57th Fighter Group






Constituted as 57th Pursuit Group (Interceptor) on 20 Nov 1940. Activated on 15 Jan 1941. Trained with P-40's. Served as part of the defense force on the east coast after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Redesignated 57th Fighter Group in May 1942. Moved to the Middle East, Jul-Aug 1942. Trained with RAF. Began operations in Oct 1942. Took part in the Battle of El Alamein and, as part of Ninth AF, supported British Eighth Army's drive across Egypt and Libya, escorting bombers and flying strafing and dive-bombing missions against airfields, communications, and troop concentrations until the defeat of Axis forces in Tunisia in May 1943. Received a DUC for performance on 18 Apr 1943 when the group destroyed more than 70 of the enemy's transport and fighter planes in an aerial battle over the Gulf of Tunis. Participated in the reduction of Pantelleria (May-Jun 1943) and the conquest of Sicily (Jul-Aug 1943). Received another DUC for front-line operations in direct support of British Eighth Army from the Battle of El Alamein to the capitulation of enemy forces in Sicily. Assigned to Twelfth AF in Aug 1943 and continued operations in the Mediterranean theater until the end of the war. Supported British Eighth Army's landing at Termoli and subsequent operations in Italy (Oct 1943-Feb 1944) by flying dive-bombing, strafing, patrol, and escort missions. Converted to P-47's early in 1944 and used the new aircraft for interdictory operations in Italy, receiving a DUC for a series of devastating attacks on rail lines, trains, motor vehicles, bridges, and other targets in the Florence-Arezzo area on 14 Apr 1944. Participated in the French campaign against Elba in Jun 1944 and in the invasion of Southern France in Aug. Engaged in interdictory and support operations in northern Italy from Sep 1944 to May 1945. Returned to the US in Aug 1945. Inactivated on 7 Nov 1945.

Activated in Alaska on 15 Aug 1946. Assigned to Alaskan Air Command. Redesignated 57th Fighter-Interceptor Group in Jan 1950. Equipped successively with P-38, P-51, F-80, and F-94 aircraft. Inactivated in Alaska on 13 Apr 1953.

Squadrons. 64th: 1941-1945; 1946-1953. 65th: 1941-1945; 1946-1953. 66th: 1941-1945; 1946-1953.

Stations. Mitchel Field, NY, 15 Jan 1941; Windsor Locks, Conn, 19 Aug 1941; Boston, Mass, 8 Dec 1941-. 1 Jul 1942; Muqeibile, Palestine, c. 20 Jul 1942; Egypt, 16 Sep 1942; Libya, 12 Nov 1942; Tunisia, Mar 1943; Malta, Jun 1943; Sicily, Jul 1943; Southern Italy, Sep 1943; Gioia Airfield, Italy, c. 25 Sep 1943; Foggia, Italy, Oct 1943; Amendola, Italy, c. 27 Oct 1943; Cercola, Italy, Mar 1944; Corsica, Mar 1944; Ombrone Airfield, Italy, Sep 1944; Grosseto, Italy, Sep 1944; Villafranca di Verona, Italy, 29 Apr 1945; Grosseto, Italy, 7 May 1945; Bagnoli, Italy, Jul-5 Aug 1945; Drew Field, Fla, 21 Aug-7 Nov 1945. Shemya, Alaska, 15 Aug 1946; Elmendorf AFB, Alaska, Mar 1947-13 Apr 1953.

Commanders. Maj Reuben C Moffat, c. 15 Jan 1941; Maj Clayton B Hughes, unkn; Maj Minthorne W Reed, 12 Dec 1941; Lt Col Frank H Mears, 1942; Col Arthur G Salisbury, 20 Dec 1942; Col Archibald J Knight, 23 Apr 1944; Lt Col William J Yates, 23 May 1945-unkn. Maj Benjamin H King, 15 Aug 1946; Lt Col Gilmore V Norris, 26 Dec 1946; Lt Col Harry L Downing Jr, 10 Jan 1947; Col Morton D Magoffin, 14 Nov 1947; Col Bingham T Kleine, 22 Jan 1949; Col John W Mitchell, c. Nov 1950; Lt Col Ollie O Simpson, 19 Nov 1951; Col Thomas H Beeson, 21 Nov 1951; unkn, 1 Jul 1952-13 Apr 1953.

Campaigns. Air Combat, EAME Theater; Egypt-Libya; Tunisia; Sicily; Naples-Foggia; Rome-Arno; Southern France; North Apennines; Po Valley.

Decorations. Distinguished Unit Citations: North Africa and Sicily, 24 Oct 1942-17 Aug 1943; Tunis and Cape Bon Area, 18 Apr 1943; Italy, 14 Apr 1944.

Insigne. Shield: Azure, on a chevron embattled or, between three pyramids of the last, as many mullets gules. Motto: First In The Blue. (Approved 2 Feb 1950.)

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




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