55th Fighter Group



 

 

55th
FIGHTER GROUP


(Version provisoire - en construction)
303.5 victoires

 

 

 

38 Fighter Squadron
(114 vict)

Nom Grade Unité Date Ennemi Avion d'arme TOP Nbr Vict
AMOSS DUDLEY M 1st Lt 38FTR 03-21-1945 - - European 3
AMOSS DUDLEY M 2nd Lt 38FTR 02-03-1945 - - European 1.5
AMOSS DUDLEY M 2nd Lt 38FTR 02-15-1945 - - European 1
ANDERSON MILLIARD O 1st Lt 38FTR 12-24-1944 - - European 1
ANDERSON MILLIARD O 1st Lt 38FTR 02-25-1945 - - European 1
AYERS JERRY H Captain 38FTR 11-29-1943 - - European 1
BEAIRD THOMAS E JR Captain 38FTR 02-05-1944 - - European 1
BREATHWIT CARL E 1st Lt 38FTR 12-24-1944 - - European 1
BROWN GERALD 1st Lt 38FTR 01-31-1944 - - European 1
BROWN GERALD 1st Lt 38FTR 03-18-1944 - - European 1
BROWN GERALD Captain 38FTR 04-08-1944 - - European 1
BROWN GERALD Captain 38FTR 04-15-1944 - - European 2
CALLAGHAN ROBERT E 2nd Lt 38FTR 07-07-1944 - - European 1
CASTLE DORMAN L 1st Lt 38FTR 09-13-1944 - - European 1
CAVANAUGH DENNIS A 2nd Lt 38FTR 04-07-1945 - - European 0.5
CLARK MCCAULEY Captain 38FTR 09-03-1944 - - European 1
CLARK MCCAULEY Captain 38FTR 09-12-1944 - - European 0.5
CLARK MCCAULEY Captain 38FTR 09-13-1944 - - European 1
CLARK MCCAULEY Captain 38FTR 12-05-1944 - - European 1
CLARK MCCAULEY Captain 38FTR 04-07-1945 - - European 1
CLEMMONS BILLY 1st Lt 38FTR 01-15-1945 - - European 0.5
CLEMMONS BILLY 1st Lt 38FTR 02-25-1945 - - European 1
CLEMMONS BILLY 2nd Lt 38FTR 09-03-1944 - - European 1
CLEMMONS BILLY 2nd Lt 38FTR 09-13-1944 - - European 1
COONAN JOHN F 1st Lt 38FTR 09-13-1944 - - European 1
COONAN JOHN F Captain 38FTR 11-02-1944 - - European 0.5
COONAN JOHN F Captain 38FTR 01-03-1945 - - European 1
COONS MERLE M 1st Lt 38FTR 09-11-1944 - - European 2
COONS MERLE M 1st Lt 38FTR 09-13-1944 - - European 1
COONS MERLE M Captain 38FTR 12-05-1944 - - European 2
COURTNEY DAVID H 1st Lt 38FTR 01-03-1945 - - European 0.5
COURTNEY DAVID H 1st Lt 38FTR 01-15-1945 - - European 0.5
COURTNEY DAVID H 2nd Lt 38FTR 11-02-1944 - - European 0.5
CRAWFORD KENNETH I 1st Lt 38FTR 09-11-1944 - - European 1
CUMMINGS DONALD M Captain 38FTR 01-14-1945 - - European 1
CUMMINGS DONALD M Captain 38FTR 02-25-1945 - - European 2
CUMMINGS DONALD M Captain 38FTR 03-24-1945 - - European 0.5
CUMMINGS DONALD M Captain 38FTR 04-07-1945 - - European 2
CUNNICK JOHN W III 1st Lt 38FTR 04-07-1945 - - European 1
CUNNICK JOHN W III 2nd Lt 38FTR 03-22-1945 - - European 1
DES VOIGNES CLAIR W 1st Lt 38FTR 05-22-1944 - - European 1
DES VOIGNES CLAIR W 2nd Lt 38FTR 11-05-1943 - - European 0.5
FORSBLAD RICHARD W Captain 38FTR 07-21-1944 - - European 1
FRYER EARL R 1st Lt 38FTR 09-11-1944 - - European 3
FRYER EARL R Captain 38FTR 11-02-1944 - - European 1
GOULD CLIFFORD C 1st Lt 38FTR 11-02-1944 - - European 1
HANCOCK JAMES H Captain 38FTR 01-05-1944 - - European 1
HANCOCK JAMES H Major 38FTR 05-22-1944 - - European 1
HOKINSON LEROY V JR 2nd Lt 38FTR 01-31-1944 - - European 2
HOLDERMAN EUGENE M 1st Lt 38FTR 07-07-1944 - - European 2
HOLDERMAN EUGENE M Captain 38FTR 09-13-1944 - - European 1
