Remembering George R. Simmons

Many regular readers of this web log are probably aware that the World War II-era 371st Fighter Group was redesignated as the 142nd Fighter Group in May of 1946, and allotted to the State of Oregon as part of the buildup of America’s air reserve forces after World War II.  Though renumbered, the lineage and honors established and earned by the 371st Fighter Group were bestowed upon the 142nd Fighter Group – in essence it is the same outfit with a different number.  Many Air National Guard units have such a World War II heritage, though it is not always easy to make the connection given the postwar numerical redesignations.

Since that time the 142nd Fighter Group itself was redesignated and is now the 142nd Fighter Wing, flying the F-15 Eagle fighter jet and based at Portland Air National Guard Base, Oregon.   It too has the lineage and honors, and thus the 371st Fighter Group’s existence is perpetuated in the 142nd Fighter Wing.

Oregon Air National Guard F-15 Eagles from the 142nd Fighter Wing, Portland Air National Guard Base, Portland, Ore., diligently maintain their watchful Aerospace Control Alert (ACA) vigil; ready to respond any day or night in defense of Oregon and the Pacific Northwest. (U.S. Air Force Stock Photograph by Tech. Sgt. John Hughel, 142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs)

Oregon Air National Guard F-15 Eagles from the 142nd Fighter Wing, Portland Air National Guard Base, Portland, Ore., diligently maintain their watchful Aerospace Control Alert (ACA) vigil; ready to respond any day or night in defense of Oregon and the Pacific Northwest. (U.S. Air Force Stock Photograph by Tech. Sgt. John Hughel, 142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs)

The 142nd Fighter Wing takes pride in its heritage, and has an active history program which regularly produces historical products which include the 371st Fighter Group on the wing’s website, which you can find at:   http://www.142fw.ang.af.mil/

The 142nd Fighter Wing also has a Facebook page where 371st Fighter Group history is also posted.  The wing’s Public Affairs team made a post this week to commemorate the annual April 9th National Former Prisoner of War (POW) Recognition Day, and 371st Fighter Group P-47 Thunderbolt pilot Lt. George R. Simmons was featured in a photo and caption to remember former prisoners of war on this day.  See the photo and read the caption about him at:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/142nd-Fighter-Wing/177417548948632?sk=wall

A Republic P-47D Thunderbolt fighter-bomber of the 405th Fighter Squadron of the 371st Fighter Group, heads for the runway and a combat mission from Tantonville Airfield, France circa early 1945.  It was this very aircraft, P-47D-25-RE serial number 42-26664 (8N-P, named “Snuffy II”) that 2 nd Lt. Geworge R. Simmons flew on his last combat mission on 26 December 1944.  (Courtesy 142FW)

A Republic P-47D Thunderbolt fighter-bomber of the 405th Fighter Squadron of the 371st Fighter Group, heads for the runway and a combat mission from Tantonville Airfield, France circa early 1945. It was this very aircraft, P-47D-25-RE serial number 42-26664 (8N-P, named “Snuffy II”) that 2nd Lt. George R. Simmons flew on his last combat mission on 26 December 1944. (Courtesy 142FW)

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