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78th Fighter Group

Aircraft:P-38; P-47; P-51
Group Emblem:
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Wing:66th Combat Bombardment Wing
Division:3rd Bombardment Division
Squadrons:82th Fighter Squadron
83th Fighter Squadron
84th Fighter Squadron
Tail Marking:
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Details:Trained for combat with P-38's and served as part of the air defense organization. Moved to England, Nov-Dec 1942. Assigned to Eighth AF. Lost its P-38's and most of its pilots in Feb 1943 when they were assigned to Twelfth AF for service in North Africa

Began operations from England with P-47's in Apr 1943, converted to P-51's in Dec 1944, and continued combat until Apr 1945. Flew many missions to escort bombers that attacked industries, submarine yards and docks, V-weapon sites, and other targets on the Continent. Also engaged in counter-air activities and on numerous occasions strafed and dive-bombed airfields, trains, vehicles, barges, tugs, canal locks, barracks, and troops. In addition to other operations, participated in the intensive campaign against the German Air Force and aircraft industry during Big Week, 20-25 Feb 1944; helped to prepare the way for the invasion of France; supported landings in Normandy in Jun 1944; contributed to the breakthrough at St Lo in Jul 1944; participated in the Battle of the Bulge, Dec 1944-Jan 1945; and supported the airborne assault across the Rhine in Mar 1945.

Received a DUC for activities connected with the airborne attack on Holland in Sep 1944 when the group covered troop carrier and bombardment operations and carried out strafing and dive-bombing missions. Received second DUC for destroying numerous aircraft on five airfields near Prague and Pilsen on 16 Apr 1945. Returned to the US in Oct. Inactivated on 18 Oct 1945.

  • Col Arman Peterson, May 1942
  • Lt Col Melvin F McNickle, Jul 1943
  • Col James Stone Jr, 31 Jul 1943
  • Col Frederic C Gray Jr, 22 May 1944
  • Lt Col Olin E Gilbert, 29 Jan 1945
  • Col John D Landers, c. 22 Feb 1945
  • Lt Col Roy B Caviness, 1 Jul 1945

Air Force Combat Units of World War II, Maurer, Maurer: USAF, 1986

Accident Reports:Number of Non-Combat-Related Accident reports for this group: