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73rd Fighter Squadron (73rd FS)
U.S. Army Air Force, 13th Air Force, 18th Fighter Group (18th FG)
Background
The 73rd Fighter Squadron was assigned to the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF), 18th Fighter Group (18th FG) until October 15, 1942 then assigned to the 318th Fighter Group (318th FG).

Wartime History
On October 4, 1941 constituted as the 73rd Fighter Squadron (Interceptor). Activated October 5, 1941 in the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) equipped with the P-26 as part of the 18th Pursuit Group (18th PG) at Wheeler Field on Oahu in Hawaii.

On May 15, 1942 designated the 73rd Fighter Squadron (73rd FS). On May 22, 1942 transfers to Bellows Field.

On June 25, 1942 P-40E Warhawks launch from USS Saratoga (CV-3) then land at Midway Airfield. The P-40s begin dawn and dusk patrols over Midway Atoll.

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On October 15, 1942 assigned to the 318th Fighter Group (318th FG). On June 23, 1943 relieved from patrol duties at Midway Airfield.

On January 26, 1943 P-40E Warhawks from the 73rd Fighter Squadron escorted by three LB-30s fly from Midway Airfield to NAS Kaneohe, a distance of roughly 1,100 nautical miles over the Pacific Ocean.

During early June 1944 at Pearl Harbor a total of 37 P-47 Thunderbolts from the 73rd Fighter Squadron are embarked aboard USS Manila Bay (CVE-61) at Pearl Harbor and departs June 5, 1944 for the invasion of Saipan. On June 23, 1944 during a Japanese air raid against the carrier, four P-47 Thunderbolts from the 73rd Fighter Squadron launch from USS Manila Bay (CVE-61) to fly a Combat Air Patrol (CAP) to protect against Japanese aircraft then land on Saipan. On June 24, 1944 the remainder of the P-47s launch then land on Saipan.

On January 12, 1946 inactivated. On August 1, 1947 reactivated in reserve status then inactivated again on June 27, 1949. On June 4, 1952 redesignated 73rd Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron (Heavy). On June 16, 1952 activated. On October 1, 1955 redesignated 73rd Bombardment Squadron (Heavy).

References
Combat Squadrons of the Air Force World War II (1982) pages 269 [PDF pages 281]


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