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51 Operations Group (PACAF)

Lineage.  Established as 51 Pursuit Group (Interceptor) on 20 Nov 1940.  Activated on 15 Jan 1941.  Redesignated as: 51 Pursuit Group (Fighter) on 12 Mar 1941; 51 Fighter Group on 15 May 1942.  Inactivated on 13 Dec 1945.  Activated on 15 Oct 1946.  Redesignated as 51 Fighter-Interceptor Group on 1 Feb 1950.  Inactivated on 25 Oct 1957.  Redesignated as: 51 Tactical Fighter Group on 31 Jul 1985; 51 Fighter Group on 10 Sep 1990.  Activated on 1 Oct 1990.  Redesignated as 51 Operations Group on 7 Feb 1992.      

Assignments.  Southwest Air District (later, 4 Air Force), 15 Jan 1941; 9 Pursuit Wing, 2 Jun 1941 (attached to 4 Air Force until 20 Jun 1941); 4 Bomber Command, 19 Sep 1941-Jan 1942 (attached to 4 Interceptor Command, 14 Oct 1941-unkn); 10 (later, Tenth) Air Force, c. 14 Mar 1942; Fourteenth Air Force, 12 Sep 1943 (attached to Tenth Air Force until 1 Oct 1943); 69 Bombardment (later, 69 Composite) Wing, Oct 1943; Fourteenth Air Force, 25 Aug 1945; Army Air Forces, India-Burma Theater, Sep-Nov 1945.  301 Fighter Wing, 15 Oct 1946; 51 Fighter (later, 51 Fighter-Interceptor) Wing, 18 Aug 1948-25 Oct 1957 (attached to 8 Fighter-Bomber Wing, 26 Sep-12 Oct 1950; Detachment 1, Twentieth Air Force, 16 Aug 1954-1 Mar 1955; Detachment 1, 313 Air Division, 1-15 Mar 1955).  51 Tactical Fighter (later, 51; 51 Fighter) Wing, 1 Oct 1990-.   


Operational Components.  Squadrons.  4 Fighter: attached 20 Feb 1947-20 Sep 1950.  16 Pursuit (later, 16 Fighter; 16 Fighter-Interceptor): 15 Jan 1941-7 Dec 1945 (detached Jul 1942-19 Oct 1943); 15 Oct 1946-15 Oct 1957 (detached 3-28 Apr 1955, 1 Jun-1 Jul 1955, and 1 Jul-25 Oct 1957).  19 Tactical Air Support: 1 Oct 1990-1 Oct 1993.  25 Pursuit (later, 25 Fighter; 25 Fighter-Interceptor; 25 Fighter): 15 Jan 1941-12 Dec 1945; 15 Oct 1946-25 Oct 1957 (detached 28 Apr-1 Jun 1955 and 1 Jul-25 Oct 1957); 1 Oct 1993-.  26 Pursuit (later, 26 Fighter; 26 Fighter-Interceptor): 15 Jan 1941-13 Dec 1945; 15 Oct 1946-1 Oct 1957 (detached 20 Sep 1950-31 Jul 1954, 10 Nov-11 Dec 1954, and 11 Jul 1955-1 Oct 1957).  36 Tactical Fighter (later, 36 Fighter): 1 Oct 1990-.  38 Rescue (later, 38 Rescue Flight): 1 Feb 1993-15 Feb 1996.  39 Fighter-Interceptor: attached 1 Jun 1952-14 Jul 1954.  68 Fighter-All Weather: attached 25 Sep-9 Oct 1950.  80 Fighter-Bomber: attached 25 Sep-20 Dec 1950.  449 Fighter: 26 Aug 1943-13 Dec 1945 (detached 26 Aug-19 Oct 1943).  Flight.  55 Airlift: 1 Jul 1992-15 Dec 2007.      


