404th Fighter Group






Constituted as 404th Bombardment Group (Dive) on 25 Jan 1943. Activated on 4 Feb 1943. Redesignated 404th Fighter-Bomber Group in Aug 1943. Trained with P-39, P-47, and other aircraft. Moved to England, Mar-Apr 1944. Assigned to Ninth AF. Redesignated 404th Fighter Group in May 1944. Became operational on 1 May 1944 and, using P-47's, helped to prepare for the Normandy invasion by bombing and strafing targets in France. Provided top cover for landings in Normandy on 6 and 7 Jun 1944 and continued operations from England until Jul 1944. Moved to the Continent and operated in close support of ground troops until the end of the war, supporting the Allied breakthrough at St Lo in Jul 1944, the drive through Holland in Sep 1944, Allied operations during the Battle of the Bulge (Dec 1944-Jan 1945), and the establishment of the Remagen bridgehead and the subsequent crossing of the Rhine in Mar 1945. Also flew interdictory and escort missions, strafing and bombing such targets as troop concentrations, railroads, highways, bridges, ammunition and fuel dumps, armored vehicles, docks, and tunnels, and covering the operations of B-17's, B-24's, and B-26's that bombed factories, airdromes, marshalling yards, and other targets. Received a DUC for three armed reconnaissance missions flown on 10 Sep 1944 when, despite bad weather and antiaircraft fire, the group attacked enemy factories, rolling stock, and communications centers to aid the advance of ground forces. Received a French Croix de Guerre with Palm for assisting First Army at St Lo on 29, 30, and 31 Jul 1944 when the group, although suffering severe losses from flak, continuously provided cover for four armored divisions. Also cited by the Belgian government for operations contributing to the liberation of its people. After V-E Day, aided in disarming the German Air Force and in dismantling the enemy's aircraft industry. Returned to the US in Aug. In activated on 9 Nov 1945.

Redesignated 137th Fighter Group. Allotted to ANG (Okla) on 24 May 1946. Extended federal recognition on 18 Dec 1947. Ordered to active duty on 10 Oct 1950. Redesignated 137th Fighter-Bomber Group. Trained with F-84's. Moved to France in May 1952 and assigned to United States Air Forces in Europe. Relieved from active service and returned, without personnel and equipment, to the control of ANG (Okla), on 10 Jul 1952.

Squadrons. 125th: 1950-1952. 127th: 1950-1952. 128th: 1950-1952. 455th: 1943-1944. 506th (formerly 620th): 1943-1945. 507th (formerly 621st): 1943-1945. 508th (formerly 622d): 1943-1945. 623d: 1943.

Stations. Key Field, Miss, 4 Feb 1943; Congaree AAFld, SC, 5 Jul 1943; Burns AAFld, Ore, 4 Sep 1943; Myrtle Beach AAFld, SC, 13 Nov 1943-12 Mar 1944; Winkton, England, 4 Apr 1944; Chapelle, France, 6 Jul 1944; Bretigny, France, 29 Aug 1944; Juvincourt, France, 13 Sep 1944; St-Trond, Belgium, 1 Oct 1944; Keltz, Germany, 30 Mar 1945; Fritzlar, Germany, 12 Apr 1945; Stuttgart, Germany, 23 Jun-2 Aug 1945; Drew Field, Fla, 11 Sep-9 Nov 1945. Will Rogers Field, Okla, 10 Oct 1950; Alexandria Mun Aprt, La, 27 Nov 1950-4 May 1952; Chaumont, France, 13 May-10 Jul 1952.

Commanders. Lt Col Lucius G Drafts, 4 Feb 1943; Lt Col James Van G Wilson, 6 May 1943; Col Carroll W McColpin, 27 Jan 1944; Lt Col Leo C Moon, 25 Nov 1944; Lt Col John R Murphy, 23 Apr 1945-unkn. Lt Col Joseph W Turner, 10 Oct 1950; Lt Col Roger B Ludeman, 27 Dec 1950; Col Chesley G Peterson, 8 Aug 1951-10 Jul 1952.

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

Decorations. Distinguished Unit Citation: Germany, 10 Sep 1944. French Croix de Guerre with Palm: 29, 30, and 31 Jul 1944. Cited in the Order of the Day, Belgian Army: 6 Jun-30 Sep 1944; 1 Oct 1944-; 18 Dec 194 15 Jan 1945. Belgian Fourragere.

Insigne. Shield: Azure, three lightning bolts, or, issuing from a cloud, proper, in dexter chief, all within a diminutive bordure, gules. Motto: Tonitrus E Caelo - Thunder from the Sky. (Approved 6 Jun 1952.)

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




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