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364th Fighter Group (Second World War)

364th Fighter Group (Second World War)


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364th Fighter Group (Second World War)

History - Books - Aircraft - Time Line - Commanders - Main Bases - Component Units - Assigned To

History

The 364th Fighter Group (USAAF) entered combat as a fighter escort unit, protecting the Eighth Air Force's heavy bombers, but later added ground attack duties to its role.

The group was activated in the United States on 1 June 1943 and moved to Britain to join the Eighth Air Force in January-February 1944. The group began operations in March 1944 as a bomber escort unit, supporting the strategic bombing campaign. It continued to perform this role for the rest of the war, and was awarded a Distinguishd Unit Citiation for helping to protect a bomber forces heading to Frankfurt on 27 Decenber 1944.

As the war went on the group flew an increasing number of tactical missions, including dive-bombing and strafing attacks on German targets and fighter sweeps.

During the D-Day landings the group flew patrols over the Channel. It carried out ground attack missions in support of the fighting in Normandy, before converting to the P-51 Mustang. The tactical missions continued, and the group took part in Operation Market Garden in September 1944, the battle of the Bulge (December 1944-January 1945) and the crossing of the Rhine in March 1945.

The group returned to the United States in November and was inactivated on 10 November 1945.

Books

Aircraft

1943-Summer 1944: Lockheed P-38 Lightning
Summer 1944 onwards: North American P-51 Mustang

Timeline

25 May 1943Constititued as 364th Fighter Group
1 June 1943Activated
Jan-Feb 1944To England and Eighth Air Force
March 1944Combat debut
November 1945To United States
10 November 1945Inactivated

Commanders (with date of appointment)

Lt. Col Frederick CGrambo: 12 Jun 1943
Col Roy W Osborn: Mar 1944
Lt Col Joseph B McManus: c.9 Sep 1944
Lt Col John W Lowell: c. 23Oct 1944
Col Roy W Osborn; 2 Nov 1944
Lt Col Eugene P Roberts: 3 Jan-Nov 1945

Main Bases

Glendale, Calif: 1 Jun 1943
Van Nuys, Calif: 12 Aug 1943
OntarioAAFld, Calif: 11 Oct 1943
Santa MariaAAFld, Calif: c. 7 Dec 1943-c. 11 Jan 1944
Honington, England: Feb 1944-c. Nov1945
Camp Kilmer: NJ, 9-10 Nov 1945

Component Units

383rd Fighter Squadron: 1943-45
384th Fighter Squadron: 1943-45
385th Fighter Squadron: 1943-45

Assigned To

1943-44: Los Angeles Fighter Wing; IV Fighter Command; Fourth Air Force
1944-September 1944: 67th Fighter Wing; VIII Fighter Command; Eighth Air Force
September 1944-1945: 67th Fighter Wing; 1st Air Division; Eighth Air Force


364 th Fighter Group

Location. 39° 0.978′ N, 104° 51.321′ W. Marker is in United States Air Force Academy, Colorado, in El Paso County. Marker is in the United States Air Force Academy Cemetery, on Parade Loop west of Stadium Boulevard, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: USAF Academy CO 80840, United States of America. Touch for directions.

Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Pearl Harbor Survivors Association (here, next to this marker) 357th Fighter Group (here, next to this marker) 474th Fighter Group (here, next to this marker) P51 Mustang Pilots Association (here, next to this marker) 5th Bombardment Group (H) (here, next to this marker) 19th Troop Carrier Squadron (here,

next to this marker) 64th Fighter Squadron (here, next to this marker) 48th Fighter-Bomber Wing (here, next to this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in United States Air Force Academy.

More about this marker. Must have a valid ID to enter the USAF Academy grounds.

Also see . . .
1. 364th Fighter Group (Second World War). (Submitted on December 30, 2020, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. 364th Fighter Group. (Submitted on December 30, 2020, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
3. General Sam Phillips Oral History Interview (1988). (Submitted on December 30, 2020, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
4. 364th Fighter Group. (Submitted on December 30, 2020, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
5. Witness to War: Henry Saylor Interview. (Submitted on December 30, 2020, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)


  • 131st Operations Group
  • 131st Maintenance Group
  • 131st Mission Support Group
  • 131st Medical Group

World War II [ edit | edit source ]

Lockheed P-38J-10-LO Lightnings including 42-67978 "Mim / Betty A II" N2-K of Lt. Loren R. Wilson in the 383rd FS, 364th FG

North American P-51D-15-NA Mustang 44-15493 (5E-J) and P-51K-5-NT Mustang 44-11619 (5E-O) of the 385th FS, 364th FG. 5E-J, "Jeanne II" was flown by Capt. Gerald W "Jerry" Fine, and was named for his wife. 5E-O, "Boilermaker Special" was flown by Lt. Robert W. Boydston.

