7th FS - 8th FS - 9th FS
From the time of their first arrival in Australia in early 1942 the 7th, 8th and 9th FS of the 49th were Thrown into the fray of battle. The Japanese were on the offensive and were victorious all over the Pacific theatre, The Philippenes, Malaya, Singapore, and the Dutch East Indies were facing coming invasions as well as Australia. After a grueling transcontinental trip by both vehicles and planes, the Americans set up their airfields around the Darwin area on the coast. Many of these pilots were untried in battle, and some had only as little as 10 hour’s flight time on their P40E’s. The next round was the wait and train. To see what the next Japanese move would be. They didn’t have to wait long.
Constituted as 49th Pursuit Group (Interceptor) on 20 Nov 1940. Activated on 15 Jan 1941. Trained with P-35s. Moved to Australia, Jan-Feb 1942, and became part of Fifth AF. Redesignated 49th Fighter Group in May 1942. Received P-40s in Australia and, after training for a short time, provided air defense for the Northern Territory, being awarded a DUC for engaging the enemy in frequent and intense aerial combat while operating with limited materiel and facilities, Mar-Aug 1942.
Moved to New Guinea in Oct 1942 to help stall the Japanese drive southward from Buna to Port Moresby. Engaged primarily in air defense of Port Moresby; also escorted bombers and transports, and attacked enemy installations, supply lines, and troop concentrations in support of Allied ground forces. Participated in the Allied offensive that pushed the Japanese back along the Buna trail, took part in the Battle of the Bismarck Sea (Mar 1943), fought for control of the approaches to Huon Gulf, and supported ground forces during the campaign in which the Allies eventually recovered New Guinea. Covered landings on Noemfoor and had a part in the conquest of Biak. After having used P-38, P-40, and P-47 aircraft, was equipped completely in Sep 1944 with P-38s, which were used to fly long-range escort and attack missions to Mindanao, Halmahera, Ceram, and Borneo. Arrived in the Philippines in Oct 1944, shortly after the assault landings on Leyte. Engaged enemy fighters, attacked shipping in Ormoc Bay, supported ground forces, and covered the Allied invasion of Luzon. Maj Richard I Bong, who became AAFs top ace of World War II, was awarded the Medal of Honor for voluntarily flying in combat from 10 Oct to 15 Nov 1944, a period for which he was credited with the destruction of eight enemy aircraft in the air. For intensive operations against the Japanese on Leyte, the group was awarded a DUC. Other missions from the Philippines included strikes against industry and transportation on Formosa and against shipping along the China coast. Moved to Okinawa in A ug 1945 and to Japan in Sep. Trained, took part in maneuvers, and flew surveillance patrols, as part of Far East Air Forces. Equipped with P-51s in 1946, with F-80s being added in 1948. Redesignated 49th Fighter-Bomber Group in Feb 1950.
Began operations in the Korean War in Jun 1950. Covered the evacuation of civilian personnel from Kimpo and Suwon. Then flew missions in support of UN ground forces, hitting gun positions, troop concentrations, and other objectives. Later, struck interdiction targets in North Korea. In combat, operated first from Japan and later from, Korea, beginning operations with F-51s and F-80s and completing conversion to F-84s in Sep 1951. Remained in Korea for a time after the armistice. Returned to Japan in Nov 1953.
Squadrons. 7th Fighter Squadron: 1941-. 8th Fighter Squadron: 1941-. 9th Fighter Squadron: 1941-.
