The 355th Fighter Group (USAAF) operated with the Eighth Air Force, flying bomber escort, fighter sweeps and ground attack missions.
The group was constituted and activated on 12 November 1942. It moved to Britain and July 1944. The 355th became operational in September 1944, the third fighter group to join the Eighth Air Force in the second half of 1943. Its first mission, on 14 September 1943, was a fighter sweep over Belgium.
The group spent much of its time escorting US heavy bombers to targets over Germany and occupied Europe. Like most Eighth Air Force fighter groups it also flew fighter sweeps and carried out fighter-bomber missions hitting targets behind the front lines.
By March 1944 the 355th was one of three P-51 groups operating in the Eighth Air Force, having converted to the type by the start of April (becoming the first Eighth Air Force group to use the P-51B). The group was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation for a mission on 5 April when it hit a number of German airfields during a snow storm.
On D-Day the group provided fighter cover for the beachhead. It was then used to hit German transport links behind the lines and during the breakthrough at St Lo in July.
The group flew its last combat operation on 25 April 1945. It moved to Germany in July 1945 as part of the US Army of Occupation, but transferred to the US without personnel or equipment on 1 August 1946 and was inactivated on 20 November 1946.
1942-early 1944: Republic P-47 Thunderbolt
Early 1944-1946: North American P-51 Mustang
|12 November 1942||Constituted|
|12 November 1942||Activated|
|July 1943||To Britain and Eighth Air Force|
|14 September 1943||Combat debut|
|July 1943||To Germany|
|1 August 1946||To United States|
|20 November 1946||Inactivated|
Col William J Cummings
Jr: 12 Nov 1942
Lt Col Everett W Stewart: 4 Nov 1944
Lt Col Claiborne H Kinnard Jr: 21 Feb 1945
Lt Col William D Gilchrist: 7 Jun 1945
Lt Col John L Elder: Oct 1945
Col Carroll W McColpin: 14 Mar 1g46-unkn.
Orlando AB, Fla: 12 Nov
Richmond AAB, Va: 17 Feb 1943
Philadelphia Mun Aprt, Pa: 4 Mar-16 Jun 1943
Steeple Morden, England: 9 Jul 1943
Gablingen, Germany: 3 Jul 1945
Schweinfurt, Germany: 15 Apr 1946
Mitchel Field, NY: 1 Aug-20 Nov 1946
March-June 1943: Philadelphia Fighter Wing; I Fighter Command; First Air Force
1943-September 1944: 65th Fighter Wing; VIII Fighter Command; Eighth Air Force
September 1944-1945: 65th Fighter Wing; 2nd Air Division; Eighth Air Force