Organized and trained in California during 1943. Moved to England in January 1944, being assigned to VIII Fighter Command. The 364th FG flew escort, dive-bombing, strafing, and patrol missions in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany. At first the group operated primarily as escort for B-17/B-24 Liberator heavy bombers. The group patrolled the English Channel during the Normandy invasion in June 1944, and, while continuing escort operations, supported ground forces in France after the invasion by strafing and bombing locomotives, marshalling yards, bridges, barges, and other targets.

Converted from P-38's to P-51 Mustang's in the summer of 1944 and from then until the end of the war flew many long-range escort missions heavy bombers that attacked oil refineries, industries, and other strategic objectives at Berlin, Regensburg, Merseburg, Stuttgart, Brussels, and elsewhere. The 364th received a Distinguished Unit Citation for an escort mission on 27 December 1944 when the group dispersed a large force of German fighters that attacked the bomber formation the group was escorting on a raid to Frankfurt.

The 364th also flew air-sea rescue missions, engaged in patrol activities, and continued to support ground forces as the battle line moved through France and into Germany. Took part in the effort to invade the Netherlands by air, September 1944 the Battle of the Bulge, December 1944 – January 1945 and the assault across the Rhine, March 1945.

Although the last mission by the 364th FG took place on 25 April 1945, the group did not depart until November, returning to Camp Kilmer New Jersey for inactivation

Missouri Air National Guard [ edit | edit source ]

The wartime 364th Fighter Group was re-activated and re-designated as the 131st Fighter Group, and was allotted to the Missouri Air National Guard, on 24 May 1946. It was organized at Lambert Field, St Louis, and was extended federal recognition on 15 July 1946 by the National Guard Bureau. The 131st Fighter Group was bestowed the history, honors, and colors of the wartime 364th Fighter Group. Assigned to the Missouri ANG 57th Fighter Wing, the 131st Fighter Group controlled the 110th Fighter Squadron in St. Louis and the 180th Bombardment Squadron at Rosecrans Memorial Airport, St Joseph. The status of the 131st was changed from a Group to a Wing on 31 Oct 1950 when the 71st Fighter Wing was inactivated and the 131st took over the organization and mission of the 71st.

Korean War activation [ edit | edit source ]

131st TFW F-84F Thunderstreaks at Toul AB, France, 1961

On 1 March 1951 the 110th was federalized and brought to active-duty due to the Korean War. It was initially assigned to Strategic Air Command (SAC) and transferred to Bergstrom AFB, Texas. The 131st Fighter-Bomber Group was composed of the 110th Fighter Squadron, the 192d Fighter Squadron (Nevada ANG), the 178th Fighter Squadron (North Dakota ANG), and the 170th Fighter Squadron (Illinois ANG). At Berstrom, its mission was a filler replacement for the 27th Fighter-Escort Group which was deployed to Japan as part of SAC's commitment to the Korean War. The unit was a Bergstrom until November when it was transferred to Tactical Air Command (TAC) and moved to George AFB, California. At George, the unit was scheduled to be re-equipped with F-84D Thunderjets and was programmed for deployment to Japan, however the F-84s were instead sent to France and the 131st Fighter-Bomber Wing remained in California and flew its F-51 Mustangs for the remainder of its federal service. The 110th Fighter-Bomber Squadron was released from active duty and returned to Missouri state control on 1 December 1952.

Tactical Air Command [ edit | edit source ]

110th TFS F-100C 54-1825, about 1965

Returning to Lambert Field, the 131st was re-formed as a light bombardment squadron in January 1953 and came under Tactical Air Command. It received B-26 Invaders that returned from the Korean War and trained primarily in night bombardment missions, which the aircraft specialized in while in Korea.

