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31 OPERATIONS GROUP (USAFE)

Posted 11/28/2007 Printable Fact Sheet

Lineage. Established as 31 Pursuit Group (Interceptor) on 22 Dec 1939. Activated on 1 Feb 1940. Redesignated 31 Fighter Group on 15 May 1942. Inactivated on 7 Nov 1945. Activated on 20 Aug 1946. Redesignated: 31 Fighter-Bomber Group on 20 Jan 1950; 31 Fighter-Escort Group on 16 Jul 1950. Inactivated on 16 Jun 1952. Redesignated: 31 Tactical Training Group on 31 Jul 1985; 31 Operations Group on 28 Oct 1991. Activated on 1 Nov 1991. Inactivated on 1 Apr 1994. Activated on 1 Apr 1994.

Assignments. 2 Wing, 1 Feb 1940; 6 Pursuit Wing, 18 Dec 1940; I Interceptor Command, 1 Oct 1941; III Interceptor (later, III Fighter) Command, 18 Apr 1942; VIII Fighter Command, 9 Jun 1942; Twelfth Air Force, 14 Sep 1942; XII Fighter Command, 27 Sep 1942; XII Air Support Command, Nov 1942; 64 Fighter Wing, 24 Jul 1943; 306 Bombardment Wing (later, 306 Fighter Wing), 1 Apr 1944; 305 Bombardment Wing, c. 13 Jun 1945; Third Air Force, Aug-7 Nov 1945. XII Tactical Air Command, 20 Aug 1946; Ninth Air Force, 25 Jun 1947; 31 Fighter (later, 31 Fighter-Bomber; 31 Fighter-Escort) Wing, 20 Nov 1947-16 Jun 1952. 31 Fighter Wing, 1 Nov 1991-1 Apr 1994. 31 Fighter Wing, 1 Apr 1994-.

Components. Squadron. 39 Pursuit: 1 Feb 1940-15 Jan 1942. 40 Pursuit: 1 Feb 1940-15 Jan 1942. 41 Pursuit: 1 Feb 1940-15 Jan 1942. 307 Pursuit (later, Fighter; Fighter-Bomber; Fighter-Escort; Fighter): 30 Jan 1942-7 Nov 1945; 20 Aug 1946-16 Jun 1952 (detached 27 Jul 1951-16 Jun 1952); 1 Nov 1991-20 Nov 1992 (detached c. 11 Sep-20 Nov 1992). 308 Pursuit (later, Fighter; Fighter-Bomber; Fighter-Escort; Fighter): 30 Jan 1942-7 Nov 1945; 20 Aug 1946-16 Jun 1952 (detached 27 Jul 1951-16 Jun 1952); 1 Nov 1991-20 Nov 1992 (detached c. 11 Sep-20 Nov 1992). 309 Pursuit (later, Fighter; Fighter-Bomber; Fighter-Escort; Fighter): 30 Jan 1942-7 Nov 1945; 20 Aug 1946-16 Jun 1952 (detached 27 Jul 1951-16 Jun 1952); 1 Nov 1991-20 Nov 1992 (detached 28 Aug-20 Nov 1992). 510 Fighter: 1 Apr 1994-. 555 Fighter: 1 Apr 1994-.

Stations. Selfridge Field, MI, 1 Feb 1940; Baer Field, IN, 6 Dec 1941; New Orleans AB, LA, 6 Feb-19 May 1942; Atcham, England, Jun 1942; Westhampnett, England, 1 Aug-21 Oct 1942; Tafaraoui, Algeria, 8 Nov 1942; La Senia, Algeria, c. 13 Nov 1942; Thelepte, Tunisia, c. 7 Feb 1943; Tebessa, Algeria, 17 Feb 1943; Youks-les-Bains, Algeria, 21 Feb 1943; Kalaa Djerda, Tunisia, c. 25 Feb 1943; Thelepte, Tunisia, 11 Mar 1943; Djilma, Tunisia, 7 Apr 1943; Le Sers, Tunisia, 12 Apr 1943; Korba, Tunisia, 15 May 1943; Guyotville, Tunisia, Jun 1943 (air echelon operated from Gozo Island [near Malta], c. 28 Jun-13 Jul 1943); Ponte Olivo, Sicily, c. 13 Jul 1943; Agrigento, Sicily, 21 Jul 1943; Termini, Sicily, 2 Aug 1943; Milazzo, Sicily, 2 Sep 1943; Montecorvino, Italy, 21 Sep 1943; Pomigliano, Italy, 14 Oct 1943; Castel Volturno, Italy, 19 Jan 1944; San Severo, Italy, 2 Apr 1944; Mondolfo, Italy, 3 Mar 1945; Triolo, Italy, 15 Jul-Aug 1945; Drew Field, FL, c. 25 Aug-7 Nov 1945. Giebelstadt, Germany, 20 Aug 1946; Kitzingen, Germany, 30 Sep 1946-25 Jun 1947; Langley Field, VA, 25 Jun 1947; Turner Field (later, AFB), GA, 4 Sep 1947-16 Jun 1952. Homestead AFB, FL, 1 Nov 1991-1 Apr 1994. Aviano AB, Italy, 1 Apr 1994-. 

