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82d Operations Group

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82d Operations Group

82d Operations Group
Emblem of the 82d Fighter Group
Active 1942–1958
1991–1993
Country  United States
Branch  United States Air Force
Role Flying Training
Part of Air Education and Training Command
Motto Adorimini – Up and at'em!
Engagements
  • World War II
European Campaign (1942–1945)

The 82d Operations Group (82 OG) is an inactive United States Air Force unit. It was last assigned to the 82d Training Wing, stationed at Williams Air Force Base, Arizona. It was inactivated on 31 March 1993.

History

A formation of P-38 Lightnings from the 96th Fighter Squadron, 82nd Fighter Group over Italy, 1944

World War II

The history of the 82d Operations Group goes back to 13 January 1942, when the War Department constituted the 82d Pursuit Group (Interceptor).[1]

The 82d was activated at Harding Field, Baton Rouge, Louisiana on 9 February 1942.[1] From February 1942 to 9 September 1945, the primary components of the group were the 95th, 96th and 97th Pursuit (later Fighter) Squadrons.[2]

At the end of April 1942 when it had sufficient personnel and equipment, the 82d moved to Muroc Army Air Field, California, and started formation flying and gunnery and bombing training with Lockheed P-38 Lightning aircraft.[1] In May the War Department redesignated the unit as the 82d Fighter Group (Two Engine). The group left California in September and arrived in Northern Ireland in October where it received additional training.[1] At about the same time, the Allies launched their invasion of French North Africa. By December 1942, Axis forces had repelled the Allied advance, and the long winter campaign had begun. It was at this time that the 82d Fighter Group moved to North Africa to serve with Twelfth Air Force.

Between Christmas and New Year’s Day, the 82d operated from Tafaraoui Airfield, Algeria, to protect two convoys in an anti-submarine patrol. On 1 January 1943, the air echelon moved to Telergma Airport, Algeria, where it was joined by the ground echelon in February 1943.

The 82d soon distinguished itself in dogfights with enemy fighters while escorting bombers over Gabes, Sfax, Tunis, Bizerte, Kairouan, Sardinia, and other points. On 20 March 1943, while escorting North American B-25 Mitchells in a sea search off Cape Bon, a group of P-38s engaged the enemy in an air battle. Even though they were outnumbered by 50 enemy fighters, the 82d emerged with 11 confirmed kills, 2 probables, and 2 damaged, while not losing a single bomber.

In April 1943, the group moved to Tunis to take part in the final phase of the campaign. On 11 April it destroyed 32 Junkers Ju 52s during a fighter sweep against enemy transport planes that were coming from Italy to supply the crumbling Afrika Corps. The group scored hits on 14 April during a bombing mission on a large transport off Cape Zebid and on 8 May executed a bombing attack on the airdrome at Pantelleria.

The Tunisian campaign ended in May 1943. Between December 1942 and May 1943, the 82d Fighter Group flew 152 combat missions and 2,439 combat sorties. While escorting B-25, B-26, and B-17 bombers on 1,880 sorties, the group encountered 751 enemy aircraft, destroyed 199 of them, and lost 64 P-38s.

From July to August 1943, the 82d engaged in the Allied invasion of Sicily while supporting bomber raids against Naples on 17 July and participating in the first raid on Rome on 19 July. It flew 191 combat missions, including 3,335 combat sorties; escorted 2,987 B-25s and 382 B-26s; and engaged in 57 skip and dive bombing attacks. The 82d destroyed 78 enemy planes, had 17 probables, and damaged 56, while losing only 11 P-38s. On 25 August, it conducted a low level strafing attack against enemy aircraft concentrations at Foggia, Italy for which it received a Distinguished Unit Citation(DUC).[1] Just over a week later, the group was awarded a second DUC for its actions in protecting a group of bombers that encountered strong enemy opposition in an attack on marshalling yards near Naples.[1]

During the invasion of Italy by the United States Fifth Army, between 6 and 18 September 1943, the group patrolled the beachhead at Salerno where the pilots flew a round-the-clock schedule, dive-bombing enemy transports, communications, and gun positions. They also flew low altitude reconnaissance missions through the Foggia area reporting crucial enemy activities.

The movement of the 82d to Italy and its assignment to Fifteenth Air Force was part of the airpower buildup to provide fighter protection for the bombers of the Fifteenth Air Force, when they strafed and bombed Axis oil targets. From January 1944 until May 1945, the P-38s of the 82d Fighter Group struck oil centers at Ploesti in Rumania, Blechhammer in Poland, Vienna in Austria, Dubova in Czechoslovakia, as well as in Hungary, France, and Yugoslavia. On 10 June 1944, the 82d participated in one of the most daring strikes of the war, bombing the Romano-Americano oil refineries at Ploesti, the most heavily defended target on the continent.[1] For this mission, in which the group braved head-on attacks by enemy interceptors, it was awarded a third DUC.[1]

The 82d engaged in another spectacular episode when it used a single-seat fighter aircraft for the first time to rescue a downed fighter pilot on enemy soil. On 4 August 1944, while on a strafing mission against the airdrome at Focsani, Rumania, the aircraft flown by Capt E. Willsie was hit by ground fire. A veteran of 60 missions, Willsie radioed his position to the formation, crash-landed his plane, demolished it, and then hitched a ride in the lap of 2d Lt Richard T. Andrews, who had landed his P-38 in a pasture to rescue Willsie.

