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96th Fighter Squadron


The squadron was first activated in early 1942 at Harding Field, Louisiana as the 96th Pursuit Squadron,[1] one of the original three squadrons of the 82d Pursuit Group.[2] It soon moved to California where it equipped with Lockheed P-38 Lightnings and began training with Fourth Air Force as the 96th Fighter Squadron. It left California in the fall and sailed for Northern Ireland, where it received additional combat training under Eighth Air Force. A month after the initial Operation Torch landings in North Africa the squadron deployed to Algeria, where it entered combat as an element of Twelfth Air Force.[3]

In North Africa, the squadron flew antisubmarine patrols, bomber escort missions and attacked enemy shipping and airfields, moving its base east through Algeria and Tunisia. As the North African campaign drew to a close, the unit began attacking targets in Italy, earning a Distinguished Unit Citation[1] for its actions on 25 April 1943 during an attack on enemy airfields in Foggia.[3]

In September, the squadron participated in Operation Husky, the invasion of Sicily, during which it was awarded a second Distinguished Unit Citation for a bomber escort mission against marshalling yards near Naples.[1][3] The squadron moved to Italy, where it became part of Fifteenth Air Force as part of the buildup to provide fighter cover for Fifteenth's heavy bombers.[3] On 10 June 1944 the squadron earned a third Distinguished Unit Citation for its actions during an attack on oil refineries in Ploiești, Romania.[1]

Following the surrender of Germany, the squadron remained in Italy until September 1945, when it was inactivated[1] In the course of the war the squadron destroyed 194 enemy aircraft.[4]


Part of
  • 82nd Fighter Group

    82nd Fighter Group

    The 82nd Fighter Group flew training missions from bases in Northern Ireland with the Eighth Air Force between October and December 1942. They then joined the Twelfth Air Force in North Africa, supporting the ground invasion of Tunisia, Sicily and...

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  • Robert Cutting

    Military | First Lieutenant | Fighter Pilot | 82nd Fighter Group
    Robert D. Cutting was my father I am Robert D. Cutting, II. His first combat mission was on September 2, 1943, in his flight log he stated this was "the roughest". 6 members of the 96th FS were lost on that day and is considered one of the greatest...

  • Clarence Johnson

    Military | Captain | Fighter Pilot-1055 single engine | 352nd Fighter Group
    3rd combat tour flight leader 487th FS 352 FG KIA Sept. 23, 1944. ...




Date Contributor Update
24 November 2016 03:03:53 466thHistorian Created entry with type, category, name, description, air forces, aircraft types and unit encompassing associations