479th Fighter Group

Constituted as 479th Fighter Group on 12 Oct 1943 and activated on 15 Oct. Equipped with P-38's. Trained for combat and served as an air defense organization. Moved to England, Apr-May 1944, and assigned to Eighth AF. From May 1944 to Apr 1945, escorted heavy bombers during operations against targets on the Continent, strafed targets of opportunity, and flew fighter-bomber, counter-air, and area-patrol missions. Engaged primarily in escort activities and fighter sweeps until the Normandy invasion in June 1944. Patrolled the beachhead during the invasion. Strafed and dive-bombed troops, bridges, locomotives, railway cars, barges, vehicles, airfields, gun emplacements, flak towers, ammunition dumps, power stations, and radar sites while on escort or fighter-bomber missions as the Allies drove across France during the summer and fall of 1944; flew area patrols to support the breakthrough at St Lo in Jul and the airborne attack on Holland in Sep. Received a DUC for the destruction of numerous aircraft on airfields in France on 18 Aug and 5 Sep and during aerial battle near Munster on 26 Sep. Continued escort and fighter-bomber activities from Oct to mid-Dec 1944, converting to P-51's during this period. Participated in the Battle of the Bulge (Dec 1944-Jan 1945) by escorting bombers to and from targets in the battle area and by strafing transportation targets while on escort duty. Flew escort missions from Feb to Apr 1945, but also provided area patrols to support the airborne attack across the Rhine in Mar. Returned to the US in Nov 1945. Inactivated on Dec 1945.

Redesignated 479th Fighter-Bomber Group. Activated on 1 Dec 1952. Assigned to Tactical Air Command. Equipped successively with F-51, F-86 and F-100 aircraft. Redesignated 479th Fighter-Day Group in Feb 1954.

Squadrons. 434th: 1943-1945; 1952-. 435th: 1943-1945; 1952-. 436th: 1943-1945; 1952-.

Stations. Grand Central Air Terminal Calif, 15 Oct 1943; Lomita Flight Strip, Calif, c. Feb 1944; Santa Maria AAFld, Calif, c. 8-c. 12 Apr 1944; Wattisham, England, c. 15 May 1944-c. 23 Nov 1945; Camp Kilmer, NJ, c. 29 Nov-1 Dec 1945. George AFB, Calif, 1 Dec 1952-.

Commanders. Lt Col Leo F Dusard Jr, c. 28 Oct 1943; Maj Francis Pope, c. 14 Nov 1943; Lt Col Kyle L Riddle, c. 16 Dec 1943; Col Hubert Zemke, 12 Aug 1944; Col Kyle L Riddle, 1 Nov 1944-unkn. Col Woodrow W Ramsey, 1952- unkn; Lt Col Verl D Luehring, 1953; Col Jacob W Dixon, c. 19 Aug 1953; Col William B Harris, c. 31 May 1955-.

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

Decorations. Distinguished Unit Citation: ETO, 18 Aug, 5 and 26 Sep 1944. French Croix de Guerre with Palm.

Insigne. Shield: Or, a broad sword gules in bend piercing a cloud proper, between a point sinister pointed gules, charged with six stars argent three, two and one, and a point in base vert, all within a diminutive border azure. Motto: Protectores Libertatis - Defenders of Liberty. (Approved 10 Sep 1954.)

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

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