Constituted as 81st Pursuit Group (Intercepter) on 13 Jan 1942. Activated on 9 Feb 1942. Redesignated 81st Fighter Group in May 1942. Trained with P-39's. Moved overseas, Oct 1942-Feb 1943, the ground echelon arriving, in French Morocco with the force that invaded North Africa on 8 Nov, and the air echelon, which had trained for a time in England, arriving in North Africa between late Dec 1942 and early Feb 1943. Began combat with Twelfth AF in Jan 1943. Supported ground operations during the Allied drive against Axis forces in Tunisia. Patrolled the coast of Africa and protected Allied shipping in the Mediterranean Sea, Apr-Jul 1943. Provided cover for the convoys that landed troops on Pantelleria on II Jun and on Sicily on 10 Jul 1943. Supported the landings at Anzio on 22 Jan 1944 and flew patrols in that area for a short time. Moved to India, Feb-Mar 1944, and began training with P-40 and P-47 aircraft. Moved to China in May and became part of Fourteenth AF. Continued training and on occasion flew patrol and escort missions before returning to full-time combat duty in Jan 1945. Attacked enemy airfields and installations, flew escort missions, and aided the operations of Chinese ground forces by attacking troop concentrations, ammunition dumps, lines of communications, and other targets to hinder Japanese efforts to move men and materiel to the front. Inactivated in China on 27 Dec 1945.
Activated in Hawaii on 15 Oct 1946. Equipped with P-51's; converted to F-47's early in 1948. Moved to the US in 1949 and converted to jet aircraft, receiving F-80's at first but changing to F-86's soon afterward.
Redesignated 81st Fighter-Interceptor Group in Jan 1950. Moved to England, Aug-Sep 1951. Assigned to United States Air Forces in Europe. Redesignated 81st Fighter-Bomber Group in Apr 1954. Inactivated in England on 8 Feb 1955.
Squadrons. 78th: 1952-1955. 91st: 1942-1945; 1946-1955. 92d: 1942-1945; 1946-1955. 93d: 1942-1945; 1946-1951. 116th: 1951-1952.
Stations. Morris Field, NC, Feb 1942; Dale Mabry Field, Fla, c. 1 May 1942; Muroc, Calif, c. 28 Jun-4 Oct 1942; Mediouna, French Morocco, c. 5 Jan 1943; Thelepte, Tunisia, 22 Jan 1943; Le Kouif Airfield, Algeria, 17 Feb 1943; Youks-les-Bains, Algeria, 22 Feb 1943; Le Kouif Airfield, Algeria, 24 Feb 1943; Thelepte, Tunisia, c. Mar 1943; Algeria, c. 3 Apr 1943; Monastir, Tunisia, c. 26 May 1943; Sidi Ahmed, Tunisia, 10 Aug 1943; Castelvetrano, Sicily, 12 Oct 1943; Montecorvino Airfield, Italy, c. Feb 1944; Karachi, India, c. 2 Mar 1944; Kwanghan, China, 12 May 1944; Fungwansham, China, Feb 1945; Huhsien, China, Aug-Dec 1945. Wheeler Field, TH, 15 Oct 1946-21 May 1949; Kirtland AFB, NM, 17 Jun 1949; Moses Lake AFB, Wash, c. 1 May 1950-21 Aug 1951; Bentwaters RAF Station, England, 3 Sep 1951-8 Feb 1955.
Commanders. Unkn, Feb-May 1942; Capt Harry E Hammond, 5 May 1942; Capt John D Sureau, 10 May 1942; Lt Col Paul M Jacobs, 22 May 1942; Lt Col Kenneth 5 Wade, c. Jul 1942; Col Philip B Klein, May 1943; Lt Col Michael Gordon, 2 Jul 1943; Maj Frederick S Hanson, 15 Jul 1943; Col Philip B Klein, 26 Aug 1943; Lt Col Fred G Hook Jr, 27 Sep 1944; Col Oliver G Cellini, 24 Oct 1944-unkn. Col Oswald W Lunde, [c. 1946]; Col Gladwyn E Pinkston, [c. 1948] Lt Col Clay Tice Jr, c. Apr 1950; Lt Col Lucius D Clay Jr, 1950; Lt Col Clay Tice Jr, c. Feb 1951; Col Robert Garrigan, c. Aug 1951; Col Benjamin B Cassiday Jr, c. Jul 1953; Col Walter L Moore, 1 Dec 1954-1955.
Campaigns. Air Combat, EAME Theater; Algeria-French Morocco; Tunisia; Sicily; Naples-Foggia; Anzio; Rome-Arno; China Defensive; China Offensive.
Insigne. Shield: Or, a dragon salient wings displayed and addorsed azure, armed and langued gules, incensed proper, holding in its dexter claw a stylized boll weevil sable. Motto: Le Nom - Les Armes - La Loyaute: The Name, The Arms, and Loyalty. (Approved 2 Mar 1943.)
Data from Air Force Combat Units of World War II By Maurer, Maurer, Published 1986