Activation of the 371st Fighter Group

The 371st Fighter Group, the World War II ancestor of the 142nd Fighter Wing, was activated on July 15, 1943 at Richmond Army Air Base in Virginia.  The 371st Fighter Group, commanded by Colonel Bingham T. “Bing” Kleine, went on to fly combat in the European Theater of Operations from April, 1944, with the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt fighter-bomber.  The group participated in six campaigns across northwestern Europe, was cited in the Belgian Army Order of the Day in 1944 and received the Distinguished Unit Citation in 1945. Inactivated after the war, the 371st Fighter Group was redesignated as the 142nd Fighter Group and allocated to the state of Oregon on May 24, 1946, thus ensuring the lineage and honors of the 371st would be perpetuated.

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