HOLLEMAN TUNIS H 1st Lt 38FTR 09-11-1944 - - European 1
HOLLEMAN TUNIS H 1st Lt 38FTR 11-02-1944 - - European 1
JACKSON DONALD G 1st Lt 38FTR 12-24-1944 - - European 1
JEWELL DAVID F JR 1st Lt 38FTR 11-02-1944 - - European 0.5
JEWELL DAVID F JR 1st Lt 38FTR 12-05-1944 - - European 1
JOEL MILTON Major 38FTR 11-03-1943 - - European 0.5
JOEL MILTON Major 38FTR 11-05-1943 - - European 1
JOEL MILTON Major 38FTR 11-13-1943 - - European 1
JONES ROBERT 2nd Lt 38FTR 01-03-1945 - - European 1
KAVANAUGH JOHN W 1st Lt 38FTR 12-05-1944 - - European 1
KAVANAUGH JOHN W 1st Lt 38FTR 01-03-1945 - - European 1.5
KELLEY WENDELL J Lt Colonel 38FTR 09-03-1944 - - European 1
KREFT WILLARD L 2nd Lt 38FTR 11-03-1943 - - European 0.5
LANDERS JOHN D Major 38FTR 06-25-1944 - - European 1
LANDERS JOHN D Major 38FTR 07-07-1944 - - European 3
LAPHAM RICHARD L 2nd Lt 38FTR 09-13-1944 - - European 1
LARSON NORMAN L 1st Lt 38FTR 11-02-1944 - - European 1
LAWRENCE EDWIN B 2nd Lt 38FTR 09-12-1944 - - European 1
LEINWEBER GERALD F 1st Lt 38FTR 11-05-1943 - - European 1
MALONEY ROBERT F 1st Lt 38FTR 12-24-1944 - - European 0.5
MALONEY ROBERT F 2nd Lt 38FTR 11-13-1943 - - European 1
MALONEY ROBERT F 2nd Lt 38FTR 11-25-1943 - - European 1
MATNEY FRANCIS M 1st Lt 38FTR 11-02-1944 - - European 0.5
MATNEY FRANCIS M 1st Lt 38FTR 12-05-1944 - - European 1
MATNEY FRANCIS M 2nd Lt 38FTR 09-11-1944 - - European 2
MCGINNIS KEITH R 1st Lt 38FTR 02-19-1945 - - European 1
MCGINNIS KEITH R 1st Lt 38FTR 04-10-1945 - - European 1
MENEGAY DONALD T 1st Lt 38FTR 04-07-1945 - - European 0.5
MENEGAY DONALD T 2nd Lt 38FTR 02-25-1945 - - European 1
MOOERS HAROLD B 1st Lt 38FTR 03-24-1945 - - European 0.5
MOOERS ROGER B 1st Lt 38FTR 04-07-1945 - - European 1
MYERS JOSEPH Captain 38FTR 11-05-1943 - - European 1
MYERS JOSEPH Captain 38FTR 11-13-1943 - - European 1
MYERS JOSEPH Captain 38FTR 12-31-1943 - - European 1
O'NEIL JOHN F 2nd Lt 38FTR 02-25-1945 - - European 1
PENN DONALD E 1st Lt 38FTR 05-21-1944 - - European 1
PENN DONALD E Captain 38FTR 02-25-1945 - - European 1
REILLY WILLIAM J 2nd Lt 38FTR 06-25-1944 - - European 1
REILLY WILLIAM J 2nd Lt 38FTR 07-07-1944 - - European 1
RHODES HOWARD W 2nd Lt 38FTR 06-25-1944 - - European 1
SHERMAN CLIFFORD C 1st Lt 38FTR 09-03-1944 - - European 1
SHERMAN CLIFFORD C 1st Lt 38FTR 09-11-1944 - - European 1
SHERMAN CLIFFORD C 1st Lt 38FTR 09-12-1944 - - European 1.5
SHERMAN CLIFFORD C 1st Lt 38FTR 10-07-1944 - - European 1
SHIPMAN MARK K Captain 38FTR 11-05-1943 - - European 1.5
SILK JOHN W 1st Lt 38FTR 09-12-1944 - - European 1
SNELL DONALD H 1st Lt 38FTR 06-14-1944 - - European 1
SPIECKER LESTER F 1st Lt 38FTR 02-03-1945 - - European 0.5
SPIECKER LESTER F Captain 38FTR 03-24-1945 - - European 1
STAGGS WILLIAM B 1st Lt 38FTR 12-24-1944 - - European 0.5
STEINER DELORN L 1st Lt 38FTR 01-05-1944 - - European 1
STEINER DELORN L 2nd Lt 38FTR 11-25-1943 - - European 1
THORSEN ARTHUR L 1st Lt 38FTR 09-11-1944 - - European 1
TIBOR ROBERT P 1st Lt 38FTR 06-25-1944 - - European 1
TIPTON NOAH R 1st Lt 38FTR 05-12-1944 - - European 1
WATTS CECIL R 1st Lt 38FTR 06-14-1944 - - European 1

