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301st Fighter Squadron

Squadron

The 301st was one of four African-American fighter squadrons to enter combat during World War II.

One of the famous all-black squadrons of the 332d Fighter Group, it was activated on 19 February 1942 at Tuskegee Army Air Field, Alabama, but remained largely unmanned until it arrived at Selfridge Field, Michigan late in March 1943. There it received a full complement of personnel and the squadron began operational training with Bell P-39 Airacobra and Curtiss P-40 Warhawk aircraft. The unit completed training in December 1943 and prepared to move overseas.

The squadron sailed in early January 1944 aboard the SS William Few and arrived in Italy in early February 1944, becoming part of the Twelfth Air Force in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations. The 301st flew its first combat mission on 19 February 1944. The squadron became engaged in various missions, including harbor protection, point-to-point patrol, convoy escort, and armed reconnaissance. It also performed air rescue and strafing missions. In May 1944 the 301st was reassigned to the Fifteenth Air Force and thereafter the squadron’s primary duty was providing escort for bombers striking enemy oil and industrial targets in central Europe and the Balkans. Although initially equipped with P-39 and P-47 aircraft, in June 1944 the squadron received P-51 aircraft which they retained throughout the remainder of the war.

In August 1944, the unit attacked enemy positions on the French coast in preparation for the invasion of southern France. They escorted bombers of the Fifteenth Air Force in attacks on the assault beaches on 15 August 1944. After this they returned to escorting heavy bombers to targets in Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, and Romania. They also attacked targets of opportunity, including enemy airdromes, troop concentrations, communications lines, and enemy aircraft when the opportunity arose. The unit received a Distinguished Unit Citation for its performance during an escort to Berlin on 23 March 1945. The squadron, along with other squadrons of the 332d group, fought off a large enemy force, including jets, allowing the bomber formation to complete their mission. The 301st flew its last mission in Europe on 30 April 1945. On 30 September 1945, the 301st sailed for the United States aboard the SS Levi Woodbury and arrived at Camp Kilmer, New Jersey on 17 October 1945. The squadron was inactivated on 19 October 1945.

Structure

Part of
  • 332nd Fighter Group

    332nd Fighter Group

    Group
    The United States entered World War II with a military that was segregated by race and remained segregated until 1948. War Department planners generally placed White and African-American Army personnel in separate units during World War II. ...

Encompassing
Not yet known
Previously was
Not yet known
Became
Not yet known

Connections

People

  • Frederick Funderburg

    Military | First Lieutenant | Fighter Pilot | 332nd Fighter Group
    Scored the first victories for the 301st FS Went missing 19 December 1944 Declared dead 30 December 1945

  • Lloyd Hathcock

    Military | Major | Pilot | 332nd Fighter Group
    Lt (Later Major) Lloyd S “Scotty” Hathcock. 301st FS, 332nd FG, 12th AF. Captured in Italy having got lost on ferry mission in Republic P-47D 42-75971, landed in error at enemy held Rome-Littorio on 29th May 1944, apparently flying the correct distance...

  • John Prowell

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 332nd Fighter Group
    Pilot P-39Q, 44-2719, 301st FS, 332nd FG, 12th AF, lost on return from convoy patrol, radio noted defective during flight and seemingly, lost sight, of wingman in manouvre, possible engine failure, A/C crash site located approx 30 miles SSW La Cosa,...

Aircraft

  • 42-4478

    P-39 Airacobra
    P-39L 42-4478 301st FS, 332nd FG, 12th AF, lost on training flight from Montecorvino airbase. Cause unknown, disappeared in clouds in location of Mt Vesuvius. 24th Feb 1944. Pilot 2nd Lt Harry J Daniels KIA. MACR 2700 and MACR 4475

Citations

None

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
01 December 2016 02:48:33 466thHistorian Created entry with type, category, name, description, air forces, aircraft types and unit encompassing associations
Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/301st_Fighter_Squadron

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