Stations.  Hamilton Field, CA, 15 Jan 1941; March Field, CA, 20 Jun 1941-11 Jan 1942; Karachi, India, 14 Mar 1942; Dinjan, India, 10 Oct 1942; Kunming, China, 2 Oct 1943; India, Sep-16 Nov 1945; Ft Lewis, WA, 12-13 Dec 1945.  Yontan Adrm, Okinawa, 15 Oct 1946; Naha Afld (later, Naha AB), Okinawa, 22 May 1947; Itazuke AB, Japan, 22 Sep 1950; Kimpo AB, South Korea, 24 Oct 1950; Itazuke AB, Japan, 3 Jan 1951; Tsuiki AB, Japan, 22 Jan 1951; Suwon AB, South Korea, 31 Jul 1951; Naha AB, Okinawa, 1 Aug 1954-25 Oct 1957.  Osan AB, South Korea, 1 Oct 1990-. 


Commanders.  Col Homer L. Sanders, 1941; Lt Col McElroy (acting), 9 Apr 1942; Col Homer L. Sanders, 25 Apr 1942; Lt Col John E. Barr (acting), 27 May 1942; Col Homer L. Sanders, 14 Jul 1942; Col John F. Egan, 23 Mar 1943; Lt Col David W. Wallace, 15 Sep 1943; Col Samuel B. Knowles Jr., 20 Sep 1943; Maj Howard T. Wright (acting), 12 Dec 1943; Col Samuel B. Knowles Jr., 24 Dec 1943; Lt Col Robert L. Liles (acting), 31 Mar 1944; Col Samuel B. Knowles Jr., 9 Apr 1944; Col Louis R. Hughes Jr., 27 May 1944; Lt Col John C. Habecker, 15 Feb 1945; Lt Col William E. Blankenship, c. 22 Feb 1945; Col Edmund P. Gaines, 4 Apr 1945; Lt Col William E. Blankenship, c. Sep-13 Dec 1945.  Col Loring F. Stetson Jr., 15 Oct 1946; Col Homer A. Boushey, 12 Apr 1947; Lt Col James F. McCarthy, 1 Aug 1947; Col Homer A. Boushey, 1947; Lt Col Bruce D. Biddlecome, Jun 1948; Lt Col Kenneth L. Garrett, 7 Mar 1949; Lt Col Robert F. Worley, 24 May 1949; Col John T. Shields, 1 Jul 1949; Lt Col Irwin H. Dregne, Jun 1950; Col Oliver G. Cellini, c. 25 Jul 1950; Lt Col Irwin H. Dregne, 7 Nov 1950; Col Oliver G. Cellini, 16 Dec 1950; Col Irwin H. Dregne, 24 Apr 1951; Lt Col John M. Thacker, 21 Jul 1951; Lt Col George L. Jones, 13 Nov 1951; Lt Col William M. Shelton, c. 17 Mar 1952; Lt Col Albert S. Kelly, Jun 1952; Col Robert P. Baldwin, Jan 1953; Lt Col Harold C. Gibson, Aug 1953; Col Malcolm E. Norton, Oct 1953; Lt Col Harold G. Shook, 23 Mar 1954; Col Paulett Spivey, 22 May 1954; Lt Col Harold G. Shook, 24 Jun 1954; Lt Col William A. Campbell, 9 Jul 1954; Col George V. Williams, 10 Aug 1954; Lt Col Donald V. Miller (acting), 26 Aug 1955; Col  George V. Williams, 17 Oct 1955; Col Robert L. Cardenas, 2 Jul 1956; Lt Col George C. Farr, 4 May 1957-unkn.  Col Raymond L. Head Jr., c. 1 Oct 1990; Col Hugh C. Cameron, 18 Jun 1991; Col Michael P. O’Conner, 2 Aug 1993; Col Bob D. DuLaney, 10 Jul 1995; Col Thomas Poulos Jr., 18 Jul 1997; Col Lawrence Wells, 25 Jun 1999; Col Paul K. White, 6 Jul 2001; Col Mark A. Bucknam, 8 Aug 2003; Col Terry M. Featherson, 29 Jul 2005; Col Michael E. Newman, 13 Aug 2007; Col Bruce T. Desautels, 4 Aug 2009; Col Keith D. McBride, 29 Jul 2011; Col James D. Clark, 7 Jun 2013-.      