When the war in Europe ended in May 1945, the 82d Fighter Group remained in Italy until it was inactivated on 9 September 1945.[1]

Aerial Victories Number
Group Hq 7 [3]
95th Fighter Squadron 199 [4]
96th Fighter Squadron 194 [5]
97th Fighter Squadron 145.98 [6]
Group Total 545.98

Strategic Air Command

F-51Ds from the 82d Fighter Group, Grenier AFB New Hampshire, 1949

On 12 April 1947, the War Department activated the 82d Fighter Group at Grenier Field in New Hampshire, and assigned it to Strategic Air Command (SAC).[1]

The group was outfitted with Continental Air Command.The group continued to operate at Grenier until its inactivation on 2 October 1949.[1]

Air Defense Command

F-94 Starfire

In 1955, the Air Force redesignated the unit as the 82d Fighter Group (Air Defense) and activated it at [13][14] In 1957, it was announced that Air Defense Command would be reducing its forces, and the 82d FIG was inactivated on 8 January 1958.

Modern era

On 15 December 1991, the group was redesignated as the 82d Operations Group (82d OG) and activated at Williams AFB, AZ as a result of the 82 Flying Training Wing implementing the USAF objective wing organization. The 82d OG was assigned all the flying units of the 82d Flying Training Wing. In 1991 Congress approved the second round of base closures, as identified by the Base Realignment and Closure Commission. On that list was Williams AFB. The base was to cease operation as of 30 September 1993. As a result, the 82d Operations Group was inactivated on 31 March 1993.

Lineage

  • Constituted as the 82d Pursuit Group (Interceptor) on 13 January 1942
Activated on 9 February 1942
Redesignated as the 82d Fighter Group (Two Engine) on 15 May 1942
Inactivated in Italy on 9 September 1945.
  • Redesignated as the 82d Fighter Group, Single Engine 1947
Activated on 12 April 1947
Inactivated on 2 October 1949
Redesignated as 82d Fighter Group (Air Defense) on 20 June 1955
Activated on 18 August 1955
Inactivated on 30 June 1958
  • Redesignated as 82d Operations Group and activated on 15 December 1991
Inactivated on 31 March 1993

Assignments

Components

Stations

Awards and Campaigns

Award streamer Award Dates Notes
Distinguished Unit Citation 25 April 1943 82d Fighter Group, Italy[1]
Distinguished Unit Citation 2 September 1943 82d Fighter Group, Italy[1]
Distinguished Unit Citation 10 June 1944 82d Fighter Group, Ploesti, Rumania[1]
82d Fighter Group[1]
Campaign Streamer Campaign Dates
Air Offensive, Europe 3 October 1942 – 5 June 1944
Tunisia 24 December 1942 – 13 May 1943
Sicily 14 May 1943 – 17 August 1943
Naples-Foggia 18 August 1943 – 21 January 1944
Rome-Arno 22 January 1944 – 9 September 1944
Normandy 6 June 1944 – 24 July 1944
Northern France 25 July 1944 – 14 September 1944
Southern France 15 August 1944 – 14 September 1944
North Apennines 10 September 1944 – 4 April 1945
Rhineland 15 September 1944 – 21 March 1945
Central Europe 22 March 1944 – 21 May 1945
Po Valley 3 April 1945 – 8 May 1945
Air Combat, EAME Theater 3 October 1942 – 11 May 1945

Aircraft assigned

  • Lockheed P-38 Lightning, (1942–1945)
  • North American P/F-51 Mustang, (1947–1949)
  • Lockheed F-94 Starfire, (1955–1958)
  • Cessna T-37 Tweet, (1991–1992)
  • Northrop T-38 Talon, (1991–1993)

References

Notes

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Maurer, Maurer, ed. (1983) [1961]. Air Force Combat Units of World War II (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. pp. 147–149.  
  2. ^ Maurer, Maurer, ed. (1982) [1969]. Combat Squadrons of the Air Force, World War II (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. p. 321.  
  3. ^ Newton, Wesley P., Jr. and Senning, Calvin F., (1963) USAF Credits for the Destruction of Enemy Aircraft, World War II, USAF Historical Study No. 85, p. 575
  4. ^ Newton & Senning, p. 581-582
  5. ^ Newton & Senning, pp. 583-584
  6. ^ Newton & Senning, pp. 584-585
  7. ^ a b c AFHRA Factsheet, 82d Training Wing. Retrieved 16 May 2012
  8. ^ Cornett, Lloyd H; Johnson, Mildred W (1980). A Handbook of Aerospace Defense Organization, 1946 - 1980. Peterson AFB, CO: Office of History, Aerospace Defense Center. p. 83. 
  9. ^ a b Buss, Lydus H.(ed), Sturm, Thomas A., Volan, Denys, and McMullen, Richard F., History of Continental Air Defense Command and Air Defense Command July to December 1955, Directorate of Historical Services, Air Defense Command, Ent AFB, CO, 1956., p.6
  10. ^ AFHRA Factsheet 96th Flying Training Squadron. Retrieved 16 May 2012
  11. ^ AFHRA Factsheet 97th Flying Training Squadron. Retrieved 16 May 2012
  12. ^ Cornett & Johnson, p. 121
  13. ^ a b Cornett & Johnson, p. 147
  14. ^ a b Abstract, History of 82d USAF Infirmary, Jul-Dec 1955. Retrieved 16 May 2012
  15. ^ a b c AFHRA Factsheet, 47th Air Division. Retrieved 16 May 2012
  16. ^ AFHRA Factsheet, 5th Air Division. Retrieved 16 May 2012
  17. ^ AFHRA Factsheet, 305th Air Division. Retrieved 16 May 2012
  18. ^ AFHRA Factsheet 98th Flying Training Squadron. Retrieved 16 May 2012
  19. ^ AFHRA Factsheet 99th Flying Training Squadron. Retrieved 16 May 2012
  20. ^ Abstract, History of 82d USAF Dispensary, Jan-Jun 1957. Retrieved 16 May 2012

Bibliography

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

Further Reading

External links

  • AFHRA Factsheet, 95th Fighter Squadron (accessed 16 May 2012)
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