- 20th century (Creation)
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35 papers; 2 photographs; 1 volume; 1 audio recording
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Distinguished Unit Citations: France, 5 March 1944-24 April 1944.
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This section contains records relating to the activities of the 65th Fighter Wing in general and documents which relate to more than one of its Fighter Groups.
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Created 29/09/2010 by Drohj. Modified 23/01/2012 by Obdrd.