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78th Fighter Group

Group

The 78th Fighter Group was initially based at Goxhill but moved to Duxford in April 1943 and stayed there until October 1945. The 78th FG flew each of the three US built principal fighters of the AAF in the ETO. In their Thundetbolts, the 78th FG provided maximum effort air cover to the D-Day Normandy invasion fleet as it crossed the Channel. The Group was awarded two Distinguished Unit Citations, the first for their missions in support of airborne forces in Holland, between 16-23 September 1944. The second award was for successfully ground strafing aircraft on five airfields near Prague and Pilsen, Czechoslovakia, on 16 April 1945.

US Air Force Combat Units of World War II Description

Constituted as 78th Pursuit Group (Interceptor) on 13 Jan 1942. Activated on 9 Feb 1942. Redesignated 78th Fighter Group in May 1942. Trained for combat with P-38’s and served as part of the air defence organization. Moved to England, Nov-Dec 1942. Assigned to Eighth AF. Lost its P-38’s and most of its pilots in Feb 1943 when they were assigned to Twelfth AF for service in North Africa. Began operations from England with P-47’s in Apr 1943, converted to P-51’s in Dec 1944, and continued combat until Apr 1945. Flew many missions to escort bombers that attached industries, submarine yards and docks, V-weapon sites and other targets on the Continent. Also engaged in counter-air activities and on numerous occasions strafed and dive-bombed airfields, trains, vehicles, barges, tugs, canal locks, barracks and troops. In addition to other operations, participated in the intensive campaign against the German Air Force and aircraft industry during Big Week 20-25 Feb 1944; helped to prepare the way for the invasion of France; supported landings in Normandy in Jun 1944; contributed to the breakthrough at St Lo in Jul 1944; participated in the Battle of the Bulge, Dec 1944- Jan 1945; and supported the airborne assault across the Rhine in Mar 1945. Received a DUC for activities connected with the airborne attack on Holland in Sep 1944 when the group covered troop carrier and bombardment operations and carried out strafing and dive-bombing missions. Received second DUC for destroying numerous aircraft on five airfields near Prague and Pilsen on 16 Apr 1945. Returned to the US in Oct. Inactivated on 18 Oct 1945.

Commanding officers
  • Arman Peterson

    Military | Colonel | Commanding Officer
    78th FG 84FS. Col Arman Peterson, came from Flagstaff, Arizona, and called his Thunderbolt “Flagari”. He was the first CO of 78th Fighter Group at Duxford and was killed in action 1st July 1943 on the day the group had destroyed four FW 190s, and...

  • Frederic Gray

    Military | Brigadier General | Commanding Officer | 78th Fighter Group
    Frederic C. Gray was born in 1911 near Palestine, Texas. He attended Rising Star High School and graduated in 1931 from Abilene Christian College with a bachelor of arts degree. ...

  • James Stone

    Military | Colonel | Commanding Officer / Pilot
    See page 132, Fry's book - 'Eagles of Duxford'

  • John Landers

    Military | Colonel | Commanding Officer | 357th Fighter Group
    Cmdr Officer of 78th FG, flew 90 missions in the Pacific Theater; served also with the 55th FG and 357th FG/ Had over 1039 hrs in flying time and 174 total missions. ...

  • Melvin McNickle

    Military | Major General | Pilot
    Prisoner of War (POW) in Stalag Luft III. Mid air collision, crashed near Winterswijk on 30 July 43 in P-47 42-7961.

  • Olin Gilbert

    Military | Colonel | Pilot | 78th Fighter Group
    78th FG. Lt Col Gilbert was the 78th Fighter Group’s fifth Commanding Officer taking office on 29th January 1945. ...

  • Roy Caviness

    Military | Colonel | Pilot - Group Commanding Officer | 361st Fighter Group
    Assigned to 376FS, 361FG, 8AF USAAF. Re-assigned to HQ Sqn, 361FG, 8AF USAAF. Ended Tour Duty (ETD). Transferred to HQ Sqn, 78FG, 8AF USAAF. Credited 14 x kills. Awards: WWII Victory, EAME, UN and Korean medals.

Structure

Part of
  • VIII Fighter Command

    VIII Fighter Command

    Command
    VIII Fighter Command was established as VIII Interceptor Command at Selfridge Field on 2 February 1942.