With the removal of the B-26 from bombing duties in 1957 as neared the end of their service lives, the 110th entered the "Jet Age". The 110th received its first jet aircraft in the spring of 1957 when it received some F-80 Shooting Stars, then in June 1957, it transitioned to the F-84F Thunderstreak fighter-bomber. On 1 October 1961, as a result of the 1961 Berlin Crisis, the mobilized Missouri Air National Guard (ANG) 131st Tactical Fighter Wing deployed to Toul-Rosières Air Base, France as the 7131st Tactical Fighter Wing (Provisional). When activated as the 7131st TFW, it consisted of the 110, 169 and 170 TFS, from Lambert Field, St. Louis MO, Peoria Municipal Airport, Peoria IL, and Capitol Airport, Springfield IL, respectively. The designation 7131st was used as the Wing, composed of three federalized ANG squadrons, only deployed the 110th Tactical Fighter Squadron to France. The 169th and 170th TFS rotated personnel to Toul during their period of activation due to budget restraints, however only one squadron's worth of aircraft and personnel were at Toul at any one time.

F-4E "30 Years of Phabulous Phantoms".

While in France, the Guardsmen assumed regular commitments on a training basis with the U.S. 7th Army as well as maintaining a 24-hour alert status. The 7131st exchanged both air and ground crews with the Royal Danish Air Force's 730th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Skydstrup Air Station, Denmark, during May 1962. As the Berlin situation subsided, all activated ANG units were ordered to be returned to the United States and released from active duty. The 7131st TFW was inactivated in place in France on 19 July 1962 leaving its aircraft and equipment to USAFE.

After returning to St Louis, the unit was re-equipped with F-100C Super Sabres in late 1962. It trained with the F-100s for the next 17 years, upgrading to the improved F-100D in 1971. Although not activated during the Vietnam War, many of the squadron's pilots were sent to F-100 squadrons in South Vietnam between 1968-1971. In 1977, Charles Lindbergh's widow gave permission to designate 110th Tactical Fighter Squadron as "Lindbergh's Own". In 1978, the unit acquired the "home grown" McDonnell Douglas F-4C Phantom II, the aircraft primarily being Vietnam War veterans returned from Southeast Asia. It again upgraded to the more advanced F-4E Phantom II in 1985 and in 1991 was again upgraded to the F-15A/B Eagle air superiority aircraft with the F-4s being retired. The 110th was one of the last Air National Guard unit's to convert to the F-15.

Air Combat Command [ edit | edit source ]

More than 500 members from the 131st Fighter Wing and the tenant units located at Lambert International Airport were called into service to battle the Great Flood of 1993. In the post-Cold War era, the unit deployed to Incirlik AB, Turkey in support of Operation Northern Watch in 1996, 1997 and 1998.

110th FS F-15Cs St Louis 2008

Members of the 131st returned in October 2000 from duty rotations in Southwest Asia and Europe, while other unit members were still stationed overseas. Eventually, a total of about 430 wing members were scheduled to deploy, with the majority leaving in October 2000 for Prince Sultan AB, Saudi Arabia, in support of Operation Southern Watch. A little more than half of the deployed 131st Fighter Wing members and 12 F-15s made up the AEF-9's 110th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron (EFS). The 110th EFS primarily provides air superiority for Operation Southern Watch. AEF-9 was deployed from September through November 2000. In 2004, the improved F-15C Eagle arrived, replacing the older aircraft.

On 16 March 2006, the Air Force announced that elements of the 131st Fighter Wing, Missouri Air National Guard (MOANG), would become an associate unit assigned to the 509th Bomb Wing.The 131st Fighter Wing transitioned from flying and maintaining the F-15C Eagle fighter to the B-2 Spirit bomber. The final flight of the F-15C Eagle by the 131st occurred in June 2009 from St. Louis's Lambert International Airport. The unit was redesignated as the 131st Bomb Wing on 1 October 2008. The 509th and the 131st joined forces according to what is known as a "classic associate wing" structure. The active-duty wing, the 509th retains full "ownership" of the operational assets aircraft, maintenance facilities, etc. Each wing has its own chain-of-command and organizational structure, but the members of each unit perform their duties in a fully integrated manner. Translation, active-duty and ANG pilots and maintainers fly B-2 missions and sustain the aircraft as though it were one unit. Ώ] On Wednesday morning, 30 May 2007, A Missouri National Guard F-15 pilot ejected safely from his aircraft just before it crashed during a training mission in rural Knox county, Indiana. The plane went down just before 11 am EDT south of Vincennes, near the Illinois border, as it conducted standard training maneuvers, according to a release from the National Guard. Investigators said the plane was flying at about 20,000 feet prior to the crash. The pilot had been with the 131st Fighter Wing for 12 years and was highly experienced, officials said. The unit had most recently enforced no-fly zones in Iraq. This crash decreased the 131st's aircraft count from 20 to 19.

