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8th Fighter Group

Authorized on the inactive list as 8th Pursuit Group on 24 Mar 1923. Activated on 1 Apr 1931. Redesignated 8th Pursuit Group (Fighter) in 1939, and 8th Pursuit Group (Interceptor) in 1941. Trained, took part in maneuvers and reviews, and tested planes and equipment, using PB-2, P-6, P-12, P-35, P-36, P-39, and P-40 aircraft prior to World War II. In Dec 1941, became part of the defense force for the New York metropolitan area. Moved to the Asiatic-Pacific Theater early in 1942. Redesignated 8th Fighter Group in May 1942. Became part of Fifth AF. Equipped first with P-39's, added P-38's and P-40's in 1943, and used P-38's after May 1944.

Established headquarters in Australia in Mar 1942 but sent detachments to New Guinea for operations. Moved to New Guinea in Sep 1942 and served in combat until malaria forced the organization to withdraw to Australia in Feb 1943. Resumed operations in Apr 1943 and served in the theater through the rest of the war. Covered Allied landings, escorted bombers, and attacked enemy airfields in New Guinea; supported operations of the US Marines at Cape Gloucester, Feb-Mar 1944; flew long-range escort and attack missions to Borneo, Ceram, Halmahera, and the southern Philippines; provided cover for convoys, attacked enemy shipping, and won a DUC for strafing a strong Japanese naval force off Mindoro (26 Dec 1944) covered landings at Lingayen; supported ground forces on Luzon; escorted bombers to targets on the Asiatic mainland and on Formosa; and, in the last days of the war, attacked airfields and railways in Japan. Remained in the theater after V-J Day, being based in Japan for duty with Far East Air Forces. Converted to P-51's early in 1946 and to F-80's early in 1950. Redesignated 8th Fighter-Bomber Group in Jan 1950.

Began operations in the Korean War on 26 Jun 1950 by providing cover for the evacuation of US personnel from Seoul. Entered combat the following day. Shifted to F-51 aircraft in Oct 1950 but converted back to F-80's in Dec 1950. Began operating from bases in Korea in Oct 1950, but resumed operations from Japan in Dec 1950 when Communist forces drove far south in Korea. Returned to Korea in Jun 1951. Served in combat until the end of the war, supporting UN ground forces and attacking such targets as airfields, supply lines, and troop concentrations. Maj Charles Loring Jr was awarded the Medal of Honor for his action on 22 Nov 1952: after his plane had been hit and badly crippled as he was leading a flight of four F-80's against enemy artillery at Sniper Ridge, Maj Loring deliberately dived his plane into the gun emplacements. The group converted to F-86's in the spring of 1953 and returned to Japan the following year.

Squadrons. 33d: 1932-1941. 35th: 1932-. 36th: 1931, 1932-. 55th: 1931-1932. 68th: 1945-1947. 80th: 1942-1945, 1947-.

Stations. Langley Field, Va, 1 Apr 1931; Mitchel Field, NY, c. 5 Nov 1940-26 Jan 1942; Brisbane, Australia, 6 Mar 1942; Townsville, Australia, 29 Jul 1942; Milne Bay, New Guinea, 18 Sep 1942; Mareeba, Australia, Feb 1943; Port Moresby, New Guinea, 16 May 1943; Finschhafen, New Guinea, 23 Dec 1943; Cape Gloucester, New Britain, c. 20 Feb 1944; Nadzab, New Guinea, 14 Mar 1944; Owi, Schouten Islands, 17 Jun 1944; Morotai, 19 Sep 1944; San Jose, Mindoro, 20 Dec 1944; Ie Shima, 6 Aug 1945; Fukuoka, Japan, 22 Nov 1945; Ashiya, Japan, 20 May 1946; Itazuke, Japan, Sep 1946; Ashiya, Japan, 13 Apr 1947; Itazuke, Japan, 25 Mar 1949; Tsuiki, Japan, 11 Aug 1950; Suwon, Korea, 7 Oct 1950; Kimpo, Korea, 28 Oct 1950; Pyongyang, Korea, 25 Nov 1950; Seoul, Korea, 3 Dec 1950; Itazuke, Japan, 10 Dec 1950; Kimpo, Korea, 25 Jun 1951; Suwon, Korea, 24 Aug 1951; Itazuke, Japan, 20 Oct 1954-.

Commanders. Unkn, 1931-1932; Maj Byron Q Jones, 25 Jun 1932; Capt Albert M Guidera, 31 Mar 1934; Lt Col Adlai H Gilkeson, 1 Jul 1935; Lt Col William E Kepner, 7 Jul 1938; Lt Col Edward M Morris, 1 Feb 1940; Lt Col Frederic H Smith Jr, 17 Jan 1941; Lt Col William H Wise, 22 May 1942; Lt Col Leonard B Storm, 8 Mar 1943; Lt Col Philip H Greasley, 10 Apr 1943; Lt Col Emmett S Davis, 18 Jan 1944; Lt Col Philip H Greasley, 28 Jun 1944; Col Earl H Dunham, 8 Aug 1944; Lt Col Emmett S Davis, 16 Jun 1945; Lt Col Robert L Harriger, Dec 1945; Lt Col Fergus C Fay, 24 May 1946; Lt Col Luther H Richmond, Jul 1946; Col Stanley R Stewart, Feb 1947; Col Henry G Thorne Jr, 12 Apr 1947; Col Charles T Olmstead, c. 28 May 1948; Lt Col Richard C Banbury, 18 Aug 1948; Lt Col Woodrow W Ramsey, 18 Mar 1949; Lt Col Charles D Chitty Jr, 21 May 1949; Col William T Samways, 1 May 1950; Col Edward O McComas, 19 May 1951; Col Harvey L Case Jr, 31 Jul 1951; Col Levi R Chase, 22 Jan 1952; Col Walter G Benz Jr, 12 Sep 1952; Col John L Locke, 16 Sep 1953; Lt Col Walter A Rosenfield, 13 May 1954; Col Woodrow B Wilmot, 16 Jul 1954-.

Campaigns. World War II: East Indies; Air Offensive, Japan; China Defensive; Papua; New Guinea; Bismarck Archipelago; Western Pacific; Leyte; Luzon; Southern Philippines. Korean War: UN Defensive; UN Offensive; CCF Intervention; 1st UN Counteroffensive; CCF Spring Offensive; UN Summer-Fall Offensive; Second Korean Winter; Korea Summer-Fall, 1952; Third Korean Winter; Korea Summer-Fall, 1953.

Decorations. Distinguished Unit Citations: Papua, [Sep] 1942-23 Jan 1943; Philippine Islands, 26 Dec 1944; Korea, 16 Sep-2 Nov 1950. Philippine Presidential Unit Citation. Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citations: 27 Jun 1950-31 Jan 1951; 1 Feb 1951-31 Mar 1953.

Insigne. Shield: Azure, a chevron nebule or. Crest: On a wreath of the colors (or and azure) three fleur-de-lis or in front of a propeller fesswise azure. Motto: Attaquez Et Conquerez - Attack and Conquer. (Approved 6 Sep 1934.)

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


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