 

338 Fighter Squadron
(109 vict)

Nom Grade Unité Date Ennemi Avion d'arme TOP Nbr Vict
ALBA MICHAEL 1st Lt 338FTR 09-13-1944 - - European 1
ALBA MICHAEL 1st Lt 338FTR 11-02-1944 - - European 1
ANDERSON LANOY D Captain 338FTR 07-07-1944 - - European 2
ANDERSON LANOY D Captain 338FTR 08-10-1944 - - European 1
BARRETT RICHARD I 2nd Lt 338FTR 09-11-1944 - - European 1
BEALL CHARLES E 1st Lt 338FTR 11-13-1943 - - European 1
BERRY LAWRENCE J 2nd Lt 338FTR 06-14-1944 - - European 1
BIEDUL CHESTER A 1st Lt 338FTR 07-07-1944 - - European 1
BLANCHARD MERLE E 1st Lt 338FTR 05-22-1944 - - European 1
BLANCHARD MERLE E 2nd Lt 338FTR 01-31-1944 - - European 1
BLOUNT DELBERT F 1st Lt 338FTR 07-21-1944 - - European 2
BODIFORD HUGH 1st Lt 338FTR 04-10-1945 - - European 1
BODIFORD HUGH 1st Lt 338FTR 04-17-1945 - - European 1
BOLLWERK VAL W Captain 338FTR 02-10-1944 - - European 1
BOLLWERK VAL W Major 338FTR 06-11-1944 - - European 1
BRADFORD FRANK D 1st Lt 338FTR 12-24-1944 - - European 1
BURNS WILLIAM H Captain 338FTR 09-12-1944 - - European 0.5
BUSKIRK CLAIR E Flight Officer 338FTR 01-05-1944 - - European 1
COOPER ROY E 1st Lt 338FTR 04-17-1945 - - European 1
CRAMER DARRELL S 1st Lt 338FTR 09-03-1944 - - European 1
CRAMER DARRELL S 1st Lt 338FTR 09-11-1944 - - European 1.5
CRAMER DARRELL S 1st Lt 338FTR 09-13-1944 - - European 1.5
CRAMER DARRELL S 1st Lt 338FTR 10-07-1944 - - European 1
CRAMER DARRELL S Captain 338FTR 11-02-1944 - - European 0.5
CRAMER DARRELL S Major 338FTR 01-29-1945 - - European 1
DARGAN ARCHIE S JR 1st Lt 338FTR 03-18-1945 - - European 2
DELOACH ROBERT 1st Lt 338FTR 04-19-1945 - - European 1
DEMPSEY PETER 2nd Lt 338FTR 01-05-1944 - - European 1
DUQUETTE EUGENE H 2nd Lt 338FTR 02-15-1945 - - European 0.5
EARNEST WALLACE H 2nd Lt 338FTR 07-07-1944 - - European 1
ESKRIDGE JOHN R 1st Lt 338FTR 08-10-1944 - - European 1
FRUH ROBERT K 1st Lt 338FTR 09-11-1944 - - European 1
FRUH ROBERT K 2nd Lt 338FTR 02-10-1944 - - European 1
FRUH ROBERT K 2nd Lt 338FTR 03-18-1944 - - European 1
FUNK GEORGE E JR 2nd Lt 338FTR 07-07-1944 - - European 0.5
GARNETT JOSEPH K 1st Lt 338FTR 07-06-1944 - - European 1
GARNETT JOSEPH K 1st Lt 338FTR 07-07-1944 - - European 1
GARNETT JOSEPH K 2nd Lt 338FTR 05-20-1944 - - European 1
GEBHARDT WILLIAM P 1st Lt 338FTR 09-19-1944 - - European 1
GERRY JAMES L 1st Lt 338FTR 09-19-1944 - - European 1
GERRY JAMES L 2nd Lt 338FTR 07-07-1944 - - European 1
GEVORKIAN SAM D 1st Lt 338FTR 11-02-1944 - - European 1
GEVORKIAN SAM D 1st Lt 338FTR 12-24-1944 - - European 1
GLASER KENNETH M 1st Lt 338FTR 07-06-1944 - - European 1
GOODMAN ORVILLE E Captain 338FTR 07-06-1944 - - European 1
GOODMAN ORVILLE E Captain 338FTR 07-07-1944 - - European 0.5
GREGG EUGENE S Captain 338FTR 09-13-1944 - - European 0.5
HAILEY DAVID R 1st Lt 338FTR 07-07-1944 - - European 2
HANSARD SAMUEL E 1st Lt 338FTR 08-10-1944 - - European 1
HAWORTH RUSSELL C 1st Lt 338FTR 09-11-1944 - - European 2