On 2 November 2007, another F-15C from the 131st crashed in Mark Twain National Forest, in Missouri. No property was damaged and no people on the ground were hurt, however the pilot broke an arm and a shoulder, despite ejecting from the plane. The pilot also was said to be in "shock" when landowners found him. The crash was due to a flaw in a part of the plane's fuselage this led to all F-15 aircraft being grounded at one point between November and January 2008. Since after the accidents, the 131st's flights have been reduced, also due to the wing slowly moving to flying B-2s. However the 131st and the F-15's are still on active duty.

In its 2005 BRAC Recommendations, DoD recommended to realign the 131st Fighter Wing. The 110th's F-15s (15 aircraft) would be distributed to the 57th Fighter Wing, Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada (nine aircraft), and 177th Fighter Wing, Atlantic City International Airport AGS, NJ (six aircraft). After which, the unit was moved to Whiteman AFB and became the first Air National Guard B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber unit. The F-15's began to leave Lambert on 15 August 2008 and by January 2009, most of the 13 remaining aircraft were in the main hangar being stripped of markings or already had their markings removed. The final two F-15C's departed on 13 June 2009 after a closing ceremony titled "The End Of An Era", that was attended by over 2,000 people. Some pilots are taking B-2 Training courses while others are changing units, or decided to retire early. The 131st Fighter Wing was the most experienced F-15 Fighter Wing in the United States out of the four pilots that flew over 4,000 F-15 flight hours, three of them were from the unit.

The transition occurred on 4 October 2008 when the 131st Bomb Wing in a ribbon cutting ceremony at Whiteman, AFB. The ceremony celebrated the first official drill for traditional guardsmen at Whiteman and the grand opening of building 3006, the 131st Bomb Wing's headquarters there. On 16 June 2009, the last F-15 departed Lambert Field.


Current use [ edit | edit source ]

With the end of military control Raydon was converted into Notley Industrial Park. The buildings that remain are largely unaltered in appearance.

Raydon has also been the scene of some paranormal incidents, one being the sighting of an American MP with his dog, still patrolling the airfield.

Unfortunately the control tower and much of the concrete parts of the airfield was removed in the 1960s, being used to construct the A12 highway. Today RAF Raydon retains many of the buildings of the old technical site, including two T-2 hangars in very good condition (one used by the farmer and the other used for car storage). However some of the taxiways and part of the main runway is still intact. The firing Butts are also still intact but are covered by a large growth of foliage.

Raydon is one of the more complete Second World War USAAF airfield (bases) in East Anglia that was not used by the United States Air Force during the Cold War.


364th Fighter Group (Second World War) - History

According to our records Louisiana was his home or enlistment state and Orleans Parish included within the archival record. We have New Orleans listed as the city. He had enlisted in the United States Army Air Forces. Served during World War II. Acosta had the rank of Second Lieutenant. His military occupation or specialty was Pilot. Service number assignment was O-763018. Attached to 364th Fighter Group, 383rd Fighter Squadron. During his service in World War II, Army Air Forces Second Lieutenant Acosta experienced a traumatic event which ultimately resulted in loss of life on August 27, 1944 . Recorded circumstances attributed to: Killed in action. Incident location: North Sea, near Wobbenbüll, Germany.

Argent J. Acosta Jr was born in 1921 in Orleans Parish, Louisiana. He flew the "Carolina Moon", a P51D Mustang fighter as a member of the 383rd Fighter Squadron, 364th Fighter Group.

According to documents in the Missing Air Crew Report, the plane of Lt Acosta was shot down by an enemy fighter while he was flying as a bomber escort on a mission to Berlin, Germany.

He joined the Air Corps Reserve in New Orleans, Louisiana on September 2, 1942. He attended high school for 4 years and was a plumber before he joined the army. He was married to Rita A Cantrelle Acosta and they had a young son, named after his father.

Argent John Acosta Jr is buried or memorialized at Plot D Row 10 Grave 18, Ardennes American Cemetery, Neupre, Belgium. This is an American Battle Monuments Commission location.

