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|Wing:||3rd Combat Bombardment Wing|
|Division:||VIII Air Service Command|
|Details:||Trained with P-39's and served as part of the air defense force. Moved to England, Oct-Nov 1943.
Assigned to Ninth AF and engaged in combat from Dec 1943 to May 1945, using P-51's except for the period from Nov 1944 to Feb 1945 when the group operated with P-47's.
Received a DUC for its activities up to mid-May 1944, a period in which the 354th was instrumental in the development and execution of long-range missions to escort heavy bombers on raids deep into enemy territory. During that same period Maj James H Howard won the Medal of Honor for his single-handed efforts to defend a bomber formation that was attacked by a large force of enemy planes while on a mission over Germany on 11 Jan 1944.
In addition to its escort work, the group began fighter-bomber operations, strafing and dive-bombing enemy airfields, gun positions, marshalling yards, and vehicles in France, Belgium, and Holland. Supporting the Normandy invasion in Jun 1944 by escorting gliders on D-Day and by dive-bombing and strafing bridges and railways near the front lines for the next few days. Moved to the Continent in Jun and assisted the Allied drive across France by flying close-support, armed-reconnaissance, fighter-sweep, dive-bombing, strafing, and escort missions.
Received second DUC for a series of fighter sweeps in which the group destroyed a large number of enemy aircraft in the air and on the ground on 25 Aug 1944. Flew missions to support the airborne attack on Holland in Sep 1944. Attacked and destroyed many enemy barges, locomotives, vehicles, buildings, and troops to assist the Allied assault on the Siegfried Line. Participated in the Battle of the Bulge, Dec 1944-Jan 1945, by supporting ground forces and by conducting armed reconnaissance operations to destroy enemy troops, tank artillery, and rail lines. Assisted ground forces in their advance to and across the Rhine, Feb-May 1945.
After V-E Day served with the army of occupation, being assigned to United States Air Forces in Europe. Transferred, without personnel and equipment, to the US in Feb 1946. Inactivated on 31 Mar 1946.
Air Force Combat Units of World War II, Maurer, Maurer: USAF, 1986
|Accident Reports:||Number of Non-Combat-Related Accident reports for this group:|