4th Fighter Group

Group
Thunderbolt pilots of the 4th Fighter Group in the briefing room at Debden. The 4th Fighter Group flew P-47 Thunderbolts on missions between March 1943 and February 1944. In the centre of the image, looking straight at the camera is James A. Goodson. On the far right of the shot, wearing a garrison cap, is Lieutenant Paul S. Riley. The two men at the front of the shot, sitting on wicker chairs, are, left to right Lieutenant James A. Clark and Lieutenant Spiros S. Pisanos. Printed caption attached to print

Object Number - FRE 41 - Thunderbolt pilots of the 4th Fighter Group in the briefing room at Debden. The 4th Fighter Group flew P-47 Thunderbolts on missions between March...

Some of the pilots of the 4th Fighter Group had seen many hours of combat by the time they joined the 4th Fighter Group as they had volunteered with the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Royal Air Force. The three 'Eagle Squadrons' of RAF Fighter Command, Squadrons No. 71, 121 and 133 became the 334th, 335th and 335th Fighter Squadrons of the 4th Fighter Group on 29 September 1942. The Group's combined air (583.3) and ground (469) claims of enemy aircraft was the highest of any USAAF Group.

The 4th Fighter Group was activated on 12 September 1942. Based in Debden, England, it was made up of the three Eagle Squadrons of the Royal Air Force (No. 71, No. 121, and No. 133). As they were transferred from the Royal Air Force to the United States Army Air Force, in the Eighth Air Force they became designated as the 334th, 335th, and 336th Squadrons.

They flew their first combat mission under American colours on 2 October 1942, still flying British Spitfires. Upon receipt of an adequate number of P-47 Thunderbolts and crews skilled in their maintenance, the group converted to P-47s in March 1943. In February 1944 the group switched to P-51 Mustangs, which they continued to fly until the end of the war in Europe. They flew their last combat mission on 25 April 1945. They had become the top scoring Allied Fighter Group in the war, having destroyed 1016 enemy aircraft for a loss of 241 of their own planes.

It is of note that their losses were disproportionately high due to the fact that their combat was always over enemy territory and many of their losses were suffered as the result of flak (anti-aircraft fire).

Notable achievements of the group are as follows:

The first fighter to penetrate German airspace;
the first selected to escort bombers on the first shuttle bombing run to land in Russia;
the first to escort bombers over Berlin.

The Association of the 4th Fighter Group

The Association of the 4th Fighter Group (A4FG) is an active group dedicated to preserving the memory of this famous unit. Originally established by 4th FG veterans themselves, it still holds reunions yearly and publishes a newsletter quarterly. The Association has a website which regularly publishes the results of research undertaken by its members, and is an invaluable resource for understanding more about the men who served with the 4th FG.

Visit The Association of the 4th Fighter Group website to find out more about their work.

Commanding Officers

Chesley Peterson, of the 334th Fighter Squadron, 4th Fighter Group, with his P-47 Thunderbolt, 30 March 1943. Handwritten caption on reverse: '30-3-43.' Printed caption removed from reverse. On reverse: Sport & General, US Army General Section Press & Censorship Bureau and US Army Press Censor ETO [Stamps].
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 4th Fighter Group 334th Fighter Squadron No 71 'Eagle' Squadron
  • Service Numbers: O-9983A
  • Highest Rank: Major General
  • Role/Job: Fighter Pilot/Group Commander
Captain Henry W "Baby" Brown and Lieutenant-Colonel Claiborn H "Zoot" Kinnard Jr of the 355th Fighter Group with Brown's P-51 Mustang (WR-Z, serial number 42-106448) nicknamed "The Hun Hunter ~ Texas". Image stamped and signed on reverse to pass base censorship. First handwritten caption on reverse: 'HW Brown (Left) & unknown commander 355 FG.' Second handwritten caption on reverse, in different script, refers to the "unknown commander": 'He is Lt Col Kinnard.'
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 65th Fighter Wing 355th Fighter Group 356th Fighter Group 354th Fighter Squadron 360th Fighter Squadron Headquarters (355th Fighter Group) Headquarters (4th Fighter Group) Headquarters (65th Fighter Wing)
  • Service Numbers: O-383753
  • Highest Rank: Lieutenant Colonel
  • Role/Job: Commanding Officer, Pilot
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 4th Fighter Group 335th Fighter Squadron 336th Fighter Squadron Headquarters (4th Fighter Group) No 133 'Eagle' Squadron
  • Service Numbers: O-885264
  • Highest Rank: Colonel
  • Role/Job: Fighter pilot, Commanding Officer
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 65th Fighter Wing 4th Fighter Group Headquarters (4th Fighter Group) Headquarters (65th Fighter Wing)
  • Service Numbers: O-17932
  • Highest Rank: Brigadier General
  • Role/Job: Commanding General
Major Everett W. Stewart of the 328th Fighter Squadron, 352nd Fighter Group.
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 352nd Fighter Group 355th Fighter Group 328th Fighter Squadron 354th Fighter Squadron Headquarters (355th Fighter Group) Headquarters (4th Fighter Group)
  • Service Numbers: O-22859
  • Highest Rank: Colonel
  • Role/Job: Fighter Pilot/Group Commander
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: VIII Fighter Command 82nd Fighter Squadron Headquarters & Headquarters Squadron (78th Fighter Group)
  • Service Numbers: O-404135
  • Highest Rank: Colonel
  • Role/Job: Fighter pilot / Commanding Officer 4th FG