364th Fighter Group (Second World War) - History

Glenn W Loucks was born on October 24, 1916. According to our records New Jersey was his home or enlistment state and Bergen County included within the archival record. He had enlisted in the United States Army Air Forces. Served during World War II. Loucks had the rank of Second Lieutenant. His military occupation or specialty was Pilot. Service number assignment was O-824521. Attached to 364th Fighter Group, 385th Fighter Squadron. During his service in World War II, Army Air Forces Second Lieutenant Loucks experienced a traumatic event which ultimately resulted in loss of life on September 28, 1944 . Recorded circumstances attributed to: KIA - Killed in Action.

2nd Lt Glenn W Loucks entered the Air Force as an Air Cadet in February 1943 from Wyckoff, Bergen County, New Jersey. He attended Ramsey High School in Ramsey, New Jersey.

Lt Loucks was flying #4 Position in Yellow Flight. When they sighted enemy FW 190's attacking the bombers, they went into the fight.

After the fight he reported that he was at 5,000 feet on a heading of due west with a dead engine. He said he was going to ride it a little further and then get out. He was not heard on the radio after that.

Glenn W Loucks is buried or memorialized at Plot M Row 7 Grave 15, Netherlands American Cemetery, Margraten, Netherlands. This is an American Battle Monuments Commission location.

World War II

During World War II, the unit that would eventually be known as the 131st Bomb Wing, the 364th Fighter Group, organized and trained in California during 1943 before moving to England in January 1944 where it was assigned to VIII Fighter Command. The 364th FG flew escort, dive-bombing, strafing, and patrol missions in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany. At first the group operated primarily as escort for B-17 and B-24 Liberator heavy bombers. The group patrolled the English Channel during the Normandy invasion in June 1944, and while continuing escort operations, supported ground forces in France after the invasion by strafing and bombing locomotives, marshalling yards, bridges, barges, and other targets.

In the summer of 1944, the 364th converted from P-38s to P-51 Mustangs and until the end of the war flew many long-range missions including escorting heavy bombers to attack oil refineries, industries, and other strategic objectives at Berlin, Regensburg, Merseburg, Stuttgart, Brussels, and elsewhere. The 364th received a Distinguished Unit Citation for an escort mission on 27 December 1944 when the group dispersed a large force of German fighters that attacked the bomber formation the group was escorting on a raid to Frankfurt.

The 364th also flew air-sea rescue missions, engaged in patrol activities, and continued to support ground forces as the battle line advanced through France and into Germany. Took part in the effort to invade the Netherlands by air, September 1944 the Battle of the Bulge, December 1944 – January 1945 and the assault across the Rhine in March 1945.

Although the last mission by the 364th FG took place on 25 April 1945, the group did not depart until November, returning to Camp Kilmer New Jersey for inactivation

Missouri Air National Guard

The wartime 364th Fighter Group was re-activated and re-designated as the 131st Fighter Group, and was allotted to the Missouri Air National Guard, on 24 May 1946. It was organized at Lambert Field, St Louis, and was extended federal recognition on 15 July 1946 by the National Guard Bureau. The 131st Fighter Group was bestowed the history, honors, and colors of the wartime 364th Fighter Group.

Assigned to the Missouri ANG 57th Fighter Wing, the 131st Fighter Group controlled the 110th Fighter Squadron in St. Louis and the 180th Bombardment Squadron at Rosecrans Memorial Airport, St Joseph. The status of the 131st was changed from a Group to a Wing on 31 Oct 1950 when the 71st Fighter Wing was inactivated and the 131st took over the organization and mission of the 71st.

Korean War activation

On 1 March 1951 the 110th was federalized and brought to active-duty due to the Korean War. It was initially assigned to Strategic Air Command (SAC) and transferred to Bergstrom AFB, Texas. The 131st Fighter-Bomber Group was composed of the 110th Fighter Squadron, the 192d Fighter Squadron (Nevada ANG), the 178th Fighter Squadron (North Dakota ANG), and the 170th Fighter Squadron (Illinois ANG). At Berstrom, its mission was a filler replacement for the 27th Fighter-Escort Group which was deployed to Japan as part of SAC's commitment to the Korean War.

The unit was at Bergstrom until November when it was transferred to Tactical Air Command (TAC) and moved to George AFB, California. At George, the unit was scheduled to be re-equipped with F-84D Thunderjets and was programmed for deployment to Japan, however the F-84s were instead sent to France and the 131st Fighter-Bomber Wing remained in California and flew its F-51 Mustangs for the remainder of its federal service. The 110th Fighter-Bomber Squadron was released from active duty and returned to Missouri state control on 1 December 1952.

