Sub-fonds - 65th Fighter Wing

Reference code


65th Fighter Wing


  • 1943-1992 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

1 box; 1 photographic box; 3 audio recordings

Name of creator


Administrative history

Part of the United States Army Air Force 2nd Air Division, 8th Air Force.
Comprised the 4th Fighter Group, 56th Fighter Group, 355th Fighter Group, 361st Fighter Group and 479th Fighter Group. Constituted as 4th Air Defence Wing, March 1943. Redesignated the 65th Fighter Wing, July 1943. Redesignated 65th Air Division (Defense), 1945.
Outline history:
The 65th Fighter Wing was constituted on 25 March 1943 as the 4th Air Defence Wing, activated on 27 March 1943, and moved to England between May and June 1943. It was redesignated as the 65th Fighter Wing in July 1943 and served in combat until late April 1945. The Wing was deactivated in England, on 21 November 1945, having served in the following campaigns: Air Offensive, Europe; Normandy; Northern France, Rhineland; Ardennes-Alsace and Central Europe. The Wing was later redesignated the 65th Air Division (Defense), organized in Iceland on 24 April 1952, and assigned to the Military Air Transport Service. It served in the air defence of Iceland, its combat elements being fighter squadrons temporarily deployed from the United States. The Wing was discontinued on 8 March 1954.
Key missions:
During the Second World War the 65th Fighter Wing's main role was to escort bombers attacking industrial targets, weapons sites and transport networks in France, Germany and the Low Countries. Fighters also strafed and dive-bombed targets including airfields, troops and supplies and flew area patrols. Strafing is the practice of attacking ground targets from low-flying aircraft. Major campaigns supported by groups in the 65th Fighter Wing included the 'Big Week', an intensive military campaign against the German Air Force and aircraft industry, in February 1944; the Normandy invasions and D-Day, June 1944; the breakthrough of allied troops at St Lo, France, July 1944; the airborne invasion of Holland (Netherlands), September 1944; the Battle of the Bulge, December 1944-January 1945 and to support allied troops crossing the Rhine, March 1945. Some of the fighter pilots in the Wing became known as aces: fighter pilots credited with shooting down several enemy aircraft during combat.
Fighter Groups:
4th Fighter Group: 1943-1945.
56th Fighter Group: 1943-1945.
355th Fighter Group: 1943-1945.
356th Fighter Group: 1943-1944.
361st Fighter Group: 1944-1944; 1945.
479th Fighter Group: 1944-1945.
Bushey Hall, England, 12 September 1942.
Debden, England, September 1942.
Steeple Morden, England, July-November 1945.
Camp Kilmer, New Jersey, c. 10 November 1945.
Selfridge Field, Michigan, 9 September 1946.
Group Commanders:
Col Edward W. Anderson, September 1942.
Col Chesley G. Peterson, August 1943.
Col Donald M. Blakeslee, 1 January 1944.
Lt Col Claiborne H. Kinnard Jun., November 1944.
Lt Col Harry Dayhuff, 7 December 1944.
Col Everett W. Stewart, 21 February 1945-unknown.
Aircraft flown:
P-51 (Mustangs)
P-47 (Thunderbolts)
Major awards:
Distinguished Unit Citations: France, 5 March 1944-24 April 1944.

Name of creator


Administrative history

Part of the United States Army Air Force 2nd Air Division, 8th Air Force.
Constituted on 28 January 1943. Activated 10 February 1943 at Richmond Army Air Base, Virginia. Joined the 8th Air Force in England, November 1943. Based in England but sent a detatchment to France (Dec 1944-Jan 1945). Moved to Belgium February 1945 and returned to England April 1945. Last combat mission dated 20 April 1943 and returned to the United States in November 1945. Deactivated 10 November 1945, Camp Kilmer, New Jersey.
Subsequently redesignated as the 127th FG on 24 May 1946, as the Pilot Training Group in March 1951 and as the 127th Fighter-Bomber Group c November 1952.
? Part of the 65th Fighter Wing. On formation many personnel were incorporated from the 327th Fighter Group. Included the 374th FS (later the 171st): 1943-1945. 375th FS: 1943-1945. 376th FS: 1943-1945. 107th: 1951-1952 and the 197th: 1951-1952.
Based at Bottisham, 30 Nov 1943-26 September 1944; Little Walden, England, September- 3 November 1945; Camp Kilmer, New Jersey, USA, 9-10 November 1945.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Scope and content

This section contains records relating to the personnel and activities of the 65th Fighter Wing including the 4th, 56th, 355th and 479nd Fighter Groups. It mainly contains memoirs, but also correspondence, articles about the Fighter Wing, photographs, and fabric uniform patches showing various insignias. Currently, no records have been deposited relating to the 361st Fighter Group.

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Conditions governing access

Conditions governing reproduction

The Norfolk Record Office requires the permission of the 2nd Air Division Memorial Trust Librarian before we can supply copies of any documents in this archive, copyright permitting. Please contact the 2nd Air Division Memorial Trust Librarian: e-mail; telephone, +44 (0) 01603 774747 and postal address, The 2nd Air Division (USAAF) Memorial Library, The Forum, Millennium Plain, Norwich, Norfolk, NR2 1AW, England.
If you are interested in copies of sound recordings in this archive, copying restrictions may apply. Please contact Norfolk Sound Archive staff for details: e-mail; telephone, + 44 (0) 01603 222599 and postal address, Norfolk Record Office, The Archive Centre, Martineau Lane, Norwich, NR1 2DQ.

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Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

The 2nd Air Division Memorial Library holdings include:
1) Microfilm from Maxwell Airforce Base: for the 4th Fighter Group, see BO048-51; 334, 335; for the 336th Fighter Squadrons of the 4th Fighter Group, see AO774-776; for the 56th Fighter Group, see BO151-152; for the 61st, 62nd and 63rd Fighter Squadrons of the 56th Fighter Group, see AO746-747; for the 355th Fighter Group, see BO312-314; for the 354th, 357th and 358th Fighter Squadrons of the 355th Fighter Group, see AO782A-784A; for the 361st Fighter Group, see BO324-325; for the 374th, 375th and 376th Fighter Squadrons of the 361st Fighter Group, see AO790; for the 479th Fighter Group, see BO635-637; for the 434th, 435th and 436th Fighter Squadrons of the 479th Fighter Group, see AO809.
2) Video tapes relating to the Fighter Groups are located in the video collection.

Related descriptions

Publication note

Select Bibliography:
For a history of the 361st Fighter Group, see Steve Gotts, 'Little Friends: A Pictorial History of the 361st Fighter Group' (Dallas, Texas, Taylor, 1993). A reference copy is available at the Norfolk Record Office and there are also copies in the 2nd Air Division Memorial Library's collection, available through the Norfolk Library Service.
Websites giving further information about the 65th Fighter Wing and on which this administrative history of the Group is based [accessed 4 August 2010]: <>.
For publications and websites relating to individual fighter groups, see the relevant section of this catalogue for that group.

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