HAWORTH RUSSELL C 1st Lt 338FTR 09-12-1944 - - European 0.5
HAWORTH RUSSELL CC 1st Lt 338FTR 11-02-1944 - - European 1
HAWORTH RUSSELL C 1st Lt 338FTR 12-24-1944 - - European 1
HAWORTH RUSSELL C 2nd Lt 338FTR 08-28-1944 - - European 0.5
HENRY CARROLL D 1st Lt 338FTR 01-13-1945 - - European 1
HENRY CARROLL D 1st Lt 338FTR 02-15-1945 - - European 0.5
HENRY CARROLL D 1st Lt 338FTR 04-17-1945 - - European 1
INGRAM WILLIAM J 1st Lt 338FTR 08-10-1944 - - European 1
INGRAM WILLIAM J 1st Lt 338FTR 09-11-1944 - - European 2.5
JONES CHARLES O Major 338FTR 01-05-1944 - - European 1
KESTER JOHN E 2nd Lt 338FTR 11-02-1944 - - European 1
KIERNAN THOMAS JR 1st Lt 338FTR 01-29-1945 - - European 1
KIERNAN THOMAS JR 1st Lt 338FTR 03-18-1945 - - European 1
KIERNAN THOMAS JR 1st Lt 338FTR 04-17-1945 - - European 1
KONANTZ WALTER J 1st Lt 338FTR 01-13-1945 - - European 1
KONANTZ WALTER J 1st Lt 338FTR 01-29-1945 - - European 1
KONANTZ WALTER J 2nd Lt 338FTR 09-11-1944 - - European 1
KORINEK GEORGE 2nd Lt 338FTR 03-18-1944 - - European 1
LANHAM WAYNE J 1st Lt 338FTR 08-28-1944 - - European 1
LARSEN HARRY E 1st Lt 338FTR 01-29-1944 - - European 1
LARSEN HARRY E 1st Lt 338FTR 05-20-1944 - - European 1
LASHBROOK KENNETH A 1st Lt 338FTR 12-24-1944 - - European 1
LASHBROOK KENNETH A 1st Lt 338FTR 02-20-1945 - - European 1
LASHBROOK KENNETH A 1st Lt 338FTR 04-10-1945 - - European 1
LEONARD WILLIAM J 2nd Lt 338FTR 09-11-1944 - - European 1
MCDONALD JERRY R 1st Lt 338FTR 12-24-1944 - - European 1
MCGINN JOHN L Lt Colonel 338FTR 09-11-1944 - - European 1
MCGINN JOHN L Major 338FTR 09-03-1944 - - European 1
MCKEE JOHN E 2nd Lt 338FTR 07-07-1944 - - European 1
MILLER ROY D 1st Lt 338FTR 01-29-1945 - - European 1
MILLER ROY D 2nd Lt 338FTR 09-13-1944 - - European 1
PARKER THOMAS A 1st Lt 338FTR 07-07-1944 - - European 2
PATTERSON CHET A Captain 338FTR 11-25-1943 - - European 1
PATTERSON CHET A Captain 338FTR 11-29-1943 - - European 1
PATTERSON CHET A Captain 338FTR 01-31-1944 - - European 2
RAMM ALBERT J 2nd Lt 338FTR 08-28-1944 - - European 0.5
RICHARDSON STANLEY P 1st Lt 338FTR 06-11-1944 - - European 1
RIGHETTI ELWYN G Lt Colonel 338FTR 11-02-1944 - - European 0.5
RIGHETTI ELWYN G Lt Colonel 338FTR 12-24-1944 - - European 3
RIGHETTI ELWYN G Lt Colonel 338FTR 01-13-1945 - - European 1
RYAN EUGENE E Major 338FTR 04-16-1945 - - European 1
SCHANK THOMAS D 1st Lt 338FTR 07-25-1944 - - European 2
SCHANK THOMAS D 1st Lt 338FTR 09-13-1944 - - European 1
SCHANK THOMAS D 1st Lt 338FTR 09-19-1944 - - European 1
SCHANK THOMAS D 2nd Lt 338FTR 06-11-1944 - - European 1
SCHONENBERG HERMAN J 1st Lt 338FTR 03-18-1945 - - European 1
SCHONENBERG HERMAN J 2nd Lt 338FTR 09-03-1944 - - European 1
TINTO ANTHONY J 1st Lt 338FTR 06-11-1944 - - European 1
TINTO ANTHONY J 2nd Lt 338FTR 02-24-1944 - - European 1
WAKELAND JOHN M 1st Lt 338FTR 09-11-1944 - - European 2
WAKELAND JOHN M 1st Lt 338FTR 09-13-1944 - - European 1