Tactical Air Command

Returning to Lambert Field, the 131st was re-formed as a light bombardment squadron in January 1953 and came under Tactical Air Command. It received B-26 Invaders that returned from the Korean War and trained primarily in night bombardment missions, which the aircraft specialized in while in Korea.

With the removal of the B-26 from bombing duties in 1957 as they neared the end of their service lives, the 110th entered the "Jet Age." The 110th received its first jet aircraft in the spring of 1957 when it received some F-80 Shooting Stars, then in June 1957, it transitioned to the F-84F Thunderstreak fighter-bomber.

On 1 October 1961, as a result of the 1961 Berlin Crisis, the mobilized Missouri Air National Guard 131st Tactical Fighter Wing deployed to Toul-Rosières Air Base, France as the 7131st Tactical Fighter Wing (Provisional). When activated as the 7131st TFW, it consisted of the 110, 169 and 170 TFS, from Lambert Field, St. Louis MO, Peoria Municipal Airport, Peoria IL, and Capitol Airport, Springfield IL, respectively. The designation 7131st was used as the Wing, composed of three federalized ANG squadrons, only deployed the 110th Tactical Fighter Squadron to France. The 169th and 170th TFS rotated personnel to Toul during their period of activation due to budget restraints, however only one squadron's worth of aircraft and personnel were at Toul at any one time.

While in France, guardsmen assumed regular commitments on a training basis with the U.S. 7th Army as well as maintaining a 24-hour alert status. The 7131st exchanged both air and ground crews with the Royal Danish Air Force's 730th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Skydstrup Air Station, Denmark, during the month of May 1962. As the Berlin situation subsided, all activated ANG units were ordered to be returned to the United States and released from active duty. The 7131st TFW was inactivated in place in France on 19 July 1962, and left its aircraft and equipment to USAFE.

After returning to St. Louis, the unit was re-equipped with F-100C Super Sabres in late 1962. It trained with the F-100s for the next 17 years, and upgraded to the improved F-100D in 1971. Although not activated during the Vietnam War, many of the squadron's pilots were sent to F-100 squadrons in South Vietnam between 1968 and 1971. In 1977, Charles Lindbergh's widow gave permission to designate 110th Tactical Fighter Squadron as "Lindbergh's Own."

In 1978, the unit acquired the "home grown" McDonnell Douglas F-4C Phantom II, the aircraft primarily associated with the Vietnam War. It again upgraded to the more advanced F-4E Phantom II in 1985, and in 1991 was again upgraded to the F-15A/B Eagle air superiority aircraft with the retirement of the F-4s. The 131st was one of the last Air National Guard units to convert to the F-15.

Air Combat Command

More than 500 members from the 131st Fighter Wing and the tenant units located at Lambert International Airport were called into service to battle the Great Flood of 1993. In the post-Cold War era, the unit deployed to Incirlik AB, Turkey in support of Operation Northern Watch in 1996, 1997 and 1998.

Members of the 131st returned in October 2000 from duty rotations in Southwest Asia and Europe, while other unit members were still stationed overseas. Eventually, a total of about 430 wing members were scheduled to deploy, with the majority leaving in October 2000 for Prince Sultan AB, Saudi Arabia, in support of Operation Southern Watch. A little more than half of the deployed 131st Fighter Wing members and 12 F-15s made up the AEF-9's 110th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron (EFS). The 110th EFS primarily provides air superiority for Operation Southern Watch. AEF-9 was deployed from September through November 2000. In 2004, the improved F-15C Eagle arrived, replacing the older aircraft.

On 16 March 2006, the Air Force announced that elements of the 131st Fighter Wing would become an associate unit assigned to the active duty 509th Bomb Wing. Consequently, the 131st Fighter Wing transitioned from flying and maintaining the F-15C Eagle fighter to the B-2 Spirit bomber. The final flight of the F-15C Eagle by the 131st occurred in June 2009 from Lambert International Airport in St. Louis. The unit was redesignated as the 131st Bomb Wing on 1 October 2008. The 509th and the 131st joined forces according to what is known as a "classic associate wing" structure. In a classic association, the active duty 509th retains ownership of the operational assets, including aircraft, maintenance facilities, and so on. However, each wing maintains its own chain-of-command and organizational structure, while the members of each unit perform their duties in a fully integrated manner. As a result, active duty and Air National Guard pilots and maintainers fly B-2 missions and sustain the aircraft as though they were one unit. [4]

