363d Reconnaissance Group

Constituted as 363d Fighter Group on 11 Feb 1943. Activated on 1 Mar 1943. Trained with P-39's and served as part of the air defense force. Moved to England in Dec 1943 for duty with Ninth AF. Equipped with P-51's in Jan 1944 and entered combat in Feb. Escorted bombers and fighter-bombers to targets in France, Germany, and the Low Countries; strafed and dive-bombed trains, marshalling yards, bridges, vehicles, airfields, troops, gun positions, and other targets on the Continent. Supported the invasion of Normandy in Jun 1944 by escorting troop carriers and gliders and by attacking enemy positions near the front lines, and moved to the Continent at the end of Jun to take part in the Allied drive to the German border.

Redesignated 363d Tactical Reconnaissance Group in Sep 1944. Equipped with F-5 and F-6 aircraft. Flew photographic missions to support both air and ground operations; directed fighter-bombers to railway, highway, and waterway traffic, bridges, gun positions, troop concentrations, and other opportune targets; adjusted artillery fire; and took photographs to assess results of Allied bombardment operations. Received two Belgian citations for reconnaissance activities, including the group's support of the assault on the Siegfried Line and its participation in the Battle of the Bulge (Dec 1944-Jan 945). Assisted Ninth Army's drive across the Rhine and deep into Germany during the period from Feb 1945 to V-E Day. Redesignated 363d Reconnaissance Group in Jun 1945. Returned to the US in Dec. Inactivated on 11 Dec 1945.

Activated on 29 Jul 1946. Equipped initially with RF-80 and RB-26 aircraft, and later with RF-84 and RB-57 aircraft. Redesignated 363d Tactical Reconnaissance Group in Jun 1948.

Squadrons. 9th: 1953-. 12th: 1946-1947. 17th: 1951-. 31st: 1945. 33d: 1945. 39th: 1945. 155th: 1945. 160th (formerly 380th, later 16th): 1943-1945; 1947-1949, 1950-. 161st (formerly 381st, later 18th): 1943-1945; 1946-1949, 1951-. 162d (formerly 382d): 1943-1944; 1946-1950.

Stations. Hamilton Field, Calif, 1 Mar 1943; Santa Rosa AAFld, Calif, Aug 1943; Sacramento, Calif, Oct-c. 3 Dec 1943; Keevil, England, c. 23 Dec 1943; Rivenhall, England, Jan 1944; Staplehurst, England, Apr 1944; Maupertuis, France, c. 1 Jul 1944; Azeville, France, Aug 1944; Le Mans, France, Sep 1944; Luxembourg, Luxembourg, c. 1 Oct 1944; Le Culot, Belgium, c. 29 Oct 1944; Venlo, Holland, Mar 1945; Gutersloh, Germany, c. 15 Apr 1945; Brunswick, Germany, c. 22 Apr 1945; Wiesbaden, Germany, May 1945; Eschwege, Germany, Aug 1945; Darmstadt, Germany, Sep-c. 2 Dec 1945; Camp Kilmer, NJ, c. 9-11 Dec 1945. Brooks Field, Tex, 29 Jul 1946; Langley Field, Va, Dec 1947; Shaw AFB, SC, c. 2 Apr 1951-.

Commanders. Lt Col John R Ulricson, c. 1 Mar 1943; Capt Dave H Culberson, c. 8 Apr 1943; Maj Theodore C Bunker, c. 27 Apr 1943; Col John R Ulricson, 5 Jun 1943; Col James B Tipton, 7 May 1944; Co] James M Smelley, c. 1 Sep 1944; Lt Col Seth A Mize, May 1945-unkn. Col Russell A Berg, 29 Jul 1946; Col John R Dyas, c. 23 Aug 1946; Col James M Smelley, 5 Nov 1947; Lt Col Walter W Berg, 30 Jun 1949; Col Willis F Chapman, 31 Oct 1949; Col Benjamin G Willis, 7 Sep 1950; Maj Charles N Keppler, c. 13 Mar 1951; Co] Willie O Jackson Jr, 2 Apr 1951; Lt Co] Robert R Smith, 1 Nov 1951; Lt Co] Robert R Evans, 5 Mar 1952; Col John M McNabb, 17 Mar 1952; Col Robert R Smith, c. 4 Mar 1953; Col Paul A Pettigrew, c. 16 Mar 1955-.

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

Decorations. Cited in the Order of the Day, Belgian Army: 1 Oct 1944-; 18 Dec 1944-15 Jan 1945. Belgian Fourragere.

Insigne. Shield: Quarterly, first quarter checky, argent and gules; second and third quarters, azure; fourth quarter gules, a lion rampant or, armed and langued azure, all within a diminutive of the border or. Wreath of the colors, argent and gules. Motto: Voir C'est Savoir - To See is To Know. (Approved 16 Jun 1952.)

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

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