Aircraft.   P-40, 1941-1945; P-38, 1943-1945; P-51, 1944-1945.  P-47, 1946-1947; F-80, 1947-1951; F-61, 1947-1950; F-82, 1949-1950; F-86, 1951-1957; F-94, 1954.   F-16, 1990-; OA-10, 1990-; C-12, 1992-2007; HH-60, 1993-1995; A-10, 1998-.     


Operations.  During 1941, trained in the United States for fighter operations.  After the Pearl Harbor attack of 7 Dec 1941, served as part of the defense force for the west coast.  Moved to India via Australia and Ceylon, Jan-Mar 1942.  Defended the Indian terminus of the “Hump” airlift route over the Himalaya Mountains between India and China and airfields in that area.  Flew strafing, bombing, reconnaissance, and patrol missions in support of Allied ground troops during a Japanese offensive in northern Burma in 1943.  After moving to China in Oct 1943, defended the Chinese end of the Hump route and air bases in the Kunming area.  Attacked Japanese shipping in the Red River delta of Indochina and supported Chinese ground forces in their late 1944 drive along the Salween River.  Inactivated after returning to India and then the United States in the autumn of 1945.  Between 1946 and 1950, trained and served as part of the occupation force and provided air defense for Okinawa and the Ryukyu Islands.  Flew armed reconnaissance and close air support missions over Korea from Japan, Sep-Oct 1950 and from South Korea Oct 1950-Jan 1951, when it moved back to Japan.  The group continued to fly combat missions over Korea, staging through air bases at Taegu and Suwon.  Flew air support, patrol, escort, interdictory, and reconnaissance missions, frequently engaging enemy jet fighters in air-to-air combat.  After the Korean armistice on 27 Jul 1953, the group remained on alert, flew patrol missions, and participated in air defense exercises.  After returning to Okinawa in Aug 1954, resumed air defense missions over the Ryukyu Islands.  Frequently deployed squadrons to Taiwan and the Philippines on alert and air defense exercises.  Became non-operational on 1 Jul 1957 and remained so until inactivation on 25 Oct 1957.  Since 1990, trained and took part in a series of exercises to maintain combat readiness for the air defense of South Korea.     


Service Streamers.  None.


Campaign Streamers.  World War II: India-Burma; China Defensive; China Offensive.  Korea: UN Offensive; CCF Intervention; First UN Counteroffensive; CCF Spring Offensive; UN Summer-Fall Offensive; Second Korean Winter; Korea, Summer-Fall 1952; Third Korean Winter; Korea, Summer 1953.  


Armed Forces Expeditionary Streamers.  None.


Decorations.  Distinguished Unit Citations: Korea, 28 Nov 1951-30 Apr 1952.  Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards: 1 Oct 1992-30 Sep 1994; 1 Nov 1995-31 May 1997; 1 Oct 2002-30 Sep 2004; 1 Oct 2007-30 Sep 2009; 1 Oct 2010-30 Sep 2012.  Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citations: 20 Sep 1950-30 Jun 1951; 1 Jul 1951-31 Mar 1953.      


Lineage, Assignments, Components, Stations, and Honors through 2 Sep 2014.


Commanders, Aircraft, and Operations through 2 Sep 2014.    


Supersedes statement prepared on 5 Dec 2008. 


Emblem.   Group will use the wing emblem with the group designation in the scroll.  Emblem digitized effective 19 Mar 2013.


Prepared by Daniel Haulman.   


Reviewed by Carl E. Bailey.