On the morning of Wednesday, 30 May 2007, a Missouri Air National Guard F-15 pilot ejected safely from his aircraft just before it crashed during a training mission in rural Knox county, Indiana. The plane went down just before 11 am EDT south of Vincennes, near the Illinois border, as it conducted standard training maneuvers, according to a release from the National Guard. Investigators said the plane was flying at about 20,000 feet prior to the crash. The pilot had been with the 131st Fighter Wing for 12 years and was highly experienced, officials said. The unit had most recently enforced no-fly zones in Iraq. This crash decreased the 131st's aircraft strength from 20 to 19.

On 2 November 2007, another F-15C from the 131st crashed in Mark Twain National Forest near Boss, Missouri. [5] No property was damaged and no people on the ground were hurt, however the pilot broke an arm and a shoulder, despite ejecting from the plane. The pilot also was said to be in "shock" by the landowners who found him. After investigation, the crash was attributed to a flaw in a part of the plane's fuselage this led to all F-15 aircraft being grounded between November and January 2008. After the accidents, the 131st's flights were reduced, which was also due to the wing's transition to flying B-2s.

In its 2005 BRAC recommendations, the Department of Defense recommended realignment of the 131st Fighter Wing. The 110th's F-15s (15 aircraft) were distributed to the 57th Fighter Wing, Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada (nine aircraft), and 177th Fighter Wing, Atlantic City International Airport AGS, NJ (six aircraft). After which, the unit moved to Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri and became the first Air National Guard B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber unit.

The F-15s began to leave Lambert on 15 August 2008, and by January 2009 most of the 13 remaining aircraft were in the main hangar being stripped of markings. The final two F-15Cs departed on 13 June 2009 after a closing ceremony titled "The End of an Era," which was attended by over 2,000 people. Some pilots had already begun B-2 training, while others chose to move to different units or retire early. The 131st Fighter Wing was the most experienced F-15 Fighter Wing in the United States out of the four pilots that flew over 4,000 F-15 flight hours, three of them were from the unit.

Global Strike Command

The 131st Bomb Wing's transition to Air Force Global Strike Command occurred on 4 October 2008 when the 131st Bomb Wing held a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Whiteman AFB. The ceremony celebrated the first official drill for traditional guardsmen at Whiteman and the grand opening of building 3006, the 131st Bomb Wing's first headquarters there. On 16 June 2009, the last F-15 departed Lambert Field.

In August 2013, the 131st Bomb Wing was deemed fully mission-capable, meaning that it fully completed the transition to Whiteman Air Force Base.

Lineage

  • Constituted as 364th Fighter Group on 25 May 1943
  • Re-designated: 131st Fighter Group and allotted to Missouri ANG on 24 May 1946

Assignments

    , 1 June 1943 – 11 January 1944 , 10 February 1944–
    (for inactivation), 9–10 November 1945 , 15 July 1946 , 1 January 1947 , 31 October 1951
    , Continental Air Command, 1 Mar 1951 , Strategic Air Command, 9 Apr 1951 , Strategic Air Command, 7 Aug 1951 , 16 Nov 1951-15 October 1952 , 1 December 1952
    , 1 October 1961 , 31 August 1962

Components

World War II

    : (N2) 1 June 1943 – 10 November 1945 : (5Y) 1 June 1943 – 10 November 1945 : (5E) 1 June 1943 – 10 November 1945

Air National Guard

  • 131st Composite (later Fighter, Fighter-Bomber, Bombardment, Tactical Fighter) Group, 1 November 1950 – 30 September 1974
    , 1 November 1950 – 1 March 1951 (Minnesota ANG) , 23 September 1946 – Present , 22 August 1946 – 14 April 1962 (GSU St. Joseph, MO) , 23 February 1957 – 15 October 1962 (Kansas ANG) , 7 September 1946 – 1 October 1962 (Kansas ANG)

Stations

    , California, 1 June 1943 , California, 12 August 1943 , California, 11 October 1943 , California, c. 7 December 1943-c. 11 January 1944 (AAF-375), England, February 1944-c. November 1945 , New Jersey, 9–10 November 1945
    , St Louis, Missouri, 15 July 1946
    , Missouri, 4 Oct 2008–Present

Aircraft

    . 1943–1944 , 1944–1945 , 1946-1952 , 1946-1957 , 1957 , 1957-1958 , 1957-1962
    , 1962-1971 , 1971-1979 , 1979-1985 , 1985-1991 , 1991-2004 , 2004-2009 , 2009–present

Decorations


Thomas, Charles L.

