When Frisky Headed West on the Oregon Trail

In May, 1945, the War in Europe ended, and the 371st Fighter Group remained in Europe for a few months afterward.  Flying the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt fighter-bomber in combat in the European Theater of Operations in World War II,  Frisky received credit for participation in six campaigns (Air Offensive, Europe; Normandy; Northern France; Rhineland; Ardennes-Alsace; Central Europe), was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation (Germany, 15 – 21 Mar 1945), and was mentioned in the Belgian Army Order of the Day (6 Jun – 30 Sep 1944).

As the spring turned into the summer, rumors were circulating that the 371FG would be sent to China to help defeat the Empire of Japan.  But the end of the Pacific War came in August, and World War II was over.  Lingering a while in Europe, Frisky soon returned Stateside and was inactivated on November 10, 1945, at Camp Shanks, New York.  Group personnel scattered to the winds; most to civilian status, some continued in service in other units.

But the 371FG’s inactive status lasted only  a little more than six months.  In the postwar buildup of the Air National Guard, the USAAF made an effort to preserve the lineage and honors of a number of its WWII combat groups which had distinguished themselves on the fields and skies of battle; Frisky was among those.  On May 24, 1946, the United States Army Air Force’s 371st Fighter Group was redesignated as the 142d Fighter Group and allotted to the ANG of the State of Oregon.  Thus Frisky flew again, on paper in this move, some 3,000 miles west to Oregon, where the Pioneer spirit still exists.  It appeared a fitting revival for the group.

Today, the 142d Fighter Group is now designated as the 142d Fighter Wing of the Oregon Air National Guard.  The 142FW inherited the lineage and honors of the 371st Fighter Group, and, in essence, IS the 371FG.  The wing flies the F-15 Eagle fighter and maintains 24-hour Aerospace Control Alert in the Pacific Northwest and provides Air Superiority mission capabilities as well.  It is a vital asset to the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and Air Combat Command.  For more information on the 142FW’s activities, see the wing website at:

http://www.142fw.ang.af.mil/

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