A Brief History of the 4th Fighter Group
"American Eagles"
4th Group


Assigned 8th AAF: 12 Sep 1942

Wing/Command Assignment

VII FC: 12 Sep 1942
VII FC, 4 ADW 30 Jun 1943
VII FC, 65 FW 7 Aug 1943
2BD, 65 FW 15 Sep 1944
2 AD, 65FW 1 Jan 1945

Combat Aircraft:

Spitfire V: Sep 1942 to 1 April 1943
P-47C 10 Mar 1943 to Feb 1944
P-47D Jun 1943 to Feb 1944
P-51B 25 Feb 1944
P-51D Jun 1944
P-51K Dec 1944


DEBDEN 29 Sep 1942 to 20-27 Jul 1945
STEEPLE MORDEN 20-27 Jul 1945 to 4 Nov 1945
GREAT SAMPFORD 23 Sep 1942 to 30 Oct 1942 336FS at Satellite

Group COs

Col Edward W. Anderson 27 Sep 1942 to 20 Aug 1943
Col Chesley C. Peterson 20 Aug 1943 to 23 Dec 1943
Col Donald J.M. Blakeslee 1 Jan 1944 to 1 Nov 1944
LTC Claiborne H. Kinnard Jr. 1 Nov 1944 to 6 Dec 1944
LTC Harry J. Dayhuff 7 Dec 1944 to 21 Feb 1945
Col Everett W. Stewart 21 Feb 1945 to Sep 1945
LTC William E. Becker Sep 1945 to Nov 1945

First Mission: 2 Oct 1942
Last Mission: 25 Apr 1945
Aircraft MIA: 241

Claims: Air 583 1/2 Ground 469.

Major Awards:

Distinguished Unit Citation: 5 Mar to 24 Apr 1944 when unit destroyed 189 enemy aircraft, and 134 ground aircraft.

Unit Claims to Fame

Formed from the RAF Eagle Squadrons
Oldest Fighter Group in the 8th AF
Combined totals air and ground claims of enemy aircraft over 1,000 highest for USAAF.
First to engage enemy aircraft over Berlin and Paris
First 8AF fighter group to penetrate German air space on 28 Jul 1943.

Early History:

The 4th Fighter Group was activated on the 12 Sep 1942 at Bushey Hall, Herts, England. The group was the only American unit activated in an active combat theater. Official ceremony transferring RAF squadrons of the 71, 121, and 133 (Eagle Squadrons) to 4FG 29 Sep 1942. Thus the group had the distinction of being the oldest Group in the Eighth Air Force. The first combat mission flown under American colors was on October 2, 1942 as the 334th, 335th, and 336th Fighter Squadrons. Ground echelon formed from that of 50FS, 14 FG, Atgham, RAF personnel trained USAAF ground echelon in service Spitfires. Flying control still vested in RAF Fighter Command. The 4th was the first Eighth Air Force fighter group to penetrate German air space on the 28th of July 1943.

Subsequent History:

Returned to USA in Nov 1945. Moved to Steeple Morden the end of July 1945 as RAF required Debden. Group gradually run down aircraft flown to depots for disposal. Sailed on Queen Mary from Southampton on 4 November 1945, arriving in New York 9 Nov 1945. Group inactivated at Camp Kilmer, New Jersey on 10 Nov 1945. Activated again in September 1946 as P-80 jet fighter group. Converted to F-86s in 1949 and operated in Korean War from 1950 to 1954. Destroyed 506 MIGs in air combat. Returned to USA and later became first wing to operate F-105s. Some squadrons detached to fly Vietnam War.

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