 

343 Fighter Squadron
(77.5 vict)

Nom Grade Unité Date Ennemi Avion d'arme TOP Nbr Vict
ALLEN WILLIAM H 1st Lt 343FTR 09-05-1944 - - European 5
BARTLETT RICHARD D 1st Lt 343FTR 11-02-1944 - - European 0.5
BAUER HAROLD M 2nd Lt 343FTR 12-31-1943 - - European 1
BEBAEFF NICK P 1st Lt 343FTR 11-02-1944 - - European 1
BISHOP RICHARD D 1st Lt 343FTR 09-11-1944 - - European 1
BORING LLOYD D 1st Lt 343FTR 02-27-1945 - - European 0.5
BROWN ROBERT D ** Captain 343FTR 11-02-1944 - - European 1
BUTTKE ROBERT L 2nd Lt 343FTR 11-03-1943 - - European 2
BUTTKE ROBERT L Captain 343FTR 02-10-1944 - - European 2
BUTTKE ROBERT L Captain 343FTR 04-22-1944 - - European 1
BUTTKE ROBERT L Captain 343FTR 02-27-1945 - - European 0.5
COLE GENE H 1st Lt 343FTR 09-13-1944 - - European 1
DVORAK EDWARD J 1st Lt 343FTR 09-10-1944 - - European 0.5
ELIADES JORDAN 2nd Lt 343FTR 11-02-1944 - - European 0.5
ERB RUSSELL W JR 1st Lt 343FTR 11-02-1944 - - European 1
ERBY PHILLIP A 2nd Lt 343FTR 04-17-1945 - - European 1
FAIR GENE R 1st Lt 343FTR 04-22-1944 - - European 1
GIBBS RICHARD G 1st Lt 343FTR 04-17-1945 - - European 2
GIBBS RICHARD G 2nd Lt 343FTR 02-03-1945 - - European 2
GILLER EDWARD B Captain 343FTR 11-13-1943 - - European 1
GILLER EDWARD B Captain 343FTR 02-25-1944 - - European 1
GILLER EDWARD B Major 343FTR 04-09-1945 - - European 1
HINER JAMES W 2nd Lt 343FTR 12-13-1943 - - European 1
HJELM REX P 2nd Lt 343FTR 06-11-1944 - - European 2
HOEPER PAUL E Captain 343FTR 02-10-1944 - - European 1
HOFFMAN TED E 2nd Lt 343FTR 09-05-1944 - - European 4
HOWES BERNARD H 1st Lt 343FTR 12-25-1944 - - European 2
HOWES BERNARD H 1st Lt 343FTR 02-03-1945 - - European 3
HOWES BERNARD H 1st Lt 343FTR 02-19-1945 - - European 1
JENKINS JACK S Lt Colonel 343FTR 11-03-1943 - - European 1
JENKINS JACK S Lt Colonel 343FTR 11-25-1943 - - European 1
LESLIE GUS D 2nd Lt 343FTR 09-10-1944 - - European 0.5
LEWIS WILLIAM H 1st Lt 343FTR 09-05-1944 - - European 5
LEWIS WILLIAM H 1st Lt 343FTR 09-13-1944 - - European 1
LEWIS WILLIAM H Captain 343FTR 02-03-1945 - - European 1
LILES BROOKS J 1st Lt 343FTR 01-14-1945 - - European 1
MALMSTEDT ROLAND M Captain 343FTR 11-26-1943 - - European 1
