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479th Fighter Group


The 479th was the last Fighter Group to join the Eighth Air Force, which they did on 14 May 1944. Known as "Riddle's Raiders", after their first Commanding Officer Lt. Col. Kyle L. Riddle, the Group flew escort and fighter sweep missions before D-Day. On D-Day itself, the Group patrolled the beachheads and in the months that followed the pilots conducted area patrols across northern France. The Group won a Distinguished Unit Citation for destroying numerous aircraft whilst strafing airfields on 18 August and 5 September, and whilst engaging in air combat near Munster 26 September 1944.

Browse 479th Fighter Group photographs and other documents in the 2nd Air Division Memorial Library digital archive here:

Commanding officers
  • Hubert Zemke

    Military | Colonel | Fighter Group Commander; Pilot | 479th Fighter Group
    17 air victories with 56th FG flying P-47s, 2 1/2 with 479th FG flying P-51s. Lost 30 October 1944 when P-51 broke up in storm. Prisoner of War (POW) in Stalag Luft I. Was appointed as head of American Prisoner of War (POW)s while in camp. Retired from...

  • Kyle Riddle

    Military | Brigadier General | Fighter Pilot 1055 single engine/Group Commander | 479th Fighter Group
    Born in Decatur, Texas in 1913, Kyle Riddle graduated from Decatur High School in 1931, the Decatur Baptist College in 1933, and the Texas Agricultural & Mechanical University (Texas A&M), College Station, Texas in 1937. He entered the U.S. Army Air...


Part of
  • 65th Fighter Wing

    65th Fighter Wing

    Browse 65th Fighter Wing photographs and other documents in the 2nd Air Division Memorial Library digital archive here:

Previously was
Not yet known
Not yet known


Station Location Date
Based Wattisham 15 May 1944 – 22 November 1945



  • Charles Abel

    Military | Corporal | Armorer | 479th Fighter Group
    Born 1925, in Berkeley, CA.

  • L Aconfrio

    Military | Sergeant | Mechanic | 479th Fighter Group
    Devised a Hydraulic Brake and Flap tester for fighter aircraft, saving hundreds of man hours

  • Kelly Adams

    Military | 479th Fighter Group

  • Samuel Adams

    Military | 479th Fighter Group

  • David Ahearn

    Military | 479th Fighter Group

  • John Ahrens

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Aircraft Mechanic | 479th Fighter Group
    "Mr. Ahrens is an Andover legend. He served 3 years (1942-1945) in Europe as an Aircraft Mechanic with the USAAF 479th Fighter Group, keeping B-38 Bombers and P-51 Fighters in flying condition. He survived 6 Campaigns during those 3 years, and was...

  • Edward Akin

    Military | 479th Fighter Group

  • John Albert

    Military | 479th Fighter Group

  • J Albritton

    Military | 479th Fighter Group

  • John Alexis

    Military | 479th Fighter Group

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  • 42-104258

    P-38 Lightning

  • 42-104397

    P-38 Lightning

  • 42-104407

    P-38 Lightning

  • 42-104416

    P-38 Lightning

  • 42-104421

    P-38 Lightning

  • 42-104425

    P-38 Lightning

  • 42-104427

    P-38 Lightning

  • 42-27077

    P-47 Thunderbolt

  • 42-67264

    P-38 Lightning

  • 42-67296

    P-38 Lightning
    Philip Manning's P-38 Serial 42-67296 was hit by Flak and was seen to dive towards the city of Nancy where it crashed in the Rue Provençal, in the Bonsecours neighborhood. Manning was killed instantly and a woman who had been wounded in the crash died...

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Date Contributor Update
09 March 2018 15:51:12 2nd Air Division Memorial Library Changes to description

2nd Air Division Memorial Library

Date Contributor Update
03 October 2015 10:30:22 ED-BB Changes to nicknames, aircraft types, commanding officers associations, mission associations and stations

Added Group nickname, aircraft types, other details

Date Contributor Update
12 April 2015 14:53:32 Pyker Changes to mission associations

Changed key image to Group insignia.

Date Contributor Update
13 March 2015 15:23:02 rossingtonj Changes to type and mission associations

Type added.

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

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)