371st Fighter Group Lineage and Honors

Many people can easily trace the origin of the 371st Fighter Group to its activation at Richmond Army Air Base, Virginia on 15 July 1943.  The unit was shipped overseas to England in early 1944, and flew many combat missions with the P-47 Thunderbolt in the European Theater of Operations between 12 April 1944 and 9 May 1945.  The group returned to the United States and was inactivated at Camp Shanks, New York, on 10 November 1945.

For its service in World War II, the 371st received the following campaign credits:  Air Offensive Europe, Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace, and Central Europe.  In addition, the group received a Distinguished Unit Citation for action against the enemy from 15-21 March 1945, and was cited in the Belgian Army Order of the Day for actions from 6 June – 30 September 1944.

Few people, however, know that on 24 May 1946, under War Department General Orders 31, many inactivated USAAF units were redesignated and allocated to various states to create new units for the Air National Guard.  The 371st Fighter Group was redesignated as the 142nd Fighter Group, and allocated to the State of Oregon.  The 142nd Fighter Group, now designated as the 142nd Fighter Wing, thus perpetuates the lineage and honors of the 371st Fighter Group.

Pages 257-258 of the standard USAF reference “Air Force Combat Units of World War II” makes this connection between the 371st and the 142nd clear:

Click to access AFD-100921-044.pdf

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