MAXWELL ROBERT A 1st Lt 343FTR 12-25-1944 - - European 1
MCVAY JAMES C 1st Lt 343FTR 12-24-1944 - - European 1
MERCIER DONALD L 1st Lt 343FTR 08-28-1944 - - European 1
MERCIER DONALD L 1st Lt 343FTR 11-02-1944 - - European 0.5
MOORE PATRICK L 1st Lt 343FTR 03-30-1945 - - European 1
MOORE PATRICK L 2nd Lt 343FTR 02-03-1945 - - European 1
MORRIS GRADY 2nd Lt 343FTR 12-24-1944 - - European 1
PARKER DOUGLAS A Captain 343FTR 11-02-1944 - - European 1
PEREZ WILLIAM R JR 1st Lt 343FTR 09-05-1944 - - European 1
PORTER CLAIR D 1st Lt 343FTR 04-24-1944 - - European 1
PORTER CLAIR D 1st Lt 343FTR 06-11-1944 - - European 1
RYAN EUGENE E Captain 343FTR 11-13-1943 - - European 1
RYAN EUGENE E Captain 343FTR 04-22-1944 - - European 1
SEELY RALPH S 1st Lt 343FTR 06-11-1944 - - European 1
STRAUCH WALTER Captain 343FTR 04-17-1945 - - European 1
WATT JAMES R Lt Colonel 343FTR 05-23-1943 - - Alaska 1
WEBB DALLAS W Major 343FTR 11-26-1943 - - European 1
WEBB DALLAS W Major 343FTR 01-31-1944 - - European 1
WELCH ROBERT E 1st Lt 343FTR 11-02-1944 - - European 1
WELCH ROBERT E 1st Lt 343FTR 12-24-1944 - - European 1
WELCH ROBERT E 1st Lt 343FTR 12-25-1944 - - European 2
WELCH ROBERT E 2nd Lt 343FTR 09-13-1944 - - European 1
WELCH ROBERT E Captain 343FTR 04-17-1945 - - European 1
YEE LITT ROBERT H 1st Lt 343FTR 09-11-1944 - - European 1

 

The history of the 55th Fighter Group began on 20 November 1940 when the Group was constituted at Hamilton Field, California. When the Group was activated on 15 January 1941, Captain Kenneth S Wade became the commander. At that time, the new Group had the following Squadrons: Hq Sq, the 37th, 338th and 54th Pursuit Squadrons and the 55th Interceptor Control Squadron.

At first, the Group's pilots trained with the Republic P-43 Lancer. This was a single-engine pursuit aircraft and the forerunner of the famous P47 Thunderbolt fighter. In May '1941, the Group moved to Portland, Oregon. As the training progressed, elements of the 55th were assigned to Paine and McChord Fields in the state of Washington. It was there that the fliers and ground support people began training with the Lockheed P-38 Lightning fighters which would have such an impact on the air war in Europe later.