Commanders. Lt Col Harold H. George, Feb 1940; Col John R. Hawkins, 1 Jul 1941; Col Fred M. Dean, 5 Dec 1942; Lt Col Frank A. Hill, 16 Jul 1943; Col Charles M McCorkle, 26 Aug 1943; Col Yancey S. Tarrant, 4 Jul 1944; Col William A. Daniel, 4 Dec 1944-Oct 1945. Lt Col Horace A. Hanes, Aug 1946-unkn; Lt Col Frederick H. Lefebre, Jan 1947; Maj Arland Stanton, Feb 1947; Col Dale D. Fisher, Mar 1947; Lt Col Donald J. M. Blakeslee, May-25 Jun 1947; probably not manned, 25 Jun-Oct 1947; Maj Leonard P. Marks, 22 Oct 1947; Col Carroll W. McColpin, 1 Nov 1947; Col Earl H. Dunham, 4 Jan 1950; Lt Col Bascom A. Brooks, 14 Oct 1950; Col Earl H. Dunham, 21 Dec 1950-10 Mar 1951; unkn, 10 Mar 1951-16 Jun 1952. Col John B. Gibbs, 1 Nov 1991-1 Apr 1994. Col Michael R. Scott, 1 Apr 1994; Col James W. Turner, 5 Aug 1994; Col Philip J. Frazee, 1 Mar 1996; Col Marc E. Rodgers, 18 Jul 1996; Col Jeffrey W. Eberhart, 11 Feb 1998; Col David J. Scott, 5 Jul 2000; Col William R. Becker, 19 Jul 2002-.

Aircraft. P-39, 1942; P-40, 1942; Spitfire, 1942-1943; P-51, 1943-1945. P-80, 1946-1947; P-51 (later, F-51), 1947-1949; F-84, 1948-1952. F-16, 1991-1992. F-16, 1994-.

Operations. Activated on 1 Feb 1940. Trained and participated in Army maneuvers, Fall 1941. Moved to England, May-Jun 1942, where it trained with Spitfires. Entered combat on 19 Aug 1942, supporting an Allied raid at Dieppe, France. Escorted bombers and flew patrol and diversionary missions until Oct, when the group was assigned to Twelfth Air Force. Took part in the invasion of North Africa, landing in Algeria on 8 Nov 1942. Attacked motor transports, gun positions, and troop concentrations during the campaign for Algeria and French Morocco. Supported ground troops in Tunisia and provided cover for bomber and fighter aircraft. During May and Jun 1943, escorted naval convoys in the Mediterranean and bombers on raids to Pantelleria. Supported landings on Sicily in Jul, at Salerno in Sep, and at Anzio in Jan 1944. Provided close air support of Allied ground forces in Italy and flew patrol and escort missions. In Apr 1944, assigned to Fifteenth Air Force, and thereafter engaged primarily in missions to escort heavy bombers to enemy targets in Italy, France, Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria, Rumania, Yugoslavia, and Greece. Earned a Distinguished Unit Citation (DUC) for a 21 Apr 1944 mission to cover a raid on production centers in Rumania. Escorted reconnaissance and cargo aircraft participating in the airborne invasion of southern France. Strafed airdromes and communications targets. As part of a Fifteenth Air Force task force, attacked targets in Rumania while flying to Russia on 22 Jul 1944. After escorting P-38s from a Russian base for a raid on an airdrome in Poland on 25 Jul, attacked a German fighter-bomber force and a truck convoy, earning a second DUC. Returned to Italy next day. In Apr 1945, when Allied forces pursued their final offensive in northern Italy, the group strafed enemy rail and highway traffic. Returned to the US in Aug 1945, where it inactivated on 7 Nov 1945. Activated in Germany on 20 Aug 1946, but returned to the United States the next year. Trained to maintain tactical proficiency, 1947-1950. In Dec 1950, deployed to Manston RAF Station, England, escorting Strategic Air Command bombers. Became a paper organization in Feb 1951 and inactivated on 16 Jun 1952. Activated at Homestead AFB, FL in Nov 1991 to train combat-ready fighter crews for deployment in any part of the world. In Aug 1992, Hurricane Andrew largely destroyed the base, and the group's fighter squadrons relocated and were reassigned in Nov 1992. Inactivated on 1 Apr 1994. On the same day, the group activated at Aviano, Italy, to control flying operations for the 31st Fighter Wing. From May 1994-Dec 2004, participated in the following major Balkan operations: DENY FLIGHT, May 1994-Aug 1995; DELIBERATE FORCE, Aug-Sep 1995; DENY FLIGHT, Sep-Dec 1995; DECISIVE EDGE, Dec 1995-Dec 1996; DELIBERATE GUARD, Dec 1996-Jun 1998; DELIBERATE FORGE, Jun 1998-Jun 1999; ALLIED FORCE, combat, Mar-Jun 1999; and JOINT GUARDIAN/DELI-BERATE FORGE, Jun 1999-Dec 2003. Its two flying squadrons deployed personnel and equipment to support operations in Southwest Asia Apr 1991-Nov 1995. In 2000 the group gained a Combat Search and Rescue Mission (CSAR), along with four additional aircraft to accomplish that mission. The 31st also deployed squadrons to support OPERATIONS NORTHERN WATCH, Mar-May 2002 and SOUTHERN WATCH, Aug-Dec 2002.

Service Streamers. None.

Campaign Streamers. World War II: Air Offensive, Europe; Algeria-French Morocco with Arrowhead; Tunisia; Sicily; Naples-Foggia; Anzio; Rome-Arno; Southern France; North Apennines; Po Valley; Normandy; Northern France; Rhineland; Central Europe; Air Combat, EAME.

Armed Forces Expeditionary Streamers. None.

Decorations. Distinguished Unit Citations: Rumania, 21 Apr 1944; Poland, 25 Jun 1944. Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards: 1 Apr 1994-1 Apr 1996; 2 Apr 1996-1 Apr 1998; 1 Oct 2000-1 Oct 2002. 

Lineage, Assignments, Components, Stations, and Honors through 13 May 2005.

Commanders, Aircraft, and Operations through 31 Dec 2003.

Supersedes statement prepared on 13 Dec 1996.
 
Emblem. Group will use the wing emblem with group designation in the scroll. 

Prepared by Carl E. Bailey.
 
Reviewed by A. Timothy Warnock.







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