Skip to main content
Edit entry 

97th Fighter Squadron


The squadron was first activated in early 1942 at Harding Field, Louisiana as the 97th Pursuit Squadron,[2] one of the original three squadrons of the 82d Pursuit Group.[3] It soon moved to California where it equipped with Lockheed P-38 Lightnings and began training with Fourth Air Force as the 97th 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.[4]

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[2] for its actions on 25 April 1943 during an attack on enemy airfields in Foggia.[4]

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.[2][4] The squadron moved to Italy, where it became part of Fifteenth Air Force as part of the buildup to providee fighter cover for Fifteenth's heavy bombers.[4] On 10 June 1944 the squadron earned a third Distinguished Unit Citation for its actions during an attack on oil refineries in Ploiești, Romania.[2]

Following the surrender of Germany, the squadron remained in Italy until September 1945, when it was inactivated[2] In the course of the war the squadron was credited with the destruction of 146 enemy aircraft.[5]


Part of
  • 82nd Fighter Group

    82nd Fighter Group

    The 82nd Fighter Group flew training missions from bases in Northern Ireland between October and December 1942. They then joined the Twelfth Air Force in North Africa, supporting the ground invasion of Tunisia, Sicily and Italy. Between October 1943...

Not yet known
Previously was
Not yet known
Not yet known



  • Kenneth Gasser

    Military | Staff Sergeant (3rd Grade) | Aerial Gunner | 47th Bomb Group

  • John Matsumoto

    Military | Staff Sergeant (3rd Grade) | Aerial Gunner | 47th Bomb Group
    Being the only Nisei wherever I was stationed, I was always treated as one of the boys. Never was I called a 'Jap' during my entire Army stint. Never felt any prejudice during my time in Service (3 yrs 8 months). During my stay in Denver, CO around 2...

  • Gerald Rounds

    Military | Major | Fighter pilot | 82nd Fighter Group
    Gerald Rounds served as a fighter pilot with the 97th Fighter Squadron of the 82nd Fighter Group, flying P-38s in the Mediterranean Theater.

  • George Sun

    Military | First Lieutenant | Fighter Pilot | 82nd Fighter Group


  • 42-30343

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 19/5/43; Gore 20/5/43; Smoky Hill 30/5/43; Dow Fd 3/6/43; Tinker 13/6/43; Smoky Hill 22/6/43; Casper 28/6/43; Kearney 30/6/43; Eglin 4/7/43; Kearney 11/7/43; Dow Fd 12/7/43; Assigned 346BS/99BG Navarin 30/7/43; Oudna 4/8/43;...

  • 42-13173 Sweet Pea

    P-38 Lightning




Date Contributor Update
24 November 2016 03:09:39 466thHistorian Created entry with type, category, name, description, air forces, aircraft types and unit encompassing associations