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49th Fighter Group (49th FG)
U. S. Army Air Force, 5th Air Force
Background
On January 15, 1941 was activated as the 49th Pursuit Group (Interceptor) in the U. S. Army Air Corps (USAAC) flying Seversky P-35s. On June 20, 1941 became part of the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF). In May 1942 designated the 8th Fighter Group (8th FG).

In May 1942 all pursuit groups were redesignated fighter groups and became known as the 8th Fighter Group (8th FG).

Wartime History
At the start of the Pacific War in January 1942 the entire 49th Pursuit Group was sent overseas to Australia with P-40E Warhawks. On March 9. 1942

In May 1942 redesignated the 49th Pursuit Group (Interceptor) in the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF). In May 1942 all Pursuit Groups were redesignated Fighter Groups and became known as the 49th Fighter Group (49th FG).

During World War II, operated in the South West Pacific Area (SWPA) in the Pacific Theater. The 49th Fighter Group was comprised of the Headquarters Squadron (HQ), 7th Fighter Squadron (7th FS), 8th Fighter Squadron (8th FS) and 9th Fighter Squadron (9th FS) "The Flying Knights".

Headquarters Squadron (HQ)
The Headquarters Squadron (HQ) was sent overseas to Australia. On February 2, 1942 arrives Melbourne with the entire group.

On November 20, 1943 HQ moves from Dobodura to Gusap.

7th Fighter Squadron (7th FS) "Screamin' Demons"
During 1941 designated the 7th Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor) operating the P-40 Warhawk. On December 24, 1941 1st Lt. Robert L. Morrissey became the Commanding Officer (C. O.)

On February 2, 1942 the 7th Pursuit Squadron arrives Melbourne with the entire group equipped with P-40E Warhawks.

On March 14, 1942 the 7th flew their first mission.

During May 1942 designated 7th Fighter Squadron (7th FS).

On September 19, 1942 the 7th Fighter Squadron moves from Batchelor Field to 14 Mile Drome near Port Moresby in New Guinea.

8th Fighter Squadron (8th FS) "Black Sheep"
During 1941 designated the 8th Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor) operating the P-40 Warhawk with Captain R. D. Van Auken as Commanding Officer (C. O.). Nicknamed "Black Sheep" or "The Black Sheep".

On February 2, 1942 the 8th Pursuit Squadron arrives Melbourne with the entire group equipped with P-40E Warhawks.

On April 1, 1942 Captain Allison W. Strauss became the Commanding Officer (C. O.)

On April 20, 1942 the 8th flew their first mission.

During May 1942 designated 8th Fighter Squadron (7th FS).

On December 10, 1943 P-40s from the 8th FS took off from Gusap Airfield on a mission to intercept Japanese Army Air Force (JAAF) fighters and bombers. During the air combat, P-40 Warhawk pilot Flight Officer Walter J. Linder force landed and survived.

9th Fighter Squadron (9th FS) "The Flying Knights"
During 1941 designated the 9th Pursuit Squadron (Interceptor). Nicknamed "The Flying Knights" with the motif of a knight's helmet with wings atop a shield with a blue background and red diagonal stripe.

On February 2, 1942 the 9th Pursuit Squadron arrives Melbourne with the entire group equipped with P-40E Warhawks.

On March 18, 1942 the 9th flew their first mission.

In May 1942 designated 9th Fighter Squadron (7th FS).

During 1942 operated from Batchelor Field near Darwin.

On October 10, 1942 moved to 14 Mile Drome (Schwimmer Drome) near Port Moresby and began flying combat missions over New Guinea including missions during the Battle of the Bismarck Sea in early March 1943.

On March 6, 1943 moved to Horanda Airfield (Dobodura 4) in New Guinea. During late 1943, the squadron also operated from Kiriwina Airfield to stage for missions against Rabaul.

On December 16, 1943 moved to Gusap Airfield in New Guinea. During November 1943, due to shortages Lightnings, transitioned to P-47D Thunderbolt and continued to operate the type until May 1944 when they transitioned back to the P-38 Lightning.

On June 3, 1944 nineteen P-38 from the 9th FS took off from Hollandia Airfield on a mission to escort B-25 Mitchells over Babo. Lost is P-38J 43-28516 pilot Lt. Col. David A. Campbell (MIA).

Commanding Officers (C. O.)
Lt. Col. David A. Campbell December 1943–June 3, 1944

References
AFHRA - History Highlights of the 49th Fighter Group 1941 to 1946
Fighter Pilot (1950) by Ralph H. Wandrey
49th Fighter Group (1989) by Ernest R. McDowell
Jungle Ace Col. Gerald R. Johnson, the USAAF's Top Fighter Leader of the Pacific War (1991) by John R. Bruning, Jr.
Stars & Bars (1995) pages 35 (49th FG, 7th FS, 8th FS), 36 (49th FG, 9th FS)
Tales of a War Pilot (2001) by Richard C. Kirkland
Protect & Avenge The 49th Fighter Group in World War II (1995) by S. W. Ferguson & William K. Pascalis
49th Fighter Group Aces of the Pacific Aviation Elite Units 14 (2004) by by William Hess (2004) by by William Hess


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