Connections

See how this entry relates to other items in the archive by exploring the connections below.

Unit stations

Station Location Date

Based

Debden 1942-09-29 - 1945-07-27

Based

Steeple Morden 1945-07-27 - 1945-11-04

Other

336 FS Satellite BASE

Great Sampford 1942-08-23 - 1942-10-30

Encompassing

People

  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 4th Fighter Group 336th Fighter Squadron
  • Service Numbers: O-661172
  • Highest Rank: Captain
  • Role/Job: Fighter Pilot
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 495th Fighter Training Group 4th Fighter Group 334th Fighter Squadron 336th Fighter Squadron
  • Service Numbers: T-190559
  • Highest Rank: Flight Officer
  • Role/Job: Fighter Pilot
Detail of four-stringed banjo formerly owned by Sergeant Homer R Golden, and signed by personnel of the 4th Fighter Group and local civilians.
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 4th Fighter Group 864th Air Engineering Squadron
  • Highest Rank: Sergeant
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 4th Fighter Group 334th Fighter Squadron
  • Service Numbers: O-721332
  • Highest Rank: First Lieutenant
  • Role/Job: Pilot
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 4th Fighter Group 336th Fighter Squadron 4th Mobile Reclamation and Repair Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 14128382 / O-721954
  • Highest Rank: First Lieutenant
  • Role/Job: Fighter Pilot

Aircraft

A P-47 Thunderbolt (QP-L, serial number 41-6187) of the 334th Fighter Squadron, 4th Fighter Group at Debden.
  • Aircraft Type: P-47 Thunderbolt
  • Nicknames: Quack! Uncle Den
  • Unit: 4th Fighter Group 334th Fighter Squadron
A P-47 Thunderbolt (41-6196) of the 56th Fighter Group prepares for take off.
  • Aircraft Type: P-47 Thunderbolt
  • Unit: 4th Fighter Group 334th Fighter Squadron
  • Aircraft Type: P-47 Thunderbolt
  • Unit: 495th Fighter Training Group 4th Fighter Group 335th Fighter Squadron 551st Fighter Training Squadron
  • Aircraft Type: P-47 Thunderbolt
  • Unit: 4th Fighter Group 334th Fighter Squadron
  • Aircraft Type: P-47 Thunderbolt
  • Unit: 4th Fighter Group 335th Fighter Squadron

Revisions

Date9 Mar 2018 15:53:44
Sources

2nd Air Division Memorial Library

Date9 Mar 2018 15:52:52
Sources

2nd Air Division Memorial Library

Date13 May 2017 16:47:02
Contributortmccann
Sources

The boxing eagle was the group's insignia, and it was a blue eagle. The red eagle is used by the Association of the 4th Fighter Group today.

Date2 Dec 2016 20:01:12
ContributorWD-C Mustang
Date3 Aug 2016 15:39:30
Sources

Unit associations and unit ‘BASED’ locations and dates added from “The Mighty Eighth- A History of the U.S. Army Air Force”, Roger A. Freeman

Date23 Jul 2016 20:06:20
ContributorLUCKY PARTNERS
Sources

remove person incorrectly associated

Date22 Apr 2016 13:43:06
ContributorLucy May
Sources

The motto of the 4th Fighter Group was: "Fourth but First". Meaning of course that the Group was in WWII First - as Eagle Squadrons in the RAF - and only later in 1942 did they become the US Army Air Force 4th FG. Russ Brengelman

Date13 Mar 2015 15:28:41
Contributorrossingtonj
Sources

Type added.

Date1 Mar 2015 11:21:17
Contributorapollo11
Sources

All information correct as far as I am aware.

Date27 Oct 2014 16:11:57
ContributorLee8thbuff
Sources

Lee Cunningham 27-Oct-2014. 4FG association "USAAF Combat Chronology" Jack McKillop; Station dates; http://www.usaaf.com/8thaf/fighter/4fg.HTM

Date27 Sep 2014 18:42:46
ContributorAAM
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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