten Islands. After moving to Biak in Jul 1944, flew escort missions and fighter sweeps to the southern Philippines, Celebes, Halmahera, and Borneo. Moved to the Philippines in Oct 1944 and received another DUC for bombing and strafing enemy airfields and installations, escorting bombers, and engaging in aerial combat during the first stages of the Allied campaign to recover the Philippines, Oct-Dec 1944. Maj Thomas B McGuire Jr was awarded the Medal of Honor: while voluntarily leading flights of P-38's escorting bombers that struck Mabalacat Airdrome on 25 Dec 1944 and Clark Field the following day, he shot down seven Japanese fighters; on 7 Jan 1944, while attempting to save a fellow flyer from attack during a fighter sweep over Los Negroes Island, Maj McGuire risked a hazardous maneuver at low altitude, crashed, and was killed. The group flew many missions to support ground forces on Luzon during the first part of 1945. Also flew escort missions to China and attacked railways on Formosa. Began moving to Ie Shima in Aug but the war ended before the movement was completed. Moved to Korea in Sep 1945 for occupation duty as part of Far East Air Forces. Converted to P-51's in 1946. Moved to Japan in 1948. Inactivated on 1 Apr 1949.

Redesignated 475th Fighter Group (Air Defense). Activated in the US on 18 Aug 1955. Assigned to Air Defense Command and equipped with F-89's.

Squadrons. 431st: 1943-1949. 432d: 1943-1949; 1955-. 433d: 1943-1949.

Stations. Amberley Field, Australia, 14 May 1943; Dobodura, New Guinea, 14 Aug 1943; Nadzab, New Guinea, 24 Mar 1944; Hollandia, New Guinea, 15 May 1944; Biak, c. 14 Jul 1944; Dulag, Leyte, 28 Oct 1944; San Jose, Mindoro, 5 Feb 1945; Clark Field, Luzon, 28 Feb 1945; Lingayen, Luzon, c. 20 Apr 1945; Ie Shima, 8 Aug 1945; Kimpo, Korea, c. 23 Sep 1945; Itazuke, Japan, 28 Aug 1948; Ashiya, Japan, 25 Mar-1 Apr 1949. Minneapolis-St Paul Intl Aprt, Minn, 18 Aug 1955-.

Commanders. Lt Col George W Prentice, 21 May 1943; Col Charles H MacDonald, 26 Nov 1943; Lt Col Meryl M Smith, Aug 1944; Col Charles H MacDonald, 13 Oct 1944; Lt Col John S Loisel, 15 Jul 1945; Col Henry G Thorne Jr, 18 Apr 1946; Col Ashley B Packard, 20 Jul 1946; Col Leland S Stranathan, 22 Mar 1947; Col Carl W Pyle, 7 Jun 1947; Col William O Moore, 19 Sep 1947; Lt Col Woodrow W Ramsey, 28 Aug 1948-25 Mar 1949. Col David Gould, Aug 1955-.

Campaigns. China Defensive; New Guinea; Bismarck Archipelago; Western Pacific; Leyte; Luzon; China Offensive.

Decorations. Distinguished Unit Citations: New Guinea, 18 and 21 Aug 1943; New Guinea, 15 and 17 Oct 1943; Philippine Islands, 25 Oct-25 Dec 1944. Philippine Presidential Unit Citation.

Insigne. Shield: Azure, over a crossbow or, string argent, bow striped red and silver; a lightning bolt gules, highlighted of the third, surmounting the stock; a pair of wings argent, issuing from the end of the stock; between four seven-pointed stars and one five-pointed star, spattered over the field; all within a diminutive border per pale argent and gules. Motto: In Proelio Gaudete - Be Joyful in Battle. (Approved 26 Nov 1956.)

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


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