This week marks the 70th anniversary of the outstanding combat missions flown by the 371st Fighter Group over Nazi Germany which were recognized several months later by the award of the Distinguished Unit Citation (DUC). (Note: In the Air Force, the DUC became the Presidential Unit Citation from 1957)
The citation for the 371st Fighter Group’s DUC was initially contained in Headquarters Ninth Air Force General Orders No. 117 (27 June 1945), and repeated in War Department General Orders No. 84 (5 October 1945). It reads as follows:
“The 371st Fighter Group is cited for extraordinary heroism in action against the enemy from 15 March to 21 March 1945. During this period the 371st Fighter Group inflicted tremendous destruction on the hostile forces fleeing before the Allied units closing to the banks of the Rhine River. Demonstrating steadfast determination to destroy the enemy, the gallant pilots launched a series of brilliant air attacks closely coordinated with the advances of the Third Army. Striking vigorously ahead of the advancing tank columns, they smashed the enemy’s desperate attempts to organize a holding defense. Although frequently engulfed by intense concentrations of fire from mobile artillery and small arms, they descended to treetop level to attack the motor transports, troop concentrations, and strong points of the retreating enemy. During this 6-day period the airmen of the 371st Fighter Group destroyed a total of 1702 transport vehicles, 180 factories and buildings, 57 railroad cars, 20 tanks and 7 gun emplacements. 1,407 transports, 70 railroad cars, and 59 tanks were damaged. The brilliantly successful attacks of the 371st Fighter Group constituted a material contribution to the defeat of the hostile forces in southern Germany. The courage and determination of the airmen, combined with the technical skill and devotion to duty of the ground personnel, mark the 371st Fighter Group as an organization of unusual esprit de corps, and are in keeping with the finest traditions of the Army Air Forces.”
Frisky received his DUC award on 10 July 1945, when the group was stationed at Fürth/Industriehafen Airfield (R-30), near Nürnberg (aka Nuremberg), Germany, as part of the Allied occupation forces.
A description of the background and conduct of these missions will soon be posted on this web log.
“Presidential Unit Citation (United States),” Wikipedia entry, at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presidential_Unit_Citation_%28United_States%29