  • 65th Fighter Wing

    65th Fighter Wing

    Wing
    Browse 65th Fighter Wing photographs and other documents in the 2nd Air Division Memorial Library digital archive here: www.2ndair.org.uk/digitalarchive/Dashboard/Index/51

  • 66th Fighter Wing
Encompassing
Previously was
Became
Not yet known

Missions

  • VIII Fighter Command P-47 RODEO

    8 April 1943
    23 P-47s fly a Rodeo (offensive fighter sweep over enemy territory) between Dunkirk, France and Sangatte, France. 4FG (7); 56FG (4); and 78FG (12). There are no losses or claims. While the 4FG has been flying operations since 2-Oct-43, this is the...

  • VIII Fighter Command Field Order 01 - RAMROD 50.

    13 April 1943
    A combined force of 36 P-47s are depatched on a diversion for RAF Ramrod 50. A "Ramrod" is a short range (medium) bomber mission against ground targets. 4FG (20); 56FG (4); 78FG (12). Even though 78FG had participated in a Rodeo on 8-Apr-43, this...

  • VIII Fighter Command Field Order 01 - RAMROD 50.

    13 April 1943
    A combined force of 36 P-47s are depatched on a diversion for RAF Ramrod 50. A "Ramrod" is a short range (medium) bomber mission against ground targets. 4FG (20); 56FG (4); 78FG (12). Even though 78FG had participated in a Rodeo on 8-Apr-43, this...

  • VIII Fighter Command Field Order 03 - RODEO 204

    15 April 1943
    A combined fighter force of 59 P-47s despatched from 4FG, 56FG and 78FG participate in RAF Rodeo 204, a sweep of the Furnes/St.Omer area of France. Number contributed by each Fighter Group was not recorded in the source data. 4FG has 3 aircraft MIA,...

  • VIII Fighter Command FO-04

    17 April 1943
    Two fighter operations are conducted on this date: a combined force of 81 P-47s is despatched from 4FG, 56FG and 78FG to perform sweeps in the Blankenburge/Bruges/Flushing area in support of RAF Rodeo 205. There are no losses or claims; 59 P-47s are...

  • VIII Fighter Command FO-04

    17 April 1943
    Two fighter operations are conducted on this date: a combined force of 81 P-47s is despatched from 4FG, 56FG and 78FG to perform sweeps in the Blankenburge/Bruges/Flushing area in support of RAF Rodeo 205. There are no losses or claims; 59 P-47s are...

  • VIII Fighter Command FO - 06 SWEEPS

    21 April 1943
    A combined force of 82 P-47s from 4FG, 56FG & 78FG fly high altitude sweeps over the Westhoofd/Noordwijk/The Hague area. No losses or claims. These operations are not drawing up the Luftwaffe.

  • VIII Fighter Command FO - 07 RODEO 211

    29 April 1943
    A combined force of 112 P-47s are despatched from 4FG, 56FG and 78FG to arry out high altitude sweeps of the Pas-de-Calaise/Hague area in support of RAF Rodeo 211. This is the first time that fighters from 56FG have encountered enemy fighters. 56FG has...

  • VIII Fighter Command FO - 08 FIGHTER SWEEP

    3 May 1943
    A combined force of 118 P-47s are despatched from 4FG, 56FG and 78FG to make a fighter sweep of the Walcheren Island/Knokke/Ostend/Nieuport area. No enemy aircraft are sighted and there are no losses of claims. The Luftwaffe is simply not taking the bait.

  • VIII Fighter Command FO - 10 FIGHTER SWEEP

    4 May 1943
    A combined force of 117 P-47s is despatched from 4FG, 56FG and 78FG to perform a sweep along the Belgium coast in support of the bomber mission. 1 P-47 is lost due to engine failure. The pilot is seen to bale out over the sea, but his parachute fails...

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Stations

Station Location Date
Based Goxhill 1 December 1942 – 3 April 1943
Based Duxford 3 April 1943 – 10 October 1945

Connections

People

  • Luther Abel

    Military | First Lieutenant | Fighter Pilot | 495th Fighter Training Group
    Assigned to 84FS, 78FG, 8AF USAAF. Transferred to 552FTS, 495FTG 8AF USAAF as instructor. P-47C 41-6234 lost engine on local training flight on 9 Jan 1944. A/C broke out of undercast too low and crashed into a plowed field near Loughborough,...

  • Henry Bauer

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Crew Chief | 78th Fighter Group
    Henry (Dusty) Bauer was my Dad's Crew Chief on P-47 42-25871, WZ-Y "Roger the Lodger" stationed at Duxford

  • Robert Belliveau

    Military | Captain | Fighter pilot | 495th Fighter Training Group
    Assigned to 84FS, 78FG, 8AF USAAF. Completed Tour of Duty (ETD). Transferred to 495FTG, 8AF USAAF. Awards: WWII Victory, EAME.