In February 1942, the Group's 54th Pursuit Squadron was transferred to the newly formed Eleventh Air Force in Alaska to defend the Aleutian Island-chain against a Japanese attack.

The 55th Pursuit Group was redesignated as the 55th Fighter Group in May 1942, as the Army began to update the names of its units. Also, during the Spring of 1942, the Group lost possession of the 37th Pursuit Squadron as it was absorbed by other units being formed in preparation for Operation Torch: the invasion of North Africa. The 338th Fighter Squadron was activated on 12 September. The Group spent the remainder of 1942 training with its P-ads. As 1943 began, the Group added yet another Squadron when the 343rd Fighter Squadron was activated in February. By August, the personnel had finished with their stateside training and began the preparations for the transatlantic deployment to England to become the foundation for the massive air armada growing there. The 55th Interceptor Control Squadron' was no longer part of the 55th Fighter Group by this time; so only three operational squadrons made the move to England: the 38th, 338th, and the 343rd.

On 4 September, the group embarked on the HMS Orion. This transport could normally carry 1,500 persons across the ocean. For this trip, 300 officers and 3,200 enlisted men made the voyage. The Group was stationed at Nuthampstead, near Cambridge.

The 55th was assigned to the Eighth Air Force's 66th Fighter Wing and received its P-38 fighters on 21 September 1943. Although it was the second P-38 group to arrive in England (the 20th Fighter Group arrived first), the 55th was the first to go operational when, on 15 October, the 55th flew an orientational fighter sweep over Holland.

The primary mission of the 55th Fighter Group was to escort the bombers of the Eighth Air Force on their daylight air attacks against Hitler's "Festung Europa"

The targets included industries and railroad marshalling yards throughout Europe and V-weapons sites in France. As 1944 began, the Allies had established long-range fighter escort capability. The 55th Group provided protection for the heavy bombers during the famous maximum effort, known as "Big Week" 20-25 February 1944.

Soon thereafter, on 3 March 1944; the Eighth Air Force planners scheduled a large-scale daylight raid on Berlin. Unfortunately, the weather was very poor and most of the planes were recalled. The 55th Fighter Group did not receive a recall order and arrived over Berlin to rendezvous with the bombers which did not. materialize. Lieutenant Colonel Jack S. Jerkins was leading the 55th that day and the Group made history by becoming the first American fighter unit to penetrate the Berlin skies during the war.

The 55th introduced a new form of P-38 on 10 April 1944. A specially modified Lightning, with a Plexiglas nose and room for a bombardier in lieu of the fighter's normal nose armament, became known as the "droop snoot". The target for this first mission was to be the airfield 'at St. Dizier, France; but, as the planes approached, it became obvious that the airfield was obscured by a ground haze, Again leading the Group on a historic mission, Colonel Jenkins opted for a secondary target at Coulomiers. After the bombs were released, Colonel Jenkins led the fighters "down on the deck" to strafe the field. On his second pass, Jenkin's P-38 was hit several times by enemy gunners forcing him to crash land and be taken prisoner.

Six days later, the remainder of the Group moved to Wormingford, near Colchester, in Essex, England. On 5-11 June, the 55th Fighter Group patrolled over the English Channel and bombed bridges in the Tours area during the D-Day Invasion which began on 6 June. The patrols over shipping lanes between England and France were flown from dawn to dusk and led to the first night patrols for the Group. Pilots flew three missions daily, a total of 10.5 hours per day. Three P-38s were forced to land on the emergency strip at the Normandy beachhead on 11 June. On 21 July 1944, the 55th flew its last mission in the P-38 Lightning and began transition into the newer P-51 Mustang fighter. The Group then supported bombers striking gun emplacements during the breakout from Normandy to St. Lo, beginning 25 July. On 6 July, the 343rd Squadron took part in a shuttle mission which began in England and stopped in Russia after escorting bombers which attacked Gdynia, Poland. The flight was 1,492 miles and constituted the squadron's longest escort mission o£ the war. From 16 August until about 10 September, two 343rd pilots flew P-51s to escort a B-17 bomber carrying high British and American government officials to Naples, Italy and other Mediterranean points.