Stations. Selfridge Field, Mich, 15 Jan 1941; Morrison Field, Fla, 25 May 1941-4 Jan 1942; Melbourne, Australia, 2 Feb 1942; Bankstown, Australia, 16 Feb 1942; Darwin, Australia, c. 16 Apr 1942; Port Moresby, New Guinea, 9 Oct 1942; Dobodura, New Guinea, Mar 1943; Gusap, New Guinea, 20 Nov 1943; Finschhafen, New Guinea, 19 Apr 1944; Hollandia, New Guinea, c. 17 May 1944; Biak, 3 Jan 1944; Tacloban, Leyte, 24 Oct 1944; San Jose, Mindoro, c. 30 Dec 1944; Lingayen, Luzon, c. 25 Feb 1945; Okinawa, 16 Aug 1945; Atsugi, Japan, 15 Sep 1945; Chitose, Japan, 18 Feb 1946; Misawa, Japan, 20 Mar 1948; Itazuke, Japan, 9 Jul 1950; Taegu, Korea, 1 Dec 1950; Kunsan, Korea, 1 Apr 1953; Komaki, Japan, 2 Nov 1953; Nagoya, Japan, 16 Sep 1954-.
Commanders. Maj Glenn L Davasher, 16 Jan 1941; Maj John F Egan, 10 Feb 1941; Maj George McCoy Jr, 2 May 1941; Col Paul B Wurtsmith, 11 Dec 1941; Col Donald R Hutchinson, 11 Nov 1942; Lt Col Robert L Morrissey, 30 Jan 1943; Col James C Selman, Jul 1943; Lt Col David A Campbell, 25 Jan 1944; Lt Col Furlo S Wagner, 3 Jun 1944; Col George A Walker, 19 Jul 1944; Lt Col Gerald R Johnson, 10 Mar 1945; Lt Col Clay Tice Jr, 16 Jul 1945; Lt Col Wallace R Jordan, Feb 1946; Lt Col Charles H Terhune Jr, c. 18 Feb 1946; Col Herbert L Grills, 25 Mar 1946; Col Merrill D Burnside, 20 Jul 1946; Lt Col Clay Tice Jr, 11 Sep 1946; Col Louis R Hughes, 1 Sep 1947; Lt Col Robert E Kirtley, 18 Aug 1948; Lt Col Niven K Cranfill, 11 Mar 1949; Lt Col John R Murphy, 1 Sep 1949; Lt Col James A Rippin, 31 Oct 1949; Col Wilbur H Stratton, 10 Nov 1949; Col Stanton T Smith Jr, 20 Jan 1950; Col John R Murphy, 21 Oct 1950; Col Wilbur Grumbles, 20 May 1951; Col William L Mitchell, 4 Nov 1951; Lt Col Gordon F Blood, 20 May 1952; Col Charles G Teschner, 1952; Col Robert H Orr, Sep 1952; Col Richard N Ellis, 17 Jan 1953; Col Charles G Teschner, 1 Apr 1953; Col Gilbert L Pritchard, Aug 1953-.
Campaigns. World War II: East Indies; Air Offensive, Japan; China Defensive; Papua; New Guinea; Bismarck Archipelago; Western Pacific; Leyte; Luzon; China Offensive. Korean War: UN Defensive; UN Offensive; CCF Intervention; 1st UN Counteroffensive; CCF Spring Offensive; UN Summer-Fall Offensive; Second Korean Winter; Korea Summer-Fall, 1952; Third Korean Winter; Korea Summer-Fall, 1953.
Decorations. Distinguished Unit Citations: Australia, 14 Mar-25 Aug 1942; Papua, [Oct] 1942-23 Jan 1943; Philippine Islands, 27 Oct-Dec 1944; Korea [Jun]-25 Nov 1950; Korea, 9 Jul-27 Nov 1951. Philippine Presidential Unit Citation. Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citations: [Jun] 1950-7 Feb 1951; 8 Feb 1951-31 Mar 1953.
Insigne. Shield: A gyronny of three gules, or and azure, a bolt of lightning, bend sinisterwise argent, in chief, a knights helmet, winged of the last, in dexter chief, five stars (Southern Cross) argent, two on gules, and three on azure, in sinister base a covered wagon, trees and road scene, all proper. Motto: Tutor Et Ultor - I Protect and Avenge. (Approved 29 Dec 1951.)
Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia Map
Gusap, Eastern Highlands Province, Papua New Guinea Map
Oro, Papua New Guinea Map
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