  • Lawrence Casey

    Military | Lieutenant Colonel | Fighter pilot | 78th Fighter Group
    Assigned to 82FS, 78FG, 8AF USAAF. Transferred to 83FS, 78FG, 8AF USAAF. Baled out after engine failure near Bernay, France, in P-47 42-75610. The Pierre-Rose family provided cover for him at their country home, Chalet de Franc Boaisier, Tourville la...

  • Peter Caulfield

    Military | Captain | Fighter pilot | 78th Fighter Group
    Assigned to 83FS, 78FG, 8AF USAAF. Transferred to HQ Sqn, 78FG, 8AF USAAF. Ended Tour Duty (ETD). Awards: WWII Victory, EAME.

  • Earnest Correia

    Military | Staff Sergeant | 78th Fighter Group

  • Lloyd Covelle

    Military | Captain | Fighter pilot | 496th Fighter Training Group
    Assigned to 84FS, 78FG, 8AF USAAF. Credited with 2 x kills. Transferred to 496FTG, 8AF USAAF. Returned to 84FS, 78FG, 8AF USAAF. Ended Tour of Duty (ETD). Awards: WWII Victory, EAME.

  • William Dacci

    Military | First Lieutenant | Fighter pilot | 78th Fighter Group
    Assigned to 84FS, 78FG, 8AF USAAF. Credited 1 x Kill. ETD. Awards: WWII Victory, EAME.

  • Robert Ealey

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Pilot | 78th Fighter Group

  • Ollie Gibbs

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Fighter Pilot | 78th Fighter Group
    KITA (killed in training accident) in P-47 1 mile SW of Duxford when P-47D 42-26623 stalled.

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Aircraft

  • 41-6240

    P-47 Thunderbolt
    P-47C-2-RE 41-6240 [WZ:E] was assigned to the 78FG/84FS at Duxford, UK. On 18-Oct-43 the aircraft, piloted by 2LT Frankin B. Resseguie, was despatched with other fighters from his group to provide escort to B-17 bombers planned to attack at Duren,...

  • 41-6374

    P-47 Thunderbolt

  • 41-6391

    P-47 Thunderbolt

  • 41-6411 'Muscle Bound'

    P-47 Thunderbolt
    P-47C-5-RE 41-6411 [HL:N], was assigned to 78FG/83FS at Duxford, UK. ...

  • 41-7576

    P-38 Lightning
    P-38F 41-7566 78FG/83FS was being transferred to Tafaroui, Algeria from Portreath, UK on 26-Jan-43 by 2Lt Donald S. Beals. He was flying with a flight of 8 others. The flight was to make a stop at Gibraltar but only 6 arrived. No traces of Lt. Beals'...

  • 42-22463 Apple Knockers

    P-47 Thunderbolt

  • 42-22467

    P-47 Thunderbolt

  • 42-22755

    P-47 Thunderbolt

  • 42-22776

    P-47 Thunderbolt

  • 42-25529

    P-47 Thunderbolt
    Lost 4 July 44 - Lt. Lonnie L Moseley evaded capture.

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Citations

Distinguished Unit Citations for Operation Market Garden and ground attacks in Czechoslovakia.

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
22 August 2019 13:42:28 Emily Changes to us air force combat units of world war ii description and commanding officers associations
Sources

Air Force Combat Units of WWII

Date Contributor Update
20 April 2019 02:52:06 ArthurB.Richie Changes to media associations
Sources

Courtesy of Keith Ritchie from the collection of Dora Richie Stovall

Date Contributor Update
28 September 2014 15:39:09 Carl Changes to citations, commanding officers associations, mission associations and stations
Sources

Duxford Diary, 1945 ( also available online here: http://www.ulongbeach.com/Duxford_Diary.html )

Date Contributor Update
28 September 2014 11:58:20 Carl Changes to nicknames, motto, insignia, aircraft types, mission associations and stations
Sources

Duxford Diary, 1945
Garry L Fry; Eagles of Duxford: 78th Fighter Group in World War II; (St Paul, 1991)

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:42:46 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database / The Mighty Eighth. A History of the Units, Men and Machines of the US 8th Air Force.' by Roger A. Freeman (1989). 'Air Force Combat Units of World War II' compiled by the Department of the US Air Force, edited by Maurice Maurer (1983). / Units in the UK from ETOUSA Station List, as transcribed by Lt. Col. Philip Grinton (US Army, Retired) and extracted by IWM; air division data from L.D. Underwood, based on the 8th Air Force Strength Report of 6th August 1944, as published in 'The 8th Air Force Yearbook' by Lt. Col. John H Woolnough (1980)

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