During eight missions from 3-13 September 1944, the 55th Fighter Group compiled "one of the most outstanding records of enemy aircraft destroyed and damaged" in the history of war combat over Europe. In addition to protecting bomber formations over enemy territory, the group destroyed 106 and damaged 51 enemy airplanes in the air and on the ground. For that activity, the Group was awarded the Distinguished Unit Citation.

From 17-23 September, the Group provided fighter patrols and area. support in, the Arnhem sector for troop carrier aircraft dropping troops and supplies during the airborne invasion of Holland. In November, a "Clobber College" was established by the 55th Group and supported b y the squadrons to provide combat training to many.-new pilots fresh out of U, S. flying schools.

During the German counter-offensive in the Ardennes, the Group seized every opportunity to fully support ground forces on the fighting front. Improving weather late in the month enabled the P-51s to concentrate on vital targets. Fighter sweeps and dive bombing near the front lines on 18, 23 and 26 December netted destruction or damage of enemy planes and a multitude of ground targets. Escort support for bombers continued. In January 1945, the Group concentrated on road and railroad networks, motor transport and communication targets as Germans were pushed back. in the "bulge" area. February was a highly successful month for the squadrons of the 55th. In air and ground attacks, bombing and strafing, the group destroyed and damaged a large number of trains locomotives, rail cars, road targets, vehicles, buildings and aircraft. The Group was awarded its second Distinguished Unit Citation for its activities on 19 February 1945. On 3 march, two planes were lost on an escort mission when one pilot attempted to assist another, The 343rd reports: "Lt Liles hit by flak while strafing an airdrome near Prague, Czechoslovakia, bellying-in about four miles south of the field. Lt Howes landed and attempted to pick him up but was unable to take off, cracked up destroying his aircraft. Both pilots were seen running away from the plane". In March, the Group strafed trucks, locomotives and oil depots near Wesel when the Allies were crossing the Rhine. The 55th flew its last combat mission of the war on 21 April 1945. On 21 July, the unit moved to Kaufbeuren, Germany, and was, reassigned from the Eighth Air Force to the Ninth Air Force. On 15-16 September, the 38th Fighter Squadron made a goodwill flight to Copenhagen, Denmark.

During July 1946, the Group was one of the units to receive the first U.S. operational jet fighter, the Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star. However, the Group continued to fly P-51s and according to. one source, A-26s. On 29 April, the unit moved to Giebelstadt, Germany, and on 20 August 1946, the unit was inactivated, the resources being transferred to another unit.

The 55th Fighter Group completed its combat tour of duty with a distinguished record in seven campaigns. The Group flew over 600 combat missions, claiming more that 400 enemy aircraft destroyed and over 100 damaged. The 55th had 16 aces credited with 90 victories. The two highest scorers were COL (then Capt) William H Lewis and BG (then Capt) Darrell S Cramer, each credited with victories. COL (then Capt) Donald M Cummings made 6.5 "kills" - two of which were the first jets to see combat - the ME-262.

Air Forced Assigned To :

8th (Sept '43 - end WWII)

Stations Flown From :

Nuthampstead, England (Sept '43 - April '44)
Wormingford, England (April '44 - end WWII)

Campaigns Flown in :

American Theatre
Air Offensive, Europe
Normandy
Northern France
Rhineland
Ardennes-Alsace
Central Europe

Awards Won :

Distinguished Unit Citation: ETO, 3 - 13th Sept '44
Distinguished Unit Citation: Germany, 19 Feb '45

Total Aircraft Claims in Air :

Destroyed 303.5

Probable 23

Damaged 83

Aces were:
(scores in the group only- some scored victories while flying in other groups or squadrons)

HQ
38th FS
338th FS
343th FS
E. G. Righetti (3)
D. M. Amoss (5.5)
D.S. Cramer (6.5)
W.H. Lewis (7)
D.M. Cummings (5.5)
R.C. Haworth (5)
B.H. Howes (6)
G. Brown (5)
T.D. Schank (5)
R.E. Welch (6)
M.M. Coons (5)
E. G. Righetti (4.5)
R.L. Buttke (5.5)
E.R. Fryer (4)
J.L. McGinn (2)
W.H. Allen (5)
J.D. Landers (4)
B.J. Liles (1)
J. Myers (3)

 



Source :

STARS & BARS - Frank Olynyk - Grub Street Editions
http://afhra.maxwell.af.mil/index.asp
http://www.web-birds.com/


 

 


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