Constituted as 86th Bombardment Group (Light) on 13 Jan 1942. Activated on 10 Feb 1942. Redesignated 86th Bombardment Group (Dive) in Sep 1942, 86th Fighter-Bomber Group in Aug 1943, and 86th Fighter Group in May 1944. Moved to North Africa, Mar-May 1943. Trained until Jul, then began combat with Twelfth AF. Engaged primarily in close support of ground forces, with the group moving forward to bases in Sicily, Italy, Corsica, France, and Germany as the battle line changed. Also flew patrol and interdictory missions. Used A-36, P-40, and P-47 aircraft to attack convoys, trains, ammunition dumps, troop and supply columns, shipping, bridges, rail lines, and other objectives. Participated in the softening up of Sicily and supported the invasion by Seventh Army in Jul 1943. Provided cover for the landings at Salerno in Sep 1943. Assisted the Allied advance toward Rome during Jan-Jun 1944. Supported the invasion of Southern France in Aug 1944. Operated against enemy communications in northern Italy from Sep 1944 to Apr 1945. Attacked enemy transportation in Germany during Apr and May 1945. Received two DUC's: for action on 25 May 1944 when the group repeatedly dived through intense flak to destroy enemy vehicles and troops as German forces tried to stop the Allies short of Rome; for activity against convoys and airfield installations in northern Germany on 20 Apr 1945 to disorganize the enemy's withdrawal from that area. Remained in Germany after the war as part of United States Air Forces in Europe. Transferred, without personnel and equipment, to the US in Feb 1946. Inactivated on 31 Mar 1946.
Activated in Germany on 20 Aug 1946. Assigned to United States Air Forces in Europe. Redesignated 86th Composite Group in May 1947, 86th Fighter Group in Jan 1948, 86th Fighter-Bomber Group in Jan 1950, and 86th Fighter-Interceptor Group in Aug 1954. Equipped successively with F-47, F-84, and F-86 aircraft.
Squadrons. 45th: 1947-1948. 311th: 1942-1943. 525th (formerly 309th): 1942-1946; 1946-. 526th (formerly 310th): 1942-1946; 1946-. 527th (formerly 312th): 1942-1946; 1946-1947, 1948-.
Stations. Will Rogers Field, Okla, 10 Feb 1942; Hunter Field, Ga, c. 20 Jun 1942; Key Field, Miss, c. 7 Aug 1942-19 Mar 1943; La Senia, Algeria, c. 12 May 1943; French Morocco, 3 Jun 1943; Tafaraoui, Algeria, 11 Jun 1943; Korba, Tunisia, 30 Jun 1943; Gela, Sicily, 20 Jul 1943; Barcelona, Sicily, 27 Aug 1943; Sele Airfield, Italy, 22 Sep 1943; Serretella Airfield, Italy, 12 Oct 1943; Pomigliano, Italy, 19 Nov 1943; Marcianise, Italy, 30 Apr 1944; Ciampino, Italy, c. 12 Jun 1944; Orbetello, Italy, c. 19 Jun 1944; Corsica, c. 12 Jul 1944; Grosseto, Italy, c. 17 Sep 1944; Pisa, Italy, 23 Oct 1944; Tantonville, France, c. 20 Feb 1945; Braunschardt, Germany, c. 18 Apr 1945; Schweinfurt, Germany, Sep 1945-15 Feb 1946; Bolling Field, DC, 15 Feb-31 Mar 1946. Nordholz, Germany, 20 Aug 1946; Lechfeld, Germany, c. 1 Dec 1946; Bad Kissingen, Germany, 5 Mar 1947; Neubiberg AB, Germany, 12 Jun 1947; Landstuhl AB, Germany, 9 Aug 1952-.
Commanders. Unkn, Feb 1942-Feb 1943; Maj Clinton U True, 10 Feb 1943; Lt Col Robert C Paul, 7 Aug 1943; Col Harold E Hofahl, 4 Dec 1943; Col Earl E Bates Jr, 2 Aug 1944; Lt Col George T Lee, 14 Feb 1945; Maj John H Buckner, 23 Sep 1945-c. 14 Feb 1946. Col Adolphus R McConnell, 20 Aug 1946; Col Clarence T Edwinson, 15 Dec 1946; Col Maurice L Martin, Feb 1947; Maj John B England, c. Jul 1947; Col Clarence T Edwinson, c. Aug 1947; Col Michael Ingelido, Jul 1948; Lt Col James G Thorsen, May 1949; Col William H Councill, Jun 1949; Col George T Lee, 25 Sep 1950; Col Richard O Hunziker, 6 Mar 1951; Col George Laven Jr, 18 Oct 1951; Col George R Bickell, 26 Apr 1952; Col George B Simler, 14 Jun 1952-1954; Col Robin Olds, Oct 1955-.
Campaigns. American Theater; Air Combat, EAME Theater; Sicily; Naples-Foggia; Anzio; Rome-Arno; Southern France; North Apennines: Rhineland; Central Europe.
Decorations. Distinguished Unit Citations: Italy, 25 May 1944; Germany, 20 Apr 1945.
Insigne. Shield: Azure, on a pile or a drop bomb palewise gules. Motto: Virtus Perdurat - Courage Will Endure. (Approved 17 Oct 1942. This insigne was replaced 27 Jul 1956.)
Data from Air Force Combat Units of World War II By Maurer, Maurer, Published 1986