Citation: For extraordinary heroism in action on 14 December 1944, near Climbach, France.

While riding in the lead vehicle of a task force organized to storm and capture the village of Climbach, France, then First Lieutenant Thomas's armored scout car was subjected to intense enemy artillery, self-propelled gun, and small arms fire. Although wounded by the initial burst of hostile fire, Lieutenant Thomas signaled the remainder of the column to halt and, despite the severity of his wounds, assisted the crew of the wrecked car in dismounting. Upon leaving the scant protection which the vehicle afforded, Lieutenant Thomas was again subjected to a hail of enemy fire which inflicted multiple gunshot wounds in his chest, legs, and left arm. Despite the intense pain caused by these wounds, Lieutenant Thomas ordered and directed the dispersion and emplacement of two antitank guns which in a few moments were promptly and effectively returning the enemy fire.

Realizing that he could no longer remain in command of the platoon, he signaled to the platoon commander to join him. Lieutenant Thomas then thoroughly oriented him on enemy gun dispositions and the general situation. Only after he was certain that his junior officer was in full control of the situation did he permit himself to be evacuated.

First Lieutenant Thomas' outstanding heroism were an inpiration to his men and exemplify the highest traditions of the Armed Forces.


Contents

Lineage

Assignments

Components

  • 383rd Fighter Squadron: (N2) 1 Jun 1943-10 Nov 1945
  • 384th Fighter Squadron: (5Y) 1 Jun 1943-10 Nov 1945
  • 385th Fighter Squadron: (5E) 1 Jun 1943-10 Nov 1945

Stations

    , California, 1 Jun 1943 , California, 12 Aug 1943 , California, 11 Oct 1943 , California, c. 7 Dec 1943-c. 11 Jan 1944 (AAF-375), England, Feb 1944-c. Nov 1945 , New Jersey, 9-10 Nov 1945.

Aircraft

Operations

Organized and trained in California during 1943. Moved to England in January 1944, being assigned to VIII Fighter Command.

The 364th FG flew escort, dive-bombing, strafing, and patrol missions in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany. At first the group operated primarily as escort for B-17/B-24 Liberator heavy bombers.

The group patrolled the English Channel during the Normandy invasion in June 1944, and, while continuing escort operations, supported ground forces in France after the invasion by strafing and bombing locomotives, marshalling yards, bridges, barges, and other targets.

Converted from P-38's to P-51 Mustang's in the summer of 1944 and from then until the end of the war flew many long-range escort missions heavy bombers that attacked oil refineries, industries, and other strategic objectives at Berlin, Regensburg, Merseburg, Stuttgart, Brussels, and elsewhere. The 364th received a Distinguished Unit Citation for an escort mission on 27 December 1944 when the group dispersed a large force of German fighters that attacked the bomber formation the group was escorting on a raid to Frankfurt.

The 364th also flew air-sea rescue missions, engaged in patrol activities, and continued to support ground forces as the battle line moved through France and into Germany. Took part in the effort to invade the Netherlands by air, September 1944 the Battle of the Bulge, Dec 1944-Jan 1945 and the assault across the Rhine, March 1945.

Although the last mission by the 364th took place on 25 April 1945, the group did not depart until November, returning to Camp Kilmer New Jersey for deactivation.


Old Crow (P-51D-10-NA 44-14450 B6-S), 363rd Fighter Squadron, survived World War II and is now in private ownership in Sweden. Originally the Mustang flew in olive drab camouflage, but in late 1944, was stripped to a bare metal finish, although its black-and-white "invasion stripes" remained on the bottom of the rear fuselage. The plane has been restored by its owner in its OD paint scheme and is based in Belgium.

A number of private owners of P-51s have restored their Mustangs in 357th livery for display at air shows and private exhibitions. Most are P-51Ds produced too late to see combat and declared surplus, or models that served in the Royal Canadian Air Force in the 1950s, although the Mustang restored as Frenesi was first an F-6K photographic reconnaissance model. Among Mustangs restored to resemble 357th aircraft are:


Watch the video: WW2 - The Aztec Eagles (July 2022).


Comments:

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  6. Deasach

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